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Archive for September, 2008

DirecTV price-gouging on NFL Sunday Ticket HD

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Before you subscribe to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, you should be aware of some offensive hidden price-gouging policies. As background, I am paying for two services, currently:

1) The NFL Sunday Ticket, at about $250+ for the season. This allows me to watch nearly any NFL game on any given Sunday. While expensive, DirecTV is upfront and clear about the pricing, so I have no complaints. I understand the “deal” here and can chose to subscribe or not.

2) A monthly “HD Access” fee. A DirecTV Customer Service rep described the point of this fee to me via email: “In regards to the HD Access, this allows you to get the HD versions of any channel in your programming package that is simulcast in HD.” I pay this $9.99 fee every month, so I get HD versions of channels. This also applies if I buy a set of movie channels (e.g. HBO): If I do NOT pay the regular HD access fee, I only get low-def HBO channels. If I do pay the HD Access fee, then I also get the HD versions of these HBO Channels.

Here’s where DirecTV’s deceptive policies start: it turns out that the DirecTV HD Access fee DOES NOT GIVE YOU ACCESS TO THE HD SIMULCAST OF NFL GAMES. That is to say, the $250+ I pay for NFL Sunday Ticket PLUS the monthly $9.99 “HD Access” fee only gives me the low-def version of the NFL Games (and that the DirecTV reps explanation “[the $9.99 monthly HD Access fee] allows you to get the HD versions of any channel in your programming package that is simulcast in HD” is a lie). 

If I want the HD SIMULCAST version of the games, I have to pay an EXTRA $99 for that. This is particularly offensive because it seems like it should be an identical situation to movie channels. If I buy the movie channels as an add-on to my programming package (just like NFL Sunday Ticket), the regular $9.99 HD Access fee DOES include the movie channel HD simulcasts. But not for NFL Games from the NFL Sunday Ticket.

The policy is inconsistent and price-gouges NFL Sunday Ticket customers. BUYER BEWARE OF DIRECTV!

This is the problem with monopolies. They can get away with ridiculous policies like this that, frankly, should be illegal (if a lawyer with extra time thinks that there’s a class-action suit here, I’m happy to be named).