Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge TiVo fan. I literally sing TiVo’s praises. My older sister got TiVo first, an ancient Series 1 back in the day. But since then, I’ve been a one-man TiVo virus:
After seeing the joy that my first TiVo brought my life, and then my second, my parents got one (and then another); my other sister got one; my in-laws got one, and then a second, and then a third; friends ordered countless TiVos; my reward points added up; TiVo even noticed the aforelinked song and sent me a dual-tuner Series 2 as a way of saying “thanks”… And it’s worth noting that with every single TiVo purchase listed here, a product lifetime service was purchased as well.
One year ago, Lauren and I purchased a TiVo HD. As I’ve written, the TiVo HD (plus the DVR Expander, Netflix subscription, and Mac mini) have made our entertainment consumption more delightful than ever. But there’s a little more to the TiVo HD story, and it’s not all great.
See, in Feburary 2008, when I purchased that TiVo HD, TiVo wasn’t selling lifetime subscriptions (which today, existing members like you and me can snag for $299). Instead, you got to pay $200 to transfer lifetime service away from another TiVo, if you had a qualifying TiVo. So we spent the $200, with a heavy heart, knowing that the TiVo we were transferring the lifetime away from (“Office TiVo”) would lose its TiVo goodness. (TiVo grants the abandoned TiVo one year of gratis service when you do this transfer.)
Cut forward to this week. That one year of gree service on Office TiVo has expired, and TiVo began (with no email reminder or anything, by the way) dinging my credit card $13 for a monthly service fee. I spoke to various TiVo support reps, trying to convince them that since I’ve been such a loyal customer, with so many hardware and lifetime purchases (not to mention my extended network of additional TiVo-loving family members and friends), that they should reward me somehow: Specifically, I’d like to pay the $99 difference between the “transfer” fee that I paid one year ago, and the $299 new product lifetime fee that wasn’t available then, but is available now.
TiVo’s reps have maintained consistently that my only option to restore lifetime service to Office TiVo is to pay another $299. Am I the only one who sees that as an unfair $200 dinging?
Honestly, I don’t think TiVo should let me pay the $99 difference because I own a bunch of TiVos, or wrote a silly TiVo song, or encourage my daughter to play with a plush TiVo doll. Rather, I think TiVo should let me pay the $99 difference because it’s the right thing to do for any customer in this situation. We would have bought the HD its own lifetime last year if we could, but the company wasn’t selling them. As much as I love the product TiVo sells, I am seriously disappointed with the company’s customer service.