I technically already blogged about something along these lines last summer so I won’t ramble on about it for too long, but after reading today about this new class action lawsuit against Netflix, I guess either I just really don’t understand how class action lawsuits work in America or conversely, I really disagree with how they work…
My problem with this particular case is that although I kinda see their point – it’s a privacy concern for some if Netflix were to maintain your rental history after you cease being a subscriber to their service, but in the same right, I actually fall into this category, too, and I want them to maintain my rental history because even though I may not be a paying member right now, I’d love for all of my own history to still be associated with my account if I decide to come back some day.
So where does that leave me???
Well in this case, it sounds like only the main plaintiffs are getting any sort of settlement out of the suit and the rest is going to charity on behalf of the other affected members (like me), but in a way, does that mean that I sued Netflix even though I didn’t want to? I think this is why these class action suits can end up being so dangerous because in the end, only the lawyers end up making any real money and you can bet as a result, Netflix’s service will suffer a bit because the $9 million that this suit cost them could’ve instead paid for more servers or streaming rights or new business innovations.
I’m not saying that the initial claim wasn’t necessarily valid, but this could’ve been handled on a much smaller scale than they did. Of course, would it have gotten the media attention and driven up the lawyers’ fees if it wasn’t on behalf of XX million current and former Netflix subscribers? Probably not.
Then again, I guess in hindsight a simple Data Retention Opt-In flag when canceling one’s account could’ve gone a long way, too… 🙁