Converter Box Coupon Update: Relief for Expired Coupons?

UPDATE 3-25-09: Expired Coupon Holders can now Reapply!

The last day to request a tv converter box coupon wll be on March 31st, 2009.

As the coupon deadline looms, there are some interesting redemption statistics (updated weekly) available at the NTIA Website.  We do want to note that certain stores have been selling converter boxes for $15-$30. A total of 21.3 million coupons have been requested, and at the time of this posting, the coupon redemption rate is 54.6 percent for households that rely on over-the-air broadcast analog, DTV, and HDTV signals only.


Considering the amount of media attention lately surrounding frustrated consumers not being able to find converter boxes before their coupons expired, it’s not suprising to see such high expiration figures.

At a recent Capitol Hill oversight hearing on the state of the transition, legislators were argueing in support for re-application of expired $40 DTV converter box coupons.

The main problem re-issueing the coupons lies with the cost to make more of the coupon credit cards that consumers use to purchase the converter boxes. The original contract with IBM (maker of the converter credit cards) only covered the costs to manufacture, not reissue the cards. 

What should consumers who are holding expired coupons do now?

TVConversionHelp Take:  Keep waiting!  As news breaks, we’ll keep consumers informed by posting details about re-ordering digital converter box coupons.
 





217 Comments

  1. Ralph Baggerly says:

    Just found out the TV converter box coupons had an experation date on them when I went to use them and found they had expired. When I got them in June 2008 they expired 30 days later. I didn’t even open the envelope when it came because I new it wasn’t time to purchase a box. Can’t imagine why you would put an experation date on them when the program doesn’t expire until Feb. 2009. I think the coupons should be accepted until March 1, 2009 irregardless of the expiration date on the coupon. 2008 was not a good year for congressional decisons and this was one of their bad ones.

  2. zaida vc from PR says:

    I’ve being reading about all the people who has or had problems with the $40. GOV coupons for dtv converter boxes and feel ashamed about the system
    for this unsolicited change from the consumers
    whom are always paying the broken dishes of the
    many systems. At this time every body has almost
    the same problems with the coupons, ones lost, others unreceived, many expired etc, etc.

    I think that the best way to resolve this situation being better for every one, even for the gobernment is to legislate to get of make more
    coupon cards and to MAKE A DEAL with the STORES as Wallmart’s, Sam’s, Radio Shack’s and/ or others as this: When consumers or people who need to buy their boxes make the $$40. DISCOUNT without the necesity of having the coupon card, sustituying with a GOV DICOUNT CODE for every buyer in THE MOMENT of the conv. box PURCHASE. (If the consumer wants only 1, Gov. discount of $20. if wants 2 or more
    then $20. for each one)

    What’s the reason of all this controls in the
    “free coupons” if always every body needs them.
    If they have analog tv’s nobody is going to put
    2 boxes in one tv, if somebody need a conv. box it always have to pay for it. “MORE SELLING, MORE MONEY, MORE TAXES FOR GOV., MORE ECCONOMY MOVEMENT” PEOPLE WANTS TO BUY THEN LET THEM BUY.

    The technology gave us tv’s then the technology
    have to make more options to see the tv.

    We people need more the tv than anything. It’s our actual way of living and notice every thing around the world.
    Hey goverment remember that
    here in the world are so many people retired, elderly’s, alone people with nobody to whom talk
    or disabled people….SO MANY PEOPLE WHO NEEDS
    THE TV TO TAKE THEIR PROBLEMS OFF THE MIND. SO
    PLEASE GOVERNMENT…RESOLVE! RESOLVE! RESOLVE!
    NOW! NOW! NOW! NOT IN FEBRUARY 2009 WHEN THE TIME WILL BE OVER.

    ACT INMEDIATELY BECAUSE I THINK THAT IN GOOD WORDS WE CAN ASK FOR CONSIDERATION AND JUSTICE WITH A BETTER SYSTEM OF MAKING LIVE EASIER TO THE CONSUMER WHOM EVERY DAYS AGREES IN PAYING MORE AND MORE TAXES IN EVERYTHING TO MOVE OUR LIVE.

    **** I’M SORRY BUT IF GOV, TECHNOLOGY OR WHO EVER DID THIS UNSOLICITED CHANGE, WE ACCEPTED WITHOUT REMEDY, BUT PLEASE! NOW MAKE THE SOLUTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

    PD: I DON’T TELL MY PROBLEM WHITH THE COUPONS BECAUSE IS THE SAME HISTORY, “SO I HEARD THAT WILL EXPIRE, MINES’ WHERE LOST INSIDE MY HOUSE
    THEN WHEN I FOUND THEM WHERE EXPIRED AT 9/30/08
    SO I THROW THEM IN THE GARBISH. MY DAUGTHER SOLICITED THEM AGAIN BY INTERNET AND NEVER RECEIVED THEM AGAIN”.

