A couple laying in bed holding a laptop with the Netflix logo.
Pexels | Anastasia Shuraeva

Netflix Trialed A Surcharge For Sharing Accounts, But It Didn't Go Well

Netflix has been in the news pretty often as of late, from the release of Stranger Things season four to some controversy surrounding certain specials. They've been making some big moves as a company, though not always ones their userbase is a fan of.

Making good on a promise from earlier this year, Netflix has tried charging people for sharing their accounts outside of their household, with not-so-stellar results.

Netflix dropped a bomb on us earlier this year.

A hand holding a remote with a TV blurred out in the background.
Unsplash | Glenn Carstens-Peters

The company said it would be cracking down on password sharing, a very common practice among those with Netflix accounts that allow other people to access the service for free.

They wanted to implement a surcharge for sharing passwords, around two or three dollars per extra "member account" for someone living outside the owner's "household."

They began trialing this new rule in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru.

Someone holding an iPad with the Netflix logo on the screen.
Unsplash | CardMapr.nl

However, it didn't go super well.

The first issue was that there was a lot of confusion about what counted as a household, confusion that not even Netflix could sort out. Some thought it meant anyone in the account owner's immediate family, some thought it meant those under the same roof.

Netflix confirmed it to be the latter, but even that raised issues.

A man and a woman sitting next to each other on a couch, with the man's hand holding a remote in focus in the center of the shot.
Pexels | JESHOOTS.com

Customer service reps reported being confused about what to tell people who called to ask about the policy, like what to do when someone who usually lived under the same roof was, say, on a trip and trying to watch elsewhere.

Instead of enforcing the charge, they were told to work around it.

A couple laying in bed holding a laptop with the Netflix logo.
Pexels | Anastasia Shuraeva

They could give the caller a verification code that would allow the other person to watch without the fee being tacked on, meaning there was an immediate workaround to Netflix's attempt at cracking down on the issue.

This is surely a sore point for the streaming giant.

A large building with the Netflix logo branded on the side.
Unsplash | Venti Views

April of 2022 saw their first month in over a decade where they lost subscribers, and seem to blame account sharing being one of the problems that resulted in the decline.

While it's something they clearly want to get a hold of, they might need to try a new method that leaves less confusion and fewer loopholes.

h/t: Insider