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Claiming against TiVo Inc for terminating the UK lifetime service

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by rwtomkins, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. AMc

    AMc New Member

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    My point entirely. By defending the original small claim they could have settled this quickly one way or the other and set no legal precedent.
     
  2. rwtomkins

    rwtomkins New Member

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    Jul 14, 2003
    Yes, that's an interesting point. Actually from memory they use 60 months. But that's not really a true estimate of the lifetime of the machine, it's more a way of boosting short-term profits. (You're way ahead of me here and and I know you know all this but others may not.) If they said the recorder was going to last, say, 20 years, then in each of those 20 years they could only include in their revenues one-twentieth of the amount they took for the lifetime subscription. However, if they give an estimated lifespan of just five years, then they immediately quadruple their revenues from sales of lifetime subscriptions in the short term because, in each of the next five years, they can count one-fifth of the sum they collected in sales of life subscriptions. For a start-up company desperately trying to move into profit, it's an important consideration and puts a lot of pressure on the company to give the shortest possible estimate of the machines' lifespan.

    Agreed!


    Thanks very much for the supportive messages, those that posted them. Unitron, I think you've put your finger on it - what I think is wrong is their using their financial strength to prevent this claim ever being heard. If they think they have a strong defence, why not just come to a short, informal small claims hearing, state it and be done with it? They don't even have to attend - they can easily send a lawyer. It just seems to me that they're trying to bully me into dropping the case.

    Anyway I'll carry on for now and I just hope the court gets a grip on the thing and puts a stop to all the malarkey.
     
  3. rwtomkins

    rwtomkins New Member

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    Jul 14, 2003
    Final update: it's all over. I've given in. I had another letter from the lawyers, a bit more civil this time, suggesting I should discontinue the action and if I did, they wouldn't pursue costs, and I agreed. No money has changed hands - I haven't paid them a penny and they haven't paid me a penny. We have both walked away and we are each covering our own costs and that's it. I've agreed not to make any more claims against TiVo Inc and they have also said this doesn't set any precedent for any other claims that might be brought by other people.

    The reason I've done this is that it was getting out of control and starting to take a toll on my offline life. When all this began, I thought I had nothing to lose by making the claim because it was only a small claim so my costs were strictly limited and it would only take up a bit of spare time. However, what I hadn't appreciated was that it wouldn't matter to TiVo how much money it spent on defending the claim because it wasn't spending it's own money, it was spending the shareholders'; and it wouldn't matter how much time it took because it was paying outside lawyers to do all the work. So if they could just engineer a situation where the claim started to take a lot of time and a lot of money, and where I didn't enjoy the protection of the small claims process, they would be at a big advantage. And that's what they did. As long as they kept fighting the jurisdiction, and spun it out as long as possible with demands for hearings and threats of appeals, I would have to spend very large amounts of time fighting the challenge without any protection from the small claims process and would also be risking an award against me of many thousands of pounds if things went wrong. It just wasn't worth it any more.

    One problem I had was being identifiable as a forum member here because what they did was go through every post I'd ever made and select everything they could possibly find that could be made to sound in some way disadvantageous to me and then presented all these posts as part of their jurisdiction challenge. I could easily have shown how these posts had been taken out of context or were countered by other posts etc etc but the point is, it was just taking so much time. Their jurisdiction challenge amounted to well in excess of 100 pages of submissions and background documents so you can imagine how long it would have taken to respond in kind.

    It's a pity because I'm confident I would have won if I'd carried on, unless the court was biased in favour of the side with the big law firm. (That's a big "unless".) The jurisdiction challenge was just a ploy and had no solid foundation at all and I would have overcome it in the end. The claim itself was also an easy win - the get-out clauses in the contract would obviously have fallen foul of unfair contract terms legislation. The one thing TiVo probably thought they had me on was having had my machine modified which wasn't allowed under the contract terms, and I don't think this would have been seen as an unfair contract term. However, as they were about to discover, I had an ace up my sleeve, which was that the machine was modified by an authorised TiVo repairer (Pacelink), which was allowed under the revised T&Cs, so I wasn't worried about that at all.