    CONCLUSSION:

    A BIG PERCENT OF PEOPLE CAN’T BUY THEIR CONV. BOXES FOR VALID REASONS.

    IF GOV HAVE A BIG CONTROL OF THE COUPONS I SUPPOSE THAT THEY KNOW IF AN SPECIFIC CONSUMER HAS USED THE ONES THAT HE OR SHE RECEIVE IN THE FIRST APPLICATION. IF SO, AND IF THEY REALLY WANT TO HELP THE CONSUMER LOOK FOR THEM IN THE FIRST APPLICATION THAT THEY HAVE IN THEIR FILES.

    I HOPE THAT SOME ADMINISTRATIVE PERSON TAKE CHARGE OF THIS AND/OR AT LEASE READ THIS COMMUNICATION AND RESPOND WITH URGENCY AND RESPONSABILITY TO THE PEOPLE WHO PAYS THE ‘BROKEN DISHES” IN USA AND VIRGIN ISLANDS.

  3. Jana says:

    Add me to the ranks of people who got their coupons in the mail months ago and filed them away until the Feb. line was approaching. I just got back from trying to use them at Walmart only to find out they had expired. Why in the world would they put and expiration on them in the first place. Why not due away with the expiration date and just let us use the coupons we have or if they need to send us new ones…. make them paper!!! Why do they need to be a card?

  4. Kimn says:

    Yeah, I ordered my family’s DTV coupon cards early, and only when they arrived did I realize they would not expire on 2/17/09 but in 90 days (July 2008). Two problems, though: 1) Stores did not carry converter boxes in my area until Christmas, and 2) our area suffered catastrophic devastation during the June flooding of 2008. My home was fine but the historic flood wiped out over 9 square miles of downtown Cedar Rapids, displacing over 26,000 residents and businesses. Our area was absolutely devastated and TV converter boxes were the last things on our minds. The governor declared most of the state of Iowa a disaster area. I read reports that said our flood was equal to Katrina in Louisana 2005. Half of the businesses here in Cedar Rapids have not come back, and are unaccounted for.

    I spent the next 6 weeks after the flood volunteering during the massive recovery efforts. By the time I remembered our DTV coupon cards in August, they were expired. (Not that there were any converter boxes in our area anyway!). I sent an appeal through the DTV website in September but got not response, so I sent a second appeal today–not that I expect any response now.

    As for an expiration date, why didn’t the FCC have these coupon cards expire on Feb. 17, 2009, the advertised date of transition? Why the 90 days? For those of us who ordered early, there were NO boxes available, no reviews, etc. I see NO reason at all for expiring them after 90 days. Not with a built-in advertised, well-publisized drop-dead date of Feb. 17, 2009.

    And for those of us in disaster areas during 2008 and 2009 (Washington state suffered massive flooding this month just like Iowa) should be given extra time.

  5. Melanie says:

    Looks like I can be added to a long list of people that for one reason or another are in possession of expired coupons. I fall into the group of those that tucked it away until later; waiting until I could decide what brand/type was the best to purchase. I’d have to agree with those that asked, “Why would they put an expiration date on them in the first place?” If for whatever reason they “needed” to put expiration dates on the cards, why not have them expire after the February deadline (guess that would have made too much sense). There were many that wrote that the best solution would be something to the effect of just notifying the retailers to ignore the expiration date and to honor all of the issued cards. Another thought I had would have been to subsidized the retailers so that the converter boxes only cost the $15.00 (or so) in the first place, no “coupon” needed. But as we all know if bureaucracy gets involved it can never be done the easy way. Hope everyone realizes, like I do, that this site has only been provided so we can all vent our frustrations and again because bureaucracy is involved, I don’t believe we will ever see a solution. So since I did what was advised (phone the 888 number and/or go to this site for assistant) and found that no solution has been offered after 7-months of realizing there was a problem. I’ll be going back to the store to purchase the converter box (and the required “special” antenna) that the government is forcing me to purchase to allow me to continue watching “free” television. What is the next everyday item that the government will think “for our own good” we will be force to change or stop using and here I thought we lived in the USA.

  6. Olivia Burke says:

    I live on a block where most of my neighbors are 80+ years old. We all ordered the cards by phone and when they arrived the letter stated that the following retailers that they listed would have the boxes available.

    Well to my surprise not one of the companies had the boxes in stock. Now people who are retired & on a fixed income & myself who is low income have no choices left because our coupons are expired and will not be accepted or re-issued. You work all your life and live within your means and now the people who least can afford it are left out in the cold.

    Way to go,
    Thank you!

