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Tivo won't honor warranty on HD

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by mlcarson, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. mlcarson

    mlcarson Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I diagnosed a bad hard drive via the Kickstart diagnostics. All of the tests but the first were coming back with "Fail 7" codes. The symptoms were inability to stream from the Roamio to the mini, mini disconnects, stuttering on playback of recorded shows, and reboots on the Roamio. Basically the only thing working properly was live TV on the Roamio.

    I contacted Tivo Support with the symptoms and they diagnosed it as a network problem -- ie not their issue. I had Charter come out and replace the line drop to the house. I replaced the network switch and router and the problem still continued. After learning of the kickstart codes, I figured out that the problem was the hard drive so replaced it with a new 3TB drive. The problems immediately disappeared and all was well with Tivo.

    I relay all of this to Tivo support and request a replacement hard drive since the system is still under a 1-year limited-warranty and they tell me that replacing the hard drive just invalidated that warranty they won't replace the broken hard drive. Really??? I expected if an original part failed that they would replace it. The thing is only 6 mo's old and I purchased it directly from Tivo. If something else goes wrong with the unit within warranty, they won't replace it? One of the original reasons I went with the Roamio Pro was that I wouldn't have to upgrade the Hard Drive and I end up having to do so anyway. I think it was probably still worth replacing the hard drive myself if the alternative was having to send the unit in for replacement but I'm really concerned now about what happens if something else breaks that isn't user replaceable.
  2. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    TiVo does not replace an internal part. They replace the entire box.

    Plus by removing the hard drive you technically voided the warranty. It would certainly not be normal for them to provide a user just a hard drive since to even access it voids the warranty.
  3. eboydog

    eboydog Just TiVo'ing.....

    Mar 23, 2006
    I might be too late but you might try calling back and opening a new support incident after you put the orginal drive back in, however Tivo support is usually good with documenting previous incidents so the cat is most likely out of the bag but the worse thing they can do is say no again as opening the Tivo voids the warranty.

    If they do replace the entire unit, just keep the new drive for the replacement unit and should there be future problems, swap the orginal drive back.

    If the drive you put in is bigger than the orginal and it works OK, you might be better off if you used a new retail drive as at least that drive should have a multi year warranty. Yes, it does seem trivial for those who consider a simple hard drive swap as simple but Tivo has to place a limit on what they support and what they consider standard procedures.
  4. jrtroo

    jrtroo User

    Feb 4, 2008
    You did not have to replace the hard drive, you choose to do so. Unfortunately, they caught you when it mattered.

    Since the warranty was for parts for a year, you would have had to pay for the labor, so it would not have been a free exchange anyhow.
  5. Silverman

    Silverman New Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    A rule for everyones life: Never tell an authority figure anything they do not have to know to service your needs. In this case, you proved the drive bad so now you call in and say you think the drive is bad, can I exchange? They would say exchange the whole box or wait for repair time probably. Then you put the original drive back in and ship them the thing and you would have been fine, see? As stated above it wasn't going to be free so don't worry about it, just remember never give info to any authority beyond the minimum for your case, they will always try to use it against you, never to help. You need help you come to a forum like this where they can't tell who you are, see? You sure would be told here not to tell Tivo anything about swaps while in warranty, and it is none of their business after either.
  6. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

    Sep 29, 2013
    I'm pretty sure you can have the drive manufacturer replace the hard drive under their warranty.

    Some HDD manufacturers have a feature on their web site where you can see if the drive is still covered by the original warranty. They may even have a RMA feature, if not give their tech support a call. It's worth a shot.

    It's like when you buy a car, the battery and tires are covered by a separate warranty.
  7. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    You ran into the problem that because of legal reasons, TiVo cannot in any way suggest that you open up the case (power supplies are not shielded, unlike in a PC). Once you put TiVo in a position where in order to exchange, you need to open up the case, then you are stuck. If you had just called upon learning the kickstarts failed, they would have suggested a whole box replacement at that time (because that's the only fix they can legally suggest).
  8. mlcarson

    mlcarson Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    The Tivo is basically a cheap PC running Linux. The hard drive in a PC is a user replaceable product. There's no seal or tape saying that opening the unit voids a part warranty. There are whole businesses dealing with upgrading hard drive sizes on Tivo's. It's seems silly of Tivo taking the stand that opening the box voids the warranty. If they could determine that a user actually caused damage somehow then that would be a different story. This reminds me of the issue I had with Olympus when I replaced a tripod socket on the outside of a camera and then got turned down for a warranty replacement of an internal circuit board that was known to be defective in a large percentage of their products. Some companies actually stand behind their products -- a 90-day warranty and a limited-1yr warranty with such heavy-handed restrictions seems to indicate that Tivo does not.

