Major League Baseball launched MLB.TV last year as the first major sport to make a push into live webcasts of their games last season for the low price of 14.95/month for access to over 300 games.
The quality was adequate over a broadband connection unless one was trying to watch the Yankees broadcasts, in which case it was usually obvious there were server load issues. As a Yankees fan, that was my primary purchase factor and I was a bit disappointed with the frequent quality issues on those games. I stuck with it through the season expecting my recurring billing to end with the end of the season. My only other complaint was their automatic ‘subscription abuse’ policies: if I was watching a day game at the office, I would frequently be locked out when I was attempting to watch a game later that day at home. Resulting in a 24 hour lock on my account.
Then the extra billings happened for ‘off-season content,’ albeit at a reduce 9.95/month rate. My first attempt at cancellation was met with 45 minutes of hold time, a promise (and confirmation number) of a credit, and assurance my account was indeed cancelled.
30 days later. Same story but with a combined hold time of 1 hour – 35 minutes before a human picked up and another 25 minutes while he processed the cancellation. Twenty minutes after my call ended I received an email from the customer service rep letting me know that in order for my credit to be process ed, I needed to fax my credit card statement for verification because they don’t maintain customer billing records. What? I have to do the legwork to get my $20 refunded? $20 is $20, but I’m not going to fax a copy of my credit card statement – even heavily protected with black magic marker – for something that should be as easy as pressing a button on their end.
Fast Forward to Today’s Inbox (emphasis mine)
Dear MLB.TV Subscriber:
LIVE baseball is back for the 2006 regular season on MLB.TV, and this year’s subscribers will experience baseball as it’s never been experienced before. For starters, watch all 2,430 games online, LIVE or on-demand, at the same low rate as last season — just $14.95 a month.
There is no action required to continue your subscription. The credit card you have on file with us will be automatically billed beginning in mid-March. If you have any questions about your subscription, please e-mail MLB.com Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tactics like these drive me nuts and I have to question who in their right mind puts together marketing plans of this nature.
Anyone want to post odds on whether or not I get charged in March?