  7. Daniel Kelly says:

    I agree with all of the above stories. When I ordered my cards over the phone there was no mention about an expiration date. When I did get the cards the stores in my area were out of stock, whit the reply well we don’t know when we will be getting more in. When the time did come low and behold my cards were expired. The expiration was noted by the sales person at the time of trying to purchase one. So now I will have to wait. When I called the 800 number to kind out about a new card I was told the government said no exchanges or new ones, so once again the public gets the shaft. I agree that the expiration date should be voided out.

  8. Kris Kaufmann says:

    Why on earth would you put an expiration date on the coupon prior to the date by which you need to make the purchase, i.e. Feb 17th? At the very least, no coupon should have expired before April 17…think about it….the box has a 30 day warranty, and if you buy it before 1/17, and some stations aren’t at full digital power till after 2/17, you don’t really know if you’re box is working properly or not if the TV is exhibiting the “cliff effect”, (picture drops out due to low signal) and if you have a bad box, you just missed it’s warranty period.

    They should have known most people wouldn’t buy the box till a week or so before 2/17 or after that date.

  9. Melanie says:

    My mom ordered a dtv coupon for us but it never came! We checked the website, it said it’s status was “pending”. After a whole month, it said it was mailed last month, but we never received it. So now what are we suppose to do? People are saying to get a relative’s coupon, but they need theirs as well. This is a sloppy way to handle the conversion. Disappointed and annoyed here.

  10. I think putting an experation date on the converter box coupons was foolish. I had ordered two for my home and by the time my wife went to shop at Walmarts, the coupons had expired. I hope we will be able to use the expired coupons as it wil save time and money. As we all know that would be one good thing for the Govt. to save.

  11. Dennis Worthen says:

    I agree with many posters that an expiration date on the cards was/is ridiculous. I’m in a similar position, with one major exception. I ordered my 2 cards early on. Figured I was set. Never did receive them, but wasn’t concerned. Figured that since I’d ordered them, and the conversion was a year away, no problem.

    About 8 months later (november ’09?), as the deadline approached (albeit still several months away), I went to the website, and discovered my coupons had been mailed and have EXPIRED. I never even received them. Postal error, FCC error, theft, whatever. It showed my coupons were NOT used. Since I never received them, and nobody else used them, I should still be able to get 2 coupons. An expiration date and limit on a program run by a government notorious for farking things up??

    My point? Just eliminating the expiration dates on cards so they can still be used would be great for those that applied for, received, and DIDN’T throw them away when they expired. All others would be up the proverbial creek without the paddle.

    The way the government is throwing away money, increasing the National debt like there will be no tomorrow, with the war and failouts, let them go ahead and reissue new cards. Actually give every citizen that is affected another opportunity to get the cards.

  12. Jud Mags says:

    I have the same problem as so many others. The coupons were obtained and delivered(long wait) and then the fun began……Store after store DID NOT HAVE THE CONVERTER BOXES AND THEY COULD NOT TELL YOU WHEN THEY WOULD ARRIVE. The same happened with my sister. She has the old sets that are in good working order and ater she got her coupons the search began again and same story….STORES DID NOT HAVE THEM IN STOCK. They said they were not getting them from the manufacturers. Same story from all the stores. We are elderly and it is difficult to go far away to a store that says they have them and when you get there, they don’t have them. Instead of re-issueing them, The Government can save lots of money by just letting the expired coupons be used. How simple can it be. No red tape with this method. The coupons can not be used more than one time as they are numbered. Are you reading this Washington and Obama?????

  13. I have had the same problems that every one else had and by the time I found the converters my cards had expired. I had no idea that they had a date on them in the first place. It makes no sence why they do. They are numbered so no one else can use the. I sure hope you do something to help us out.

  14. Esther Hochstein says:

    I am 77 and my son sent away for the converter box coupons.Several times I went to the Walmart and HEB stores in the Houston area and they were out of them. I recently was in the hospital and couldn’t think about converter boxes.Feb 28,2009 I went to Target and was told at the checkout counter they couldn’t accept my coupon because it expired Feb.25,2009.This is totally ridiculous.Since the time for using the boxes has been extended to June they should also extend the coupons or take the expiration date off!!!

  15. Kenny Reid says:

    I also agree with the others that we should be able to use an expired card, Just as I orderd mine I was laid off from my job , I was refused a reorder. The gov. would save much more money by useing the old cards and not printing new ones ,

  16. Margie Bostrom says:

    I’m on disability and couldn’t afford to get my second box for my bedroom because of medical bills. My wonderful converter box has been nothing but a pain in the butt and now I only get 3 stations and have spent hours on the phone trying to get the dumb thing to work. Now I went to get the second one and its expired! How utterly stupid and so very typical of our governments and their decisions. Who else could screw up this whole process so badly. They are clueless!!! (OR they must have a relative in the business who wants more money.)

  17. Lois says:

    Yay! I got my two new coupons after hearing I could reapply b/c I hadn’t used my first two due to them expiring long ago. Now maybe we can watch some TV once again.

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