It would appear that the removal of free HBO from legacy DirecTV (AT&T wireless and DirecTV Now) customer accounts is unlikely to be reversed. While there is still no firm confirmation on whether the grandfathered benefit was officially ended and intentionally removed, the developments over the past week seem to suggest it won’t be coming back.
Last week, DirecTV emailed customers to advise them that they had lost access to their free HBO benefit, due to them making changes to their account. With the email having gone out to so many, at the same time, and suggesting they had all somehow made changes to their account, we assumed this must have been an error.
Whether or not it is an error doesn’t seem to matter much any more as it doesn’t seem like those affected will be getting their free HBO back. We have been monitoring this situation and DirecTV’s responses to customers on social media and elsewhere indicate those that have lost the benefit, have now permanently lost the benefit.
Even if we assume it was an error and, somehow, all customers suddenly lost access to their free benefit at the same time, we have seen plenty of DirecTV representatives try to remedy individual situations over the past week by offering a one-time credit.
How much seems to vary but, in some cases, the offer is as much as $200. The idea being this is enough to cover 12 months of Max’s $15.99/month ad-free plan. After that year, those customers are on their own.
What’s important to note here is that these offers are not being made as compensation for the issue, but as a way to access the service again. The clear suggestion being the free benefit won’t be restored.
It would seem the company is unable to actually restore the free benefit. Again, based on some of the interactions we’ve seen, the code that would remove the cost has expired, and DirecTV doesn’t have (or doesn’t want to find) a replacement to offset the cost at the system level. Which is where the one-time credits come in.
Basically, even if DirecTV wanted to add back the benefit, it apparently doesn’t have the capability to currently do so. As a result, the HBO for Life promotion appears to have now become an HBO for up to one more year promotion.