On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that DirecTV was giving some customers a refund on their NFL Sunday Ticket packages if they said they were canceling due to players’ national anthem protests. DirecTV has yet to confirm the updated policy—we have reached out for comment—but a customer service agent made it seem to Gizmodo that non-whiners are eligible for this refund as well.
On Wednesday, a customer service agent told us that the extension to get a refund was updated yesterday “so if customers do call in to cancel the NFL Sunday Ticket due to the protest, a customer will receive credit within 30 days, so they will get a refund for the NFL Sunday Ticket.”
The agent added that DirecTV “extended the cancellation grace period due to that incident,” and when asked what incident she was referring to, she said “due to the protest.”
But while the protests appear to be the catalyst for the extension, the refunds are seemingly available to any subscribers interested in belatedly canceling. The agent noted that typically once the season starts on September 10th, customers aren’t able to cancel the package, “but due to the protest, they have extended the grace period.” The policy online still states that you have to cancel by September 9th.
The agent said that she was made aware of the update internally as well as with the news and social media. She noted that representatives have an internal tool that sends out updates.
As it stands, subscribers have to lean on the word of customer service agents and the company’s Twitter account for any illumination on the refund policy. DirecTV’s radio silence on the matter signals stunning incompetency or, more likely, cowardice. The company wants to cater to its customers upset about the protests without explicitly advertising that it is catering to an outrage cycle driven by a bigoted president who wishes players would keep quiet about racism and inequality.
Update 1:53pm: A tipster at AT&T, DirecTV’s parent company, said that the need for customers to mention “national anthem protests” was explicitly stated in the company’s current internal policy, letting agents know that the refund “should not apply” to any other customers.
“The few coworkers I’ve dared to discuss this with have all shared my sentiment that AT&T is letting us all down by bowing to those who refuse to consider that police brutality is a racially based epidemic,” wrote the tipster. “I am exasperated that AT&T rolled out such a sensitive policy with zero agent training and zero guidance on how to communicate this with customers. Frankly, I hope even more people who SUPPORT the players protesting police brutality cancel their Sunday Ticket to send a message.”