My mom asked me to look online and figure out the process for reordering the two coupons we had received earlier this summer. Like many people she had logged into dtv2009.gov and requested coupons for a digital converter box. I am sure you’ve seen the ads, heard the messages and even enjoyed the amazing amount of news space fill KALB has dedicated to it in recent months.

These coupons were ordered around March and arrived about 3 months later. The only problem was that by the time the coupons arrived, there were no converter boxes to be had! As neither of my parents are very electronic gadget oriented, I took it upon myself to go pick up their converters and hook everything up.

I spent far too much time this past summer going to Wal-Mart, the other Wal-Mart, having that Wal-Mart call the third Wal-Mart. Going to Radio Shack, having that Radio Shack call all the other Radio Shacks, etc. Basically nobody had any, and nobody could say when they would be getting any. No one was taking holds or calling when they got them in.

Long story short, finally now, stores seem to have them in stock. Granted, even the cheapest are more expensive than the $40 coupons, but still they have them. Only problem…the coupons are expired!

These coupons were only valid for 90 days from the date they were mailed. According to the DTV2009.gov site, it was expected to take 10 days for delivery, so under the best circumstances, that means consumers have 80 days to purchase their converters.

Now, is it just me or would a total lack of converters not seem like a good reason to change a little bit of computer software somewhere and leave these cards active? Last week there was some local coverage of the coupons and especially of the fact that the coupon program had run out of money. Well, I doubt they’ve really run out. Because, if most people couldn’t find a box to buy, then their coupons are also expired. Thus that money, although allocated has never been spent!

The purpose of this rant I suppose is to draw some attention to the fact that according to the DTV website, once coupons are expired, consumers are simply out of luck. You can’t reactivate them. You can’t replace them. And you can’t order any more because once you have your two, you’re done! This reminds me of the Army, where a paperwork error on their part was a problem for you to deal with on your part.

I’d love to know who else out there has had this same issue? Please comment if you have.

I would say we should write or call our Representatives or Senators, but in 15 years of being a registered voter, I have yet to once receive a response to an email or letter sent to any of their offices.

5 thoughts

  1. Drew
    As I see it right now. Your old analog sets will work untill Suddenlink converts over, which I do not think will be soon. When 5 ran their test, I checked the two remaining analog sets I had and they were working.I am assuming your parents have cable… There is a lot of confusion on this. All the pre information was pretty vague anyway.
    Alex

  2. Hi Alex,

    I think you’re right that Cable customers would be fine. Unfortunately my parents’ house is in one of the many places in the parish not served by a local cable provider so they have to use satellite. They have Dish Network whom, five years ago when they signed up had promised that our local channels would be available within a few months. Here it is five years later and neither Dish nor DirecTV feel CenLa is important enough to receive local channels even though much much smaller markets in other parts of the country have been deemed to merit satellite space.

    KALB, KLAX, and WNTZ have repeatedly turned down all requests for a waiver to receive national broadcast channels since satellite service became available in the area. So unfortunately for people like my parents and the thousands of others who live in areas Charter or Suddenlink feel is not profitable enough for them, the converters are their only option.

    Also, don’t forget that when a hurricane or ice storm hits you may not have cable, and it would be nice to have at least access to local broadcast signals.

  3. The reason I am on Cable is dish reefuses to provide local service. What they term local is a network feed of nbc-cbs-abc from a station in some other part of the country. Their advertising is totally fradulent. Dish Network, etc. ……Your parents will have to have a digital antenna outside as well as a converter.
    Alex

  4. alexcenla, that is not what they term local that is what they term DNS (Distant network service) that you have to have a waiver for. Yes they have promised locals, our dma is small(ranked # 179) as far as direct tv, I don’t see a lower market that has locals and supposedly we will have it one day, I to live outside alexandria where there is no cable, I got lucky and was granted for waivers for ABC,CBS,&FOX, but NBC will not grant a waiver no matter what. hopefully after the transistion to digital the signal will be boosted

  5. Yeah, I got stuck with bad coupons. Mine expired by Feb 10th and by then all the stores were out of boxes except one brand. I guess I should have picked up 2. But I wanted a different brand in case the one brand didn’t work well – which is why it was left over. (The store clerk implied it didn’t work as well as the one sold out). Selection was non-existant.

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