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Poor hardware, poor customer support
By -

I have had a Tivo series 2 DVR for 7 years with no problems. My less-than-3-year old Tivo HD DVR quit working last night. I called Tivo tech support, and after the incredibly helpful instructions of "unplug it, plug it back in" (which I had already done) was told I was out of luck. My options were to (in this order) 1) Upgrade to Tivo Premier = buy new box, buy new service plan, lose all my saved shows, or 2) Pay $150 to send my box in for an exchange, keep my service plan, and lose my shows. This was logged under case **. I'm a mechanical engineer, not electrical, but it seems to me like the only problem is the power supply, and the hard drive is fine.

Since we watch all our TV through the Cable Cards in the Tivo, we cannot watch TV without Tivo, or at least we cannot watch anything but our few local stations. I decided to go the upgrade route, but didn't want to wait on shipping delays. I had recently received an email upgrade offer: buy a new Tivo Premier box and get 50% off lifetime service, $199 instead of $399.

I called Tivo customer support to ask if I could purchase a box from our Local Best Buy and still get the lifetime service discount. I talked to **, who told me I could; all I needed to do was ask for it when I called to activate the new box. I did not get a Case # for my conversation with **, because I didn't think I would need one.

So I purchased the Tivo Premier XL box from Best Buy, came home to set it up, and called Tivo to activate my lifetime service. I was told I couldn't have the discount (at 199) because it was only available for equipment purchased directly from Tivo, I would have to pay 299. What ** had told me was wrong. I spoke at length with supervisor **, who informed me there was absolutely no way "the system" would let them give me this discount.

In addition there was no way they could give me any kind of 100 credit to reduce my out of pocket costs. Very disappointing to be told one thing and then find out it was incorrect. My conversation with ** was logged under Case # **. ** did offer to knock 100 off the exchange price, so I could exchange my box for $50. Strange that he could do that, but not reduce the lifetime service by 100.

So now I'm going to pursue options with WeaKnees to spend 100 and get a new power supply. Hopefully that will work, and if so I won't lose all my saved shows. =If it doesn't I am so disgruntled with Tivo right now that I'll go back to Comcast. Tivo just lost around 700 from me that they'll never get now. Or at least, not until my current box breaks again and I'm faced with the same situation.

TIVO = Buyer Beware
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CALIFORNIA -- TIVO is probably the absolute worst company or business in a service related industry that I have ever dealt with. And considering what I do for a living that is saying something! I am an American Service Member serving in the United States Army. I work with fortune 500 companies all the time. In this case, please understand that I was a faithful follower for about six years. The very first year my DVR failed but Tivo was very quick to fix the problem and send me a replacement DVR at a minimal expense. Five years pass by and the DVR I came to depend on failed as well. That is when my problems started and why I wanted to post this complaint!

Here are some of the things they don't tell you: 1) DVR'€™s no matter what the expense will not last more than 2-4 years in length. 2) While the cost for the analog machine (which is what I owned) has come down (the HD is at the same cost that I paid for the old machine, nearly $300) if you want a €œlifetime membership,€ that is an additional $199. 3) If the DVR you buy goes out and is considered unfixable (meaning over the phone) you incur another €œlifetime membership€ charge of $199. 4) If you experience an issue past your initial 30 days purchase, no matter how much you document a so called case file, Tivo will NOT refund your money.

In my case, in May '€˜09 when my older DVR failed, I called Tivo after my wife and I discussed paying the expenses I mentioned above. These are tough times. We worry over every expense. Regardless, we were convinced that Tivo was a good company. Little did we know what was about to happen. They told me to dispose of the old DVR. After paying around $80 - $90 for a newer rebuilt DVR (it seems that this is all that America can produce these days) it finally arrived. I diligently hooked it up. It started up. We had it for less than a week and started noticing that the DVR was '€œfreezing'€. There were other problems.

But we immediately called Tivo and my first hint that something was wrong was when they tried to tell me that my Tivo wireless network device was bad. If you don'€™t know, those cost anywhere from $50-75. I knew that the device was fine -€“ the system reported it so. But it didn'€™t stop the clown technician from trying to gouge me for additional accessories. So continuing with their troubleshooting techniques - it was discovered that the DVR was bad.
TIVO charged me again another round of fees for the replacement which they said they would refund when they received the damage DVR back.

I sent the damaged DVR back using their shipping instructions. And sure enough, they did refund the money. The replacement DVR seemed OK. It worked initially. But then I started noticing that it didn'€™t perform like the other that I had for years. I called and started another case number on the new DVR. My complaint was that it wasn'€™t deleting items like it should. Nor was the season pass manager working at all. Instead the TIVO suggestion€™ was working on overtime. It recorded everything the TV wanted but nothing of what I wanted. Again, I worked with TIVO. We talked and worked on the problems I outlined to them for nearly a month.

The tips that their customer service department gave me basically never fixed anything. I tried to be patient and understanding,€“ each time I told the technician that I was trying to be a good customer and go the extra mile and allow them to fix the problem. Well, that was until tonight. Last week, the TV special technician -€“ my problem got bumped to a '€œhigher level technician'€. Last week he interviewed me and reviewed the case file. He mentioned that he was going to send a special request to a different, more responsive customer service tech that supposedly would know how to fix the problems.

