Should I keep ClassicFlix?

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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coolcatdaddy

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Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu Apr 10, 2014 4:29 pm

I've had a ClassicFlix subscription for a few months now and I'm deciding on whether to keep it.

What's been your experience with the service?

I'm on the east coast and the turn-around time is about a week on sending titles back and getting the next on my list. It also seems like a higher than average number of the discs I get from them are really scratched up - both of my titles today were cracked.

I didn't seem to have such a problem with scratched or cracked discs with Netflix. The problem with that service is that the selection of titles I'm interested in is getting thinner as they're not replacing older titles that get lost or damaged or picking up newly released classics for dvd and are concentrating more on streaming.

I never know what I'm going to get next with ClassicFlix - most of the titles in my queue are marked with some kind of wait, so it's much harder to plan watching material that's related to each other or part of a film series.

Does it get better or am I just having a run of bad luck with it?
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mwalls

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu Apr 10, 2014 5:35 pm

I support the concept of Classicflix. Very friendly person, too. I used to subscribe and the disk quality was fine. What made me cancel is that I live on the East coast and delivery times are just way too slow. Otherwise, I would have it.

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azjazzman

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostSat Apr 19, 2014 4:01 pm

coolcatdaddy wrote:I've had a ClassicFlix subscription for a few months now and I'm deciding on whether to keep it.

What's been your experience with the service?

I'm on the east coast and the turn-around time is about a week on sending titles back and getting the next on my list. It also seems like a higher than average number of the discs I get from them are really scratched up - both of my titles today were cracked.

I didn't seem to have such a problem with scratched or cracked discs with Netflix. The problem with that service is that the selection of titles I'm interested in is getting thinner as they're not replacing older titles that get lost or damaged or picking up newly released classics for dvd and are concentrating more on streaming.

I never know what I'm going to get next with ClassicFlix - most of the titles in my queue are marked with some kind of wait, so it's much harder to plan watching material that's related to each other or part of a film series.

Does it get better or am I just having a run of bad luck with it?


I've had ClassicFlix for several years and I am about ready to dump it for the same reasons you stated. My turn around time from N. Cal to AZ is no better than yours to the east coast. Way too many cracked discs received, much worse than Netflix. But, the thing that is pushing me over the edge is the unavailability of the discs I would like to check out. There are numerous titles at the top of my queue that are marked "short wait" that I have been waiting well over a year for. That is ridiculous. I would guess somewhere between 85 and 90% of the discs in my queue have been unavailable for at least 6 months or more.

They have increased the rental fees twice in the past 1 1/2 years and the service has only gotten worse.
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coolcatdaddy

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostSun Apr 20, 2014 5:09 pm

I really like the concept of ClassicFlix and the ability to see several Warner Archive or mod Fox and MGM discs that just aren't available at Netflix.

I'd say a good 75% of my list at ClassicFlix is short/long/very long wait. I just don't have much hope they're going to turn up any time soon.

I'm tempted to subscribe to Warner Archive streaming as a replacement, but then I'm missing out on the mod titles from other studios.
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drednm

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostTue Apr 29, 2014 7:35 pm

I would say 90% of the 60 or so films in queue have never changed WAIT status for a single day in over 8 months.

Any film I've gotten that has been smashed in the mail turns out to be their only copy. How can you have a rental business with ONE copy of a film?

I read somewhere they have a preferential system of "awarding" films to long-time customers over newer customers. After 8 months not a single film in my top 40 or so has ever been available to mail out. Not one.

You can't tell me CLAUDIA is so popular it's out in rental every single day for 8 months straight. Time to cancel.
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coolcatdaddy

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostTue Apr 29, 2014 8:07 pm

I got my first mint-condition movie from ClassicFlix yesterday - it's the only one I've received in many months of subscribing to the service that wasn't heavily scratched or cracked. In fact, it looked like it had never been played.

The title?

"Golden Dawn".
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azjazzman

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu May 01, 2014 9:37 pm

drednm wrote:I would say 90% of the 60 or so films in queue have never changed WAIT status for a single day in over 8 months.

Any film I've gotten that has been smashed in the mail turns out to be their only copy. How can you have a rental business with ONE copy of a film?

I read somewhere they have a preferential system of "awarding" films to long-time customers over newer customers. After 8 months not a single film in my top 40 or so has ever been available to mail out. Not one.

You can't tell me CLAUDIA is so popular it's out in rental every single day for 8 months straight. Time to cancel.


I don't know if I would qualify as a long-time customer (I joined about 4 1/2 years ago) but my experience is very much like you have described. The status of my all of my Top 50 has not changed in the last 8 months, except for one instance where a title went from "short wait" to "long wait". I would love to know what their definition of "short wait" is, because there are dozens of titles I have had in my queue listed as "short wait" for well over a year.

