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The Weather Channel’s Plea to Waive DIRECTV’s Cancellation Fee

imagesAfter DIRECTV recently dropped The Weather Channel from its lineup, many of the television provider’s customers went to switch service, only to be faced with cancellation fees ranging from $200 – 400. Yesterday, The Weather Channel ran full-page ads in The Washington PostThe New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the LA Times that featured an open letter to DIRECTV’s Board from The Weather Channel’s Chairman and CEO, David Kenny, asking them to waive fees for customers looking to switch.

To date, more than 115,000 DIRECTV subscribers have pledged to switch their provider, more than 750,000 have complained about the dropped channel, and 4.7 million people have visited the site, www.keeptheweatherchannel.com. These numbers are up significantly from where they were at just 48 hours ago.

Below is the text of the ad issued by TWC’s chairman. Have you lost access to The Weather Channel as a result of it being dropped from DIRECTV’s lineup? If so, email fishbowljames@gmail.com and let us know your thoughts on the matter.

January 22, 2014

Mr. Michael D. White
Chairman, CEO and President
DIRECTV

Just before midnight on January 13, DIRECTV customers lost access to The Weather Channel.

Since then, over 4 million customers have come to keeptheweatherchannel.com to express their frustration. Over 400,000 have called and emailed DIRECTV. And over 90,000 have pledged to switch providers.

Many thousands have called your customer service centers asking to terminate their contracts since they are now getting less content for the same price. But DIRECTV is threatening them with termination fees of $200 to $400.

We have heard from viewers across the country, like Heather in Texas who wrote, “We just signed on with DIRECTV.…Had I known this was going to happen I would NOT have signed up. I read the fine print (too late) and found that they can do that. It’s wrong.”

We agree. Fairness ought to trump the fine print in your contracts.

The decision to switch providers is never taken lightly. Those who are trying to do so clearly believe The Weather Channel is a valued resource for their families. They are people like @jlawson2011, who tweeted “The Weather Channel saved my life when there was severe weather in my area. Tornado imminent + TWC warning to hide.”

These viewers—your customers—value the fact that since 1982 The Weather Channel has been relying upon the National Weather Service for watches and warnings, which we deliver on a hyper-local basis through our proprietary localization technology.

Your customers were never given a vote about DIRECTV’s decision to drop The Weather Channel. The least you can do is allow them to vote now with their feet by waiving termination fees for those seeking to switch to a provider that still carries The Weather Channel, as every other pay-TV company in the nation does.

Our preference would be for DIRECTV to come back to the negotiating table and restore The Weather Channel to your line up. But as you seem intent on proving a point at the expense of your customers’ interests, then at least allow them to make their own choices without unaffordable penalties.

As our team of more than 220 expert meteorologists tracks winter storms, wildfires in Southern California, and many other potential weather emergencies, a prompt reply—not to me, but to your customers—would surely be appreciated.

Sincerely,


David W. Kenny
Chairman and CEO
The Weather Company

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