Netflix says it'll help cancel your inactive account for you

Netflix Unlock

Source: CordCutters (Image credit: CordCutters)

Netflix today announced that it's doing a little account pruning. If you, for some reason, have been paying for an account but haven't actually used it in two years, Netflix will automatically cancel your subscription for you. That sounds a little more draconian than it is, however.

First it's going to send notices to anyone who hasn't watched anything for a year. If you don't respond, they'll cancel the subscription. (They also say they'll do the same thing for anyone who hasn't watched anything in two years, which basically is the exact same thing, but whatever.)

If you're now asking yourself why someone would have an account — and pay for it — but not actually use it ... well, it happens. (Especially in the case of a death.) And Netflix says that inactive accounts make up less than 0.5 percent of its 182 million paid memberships — "only a few hundred thousand" — and that they'd been taking them into account in its financial statements.

So if you're reading this there's a good chance you don't have anything to worry about. But if you suddenly see an extra $15 in the bank every month, it could be you had a zombie Netflix account on a credit card somewhere.

Here's the full post from Eddy Wu, Product Innovation:

You know that sinking feeling when you realize you signed up for something but haven't used it in ages? At Netflix, the last thing we want is people paying for something they're not using.

So we're asking everyone who has not watched anything on Netflix for a year since they joined to confirm they want to keep their membership. And we'll do the same for anyone who has stopped watching for more than two years. Members will start seeing these emails or in app notifications this week. If they don't confirm that they want to keep subscribing, we'll automatically cancel their subscription. If anyone changes their mind later, it's really easy to restart Netflix. These inactive accounts represent less than half of one percent of our overall member base, only a few hundred thousand, and are already factored into our financial guidance.

We've always thought it should be easy to sign up and to cancel. So, as always, anyone who cancels their account and then rejoins within 10 months will still have their favorites, profiles, viewing preferences and account details just as they left them. In the meantime, we hope this new approach saves people some hard earned cash.