Gutierrez Opposes DTV Coupon Extension

Jun 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez doesn’t want to extend the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Gutierrez believes that extending the expiration date would only cause more consumers to forget they have them, resulting in more unredeemed coupons, the newspaper says.
—Vlada Gelman


  1. . . . to which I say, “Hey, why not have the coupons expire when the coupon program ends?” The coupon program ends in March 2009, so, how about having the coupons expire then as well? It’s not that people are convienently forgetting they have them. Other bills and finances are of more importance right now. You know, gas isn’t cheap. Neither are groceries, electricity, natural gas, or anything else. It’ll cost a fortune to get to a store that sells converters.
    While we’re on the subject of DTV coupons, here’s a scenario nobody thought of (and if they didn’t, they really didn’t care to acknowledge it).
    In some households, there are more than two televisions. Say there’s a family without cable, on a very fixed budget, and have no intentions to buy a new television set. This family of four (two parents, a nine-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl) has a television set in the family room, a television in the parent’s bedroom, a television in the boy’s room, and a television in the girl’s room.
    The parents sign up for the DTV coupons only to realize that they could only get two coupons per household. One converter box will go in the family room, but where will the other go? The parents’ room, the son’s room, or the daughter’s room? And even if they make a decision on that, they only have a finite time to get them. Coupons expire three months after they get them, and they can’t renew. Since they can’t renew the coupons, this family would not only have to pay full price for the two they would have had to buy for the two rooms that wouldn’t get the boxes, but they’d also have to pay full price for the other two boxes.
    I knew our government was out of touch with the public, but that’s just wrong.

  2. Have been unable to redeem my converter box coupons due to un-availability of the units. There are only 3 retailers in Fairbanks AK. (where we live) that carry the converters. Due to limited numbers alloted to each retailer, Wall Mart, for example, is always sold out…and can’t say for sure when they will receive more. The 90 day expiration on the coupons means a lot of folks here, with coupons, will never get to use them. Once again, the government has come up with a half-baked solution to a problem that they have forced upon us.

  3. I contacted my congressman after the one coupon I had ordered expired when I was unable to find any of the boxes recommended by the local PBS station, and his response was to send me a list of retailers who would accept the coupons over the phone or internet, although MY COUPON HAD ALREADY EXPIRED. I did get a box from Amazon paying about the same price as retailers, and have been very pleased with the picture quality and station selection. It sure makes sense to make all the coupons expire 3/1/09, when the program itself ends and after the change has been in effect about 45 days.

  4. My coupons also expired after being unable to find the boxes in any of the local stores. It seems that all the stores receive only a limited number of boxes at any one time and they sell out fast. In any case, the solution to the expired coupons is to beat the government at their own game.
    Just order two more using a friend or family member’s address (one who has cable or dish and won’t need a coupon) and then you can try again. That is what I did and now I have two boxes and I have more coupons on order for the other tv’s in my house.

  5. Gutierrez is a crook.

  6. I am very, very dis-appointed at the coupon program. I have 2 expire coupon and I can not get extension or new sets of coupon. Is it my fault if I can not get the Converter immediately due to financial reason?

  7. Not only with the limited availability issue of converter box. Earlier converter box also suffer some hardware issue (no one from manufacturer will acknowledge the problem, search LG DTV chip, you will see), so people spend $10 to $20 bucks with coupon to get a defective hardware that no one is willing to take back since it wasn’t defective in manufacturer’s opinion.

  8. Thank you for a great post

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