After months of waiting Mesa woman finally gets DTV coupon

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MESA - The big switch to digital television is now just hours away.

azfamily.com

3 On Your Side uncovers one of the reasons why the Valley is among the most unprepared areas in the country.

One Mesa woman found herself jumping through hoops to get her DTV coupons and 3 On Your Side found she isn't alone.

Peg Strandhagen has had her mail delivered to Gilbert Mail since she moved to Arizona 11 years ago.

She'd never had a problem using the post master box until March of 2008 when she first applied for two DTV converter box coupons.

"And so I didn't get it and I didn't get it and I didn't get anything until I decided to try again," she said.

Peg did try again and again and again and each time, she was told the DTV coupons would be delivered, but they never arrived.

"Everytime they said you are approved and this is your delivery date and that's the last I hear from them," Strandhagen said.

Turns out, the hang up was Strandhagen's mailing address and she isn't the only one having this problem.

Late last year, the government agency handling the coupon program passed an amendment to the DTV Transition Act to address the glitch.

The amendment states viewers can receive DTV coupons to a post office box if you can show proof of a physical residence.

Strandhagen applied for her coupons a third time in April after the amendment was passed, but still, she had no luck.

3 On Your Side contacted the national telecommunications and information administration and got to the bottom of Strandhagen's problem.

A spokesperson said Gilbert Mail is listed as a business, not a U.S. Postal Service facility, so her DTV coupons couldn't be delivered there out of consumer fraud concerns.

After 3 On Your Side got involved, the FCC stepped in to not only overnight peg two converter boxes, it also installed them for her for free.

Although it took her more than a year to prepare for Friday's DTV switch, Strandhagen said she's thrilled she won't have to spend the summer staring at snow.

"Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that somebody's gonna be doing this and I'm just so happy," she said. "Thanks to the hook up, my worries are done."

July 31st is the last day to apply for a DTV coupon and if you're thinking of throwing away your rabbit ears, think again.

"Antennas are really gonna be very important," Sherille Isnail said. "If you have a box hooked up and you have a picture but you'r e not getting all the stations you might want to upgrade to a slightly better quality antenna."

Everything you need to know about the switch is on our website, Azfamily.com, keyword: DTV.

3TV will have a hotline answering all your DTV transition questions, 602-207-3883, Friday 4:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.