6 Odd Things That Happened That Got My Netflix Account Canceled By A Stranger

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There are lots of reasons — price hike, a content library that no longer appeals to you, infrequent use, poor internet connection — that you might cancel your Netflix service.  One thing that’s not on that list is “Netflix employee doesn’t realize that two people could have the same name.”

Consumerist reader Rob recently contacted us when he found himself caught up in an unusual — almost ridiculous — situation with Netflix simply because he shares the same name as another customer.

The issues started earlier this month when he began receiving password reset emails from Netflix, then suddenly found that his account was no longer active.

Initially, Rob assumed that someone with the same name was able to cancel his account by simply providing his name and email address, but no other verifying information.

This, he tells Consumerist, seemed like a glaring security issue with the streaming service.

“I called Netflix customer service and they informed me that earlier today, someone did in fact call and cancel my account,” he says. “Apparently another customer with the same first and last name as mine tried to cancel their account and cancelled mine instead.”

Consumerist reached out to Netflix about the issue and found the entire ordeal was actually a big mix-up that resulted from a confluence of circumstances so unusual it’s unlikely to happen to too many other subscribers.

#1. Have A Common Name: In Rob’s case, the entire ordeal began simply because he has the same name as another Netflix subscriber. So let’s call him Rob #1 and the other guy Rob #2. You can’t really blame either of the Robs — or Netflix — for this aspect of the story, but it’s the fountainhead from which this farce flows.

As with many people who have common names, Rob’s email address is also similar to his same-name counterpart.

In this case, Rob #2 was mistakenly using Rob #1’s email address to log in to his account to add a second device. This is why Rob received several password reset prompts.

#2. Not Knowing Your Own Email Address: As occasionally happens with people who have common names, the two Robs also have similar email addresses that they used for logging into Netflix.

That’s fine, so long as each Rob only uses their respective login info. However, Rob #2 was mistakenly using Rob #1’s email address when he tried to authorize Netflix on a new device.

This explains all the previously received password reset emails, but not how Rob #1’s account was ultimately closed out.

#3. Calling Netflix: After unsuccessfully trying to reset his password (with the wrong email address), Rob #2 called Netflix to have a customer service representative add the second device to his account — not cancel the account, a spokesperson for the streaming service tells Consumerist.

#4. Confusion Over Two Accounts: Once Rob #2 reached a CSR, the rep noticed there were two accounts associated with the same name.

At this point, the rep assumed that this was a case of an accidentally duplicated account. He informed Rob #2 that he would simply consolidate the accounts, as to avoid confusion in the future.

While that’s an understandable move, it was a wrongful assumption on the rep’s part, Netflix admits to Consumerist.

#5. Failing To Verify: In order to consolidate the two accounts under the same name — or to make any changes to an account — a customer must provide verifying information, often the credit card number associated with the account, the Netflix spokesperson explains.

While Rob #2 has the same name as Rob #1 — and while he incorrectly thinks Rob #1’s email address belongs to him — he doesn’t have Rob #1’s credit/debit card info.

That should have been a red flag that halted the process, but it wasn’t.

#6. Canceled Account: Unable to merge the two accounts without the correct payment card information, the Netflix rep simply decided that the two accounts were duplicates — and canceled Rob #2’s Netflix access.

“This was done on behalf of customer service,” says the Netflix spokesperson. “No one had access to anyone’s account. It was a wrongful assumption that it was a duplicate account.”

The spokesperson says that no one can cancel an account without providing verifying information to an account services rep.

Finding Resolution

Rob #1 tells Consumerist that he was able to call Netflix and have his account reactivated by providing his name, email, and password.

Additionally, he asked the company to put a note in his account to ask for specific verifying information before anyone is able to make changes to his account — including a change made on behalf of Netflix customer service.

“His account should never have gotten canceled,” reiterated the spokeswoman, noting again that the customer’s private information was never breached or at risk of being accessed by another customer.

“Bottom line is no one’s account was unsecured,” she says.

Customers with questions or concerns about Netflix security can visit netflix.com/security for additional information.

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