Over the 4 1/2 years, I have had several dozen discs arrived cracked, but never once have they had a replacement copy to send. I wouldn't expect them to keep multiple copies of everything, but on the most popular titles, they should.

All of this anecdotal evidence adds up to one thing...their subscriber base seems to far outstrip the resources they dedicate to servicing that base. With Netflix as a model, they have to be making money hand over fist, but it sure doesn't appear that they are re-investing enough to keep the customer service reasonable.

It adds up to this: What ClassicFlix needs is some competition to shake them up a bit.
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drednm

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostFri May 02, 2014 10:42 am

I just canceled. There is no way a film can be on a WAIT status for months at a time. They have one copy and it's never been returned? They have one copy and it's broken? Then why list it at all.

My cynical guess is that they don't have half the films they list. That Loving the Classic place does the same thing. They list films they don't have and then when you complain they say their "supplier" is this or that. Supplier?

ClassicFlix seems very friendly and pleasant but what kind of business model is it where you run a movie rental company and have only ONE copy of each film?
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drednm

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostFri May 02, 2014 1:01 pm

And the joke is this: within 30 minutes of canceling, the film CLAUDIA I've had at #1 spot for 8 months is now suddenly available..... HA!
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostSun May 04, 2014 6:12 pm

drednm wrote:And the joke is this: within 30 minutes of canceling, the film CLAUDIA I've had at #1 spot for 8 months is now suddenly available..... HA!


Thanks for stepping aside, Ed. Shall I tell you how it ends?
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drednm

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostMon May 05, 2014 6:23 am

??
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostSat May 17, 2014 5:29 pm

I just cancelled too. I didn't like to do it, but with working at night I didn't have a lot of time to watch rental DVDs, and I figure if I want one that much I will just buy it (if it's not streaming on Fandor for instance, or Warner Archive, both of which I subscribe to). It makes more sense than keeping a disc around and having the fees add up to more than the cost of a new copy. Too bad about the delays, they really should have a storage facility on the East coast and perhaps the Midwest as well.
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azjazzman

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostMon May 19, 2014 2:49 pm

drednm wrote:And the joke is this: within 30 minutes of canceling, the film CLAUDIA I've had at #1 spot for 8 months is now suddenly available..... HA!


If it makes you feel any better, Ed...when I saw this post I immediately moved CLAUDIA to the top of my Queue. The disc arrived today - broken, of course.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu Jul 24, 2014 4:34 am

I've been a member off and on for a few years. It seems the post office here went through a phase of breaking discs in their sorting machines. I'm surprised it is still happening in your areas, since I haven't had a broken disc in over a year.

Another bulk sender I deal with who sends DVDs and CDs went through a time over a year ago of consistent breakage. This has now stopped as far as I know.

I know ClassicFlix and this other sender complained to the Post Office and whatever they did seemed to work in my part of the country, anyways. (midwest)

Every once in a while I get fed up with delays, etc. with ClassicFlix and cancel, but since they are the only mail rental company that has just about everything classic, I keep coming back.

That said, remember--they have to buy virtually ALL new major and archive series releases--so I can imagine the huge investment they have in discs. Obviously they can't always have multiple discs of one title.

My turnaround has been fairly good (3 days to and 3 day return) For the following reasons:

1. I live near the MAIN POST OFFICE in my city and always make sure the return discs get there as quickly as possible.
2. I mark in BOLD MARKER--FIRST CLASS MAIL on both sides of the return envelope.
3. If something goes wrong, I LOUDLY complain until it is resolved.

It would be nice if Classicflix would have an office on each side of the country---East and West , but then they would need a second 8000 title inventory.....so for now we will have to deal with their Sacramento area location.

Another alternative is to see if your local library system has a request page on their website. I have been able to have my library buy many unusual classic titles--then you can just borrow them from the library!
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostFri Aug 08, 2014 5:28 pm

Got this from ClassicFlix today via email. It's great that they recognize that they have a big problem and even better that they have implemented a corrective action plan. I got my first mailer with the cardboard insert today, and I am encouraged.

And lower prices, too!

Image
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostSun Aug 10, 2014 4:02 pm

I just got my first DVD from them in the new heavy duty mailer....EXCELLENT.

I think this will also make it easier for the post office so with rates going down, breakage no longer a problem and service improving, I'm staying!
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostTue Aug 12, 2014 4:30 pm

Just got my first cardboard mailer. I'm staying for now to see how things work out - an encouraging sign.