He told me he would call me back in a day or so to see if the fixes would work, even boasted that he knew this would be the '€œultimate fix'€. Well, after having the DVR little over a month now and being unappreciated by the tech forgetting about my problem, I called up Tivo and told them that I was through. Shoddy support and poor performance were the reasons I wanted to discontinue our relationship. I asked for my $DVR costs and lifetime membership fee to be refunded.

The TV accounts representative that I was sent to basically told me there was nothing to refund. When I complained and told him to review the case file to see how long I had been working with Tivo he finally admitted that there was a lot of material in the file. I told him "damn right there is"€ and he went to talk to TIVO'€™s accounting department. When he came back on the line, he said there was nothing he could do,€“ he had exhausted every resource available. I asked to speak to a manager he told me that it would do no good. Then I demanded to speak to a manager. He again told me He was the final authority on the matter.

He said the only course of action available was to continue working with his tech department. So my warning to you is that no matter if you are an existing customer or a new one, understand you are dealing with a company with no scruples when it comes to poor service, shoddy products and not bashful in committing plain old highway robbery. This refund was delayed by TIVO's inability to handle a problem and failing to follow through to ensure customer satisfaction. In my case, they took longer than their refund policy to address the problem with my machine and then refused to do the right thing.

As the customer, you must understand that you have lost before you even start with a company like this. My simple advice: don't do business with them. Use your cable companies DVR or find a cheap VCR that is easy to program! Save your hard earned money and yourself from unneeded frustration and hardship. For those that say America can produce quality products, PROVE IT! For the welfare of my family,€“ I am now disillusioned by shoddy claims and promises by corporate bullies!

Tivo Stole From Me
By -

I'd had a TIVO for 6 years when it quit. I called and ordered a new one and cancelled the old one. Like some of you I didn't check my credit card statement for several months and then last month I saw that I was being billed for both TIVOs. I really didn't think it was any big deal... just an oversight on their part, so I called customer service expecting to have the charges removed.

I was told that the representative I talked to when I bought the new TIVO did not make a note to cancel the service on the old one so I would not get credit. I told the guy that was unfair and he put me on hold, then came back and said he would give me 2 months credit but that was the best he could do. I have contacted customer service via e-mail and this was their reply:

Hello, Thank you for contacting TiVo Customer Support. I can help you with your service questions. Per section 11 of the TiVo Service Agreement, which you agreed to when you signed up for service, "You are responsible for reviewing your credit card statement for billing accuracy. You have 90 days to dispute any billing that you feel is inaccurate. If you do not contact TiVo within 90 days of the disputed billing date, TiVo will not be responsible for any billing errors."

However, we were not notified within 90 days as our policy requires so technically no credit was appropriate for this billing error. However, it seems our agent was nice enough to offer 2-month credit for customer satisfaction. This concession was more than was appropriate for the situation. I apologize but offering more is out of the question. The amount we have offered is already more than policy allows. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. Thank you for choosing TiVo and have a great day!

According to them not only am I the one in the wrong but their customer service representative is a great guy for offering me 2 months credit. Let's face it, this is a scam they have going to screw their customers out of their money. They are apparently too stupid to realize they are in a highly competitive market (And not doing too well I hear) and these tactics will help drive them out. It can't be too soon for me. I am dumping them and going with my cable company DVR for less money per month.

TiVo - Avoid them.
By -

I owned an original Philips TiVO back when they first came out, and really loved it. When the HD units came out, I waited to get one forever, and finally when they had a special on refurbished units I couldn't wait any longer and took the plunge. That was a mistake. TiVo, the company and product I'd loved way back when, now apparently exists primarily to milk subscribers for subscription fees.

The box they gave me crashed constantly. Press the TiVO button, and the machine would die and reboot. When I tried to get support, I went through a whole online chat with the support people only to be told at the end of it that golly, we really can't help you out via online chat, you have to call us (and I'd go through the whole support dance again, after waiting on hold for a half hour). Disgusted, I gave up on the TiVO and switched to a Windows Media Center PC (which has been really great).

When I finally got around to trying to cancel the monthly subscription with TiVo, I got a serious lesson in what kind of company this has become. There was little concern about the customer's level of satisfaction (and they didn't sound too surprised that the refurbished machine they sold me was a lemon, either). Apparently this company now exists primarily to milk people for cash flow via monthly subscription fees (which, btw, if you use a DVR like Windows Media Center or Beyond TV or MythTV, you get for free) and their retention script reads "we're going to charge you whatever we can, too bad".

Now that I'm looking at their recent stock performance, including wider-than-expected losses and hopes that a lawsuits against Echostar and DISH might provide a cash infusion, I have to say I'm not that surprised at the way they treat their customers (especially when the company's business plan seems to be largely based on litigation). I wish I'd done better research before I jumped back into the TiVO fold. Don't make the mistake I did.

