Many of us have received our $40 government vouchers by now to help us buy a TV Converter Box. We'll need those boxes to watch over the air TV with an older Analog TV starting next year.
But unfortunately, despite our best intentions, a lot of those $40 dollar coupons are expiring without being used.
One Woman's Story
Linda Clark plays by the rules. So early this year, she followed the government's advice and applied for two free DTV Converter Box vouchers.
When they arrived, she tucked them in a drawer. She tells me "I just set it aside. I said my coupons are here. You know what we do, we set things aside. I didn't realize they have an expiration date."
Bad move. Like thousands of other TV viewers, Linda discovered her two $40 coupons were good for only 90 days. They have only a 3 month shelf life.
And when she started asking stores if she could still use them, despite the May 30th date, she received some bad news.
"When I told one store my coupons had expired they said there's nothing we can do about that."
What can you do?
She has plenty of company: The government says more than 40% of Converter Box coupons are expiring before they're used. One reason: its so hard to find a converter box in many areas. So what are your options?
*Hold them, in case Congress extends the 90 day deadline.
*Ask a relative who doesn't need any coupons (because they have cable or satellite) to apply for you.
*Or reapply using your name at a different address, such as your office or a friend's house. Ask permission first.
*You cannot get a second set of vouchers delivered to your home.
Linda says it's ridiculous, because many people wait till the last minute on everything. "The thing isn't going through until next February," she says. "So why do they need to make it expire in 90 days?
The Bottom line
If you've received your $40 Converter Box vouchers, use them as soon as possible.
Dont worry about trying to find the top rated Converter Box, or one with extra features. You could spend months looking for a certain brand.
Just buy one....so your card doesn't expire...and so you dont waste your money.