November 8, 2007

MLB's Response re Faulty Downloads

MLB has replaced the error message that appears when customers attempt to play files of games purchased and downloaded prior to 2007 (posted here) with the following message:
Attention Valued MLB.com Digital Download Customers:

It has recently come to our attention that a small subset of our MLB.com Digital Download customers are unable to access and watch certain games that they purchased prior to 2007. MLB.com is committed to ensuring that all non-functioning MLB.com Digital Downloads that were previously purchased are again made available at no additional cost to our customers.

If you are unable to view any MLB.com Digital Download game that you purchased prior to 2007, please contact MLB.com Customer Service by either (1) sending an e-mail to customerservice@website.mlb.com listing the games that are no longer accessible, or (2) by calling 888.800.1275 to speak to a representative.

We will then send you an e-mail containing information on how to re-download and reassess these games. Please note that all Regular Season games will be available, in the original format, within three business days of your request. All post-season games will be made available, in the same format currently used on MLB.com/Downloads, within seven business days of your request.

We regret any inconvenience, and value your continued support.

Sincerely, MLB.com
This is a start, but it is still unacceptable.

During my telephone discussion with MLB representatives yesterday, they assured me that MLB would be emailing customers who had paid for game downloads that were no longer accessible. According to this statement, MLB has already reneged on that promise. They are now putting the onus of discovering this problem, then contacting MLB, on the consumer.

As far as I can tell, this message cannot be found on MLB's website. Rather, it appears only when a customer attempts to play an old game file. Therefore, customers currently accessing MLB's download page (who may also have downloaded games in previous years) still won't know this problem exists before they purchase games. [This has now changed. See more recent posts.]

We can assume MLB realizes that if it posts a notice about how badly it screwed up with its old DRM system -- and fans see that MLB is still using a DRM system -- fans will rightly be reluctant to spend their money at MLB.com.

This problem was caused solely by MLB, and it's up to MLB to solve it -- by taking the lead and contacting the customers who are currently being defrauded. They should have the decency -- and good business sense -- to publicly announce that a huge problem exists and that they are working to solve it.

MLB representatives told me they would be "pro-active" in solving this debacle. It appears that promise did not last even 20 hours.

***

I have sent another email to MLB VP of Communications Matthew Gould (he's identified here, so I think I'm free to mention him).

3 comments:

redsock said...

Christopher Null, a Yahoo tech writer, says:

"MLB needs to apologize and issue a technical fix to make older downloads permanently playable. Immediately. Otherwise, it should be prepared to defend itself in a nasty and much-deserved class-action lawsuit."

redsock said...

AOL Fanhouse follows up.

Tech Wag: "The more aggravating part for folks who fork over good money for product, is that by pulling these kinds of tricks, companies are literally undermining legitimate digital downloads, and encouraging both piracy and the purchase of DVD's from local store of choice."

Privacy Digest

redsock said...

Daily Tech News:

"That MLB changed DRM services without making some provision for the buyers of its content is brain-dead at best and cravenly callous at worst."