ClassicFlix might see an opening to expand their customer base since Netflix seems to be slowly pulling back from dvds to concentrate on streaming.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Aug 27, 2014 12:33 pm

I also experienced high breakages earlier this year to the point that Classicflix said it had to suspend my membership indefinitely.

Before the breakage incident, my experience with Classicflix had been fairly positive. Once in a while I got "short wait" or even "long wait" discs sent to me. Only a third of my queue of 100+ titles were in "wait" status at any time. To those who experienced wait status that lasted forever, was it possible the discs were out of print?

Now that Classicfix seems to have fixed the breakage issue, I signed in the other day to try to renew, but to my horror, my queue was now FULL of short and long waits. So I decided not to renew.

I wonder if their business has improved since the use of better packaging. Anyone remember all the other disc-rental-by-mail services: Nicheflix, RentMyDVD, DVDOvernight, etc.? They all used sturdy packaging. But apparently it didn't help them much with their business, because if you run in a niche rental service, you will always have just a niche membership, and will never have enough capital to expand to multiple distribution centers, more copies of discs, etc., the way Netflix did. Nicheflix seemed to have lasted the longest, closing in 2007.

I(We) just have to find other ways, or at least more convenient ways, to see those movies. We can record shows from TCM (especially those shown in late nights), since many TCM broadcasts wind up as Warner Archive releases. E.g. In September, TCM will show a lot of the movies in those "Forbidden Hollywood" DVD sets.

Or we can just buy the DVDs/Blu-rays, and sell them later, essentially renting the discs. These discs seem to retain pretty high market value even a long time after release, especially Criterion discs.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Aug 27, 2014 1:19 pm

SilentsPlease wrote:I(We) just have to find other ways, or at least more convenient ways, to see those movies. We can record shows from TCM (especially those shown in late nights), since many TCM broadcasts wind up as Warner Archive releases. E.g. In September, TCM will show a lot of the movies in those "Forbidden Hollywood" DVD sets.

Or we can just buy the DVDs/Blu-rays, and sell them later, essentially renting the discs. These discs seem to retain pretty high market value even a long time after release, especially Criterion discs.


Public libraries often carry classic films, so check your own to see what they have. If you're feeling particularly generous and public spirited and all, you could donate your unwanted discs to your public library for their collections.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm

Frederica wrote:Public libraries often carry classic films, so check your own to see what they have. If you're feeling particularly generous and public spirited and all, you could donate your unwanted discs to your public library for their collections.


Public libraries often carry a diverse collection of video discs (dances, concerts, classics, Christian films, gay & lesbian theme, etc.), which means they cannot carry too deep of a particular genre. My local libraries always carry a healthy sampling of titles of many genres, but they are just that: samplings. They are good as a starting point, but are clearly not adequate for the kind of specialized genres discussed on this site, and I don't expect them to be.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Oct 15, 2014 8:39 am

I closed my original account for the same reasons most folks do: too long to get dvd's out here on the East Coast, too many dvd's I want never available, etc.

I got the update/upgrade email in August and after weighing the pros and cons, decided to re-activate my account last month.

Results so far have not been good. the account's been open since September 25th and I've received exactly ONE dvd (which, for what it's worth, was in fine condition) so far. since my one successful shipment, I've had them inform me that they shipped an item, then, two days later inform that they'd gotten the item back already. When I called CS to try and figure out what happened, I was told the likely explanation was the post office mangling the envelope and the undeliverable package being returned to sender. They supposedly sent the next item on my queue, but that was 7 days ago and I haven't received it yet. This does not bode well. As quite a few other people here have noted, ClassicFlix is a great IDEA. it's the execution that stinks. if it turns out after this initial foul-up that I can indeed get the two movies a month that I'm entitled to on the basic plan, I may stick with them for a few years. we'll see how next month goes.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Dec 10, 2014 3:38 pm

I should be getting next day delivery as I'm within 50 miles of where they are located.

I have gotten discs in one day but that is highly unusual.

Now it is taking FOUR DAYS on average to receive a disc but only two days on average for discs to make it back to them!

As someone else pointed out ClassisFlix is making a LOT of money off these delays!

As another person pointed out a better option may be to buy what you want and then sell it.

P. S. Wishful thinking but it would be great if ClassicFlix worked out a deal with Netflix to have them ship out discs!
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu Dec 11, 2014 10:49 am

aspen5 wrote:P. S. Wishful thinking but it would be great if ClassicFlix worked out a deal with Netflix to have them ship out discs!


