French lawsuit targets Netflix contracts with consumers

Netflix’s boilerplate in its contracts with French subscribers has prompted a French consumer-protection group to sue the company.

While acknowledging the launch of the service has been “entirely positive for the consumer” in that it’s created a more consumer-friendly environment with more competition among SVOD offerings, the suit filed by the Confederation for Consumption, Housing, Living and Environment (CLCV) points out that Netflix doesn’t guarantee stream quality, reserves the right to change terms of the contract without notifying consumers and has several conditions written in English.

CLCV said consumers should be allowed to negotiate refunds or compensation if they’re dissatisfied with stream quality, must be notified under French law if a contract’s terms change, and maintains that the entire contract should be in French so users can read all of it and be aware of any conditions with which they might take issue.

Netflix told the Hollywood Reporter is had no immediate comment.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has dealt with potential issues in France.

Prior to its September launch, it faced opposition from French politicians and studios that said the torrent of American TV titles and movies from the streamer would overwhelm the country and cause an “implosion of our cultural model.”

Netflix has said it’s committed to bringing more French content to the service.

Early reports said the service had more than 100,000 French subscribers just two weeks after launching.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn