Among people using someone else’s Netflix password, 13% were using that of an ex, a recent survey revealed.
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Netflix and … still using your ex’s account.
Splitting up assets, friends and favorite haunts after a breakup has its own set of rules. But the etiquette around shared digital subscriptions — like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and other premium streaming services — can get even trickier. Among people using someone else’s Netflix login, 13% still use that of an ex, according to a recent report from the streaming news site Exstreamist.
Publicist Jenna Satariano, 31, of Long Beach, Calif., logged back into her ex’s HBO Go after their breakup to watch “Game of Thrones” — and when she mentioned that to him a few months later, he admitted he’d been using her Netflix and Hulu until his Apple TV logged him out. So she texted him her login information. “It didn’t upset either one of us,” she told Moneyish.
Satariano, who now uses her current boyfriend’s Hulu and HBO Go, still shares her Netflix account. “Since our relationship is in a fine place (and) we’re cordial with each other … it doesn’t stir up any hard feelings,” she said. Plus, she pointed out, those entertainment packages can add up: “It’s like, well, what’s the point if you can get $10 off and it doesn’t bother anyone?” she said.
Also read: After a breakup, who gets the stuff?
Shelly C. of San Diego continued using her ex-husband’s Netflix account for almost a year after she moved out — trying multiple times, unsuccessfully, to pay him for it. Once he had been dating someone several months, however, the girlfriend told him it bothered her that his ex-wife still had a profile on his account. “He was like, ‘Do you mind if I take you off of this?’” said Shelly, 33, who asked that her last name not be published. “I was like, ‘Yeah, of course. For me that would be super weird, too.’”
Should you keep using your ex’s account even the breakup? What if you, the account holder, want your ex to scram? And how do you handle a gift subscription tied to the other person’s email and credit card? Here’s what experts said:
Make a clean break if you had a nasty breakup. “Nobody’s going to be shocked when they go to log on and the service is no longer available to them,” etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley told Moneyish. “It’s the non-married, millennial equivalent of somebody cutting off a spouse’s credit card because they’re separated.”
Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini generally advised cutting ties. “It’s just a good idea to make the break clean and either remove them as an account holder or a user if they were using your account — or take yourself off theirs if you were using theirs,” she told Moneyish in an email. “If your ex wants to stay on your account because it’s cheaper for him or her — stay strong and use your boundaries. Apologize for the ‘account eviction’ and remove them from the account.”
But maintaining the status quo — especially things ended amicably — can work too. “If you are a young, millennial urban dweller living on a very tight budget … you most likely share a lot of these subscriptions for the purpose of not just convenience, but for budgetary savings,” Farley said. It can help to set some basic ground rules around usage, he added, like whether the beneficiary is allowed to share the password with anyone else, and what happens once the credit card on file expires.
If you want your ex to quit mooching, etiquette expert Elaine Swann said, then “do the work first — meaning change any passwords … delete the person from the system, and then follow up and let them know.” Tell the person, “I just want to let you know that I’ve discontinued the account” or “I’ve deleted you from the account,” she said. “And, of course, be considerate in the manner in which you tell them.”
If you received a subscription as a gift, enjoy it for that term and take on future payments if you want to continue the service, Farley said. “Whatever the understanding of the initial term was when the gift was presented, that is yours to keep,” he said. “But I would not hesitate from calling the company and asking, ‘When does this term end? OK, here, I’d like to give you my credit card to auto-renew.’”
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