Classicflix is more likely to ditch disc rental altogether and go streaming like many other companies have done. Netflix has been closing distribution centers in recent years in an effort to focus more on its streaming service, where most of its members are. A lot of movies are not even on DVDs or Blu-rays, but are available to stream in high-def. I've seen "Peyton Place" and Disney's "So Dear to My Heart" in beautiful HD on Vudu, Hitchcock's silents "Manxman" and "The Ring" in HD on iTunes, "The Thin Blue Line" in HD on Netflix, and on and on. In the future, I'll probably be a long-term subscriber to a streaming service or two, and only buy an occasional disc. I will probably urge studios to put out more movies on streaming instead of on disc. The hassles you have to deal with in any disc-by-mail rental service is one of the reasons why streaming is taking over nowadays.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostThu Dec 11, 2014 3:36 pm

SilentsPlease wrote:
aspen5 wrote:P. S. Wishful thinking but it would be great if ClassicFlix worked out a deal with Netflix to have them ship out discs!


Classicflix is more likely to ditch disc rental altogether and go streaming like many other companies have done. Netflix has been closing distribution centers in recent years in an effort to focus more on its streaming service, where most of its members are. A lot of movies are not even on DVDs or Blu-rays, but are available to stream in high-def. I've seen "Peyton Place" and Disney's "So Dear to My Heart" in beautiful HD on Vudu, Hitchcock's silents "Manxman" and "The Ring" in HD on iTunes, "The Thin Blue Line" in HD on Netflix, and on and on. In the future, I'll probably be a long-term subscriber to a streaming service or two, and only buy an occasional disc. I will probably urge studios to put out more movies on streaming instead of on disc. The hassles you have to deal with in any disc-by-mail rental service is one of the reasons why streaming is taking over nowadays.


How would that work? I'd love it if ClassicFlix could stream, but wouldn't there be permissions, etc. to get first? My impression is that CF is a small business--what kind of infrastructure would they need to stream and what would be the cost? Or could they rent capability from an entity like Netflix?
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mwalls

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostFri Dec 12, 2014 7:45 am

I used to subscribe to CF a couple of years ago. Over a year ago I received an e-mail from CF that they were pursuing streaming capability and asking me to take a brief survey if I would use the service, etc. Well, the timeperiod they forecasted to bring the streaming service on-line came and went, and I never thought any more about it until this thread.

Would I use their streaming and resubscribe? Absolutely. I like their selection. My only problem is that I live in the East and their mail is so slow. Only streaming will fix that.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostWed Apr 01, 2015 9:48 am

Averaging 4-6 days for things to get back to them and 5-9 days for things to get to me. I love the selection, but this is getting absurd.
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Marr&Colton

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostFri Apr 03, 2015 5:22 am

I'm about at my wit's end with Classicflix. Despite their great selection of titles:

1. Their customer service is not good--the 800 number only goes to voicemail, "issues" filed take 1-2 days to get
their attention.

Members of Classicflix pay for TIME as well as RENTALS--if the TIME gets eaten up in delays, then the satisfaction with the service is diminished!

2. US Postal Service is NOT DEPENDABLE. For a while I was regularly getting their mailings in 3 days to the midwest.
Inexplicably the transit time stalls out to double that or longer! Now it takes over a week for the DVD to be received back at their office. I always mail from our main post office for faster mailing time.

3. Even though the 9.99 isn't a lot of money, the aggravation and uncertainty of depending on two services--Postal and Classicflix just isn't worth it. I can access my statewide library system for many titles--free.

4. I'd love to message the owner of Classicflix---does anyone have his personal email or number?
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostMon Apr 06, 2015 11:26 am

See if this sounds suspicious to you:

On 3/23, I get notification that they're shipping me a title (Lonesome). On 4/1, I e-mail them and explain that the title never showed up. On 4/3, they (finally) reply to me asking when I sent it back. I explain again that there was nothing to send back, because I never got it. They ship the next title out of my queue.

On 4/4, Lonesome shows up. I strongly suspect that they never sent the title at all until my 4/1 communication with them. It should take 4 days for mail from the west coast to reach me when sent first class.
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Marr&Colton

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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostTue Apr 07, 2015 4:51 am

Rodney, I feel your pain.

When I complain, the answers I get are similar to what you got---it's like they weren't paying attention to my question--telling me to wait a day or two longer for it to show up at my address---when I said I had already mailed it back to them, not the other way around.

That said, First Class Mail is a crap shoot nowadays. It can be fast or terribly slow--for no apparent reason.
Part of the problem is USPS has closed many sorting centers so mail sometimes goes through a circuitous route to get
to its destination.
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Re: Should I keep ClassicFlix?

PostTue Apr 07, 2015 6:45 am

There was some odd markings on the envelope (black marks across the barcode that the postal machines use) so it's very possible that it took the long route to my home.

This does seem to happen frequently though.
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