Unethical Business Practices
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We purchased a Series 2 TV a few years ago with a lifetime service contract. Then last year, we upgraded, for some hundreds of dollars to a new TV HD box with yet another lifetime service agreement. When we did this, they said that the old Series 2 would continue to work for a year. Since we have only one TV in the house, the Series 2 went unused.

Now, going over my credit card statements, I noticed that they've been billing me $12.95 per month, starting a few months ago. It turns out that there was a provision in the upgrade agreement (or at least they're telling me this) that said they would start monthly billing after the year had elapsed. I canceled the service, and am out something like $26 or $39 dollars for not noticing this.

My problems with this are: 1. The one-year continuation of service on the old TV box was positioned to me at the time as a way to ensure that I could watch/transfer/delete the programs already recorded, since the new TV HD box would arrive with no content (obviously). Made sense. Charging $12.95 per month is inconsistent with that principle;

  1. The start of recurrent billing after a year was not made clear to me. I'm not going to dig up the original contract to confirm their account, or see how fine the fine print is, since I've wasted too much time on these bozos already;
  2. It's an interactive service, so TV knows fully well that I haven't used their service on the old account for over a year. For them to start billing on a dead account after a year is just plain greedy. The default should have been for customer to request a resumption after a year. If they were truly interested in customer goodwill, they wouldn't be charging for an unused service based on some alleged technicality.

I hope TV is really whooping it up with the $26 (or whatever) that they squeezed out, because this is the absolute last dime they will ever get from us.

TiVo Will Not Work Well With Antenna
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

TiVo is supposed to be a personal DVR to work with antenna as well as cable TV. We purchased it to work with antenna and have had trouble with it since we plugged it in initially. I called TiVo customer service immediately and was told it would download and get everything but it took a little while. The next day we still had channel guide with no listings saying "to be announced". I have called at least 7-8 times to get this fixed and every time they say "give me a week or 5-7 business days and it should be fixed." For 3 full months we have had channel listings in the guide with no shows listed.. Not one or two but 8 channels.

So when you want to set up something to record, it will not find the shows you are wanting from CBS or ABC because the machine has no idea what is coming on those channels. It is so ridiculous that in the computer age a company can not get a channel listing for three months strait..

To top it all off we got so frustrated we were just ready to cancel and they said we would owe for the remainder of the year. Even though the service has not worked and has been incorrect the entire time! This is a rip off!!! Do not ever ever purchase a TiVo to use for your antennae.

Unethical Business Practices
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

TiVo undertakes deliberately deceptive business practices. If you can avoid it, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR TiVo! They continue to bill you for old TiVo units, even when you had to buy a new box because of an incompatibility issue that is their fault. Unless you specifically say the words "Please cancel the old service," they'll just double bill you. When you call customer service, you get a different answer to your questions every time.

Sometimes you can't use a TiVo-issued gift card (for no reason), other times you can. Sometimes they'll tell you that you'll get credit for the double billing, and a supervisor will call to confirm. But the supervisor won't call. And when you call back, they'll deny the refund promised. THESE PEOPLE ARE EVIL AND NEED TO BE STOPPED!

TiVO HD not working as promised
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I recently upgraded from TiVo dual tuner to an HD dual tuner. Suddenly I cannot get On Demand movies from Comcast. TiVo tried to say "you can NEVER get that from Comcast if you have TiVo", but I told them it only started once they put their card into my cable box. They just said, "oh." Like, no biggie. It is a big deal. They've robbed me of a big part of my cable TV service.

Also, TiVo consistently cuts off shows before they're over. I mean up to a minute. Not shows that run long, like Idol - regular shows. And they are RUDE when you call to ask about why or to get information. If there was a comparable DVR service out there I'd switch. For now, I'm stuck living with TiVo's limits. But can't they at least get nicer phone reps?

Doesn't work with Comcast
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ALVISO, CALIFORNIA -- My TV HD and Comcast do Not work reliably. The TV HD unit with a Comcast Motorola cable card loses signal about once a week requiring a hard reset of the unit to regain signal. I have called TV several times over the last several months and they have told me they are aware of this issue and their engineers are working on it. Well their company should definitely not release a product that doesn't work reliably with the largest cable company in the USA without full disclosure. Their company is not able to provide the service it promises and I am considering look into further action, possibly legal (class action).

Extremely bad service
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I have had TV service since 2002. I am now on my 4th TiVo. I received the TV in November of 2008 but did not use it or set it until April 2009. I had a serious problem that required a replacement of the unit in June 2009. After being informed by their agent that my warranty did not start until April when it made its first call in, I had 90 days from then for free replacement if the problem occurred again. It did, and when I called the next day I was informed that the info he gave me was wrong, and that I would have to pay 50 dollars plus ship the unit back at my own expense and wait 7 to 10 days after that to get a refurbished unit with only a 90 day warranty.

Remember, this is a 600 dollar unit and my fourth one at that. My original warranty would have expired in November even at their revised start date, now it expires in September. I have been very pleased with TV for seven years but I will change as soon as there is an alternative.

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TiVo HD DVR Rating:
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1.0 out of 5, based on 2 ratings and
16 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
2160 Gold Street
San Jose, CA 95002
408-519-9100 (ph)
408-519-5330 (fax)
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