Q. I bought a subscription to DIRECTV’s MLB Extra Innings package in early March and now it looks like the season will at least be delayed for a few months if not cancelled entirely. It doesn’t seem fair that they get to keep my money during this time. I could use it now. Is there anything I can do? — Bart, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Bart, yes there is.
DIRECTV’s official policy is that it’s not issuing refunds for the 2020 MLB Extra Innings plan even though the season has been suspended indefinitely due to the Coronavirus outbreak. (The 2020 plan costs $183.) In fact, the satcaster is still taking orders for the package at its web site!
Why? Because Major League Baseball says it plans to play the entire season even if it has to start in mid-May or later. That may seem unlikely, but it’s MLB’s story and they’re sticking to it.
That’s why MLB.TV, the league’s online package of out-of-market games, isn’t handing out refunds, either.
However, there’s a loophole with DIRECTV’s Extra Innings package. A loophole so big that you could smash it into McCovey’s Cove.
DIRECTV’s agreement says: “Sports subscriptions cannot be canceled, transferred, refunded, or credited (in part or in whole) after the season starts.”
Since the season hasn’t officially started, that means you can call DIRECTV and request a refund. You would get your money back now, and if the season does begin, you can always re-subscribe.
In contrast, MLB.TV’s refund policy states it will “only honor a refund request made within five days of your first subscription purchase date.” So unless you ordered MLB.TV five days ago or less, you’re out of luck. And, believe it or not, MLB.TV was still taking online orders a few days ago.
(Some subscribers say MLB.TV will give you a refund if you call and ask pretty please, but the league has not confirmed that. We have asked the league for a comment.)
So what are other pay TV providers doing with Extra Innings? Well, they aren’t issuing refunds either. But the fine print in their Extra Innings agreements should allow for refunds as well if you contact them. (That is, if you’ve been charged. If you haven’t been charged yet, you could still call and cancel so you won’t be charged when the season does begin.)
Here’s a look at the major pay TV operators who carry Extra Innings:
“(MLB is) working to determine when games will resume. Once decided, we will provide more information on your MLB Extra Innings subscription,” the cable operator says at its web site.
However, Comcast’s agreement says: “MLB Extra Innings cannot be canceled or pro-rated after 30 days of when you were first charged.”
So, if you ordered Extra Innings from Comcast less than 30 days ago, you should be able to ask for a refund.
“MLB Extra Innings is non-refundable, non-pro-ratable and non-transferable once the season begins,” Dish says at its web site.
So you should be able to ask for a refund because the season hasn’t started.
The telco TV service says it’s put everything on hold due to the season suspension.
“Current (Extra Innings) subscribers will receive email updates as soon as more information is made available and will not be charged for this package until the season begins,” Verizon states at its web site.
It’s unclear if you can cancel now so you won’t be charged when the season begins. But you can call Verizon to find out.
Charter is somewhat vague regarding its plans for Extra Innings.
“Due to public health concerns, the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season has been delayed indefinitely. We’ll update this page with more information when it becomes available,” the cable operator says at its web site.
It’s unclear if Charter actually began taking orders for the 2020 season prior to the league announcing the suspension of play on March 12.
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— Phillip Swann