The BBC has announced it is to close down its digital download service the BBC Store from 1 November. If you've bought any programmes you won't be able to watch them after that - but you can get a full refund for your purchases, or an Amazon Video voucher worth a little more.
The BBC Store launched just 18 months ago offering users the ability to buy, download keep a range of BBC programmes from the broadcaster’s 60-year back catalogue.
Programmes available through BBC Store included television favourites such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Top Gear, plus archive material available to buy for the first time, such as plays by the dramatist Dennis Potter.
It was hoped that allowing users to buy and keep these lost gems of archive material would help set the service apart from other digital services such as Netflix and Amazon - but the BBC said today it had taken the "difficult decision" to close the store.
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How the BBC Store closing will affect customers
BBC Store customers have started receiving emails today informing them that the service is closing from 1 November.
The email says that no new programmes will be added to the service from today – Thursday 25 May - leaving customers five months to enjoy the items they've already bought.
How to get a full refund
Every customer should receive a personalised email from the BBC Store informing them of the changes and offering them a refund. According to emails seen by MoneySavingExpert.com, customers will be refunded for all the purchases they've made, with two options:
- Amazon Video vouchers - this is for a little more than the value of your purchases. We've seen one customer who'd made purchases worth £4.49 offered £5 in Amazon vouchers, and another who'd spent 85p offered £2.50 in Amazon Video vouchers. We've asked the BBC how the Amazon Video voucher offer is calculated and will update this story when we know more.
- Full cash refund - this is for the total value of your purchases, with the money paid into your bank account.
In order to claim your refund, you need to close your BBC Store account. However once you've done so you'll no longer be able to access your purchases - so you may want to wait until you've finished rewatching any favourites.
To close your account, sign in to the BBC Store and follow the instructions. You'll be taken to details of your refund offer, asked to choose between the cash refund and Amazon Video vouchers and then asked to enter your details to complete the refund.
‘The BBC will find new ways of making archive content available’
A message on the BBC Store website reads: "The BBC will continue to find new ways of making BBC archive content available. And do remember that programmes on BBC iPlayer are now available to watch for up to 30 days after broadcast, alongside a range of complete series and fascinating collections.
"Our sincere thanks for being part of BBC Store. We do hope you enjoyed discovering some wonderful programmes, old and new."