    I think it's extremely unlikely that anyone else will want to have a go but if they do, I would just say two things. One is, don't say so here! It's essential you aren't identifiable as a forum member here, otherwise they will drag up your entire posting history and use it against you when you make your claim. The other thing is that you either need an unmodified machine or one modified by an authorised repair shop. If you can get past those two things, it probably wouldn't be too hard and I'd be happy to offer advice. But as I say I think it's extremely improbable that anyone would think it's worth the bother, especially now so much time has passed.

    I'm very sorry to have let down all those who supported the claim. At least we made them listen to us for a minute, even if it came to nothing in the end.
     
  4. AMc

    AMc New Member

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    Mar 22, 2002
    East of England
  5. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    Sounds like they spent a lot more money than did you.

    I hope others put them through the same thing, one at a time, now that we know how far they can take it and then bail out reasonably intact.

    Thank you for trying to hold them to account.

    I respect your decision to discontinue your effort, and in no way feel that you have let anyone down.
     
  6. Steve_K

    Steve_K New Member

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    Sussex, UK
    IMHO you've made the right call and been a hero. A hero that's probably cost TiVo far more than if they'd just made an honest offer to those still qualifying for lifetime.

    Ultimately you've run foul ol the old maxim that civil law is only there to help the rich

    I'm going take some time and work out the best legal way for me to make the reneging bastards at TiVo further regret their illegal action. Details are unlikely to appear here given what happened to you. When I say "legal" that means methods not against the law rather than methods using the services of the law.

    In retrospect this forum was never going to provide sufficient critical mass to take TiVo Inc to court. Very few here had accounts that still qualified for lifetime service when it was terminated.
     
  7. TCM2007

    TCM2007 New Member

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    Dec 25, 2006
    If your object was primarily to make TiVo squirm a bit, I'd say job done.

    I disagreed with your views on whether TiVo did anything wrong in cancelling the service, but the bullying way they have behaved has brought me round to your side!

    I'd have liked to see an actual judge resolve the debates on this forum over the past year, but fully understand your decision.
     
  8. Philnic

    Philnic New Member

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    Aug 3, 2002
    UK
    Well done, rwtomkins, for taking it this far. I was a lifetime subber and TiVo supporter, but gave up when they turned off the service. My only reason to come back to this forum periodically has been to check on the progress of your case.

    Like some others, I didn't really think you could ever win, but I'm pleased that they had to pay lawyers and you didn't.

    I can't imagine I will ever post here again. Gave up the Tivo after the service was shut done (and when I found a Freesat HD recorder whose picture quality and recording capability far exceeds what the series 1 Tivo was capable of). Fittingly, when I sold my Tivo on eBay and sent it on its merry way, it was lost by Royal Mail, never to be found.

    Goodbye all!

    - Phil
     
  9. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    It was so heartbroken at being sent away to a foster family that it decided to run away and live on the streets somewhere.
     
  10. AMc

    AMc New Member

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    East of England
    Gone to Silicon Heaven :)
     
  11. bobnick

    bobnick New Member

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    London
    +1!
     
  12. afrokiwi

    afrokiwi New Member

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    Oct 6, 2001
    Den Haag,...
    Everything bobnick said +2
     
  13. rwtomkins

    rwtomkins New Member

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    Jul 14, 2003
    Thanks very much for the kind words, everyone, which I really appreciate. I think what you said, TCM2007, was magnanimous, remembering how you were against the claim in the early days.

    I wish I could have seen it through - I would have loved to see how it ended - but it was definitely entering "Get a life!" territory and it was time to give it up.

    Now I just have to decide what to do with the poor old TiVo.
     
  14. mrtickle

    mrtickle New Member

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    Aug 26, 2001
    Birmingham, UK
    I echo what everyone else has said. You've done a great service to the community, and many thanks for your detailed updates.

