PXL @ Amazon: Buyer Beware

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by Dodge DeBoulet, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Dodge DeBoulet

    Dodge DeBoulet Member

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    I purchased my first Premiere XL in August of last year. I'm generally happy with it, even though the HD UI can be a little laggy.

    I decided to go ahead and order a 2nd one from Amazon last week, at a price of $236.84. Seeing no evidence of a special holiday promotion, instant discount, etc. I completed my order and awaited shipment.

    You likely already know the rest of the story, but here it is anyway . . . I received the unit today and took the precaution of attempting to activate it before opening the box. And I, of course, discovered that the only activation option was at $19.99 per month, with no hope of ever seeing a lower rate, a lifetime option, or taking advantage of a reasonable MSD subscription (my original TiVo PXL qualifies as eligible for MSD only as a a $9.95 add-on to the $19.95 fee).

    I called TiVo for clarification, and after talking with both a front-line CSR and a manager, discovered that TiVo will do nothing for me . . . either accept the $19.95 terms as they are or return the unit.

    So I returned it.

    I urge anyone experiencing this scam to do the same. I refer to it as a scam because Amazon failed to divulge the complete terms of the sale to me. Fortunately, I can take advantage of my right to return the unit in unopened, new condition to Amazon at no cost.

    TiVo indicated that the special promotion ends today, and any purchases made through authorized retail channels after today will not require a $19.95 subscription fee. I will be reassessing the alternatives both now and at the end of my original PXL's subscription. If I can find a reasonable price with the $12.95 subscription (and eligible for MSD), I will probably make a purchase. If not, some other manufacturer will benefit.

    I doubt TiVo or Amazon really care about the concerns expressed above, but I felt it might be useful to inform others of my experience with both manufacturer and vendor so they could make a better informed decision than I did.
     
  2. ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Why would you activate it before opening the box?
     
  3. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    The OP is smart for doing so in case he needed to return box to Amazon in good condition which as it turns out is exactly what he needed to do. TiVo royally screwed up implementation of this "promotion" and deserve to lose potential additional subs as in this example.
     
  4. Dodge DeBoulet

    Dodge DeBoulet Member

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    Exactly. TiVo gave me the opportunity to attempt to activate the unit without violating Amazon's return policy . . . so I used that capability to determine whether the unit was worth keeping. As it turns out, it was not, and I have already packed and labeled the PXL for return to Amazon.

    Note that the unit was never actually activated. I entered the serial number and proceeded only to the point where I could verify the service plan options (er, option).
     
  5. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

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    You are correct, Tivo half-assed this promotion. However, the only reason the OP is returning it, is because he seemed to be aware of the possibility of a holiday promotion, yet didn't take the 3 minutes necessary to find any actual factual information by checking the tivo website or this forum.
     
  6. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Not sure checking TiVo website or this forum would have cleared up any misconceptions as the price he paid for the unit was $237 and hence not the subsidized holiday promo pricing of $99 or less. Plus apparently these days if you play enough TiVo CSR roulette you may be able to obtain a deal that should not be possible even without being dishonest. TiVo seems to have gone out of their way to make this promotion as clear as mud and now keep extending the promotion month to month to further muddy the waters. I guess the only good outcome of all this were all the $60 Woot refurbs I bet which a large chunk were returns from people surprised by the $20/month service commitment.
     
  7. gamo62

    gamo62 Member

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    Whoa!!! How would he know to go to the web site? Amazon in good faith should have had the same information as Tivo's site, or directed them there. Let's not shuffle the blame. He did nothing wrong.
     
  8. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

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    He got the XL which is why the $237 rather than $99. The XL is $299 subsidized.

    You are correct and I know I and many others have sent the same corrections to Amazon. They have ignored it though. This is why the reviews on the page state this as a warning.
     
  9. Dodge DeBoulet

    Dodge DeBoulet Member

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    Finding the necessary information is not easy on this forum (yes, I searched), and the Tivo website makes it just as difficult to find. Not to mention that everything I did find indicated that there would be some indication of a holiday promotion and/or an instant rebate . . . neither of which were in evidence on Amazon's web site.

    I hope you enjoyed your brief period of smug superiority.
     
  10. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

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    It's a decent offer if they would allow access to any regular pricing option after the initial term required is over; that is, after the 1 or 2 years at $19.95, as required by the purchase terms, you could then choose any of the then-available pricing plans. But at least for now, CSR's are answering questions by saying you are stuck forever at $19.95/month (and I suppose that's subject to increases, too) with no opportunity to ever get better pricing on the unit, even after you meet the required term contract.

