Paid-for Netflix account sharing pilot is causing chaos in Peru

Netflix on the Mac
Netflix on the Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Netflix continues to wrestle with how to charge people for Netflix accounts when they borrow other people's.
  • A pilot program allows Peruvians to pay a small fee to add two more people to their account.
  • The new program has been met with confusion during testing.

Netflix previously announced plans to prevent people from sharing their passwords with people who aren't in their household and the streamer is already testing that with users in Peru and a handful of other countries. But that pilot program is causing confusion, according to a new report.

As Netflix works to try and make money where it previously wasn't, it's now warning people in Peru that they need to pay extra if they want to continue accessing it. The pilot allows people to pay $2.99 per month and add people to their accounts, even if they don't live with them. It's cheaper than taking out a new subscription and enables them to continue using their profile, too. In a world where the Netflix recommendation system is king, that's no small thing.

However, research carried out by Rest of World shows that people in Peru are being confused by the whole thing, partly because it doesn't seem to be enforced very well according to a TechCrunch report.

The majority of those surveyed by Rest of World in Peru said that they have still not received uniform messaging around the new charges, even though it's been over two months after the policy was first announced. Some subscribers experienced the price increase and then canceled their Netflix accounts as a result. But others who ignored the message about the new policy were able to share their accounts across households without an extra charge, they claimed.

Part of the issue seems to be that Netflix itself doesn't know what to do about the program, with customer service agents told to just assume people are being legit when they say they live in the same household but are just traveling.

An anonymous Netflix customer service representative reportedly told Rest of World that if a customer called in to argue that a member of their immediate household was using the account from a different location, the rep was instructed to tell them that person could continue to use the account via a verification code without experiencing an extra charge. This basically meant those who called in for support could ignore the new policy and continue to share the subscription without repercussions. The rep said members of their team were often confused about the policy as well. In a statement to the outlet, the company said that the rollout has been "progressive."

This is, of course, why Netflix is running the pilot in the first place and we can expect these kinds of issues to be ironed out before the same subscription add-on situation rolls out internationally.

The move, alongside an incoming ad-supported tier, comes at a time when Netflix is losing customers and share price and is keen to ensure that it can make more money from the people who watch content without paying for it.

Netflix is one of the most costly streaming solutions around, one of the reasons people share passwords in the first place. Peruvian customers can add two more people to their account for 7.9 soles (about $2.99) while new standalone accounts cost 24.90 soles (around $6.80) for a basic plan.

If you want to enjoy Netflix in style, be sure to check out our list of the best Apple TV deals on the market today.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.