(Updated. See below.) I subscribe to a lot of over-the-top, internet-based streaming services. I want to try the different interfaces, to see what each is like to use, and to keep tabs on bad news. When a service is happy about something, it sprays a news release and everybody hears about it. When something less happy occurs, often only the affected subscribers hear about it, as happened a couple of times recently.
In December 2016, I ponied up for a year’s worth of fuboTV, the upstart OTT service that was about to expand from a niche product into a more comprehensive service. I wanted to play around with fuboTV apps and to see what kind of upgrade offer I’d get later on. (Answer: Alas, nothing worth writing about.)
It’s December again, and I hadn’t seen any emails from fuboTV for a few months, so I logged on to cancel my subscription. I found out that fuboTV had already auto-renewed it for another full year. I sent a note to apologize and ask for a refund of my 50 weeks or so of as-yet unused service. Today I received a reply that said in part, “you would not be eligible for a refund at this time as your request does not fall within our 24 hour Refund Policy window.” But don’t worry, now they definitely have it on file not to bill me again in mid-December 2018.
Does any other subscription service do this? Satellite radio provides a refund in similar circumstances. So do newspapers and magazines. So do cable TV companies, Dish Network, and
Sling. I honestly can’t think of another subscription service that refuses partial refunds. (If you know of one, please leave a comment so I’ll stop thinking fuboTV is alone.) (Sling also keeps the monthly subscription fee after a service is cancelled.)
And so, dear reader, if you are considering a subscription to fuboTV, an otherwise interesting sports-centric collection of channels, please pause to read its Refund Policy. You might find your purchase is more like buying a non-refundable ticket for a flight than subscribing to other streaming TV services.
Update 1: With more time to search, I have found other subscription services that don’t offer partial refunds – NBA League Pass, HBO Now, and Dropbox – except where it’s legally required. MLB.tv probably doesn’t either, but I know it emails me before its annual renewal.
Update 2: A couple of days later, fuboTV offered to convert my annual subscription to its more comprehensive fubo Premier monthly package and refund the difference. It’s a lot better than nothing, and now I’ll get a few weeks to experience the dozens of channels on that plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.