[rant] I messed up and now Tivo is ripping me off

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by eisenb11, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Aug 1, 2008 #1 of 90

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006


    I'm so mad. A rant might make me feel better.

    I messed up and haven't been paying complete attention to my credit card bill (it's huge... a zillion pages of lunches, gas, groceries, utilities, recurring charges... everything I do goes on it). Turns out Tivo has been billing me a monthly charge for the last 11 months.

    This is bad, because I deactivated the unit over a year ago when I got my Series3 with lifetime. I told them to forget my free year and to cancel the unit early because I didn't want to risk forgetting about it and getting charged a year later (which is what just happenned).

    So, I called Tivo today and they were able to confirm that I called in and asked to have my unit deactivated and that they made a mistake and didn't deactivate the unit like requested.

    Now the fun part... they're saying that since it took me so long to catch the problem that they're not responsible. They offered to refund me for 3 months if I closed the case and said that if I escellate I risk losing their "generous" 3 month offer.

    I told them to forget it, we're going all or nothing, so it's escallated.

    Regardless of my sloppiness/laziness/inattentiveness to keep track of my credit card bill, the plain and simple matter is that they received a cancellation request, they can confirm the request, yet they billed me anyways.

    I'm pretty sure this isn't legal and they're giving me the run around.

    What can I do about this?

    Here's what I've done so far.

    1. I contacted Tivo CS (see above). They're supposed to get back to me in a few days when this is escallated.

    2. I've contacted my credit card. They said I can submit a list of the 11 charges and they can start a dispute against Tivo.

    3. I hear small claims is a good idea if things go south.

    4. There's also the BBB.

    Any suggestions?

    PS. I know I should be paying closer attention to my credit card, but I should be able to count on a company discontinuing services when they say that's what they're going to do.

    The unit they're billing me for hasn't even been powered on in at least 2 years. It was used by me only for the lifetime transfer. I don't even have the remote and power cord for the thing.
  2. Aug 1, 2008 #2 of 90

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

    Jan 8, 2003
    Warrington, PA
    #1 - good luck with that, don't hold your breath. You have a better chance of one of the Tivo folks here helping you out directly.

    #2 - my choice. I'd call the CC company and dispute the payment.

    #3 - only if #1 and #2 don't work

    #4 - waste of time
  3. Aug 1, 2008 #3 of 90

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    I'm really hoping for #1. I've sent Pony a PM, but I don't know if he's willing to get involved in stuff like this. Save me Pony! You're my best hope! :)

    #2 is the second best way. CitiBank has a lot of pull and I've found them to be pretty protective of their card members.

    Agree on 3, 4.
  4. Aug 1, 2008 #4 of 90

    telcoman Telcoman

    Dec 27, 2007
    Central NJ
    I'm fairly confident that you will prevail with Tivo and your credit card?
    Be nice, pleasant but firm.

    I too pay everything with a credit card. I have a large envelope where I place charge receipts every evening when getting ready for bed.
    Every month when the statement arrives, I match all the receipts with what is on the statement and pay the statement in full.
    Get in the habit of checking your statement every month so things like this will no longer occur.
  5. Aug 1, 2008 #5 of 90

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006


    Aye, I should have been more careful.

    Hopefully Tivo gets this sorted out, because they wouldn't close the account while this issue is being escallated. They said if the unit were shut off they won't be able to refund anything... so I'm still getting charged for the unit that has no remote or power cord...
  6. Aug 1, 2008 #6 of 90

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    What I'd like to know is how did they do this?

    They were supposed to give you a year of FREE service. When you say you don't want it, how does that translate into "continue billing"?

    Absolutely go to the end of the road with this.
  7. Aug 1, 2008 #7 of 90

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    He must have gotten his Series 3 with lifetime 23 months ago (1 year + 11 months of billing). After the free year, the service is billed monthly until manually cancelled.
    (I have to cancel my remaining enabled S1 in November, after the free year from my TivoHD lifetime transfer runs out.)
  8. Aug 2, 2008 #8 of 90

    samo New Member

    Oct 7, 1999
    Baloney. They can refund you any amount if they want regardless of status of your unit. Here is semi-pro advise for you on how to get your money back.
    1. While on phone with TiVo record the conversation and make them say on the phone that they have received the cancellation notice. Not as good as to have it in writing, but I'm willing to bet they would not send you written statement admitting that you asked for the cancellation.
    2. Call your credit card and contest the charges. Explain what happened and tell them that you have a recording of TiVo admitting that you cancelled the service.
    3. (Optional). You may want to follow up with the letter to your bank, re-stating what you told them on the phone.
    4. Seat back and relax. Your credit card company will take care of everything.
    They will issue the chargeback and TiVo will have to prove that charges are legit.
    Going to small claims is overkill because it will be bumped to regular court and you will have lose too much time for an amount in dispute.
    BBB is a joke. All they care is a payment from businesses for the badge. They have no power nor are they going to do anything besides sending the letter to TiVo and you asking politely to settle your dispute.
  9. Aug 2, 2008 #9 of 90

    reh523 New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Win!!! May I also suggest http://www.daveramsey.com/ ;)
  10. eisenb11

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Mattack's explaination of what happened is very close.