    I'm hoping that the suggestion of checking warranty from Western Digital will net me a new drive since the mfg date was like 11/2013.
  9. lessd

    lessd Active Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    TiVo purchases OEM drives, and for a better price there is no warranty from WD on the hard drive itself, only from TiVo for the total unit. TiVo does not fix anything they just ship you another TiVo, and don't ever examine your sent back TiVo, it just goes into the pile of broken TiVos, that why you can get a replacement TiVo sent to you before they get yours back, TiVo pre charges your card and then gives you a cr when the TiVo is received.
  10. DougJohnson

    DougJohnson New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    They told you it would: "Please note that removing the cover of the DVR for any reason voids the warranty". From: http://www.tivo.com/buytivo/dvrlimitedwarranty.html

    -- Doug
  11. eboydog

    eboydog Just TiVo'ing.....

    Mar 23, 2006
    Do what I suggested, put the old drive back in, make it do at least one service call if possible but that will depend on just how bad the orginal drive really is. If they documented your prior call just explain you ran the kick start test and found the drive bad and there must have been a misunderstanding as you were only "suggesting" to replace the drive yourself. What's the worse thing they can do, say no? Just start over with a new support incident and see what happens all while claiming ignorance in such technical things such as hard drives and such! :cool:

    The key is making sure that your Roamio does a service call in as if they dig deep enough, they can tell what size hard drive your Tivo has when it called in last. Now how far they can go back and see prior changes is a question but I doubt they keep much if such past history and only that info is brought up by 2nd tier and higher support staff.
  12. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    Unfortunately, the TiVo is an appliance. It's built using PC parts, yes, but they are never meant to be user serviceable (i.e. "No user serviceable parts inside"). In fact, if TiVo even suggested it, the box will fall out of UL safety compliance because if a user is expected to get inside, they must be shielded from danger. Like say the open-frame power supply with dangerous voltages and no interlocks.

    It doesn't matter that there is a whole industry around modding TiVos - every one of those companies offers their OWN warranty on the product because they know opening it voids the warranty. Which is why they can often sell you aftermarket warranty on the whole unit when you purchase upgrade parts, or will warranty it if you opt for a pre-upgraded unit.

    Even worse, you replaced the failing component yourself, so now legal liability falls to you to prove that by changing the hard drive, you didn't damage the part yourself (in case you wanted to try that argument). Normally the warranty act means they have to prove that what you did potentially damaged the failed part, but that's easy when you mucked about inside yourself around the failed part.

    Lack of seals doesn't mean a free-for-all. A seal is often used as a quick 5 minute determination of "do you have warranty coverage" and if done improperly can often be more of a hassle because there may be legitimate reasons why the seal is partially or completely broken (say, it rubbed off through handling)

    I think the biggest takeaway is - if it's under warranty, don't try to fix it yourself. It may be more convenient, but it can make things worse. Just leave it, do the RMA and be done with it. If you did void the warranty, then put things back to the way it was, and keep quiet. Don't give people a reason to easily disqualify it - make them work for it.
  13. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Active Member

    Apr 27, 2002
    In 2000 when I purchased my first TiVo, opening the box voided the warranty so I have usually waited until the warranty expired before upgrading the hard drive. In almost 14 years of use, I have had several hard drive failures and for at least the first several years, the drives did come with a manufacturer warranty, I recall having Quantum replace a defective drive in 2002 or 2003. I believe the drive had a 3-year warranty at that time.

    Western Digital doesn't offer any warranty on drives used in TiVos or other DVRs and keeps records on which drives were sold with a TiVo but it can't hurt to contact WD and ask anyway.

    As far as expecting TiVo to provide any warranty on a TiVo that has been opened up for the user to service, including warranty on a hard drive, only if you haven't read the warranty.
  14. mlcarson

    mlcarson Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Silly me -- I didn't read the fine print of a warranty until after I determined it had a failed part. I kind of assumed it was illegal to have restrictions not being able to open a box that you own or void a warranty with the current consumer protection laws but I guess that's not so. Since Tivo only includes a limited 1-yr warranty anyway, I don't have a lot of heartburn voiding it at the half-way mark. It cost me about a $100 for the part and prevented a situation of the house being without cable TV service for an extended time. This is at my elderly parents house and it made them happy that the unit was fixed before I left for my residence nearly 2000 miles away and that's worth the $100.

    I'll probably change my tune if something else happens to this box within the next 6 mo's but then that would simply mean that the Roamio is very defect prone and would have issues after warranty anyway. My gut feeling is that it's a design flaw to put the hard drive so close to the cable cards without an active fan near that section in an enclosed case but maybe modern HD's can take the heat without premature failure.
  15. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

    Feb 5, 2011
    Instead of calling WD, or otherwise contacting them, here's the best way to determine if you can get warranty on an OEM drive (which came inside a product).

