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TiVO Lake House Madness

Discussion in 'TiVo Suggestion Avenue' started by smudge47, May 20, 2006.

Does TiVO's new pricing option make sense?

Poll closed Jul 19, 2006.
  1. I'm in the same boat, and this sucks rocks!

    2 vote(s)
  2. I'm not affected, but I feel your pain!

    7 vote(s)
  3. Quit whining!

    5 vote(s)
  1. smudge47

    smudge47 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    I just got off the phone with TiVO Customer Support. Instead of letting me buy two months of service for the TiVo in my vacation home this summer, they want me to sign up for an entire year. If I cancel after two months, they will charge me an 'early cancellation fee' of $150!

    This is madness!

    My service number is on file, so the company knows I'm not trying to take advantage the current pricing.

    I've had the TiVO in question for several years. I upgraded to a DirecTiVO, and brought the old unit up to the vacation home. Last summer the company was happy to take my money for two months, and I was happy to give it to them.

    This year, I don't see how anybody is going to be very happy :(

    I can't be the only one in this boat. How much money is the company throwing away because they won't offer vacation service on old TiVo's?

    Sign me,

    Unhappy Camper
  2. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Current pricing has nothing to do with it. TiVo feels that it costs them for short term activations/deactivations, hence the one year or $150 policy.

    If they liberated the policy somewhat, it might be better.

    I am thinking:

    Any "new" TiVo (<2 yrs old) post Sept 05 policy of $150 cancellation fee or 1 year.

    Any "old" TiVo (>2 yrs old) 3 months or $29.95 disconnect fee.
  3. TivoIsForLovers

    TivoIsForLovers New Member

    May 30, 2006
    Not currently in the market
  4. smudge47

    smudge47 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    I work for a company that manufactures Class 5 Telephone switches (the kind that your home phone is connected to). I know exactly how much it costs to activate and deactivate service, because I know the process: you look up the customer number (max time, 30 seconds), click on a check box to turn the service on or off and click on the 'commit' button (another 30 seconds, max).

    Any clerical worker can easily do 50 activations or deactivations in an hour, 400 a day. If TiVO is paying said clerical worker $40,000 a year (with benefits and such), and the worker puts in 48 weeks (vacation and holidays), one clerk can handle 2,000 activations a week times 48 weeks equals 96,000 transactions per year for a cost of about 40 cents per transaction.

    If the cost of labor is too high, this is exactly the sort of job ripe for outsourcing to India, where it could easily be done for half as much.

    I don't think the incremental cost of the server is going to matter one way or the other. When I drop off, other new customers will be using the capacity TiVO may have had to add for me (the company is growing, isn't' it?)

    My point is that TiVO could be bringing in $24.00 of revenue for two months service at a cost of less than a $1, but they won't, because they think I'm going to fork up a full year's subscription for something I use 2 months a year. As people trade up their TiVos, they are taking them to vacation homes, and using them there. Or at least, trying to (and don't forget, I am still paying for the TiVO service I have at my regular home, even though no one is there to enjoy it).

    IMHO, TiVO is missing out on a big thing here.

    I would be willing to sign up for 3 months, and pay TiVO for a month I'm not using, if that's what it would take. I have a similar arrangement with my ISP, and it is probably a fair compromise (at least from the ISP's point of view).

    I can only hope that eventually the TiVO marketing dept. changes its mind.

    Unhappy Camper
  5. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Yes, that is for to turn off a customer on a telephone switch, not the TiVo service, so you cannot say how much it costs TiVo to acitvate or deactivate their service, based on your knowlege of a completely different device with a much larger penetration. And that is the just the cost of turning the box on and off. You need to figure the administrative costs of initiating and retiring and account.
  6. tomm1079

    tomm1079 New Member

    May 10, 2005
    actually if they allowed you to do it for 3 months at a time over the web then it would be nothing for thier cost (except collecting the bill) since the system activates/deactivates automatically
  7. MikeMar

    MikeMar Go Pats

    Jan 7, 2005
    So if i cancel the subscription to one of my boxes i've had for a while (no contract) and want to re-activate it, i have to lock into a 1-year even though I own the box and have never had a contract???
  8. smudge47

    smudge47 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    When I bought the original TiVO box, I too decided to go for the month to month service. I could see no advantage to paying for a year (or two) in advance, and I wasn't sure I wanted to pony up for a lifetime of updates.

    After using the box for a couple of years, I upgraded to DirecTivo, and cancelled the service on the original unit. The following year we moved the original TiVO up to the vacation house, because, "Life Is Too Short To Live Without TiVO", and the company was happy to sell me a two month subscription.

    This year, the rules have changed, and they won't let me go month to month on my old unit.

    I suspect if you cancel your service for whatever reason (you might want to save money whilst you are away on an extended trip, for example), you will be in the same boat as me.

    However, we can only speculate; your best bet is to call TiVO customer service and ask before you consider doing such a thing.
  9. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    That is the half of it, yes. There could be a cost associated with that, which they could not cover for 3 months service, so they dropped that option.


    Yes, if a box is unsubbed, regardless of its previous status, and you wish to sub it, you are obligated to sub it for a year.
  10. petew

    petew New Member

    Jul 31, 2003
    You could try contacting TivoPony or TivoOpsMgr through the forum. This is probably a scenario Tivo didn't think about when they changed their policy. Possibly an option to prepay a fixed period would minimize the admin costs (Call pay for 3 months, sevice automatically ceases after the prepaid period just like prepay cell phones) and actually 3 month gift subs work this way for new activations. See http://www.tivo.com/2.9.1.asp
  11. smudge47

    smudge47 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    Thanks, petew, I'll give that a try!

    Hopeful Camper
  12. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

    Mar 3, 2002
    Correct. It applies to all activations, even on used boxes.

    I think it sucks too. I understand it on new boxes, because of the hardware subsidy. But with a used box TiVo should have covered their ass with subscriptions or penalties on the original owner, why do this? It also discourages people with unused boxes from lending them to friends to try to get them hooked - or, conversely, makes people try it for only 30 days since they can cancel within 30 days...

    Hmm, I wonder if you can sub a box, cancel 29 days in, then resub it, and cancel 29 days later. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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