    I got my S3 the week it came out, 1 year and 11 months ago.

    In order to transfer my lifetime from the S1, Tivo required that I put 1 FREE year on the S3. During the first 3 months of ownership, Tivo would switch the lifetime and free year so that I would end up with a S3 with lifetime and a S1 with free year. They required that I put a credit card on file for when the free year ran out.

    I waited for about 3 months for the lifetime/free year transfer to take place. Once the transfer had occurred I called Tivo and told them to cancel the remaining of my free year on the S1. They gave me some grief about wasting my free year but I told them I wasn't using the S1 anyways and wanted it cancelled so I wouldn't forget about in 9 months and have my credit card charged.

    There is a note in their CS system that I asked for my S1 to be cancelled.

    9 months later, my free year ran out and they started charging my credit card.

    I do everything on my credit card (the statement's are many pages long) which makes it hard to notice something small like Tivo's $13 charge. I do scan my statements every month, so I must have had a dyslexic moment of something and mentally replaced "Tivo" with "AIT" or "SOE" or "ADT" or something, I didn't notice it until this month.
  11. eisenb11

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Thanks for the pointers.

    Wonder how I can make the recording... can an iPhone record convos?

    I did call my CC, and they said to try to work it out with Tivo first, but that if Tivo didn't want to play nice that they could try disputing the thing.

    What a mess... I was so mad when they essentially said "Oops we messed up and should have stopped billing you, but you didn't notice until now so we'll only credit you back for 3 months of being overcharged".

    Ack! :(
  12. treaty

    treaty New Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    BBB is not a joke. I'd hope that Tivo Customer service was able to work this out with you on their own... give them a chance, but if they won't accommodate you, definitely contact the BBB AND write a letter to the attorney general for your state as well. I've done this in the past in a similar circumstance with Sprint wireless - and I can say for sure that Sprint NEVER would have refunded me if they hadn't gotten threatening letters on my behalf from both the BBB and the attorney general for the state of WA.
  13. eisenb11

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    Aye, either way, it'll only take me 10-15 minutes to throw together something for the BBB. It can't hurt. Might as well send a copy to the attorney general and chamber of commerce as well.

    Hopefully, CS will be able to work this out. First rung CS didn't work so it's being elevated. Hopefully level 2 will get things done. No idea when they'll call so I'll give them until next Friday before going on the war path.
  14. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    TiVo is not the only co playing this game, talk to people who tried to cancel their AOL service..that went to court by some state Att. general. For TiVo its a % game giving out the year free service (that turns out many people don't cancel) unfortunately you did agree to this in the T&C of your Lifetime Xfer. I know when you paid your layer $500 to read over the TiVo T&C he must of missed that part.
  15. StanSimmons

    StanSimmons Senior Moment Member

    Jun 10, 2000
    BBB is a joke, the letter from the Attorney General is what got Sprints attention. ;)
  16. saramj

    saramj New Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    New Jersey
    Is it not illegal if you record a phone conversation and not tell the person they are being recorded without a court order? I would seek legal advice before you record anything that you would want to use as evidence.
  17. jjberger2134

    jjberger2134 Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    I may be wrong here (for your particular case), but most credit card companies allow you to dispute a charge for some fixed period of time after you receive your statement, usually 60 or 90 days. Therefore, any charges beyond 4 months may be a non-starter from the Credit Card companies point of view.

    I am looking at the back of my Citibank Credit card statement, and the section titled Billing Rights Summary, In Case of Errors or Questions about your bill, it says:
    "We must hear from you no later than 60 days after we send you the first bill on which the error or problem appeared".

    What is the total amount of charges in dispute? I am guess around $142 ($12.95 *11). You will most likely get about $40 back (what TiVo already offered), so for $100 it is an inexpensive lesson learned - to check your credit card statement.
  18. eisenb11

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    The problem is that I didn't get the free service and forget about it. I got the free service, told them to cancel it, they said they would, then forgot about it.
  19. Grey Griffin

    Grey Griffin Member

    May 24, 2007
    Tulsa, OK
    It's not illegal to record a conversation without telling the other person. A recorded conversation may give you some leverage when you are trying to work things out directly between you and a company. However, most legal proceedings won't allow recorded conversations as evidence unless both parties gave consent or there was a court order involved.
  20. eisenb11

    eisenb11 Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    While this may be the case, if Tivo were resonable they would refund the whole charge.

    They've been charging me for 11 months for nothing. I don't use the service they're charging me for - in fact, I can't because my S1 lacks the equipment to power up and be controlled.

    They should, in good faith, return my money. Not because they have to, but because it's right.

    Ripping off your customers is no way to run a business. Tivo is about selling access to the best DVR out there, not getting a few bucks by scamming their customers.

    I love Tivo's products, but if this is how they treat customers, then the company has truly fallen.

    What gets me is that they have acknowledged their mistake... they have a record in the CS system of my call to terminate service. They're just playing games and I'm not going to get them get away with it.

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