    Go to WDs site and product registration. Don't worry about the "OEM" factor. People buy OEM drives for end-user use, all the time, from sites like NewEgg.

    Enter the serial number and any other numbers they require.
    Select purchased from an authorized reseller (TiVo is, since they sell the WD expander products).
    Select your date of purchase was 6 months beyond the date of manufacture, or more, as long as it keeps the date from being less than two weeks from now ("now" being the date of registration).
    If the registration portal accepts the serial number and registers the drive on your account, you can now request an RMA. If it doesn't accept, you still have your answer.

    I've done it with TiVo drives, laptop drives, and more but the scope is limited to WD, in my experiences. Some say they've never once been able to do this. I never once have been unable to. One thing their system WILL catch, is trying to register/RMA a drive that was sold as a WD external, as being an internal drive.

    It is possible that sometime in the past, I might have registered with WD as being a system builder, and this is somehow helping me. It's just a wild guess, which I don't even think I did do.

    IMHO, you have a much greater chance of sliding by using their computerized system, than any method that involves human interaction.

    I think the key is simply registering the drive, and most will instead go straight for the RMA. Perhaps their system sees the drive was sold to TiVo, but doesn't have a rule that stops it from allowing end-user registration.

    I can buy an OEM drive from NewEgg, and WD's system should know the drive was sold to NewEgg, but will allow me to register it.

    I can buy a WD expander drive from TiVo, and WD's system should know the drive was sold to TiVo, but will definitely allow me (or anybody) to register it.

    WD has just recently done some renovations to their website, and in the registration/warranty/RMA portal. So, if what I've been able to do was an error on their side, it may no longer be exploitable.

    WD has never required me to provide proof of purchase, if I used the registration portal before getting an RMA. I've often been able to wind up with 6 months more warranty, simply by waiting 6-1/2 months to register, and saying the purchase date was two weeks before I registered the drive(s).

    I find registering all my drives, retail, OEM, in-warranty, and out, makes a nice database of what I own, makes getting firmware, drivers, and utilities easier, and often results in getting promotional offers, where I can get a discount on a new drive, by forfeiting remaining warranty on a drive I have registered, and better deals, for having more registered products.

    Good Luck!
  16. Worf

    Worf Active Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    It may, or may not be illegal.

    The problem is that if it wasn't, then TiVo will have to prove what you did wasn't the cause. Of course, the fact that you touched the part that DID fail meant you could've very well caused the problem yourself, which means you wouldn't have warranty coverage.

    Remember, the purpose of the law is where if you went to have your car's oil changed and your car door fails to latch, the manufacturer can't claim the warranty is void because of that. They'd have to prove that you changing the oil broke the door.

    Of course, it's MUCH easier to prove that changing the oil may have contributed to damaging the engine and have that void the warranty. Or in your case, changing the hard drive could've damaged the hard drive thus negating the warranty.

    Most companies also don't want consumers screwing around inside because in general, most people don't know what they're doing and will often make things worse. Most repair shops will refuse to repair products that have evidence of "service" being done.
  17. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Active Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    I don't know of any product manufacture who would NOT void a warranty of the consumer opens the box during warranty period. I really don't understand on what planet the OP is living. Anybody over the age 12 knows that if you open a unit, it voids warranty, and TiVo nor any other company with limited warranty on their products have no way of knowing if the consumer broke the unit or HDD when they opened it and started messing with it. They don't.
  18. ncbill

    ncbill New Member

    Sep 1, 2007
    A company can't simply void a warranty simply because the end user replaces a part - they'd have to show you broke something else to deny warranty coverage.

    But that's only IF you are willing to go to the expense of taking them to court.

    In the case of the new base Roamio the most likely parts to fail are the hard drive & external power supply, both easily replaced by the end user at nominal cost.

    And the base Tivo warranty is so limited (only 90 days labor) you might as well just pay to replace the above out of your own pocket & have the Roamio working ASAP, just as the OP did.

    Anyone worried about other potential failures (e.g. bad logic board) down the road have their choice of 3rd-party warranties to extend coverage up to 3 years.
  19. DougJohnson

    DougJohnson New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
  20. telemark

    telemark New Member

    Nov 12, 2013

    > Are there any modifications, changes or unauthorized uses of the product that could void the warranty? Under federal law, the merchant must prove that a defect was caused by the alteration in order to void a written warranty.


    The Tivo TOS/EULA may have an arbitration clause so anyone might be forced to arbitration instead of court.

    State Atty Generals, and the FTC also do some enforcement.

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