A New Zealand rugby fan more than $3500 out of pocket has vented his frustration at Spark's handling of its LG TV/sport app partnership flop.
Simon McFadden told the Herald he was "really annoyed" and "felt let down" by Spark after purchasing a new television he was led to believe would support the Spark Sport app.
McFadden said he bought the 2018 model LG TV in April, at a cost of $3560, only to find out three weeks out from the Rugby World Cup that that TV would no longer support the Spark Sport app.
Now McFadden wants Spark to "cough up the cost of the TV".
"I spent quite a bit of time researching what I needed in order to be able to view this Rugby World Cup and that included the purchase of the TV and also the installation of fibre," McFadden said.
"I splashed out and bought the best one I could afford to get the best viewing quality.
"I sure as hell wouldn't have bought the TV that I did if I knew it was going to be this problem."
Spark announced on December 20 last year that 2017 to 2019 model LG TVs would support Spark Sport, only to backflip in late August.
"At the time, we let customers know that Spark Sport would soon launch on 2019 LG TVs," the spokeswoman told the Herald today.
"However, despite extensive collaboration between Spark Sport app development and the device manufacturer, the Spark Sport app experienced significant issues playing on 2017 and 2018 LG TVs, so we took the decision that the app would not be made available on these devices before the Rugby World Cup."
The spokeswoman added that the company has taken steps to ensure that affected customers can still watch the games at no additional cost.
"The Spark Sport team has a range of options in place to help customers who have purchased a 2017 or 2018 LG TV since 20 December 2018... and who also hold a Spark Sport subscription or RWC Tournament Pass," she said.
"Customers who have purchased an LG TV since we announced that we would have an LG TV app and who have a Spark Sport subscription or RWC Tournament Pass can go their local electronics store (Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, Smith City or JB Hifi) and get a credit towards a streaming device, for instance, a Chromecast or a Smart VU puck, to use with their LG TV."
But McFadden said that isn't good enough.
"I would have kept my old plasma and bought the Chromecast and plugged that into it and watched it (the Rugby World Cup) and saved the money," McFadden said.
"We did everything that Spark said and then they turned around and basically changed their minds on what equipment they were going to support in terms of the television, even though that model I bought was one that they recommended that I buy to view the World Cup.
"It's defeated the whole purpose for the reason I bought the TV."
McFadden said the experience had been a "frustrating" one.
He isn't alone in expressing frustration at the company's streaming of the Rugby World Cup. The telco was yesterday forced to screen the game live on free-to-air television after the streaming feed was disrupted midway through the match between the All Blacks and South Africa.
The telecoms giant says the issues - including buffering and pixelated images for some customers - was not caused by New Zealand's broadband capacity.