    Reading about their 100 page submission with them trawling your posting history (just 203 posts), made me wonder what on Earth they would do if the likes of Pete77 or CWaring were to mount an action each? Surely that would keep the lawyers busy for a while :D

    Use it with the AltEPG of course :). The AltEPG is working out better than I could have dreamed. We are stymied by bad guide data just like Tribune was, but at least we can (try) and do something about it these days ;-)
     
  15. alextegg

    alextegg Tall Member

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    May 21, 2002
    Kingston...
    Now there's an idea - Pete? Carl?

    :D:p
     
  16. Raisltin Majere

    Raisltin Majere The 96 YNWA

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    They'd have given up within a week to shut him up, money only has a certain value
     
  17. Steve_K

    Steve_K New Member

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    Sussex, UK
    seconded
     
  18. a_tivo_noob

    a_tivo_noob New Member

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    Jan 1, 2004
    apologies, I don't come here often anymore either (frequenting the poorly populated ( :( ) but still very knowledgable altepg forum instead) so only just seen this, but another 'good on you' from me :)
     
  19. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Aug 1, 2006
    Not Far...
    Sorry this response is so late but the forum update emails were going to an email account I'm not accessing much at the moment due to a computer death that means I'm only using webmail for that account occasionally rather than my usual Thunderbird email client that collects mail from all my email accounts at once.

    Like you I once thought that on an issue where one was morally in the right that those fine and wonderful places called courts that I thought were there to distribute justice would back me. After all the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal was also specifically billed as a body not able to award costs against a losing party.

    But of course nobody told me the Tribunal would wrongly claim it did not have jurisdiction on my issue causing an appeal to an Upper Tribunal where my landlord then went crazy on costs because although the initial Tribunal couldn't award them they could then bill me for them later as something called an Administration Charge due to an alleged liability in my lease. Then we get back to another hearing of the LVT and they do get their costs awarded to them even though the lower tribunal turns did have jurisdiction and should have decided the matter back there.

    Basically the story of David Vs Goliath is a complete and utter myth when it comes to the civil law unless you are totally broke and the claim is in an area that qualifies for full legal aid for someone who has no assets. Anyone else will almost always be bludgeoned out of continuing their legal case by a larger outfit that can afford to pay far more legal costs. Even if you stick it out to the hearing you will almost certainly still lose because your ham efforts at representing yourself won't push the right buttons with the eminent judges to win your case. But had you (or I actually mean me) been able to afford to employ the same type of legal firepower as them I could have won on precisely the same facts.

    The civil law is just sickening. It frequently has nothing to do with justice or fairness but simply who has the largest bank balance. Only in an area like motor injuries where you can get No Win No Fee representation is there any hope of the small guy ever winning against the big one in a civil court.

    The main thing is it only cost you about the price of another Tivo and hasn't left you having to sell your car and stop taking holidays for the next 10 years. If I hadn't already had my own desperately bad experience of the civil legal system in the last 12 months then I might have had the greater optimism that you and some others here had at the outset that you could win your case.

    We could only ever have won against Tivo with some kind of group action where any cost of legal representation on our side or payment of their legal costs was split between 1,000 UK Tivo owners or more.

    Well done on getting out before it got really bad. Unlike me. The reason I didn't was because when they were running up their legal costs I received advice from a government funded legal advisory service that they couldn't charge them to me but later on they unfortunately found a back door way to do so. Regrettably the civil law so often isn't about fairness or justice its just about he who has the biggest balls and wallet winning their case by any possible means at their disposal.

    P.S. However on thinking about it I really think you should have asked Tivo to pay your own legal costs as part of your agreement to discontinue your case. The costs can't have been more than £300 or so which is nothing at all for Tivo to get rid of the matter. Still its too late now as you have already agreed to withdraw your action on a no costs basis.:(
     
  20. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Aug 1, 2006
    Not Far...
    Oh and to the shameless bank account leeching low lifes otherwise known as lawyers its a pity that you can't find something more useful to do with your time and your lives other than deliberately making a simple dispute between two parties as complicated, stressful and paper filled as you possibly can in order to bill your clients as many hours of your time as you possibly can and therefore make yourselves as rich as you possibly can.:mad:
     

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