Tivo Inc / Buyers beware
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 “life time 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 “life time member ship” 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 “freezing”. 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 TIVO 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 TIVO special technician – my problem got bumped to a “higher 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 “ultimate 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 threw. 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 TIVO 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 manger. 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!