Major League Baseball began taking orders for MLB.TV, its online package of out-of-market games, on February 4. The cost was $121.99, which was a mere $3 more than the previous season so undoubtedly thousands, if not scores of thousands, began ordering.
However, five weeks later, the league announced that it was suspending play for the 2020 season due to the Coronavirus outbreak. MLB officials said they could not say when play would begin, but they remained confident that an entire season could be played.
Consequently, the league felt it had no cause to refund the MLB.TV money. Why refund a subscription to the 2020 season when it would eventually be played? Reinforcing the league’s position was MLB.TV’s refund clause which states:
“For MLB.TV or MLB Audio, MLB.com will honor a refund request made within 5 days of your first subscription purchase date or the automatic renewal date in connection with an MLB season.”
Since the announcement that play would be suspended, however, it’s become more likely that the league can not squeeze in a 162-game schedule even if play began as early as late May. This means it’s improbable that MLB.TV subscribers will ever get what they paid for:
An entire season of baseball.
But yet MLB.TV is still not issuing refunds, even partial ones. Some subscribers say if you call the league’s 800 number, and complain loudly enough, you might get a refund. But even if you do that, you might not because it’s still the league’s stated policy that you only can get a refund within five days of your purchase. And the league has not budged from its public stance that an entire season might yet be played.
Considering that many MLB.TV subscribers have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus shutdown, the league’s position seems unfeeling and arbitrary to this reporter. (See my editorial, MLB TV: Give Us Our Refunds!) And some MLB.TV customers have taken to our message boards to state their views on the policy, and their experiences in trying to secure a refund. Here are some of the highlights of those comments:
“I’ve already been charged $121.00 for mlb.tv for the whole season. They need to refund ALL of it. Then IF the season resumes people can decide if they want to renew. As it is the greedy mlb is making millions in interest off our money. I could use that money in these uncertain times. I will NEVER subscribe again.” — ‘Melvin.’
“I completely agree with a complete refund immediately. Then subscribe again if you chose to. Obviously, they won’t do that because probably such previous subscriber’s second subscriptions would not match or succeed the current level. Though maybe because of a hunger for MLB they would virtually match, or pass the current or normal level of subscribers. Regardless of that analysis, or guesswork, obviously the simplest and fair path for current subscribers is a complete refund. Then in the future they could decide to subscribe or not.” — ‘John.’
“Melvin, I’m with you on this. We subscribed to watch live, regular season games. If I don’t get my entire fee of $121.99 (paid Feb 28 via PayPal) I never use this money grabbing outfit again. I was a repeat subscriber.” — A different ‘John.’
“Totally agree with refunding the money to all that have already paid. This does not look like it’s going to be resolved any time soon. We should get our money back and then decide for ourselves to sign back on to the service IF/WHEN then season begins. Please MLBtv, do the right thing.” — ‘Vic.’
“No it doesn’t make sense repay all of it and give people the opportunity to make a decision if and when the season starts. You guys sit on you hands with this one you’re going to loose alot of buisness IMO.” — ‘Tim.’
“FYI….I called MLB at 866-800-1275, hit 3 for billing and spoke to a very nice lady who chatted it up with me for a bit about my favorite team. She said the refund should show back up on my CC in 5-7 days – simple as that (hopefully) I will check back with them if not. I did get it credited back on my credit card about 5 days later.” — ‘Preston.’
“I Just called MLB…and the lady said she ‘would submit my full refund request, however there is no guarantee MLB will honor it because it was more than 5 days since purchase.’ This is an abominable position MLB has taken against its loyal customers! We should not even have to call for a refund!!! MLB sold us a product that they did not provide, and to withhold money from their fans during times of financial hardship like this is beyond cruel and heartless. It was bad enough they did nothing to remove the Houston Asterisks championship, but this shows they don’t give a damn about their customers. To hold onto our money during this virus crisis, when so many people are jobless & suffering, and MLB isn’t even providing the product they sold us, is simply UNFORGIVABLE. Had they refunded everyone IMMMEDIATELY upon deciding to postpone/cancel the season, every fan would have been dying to pay to watch games whenever they resumed playing. But now… everyone should be really pissed at MLB for their ruthlessness & greed.”
“I got the same comment (as Ivan) which is total BS. There are no games. If they don’t refund I will never buy it again. I will call my credit card and see if I can get a charge back if they don’t refund me.” — ‘Gary.’
“If we don’t get full refunds, I for one will never subscribe to this service again. They will lose a customer who’s been with them since day 1 of their existence. MLB Do The Right Thing NOW! Or lose us for Life!” — ‘Tri Runt.’
“No it does not make sense even if it’s not mlb fault I did not get what was contracted for under the terms of the agreement. The contract was breached. I need my money back yesterday.” — ‘G.’
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— Phillip Swann