After starting to charge an extra amount for sharing user accounts, Netflix was faced with several complaints from subscribers. People pointed out that the company could not carry out such an action, as it violates consumer rights. But can the company really charge this additional fee?
In a clear answer: yes, Netflix can charge an additional amount in sharing accounts. However, it must obey the provisions of Law 8078/1990, popularly known as the Consumer Protection Code (CDC).
One of the fundamental principles of the relationship between supplier and consumer is that of “Objective Good Faith”, that is, all participants in this relationship must act in accordance with social standards of ethics, correctness and transparency.
According to Renan Robusti, President of the Consumer Law Commission of the OAB Penha de França/SP subsection, the streaming platform lacked clarity for its customers:
However, after the company’s recent decision, such information is insufficient to understand what the brand is announcing to its subscribers, that is, what is the new charging criterion? How will this new access system work? Who can and who can’t share the account?
Civil Code article brings complications for Netflix
In addition to the lack of clarity in the information, the American company needs to face a problem indicated by several users of social networks: the Article 71 of the Civil Code. He says: “if, however, the natural person has several residences, where he alternately lives, any of them shall be considered his domicile”.
Netflix explained that the identification of the holder’s residence will be based on the IP of the connected devices and that it is necessary to connect the mobile device to the home network so that the system does not consider the device as being from outside the residence.
In other words, the brand did not present alternatives for situations of this type, as Renan Robusti explains:
Due to the lack of company information, we do not know if the user will be able to use the platform at the beach house, for example. It’s pretty vague how it’s all going to work.
Subscribers may have questions such as “if I want to use another profile in my home in the country to focus content on children’s programs, would I have to pay the additional amount?”. If Netflix were to force that extra payment in this situation, it would be engaging in abusive practice, according to the lawyer.
Subscribers also have responsibilities
On the other hand, Netflix’s lack of transparency does not remove the consumer’s obligations. Renan Robusti highlighted that the principle of “Objective Good Faith” also applies to the user:
As a rule, hiring the streaming service is individual, and therefore, the user should not share their account with third parties, unless the contracted subscription plan allows it. In other words, if your subscription plan does not allow it, you cannot share it with anyone else, as it was only you who contracted the service.
Finally, it is worth remembering that many people went to Procon to complain about Netflix’s practice. As a result, the institution notified the company on Wednesday (24) to clarify the action so that the entity can carry out its analyses.
It should still take a long time for Procon to define something in the case. Meanwhile, the streaming platform should maintain the new extra charge for account sharing. For users, there is only the alternative of continuing or not subscribing to the service.