    Nowhere online has that ever been clearly spelled out. And frankly, it makes so little sense to do it that way that I still believe that was not their intent and eventually someone with a brain at TiVo will fix it and publicize it is fixed. Unfortunately, there's very few people with any brain cells left at TiVo, other than lawyers, so it takes a rather long time for anything to come to their attention these days.
     
  11. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    I missed that completely and that does indeed change things a little and I have less sympathy for the OP now. (I would never consider getting an XL so quick to overlook it). Amazon doesn't have the warning they used to have though which doesn't help. Personally I never read customer reviews on Amazon so I wouldn't catch it there either.
     
  12. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    It is an example of TiVo and Amazon at best being disingenuous regarding terms. At worst, a calculated attempt to suck people into the higher monthly rate after the customer has already purchased the unit, knowing that many people will just give in after having gone to such trouble to get to the point of activation. The posted reviews and responses to them are quite active at Amazon about this, along with the TiVo fanboy apologists blaming the consumer for not having known the terms by telepathy.

    The issue is NOT the terms or deal offered, for it could be a good deal for many people. What many are upset about is NOT having any indications that such boxes MUST be at the $19.99 monthly rate and do not qualify for MSD discounts or lifetime or any other such terms that are reserved for "full retail" purchased TiVo's--at least for the first year or 2 years of commitment.

    Sure, TiVo is desperate, but it is a bad call that only leaves a very bad taste in the mouths of some of its best customers who have promoted TiVo to all for years. All others and I are saying is that TiVo and Amazon should make it clear next to the price, that these are special deal boxes available at $19.99 per month only, and click here for full terms. That is NOT an unreasonable request from any consumer, especially dealing with what is supposed to be a reputable company that used to have a lot of trust from its customers.
     
  13. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Yep, especially when you consider that Amazon is probably their largest third-party retailer, by far. I'd bet they outsell Best Buy for Tivo.

    What's strange is that Amazon used to have the sub disclaimer (in mice type) before, and took it off after the holidays. So this is yet another Tivo snafu, is anyone in charge at this company??
     
  14. pdhenry

    pdhenry Ruthless

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    Since when does Amazon give any hassle about open-box returns?
     
  15. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    So is this a TiVo or Amazon problem? Just for fun I checked Best Buy, Sears, Buy.com, TigerDirect.com, & Amazon. Buy.com and Amazon just said service was extra and required. Best Buy, Sears, & TigerDirect said the service would be $19.95 with a 1 year commitment. Best Buy and TigerDirect said the offer was good until 2/28/11.

    Thanks,

    PS: Tivo.com shows the $99 box with $19.95/mo service deal has been extended to 3/31/11
     
  16. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

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    My guess is TiVo has realized they have no easy way to transition back to the other pricing model because existing inventory in the channel will have been sold at a price based on the subsidized return of the higher monthly fees. So they'll keep extending the offer it until they come up with a transition plan and get the repriced models into the channel.

    I'd be seriously laughing if it were actually the case. It sure would be nice to hear this subsidy plan even bit TiVo in the ass, too.
     
  17. ncsercs

    ncsercs DirecTivo fan.......

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    Only an idiot would pay $19.95/mo for guide data.....
     
  18. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

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    Well then it's a good thing that Tivo offers a whole lot more than guide data for $19.99 month.
     
  19. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

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    Because that's the company that charges for the subscription.


    But it didn't and the OP knows that Tivo charges for service and that there may be a promotion and he didn't bother to look. And I agree the blame shouldn't be shuffled because it's clearly 100% the OP's fault.
     
  20. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

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    Really? You think refusing to think and use a little common sense keeps you blameless?

    The home page of tivo.com shows the promotion. It's right there, it can not be missed. Yes, it only shows the premiere and not the XL, but any one with the tiniest bit of common sense would know that it's just possible that there is also a deal on the XL and click on the shop now button and find the XL at <$300 at $19.99/mo. Then anyone with the tiniest bit of common sense would have to wonder if the similarly low priced XL bought from amazon would have the same high subscription rate.

    It only takes a little thought to find pertinent information. You may not find the answer quickly, but finding the information that says you might have to pay that much is easy because it's all over the place.
     

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