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>>> Not Pleased with Gift TiVo <<<

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Ladd Morse is offline Old Post 06-27-2004 08:00 PM
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Ladd Morse
Senior Member

Registered: Feb 2002
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Posts: 254

quote:
Originally posted by TiVoOpsMgr
There are a lot of arcane accounting, system and identity verification reasons for this, and unfortunately that's the way it is. We did try to remove that requirement during the design of this program, but there were too many issues and ultimately we were forced to launch as we did.

As always, the direct input from TiVo Corporate is very much appreciated. It is nice to hear something other than "the computer makes us do it" that one hears in a typical brick-and-morter "Valued Customer Associate" sales situation.

However, please allow me to respectfully and clearly say that the decisions that led to implementation of this business model may be the best balancing act TiVo could come up with to protect its interests, but it has definitely lost a lifetime-gift sale that would have occurred this week.

I will shortly be embarking on the annual visit to the getting-on-in-years parents (late 70's) and there is absolutely no way they will give their credit card number to Tivo under these circumstances. It was going to be a minor challenge to get them to even try TiVo, but I figured that if it didn't work out, they could simply give it back to me.

Having to tell them that they need to give a strange company their credit card number to use a gift creates a mental screenplay of a scenario that exceeds my devotion to the TiVolution cause.

quote:
One advantage to having your credit card on file is that if we ever offer future optional services that involve a charge, you'll have the convenience of having a card ready to go.

True, and a nice try.

If at some point in the future TiVo offered a for-pay service that my parents would like to have, I'm sure that after using their TiVo for a while they would be happy to purchase that service via credit card. But it's not going to happen right out of the box.

Perhaps the "gift to old people" segment is sufficiently small as to not be a regrettable loss of sales. But if TiVo considers that most gifts of TiVo service are probably going to people who have never had a TiVo before, asking for a credit card so that they can use a gift they don't yet understand seems to be placing a rather large hurdle in the way. And one that unfortunately makes sense only to Tivo.

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ThreeSoFar is offline Old Post 06-27-2004 08:06 PM
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ThreeSoFar
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You are pushing it, Stephen, with the "just in case we want to sell you something later" excuse.

This is lame. It is insecure. You're opening up TiVo to the liability of storing a bunch more cc#'s than you need to.

Lame. Fix it.

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NPBeacher is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 01:34 AM
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NPBeacher
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Not to say that this could happen, but there are folks who are uncomfortable with giving out CC information to businesses over the internet, because frankly, business can and do get hacked from time to time.

As much assurance as they may give that your information is safe, your CC information could be stolen by a hacker. Giving a gift subscription should not place the gift recipient's CC at risk of etheft.

Just my two cents,

-T

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dylanemcgregor is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:18 AM
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dylanemcgregor
TiVo Forum Special Member

Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1178

Just wanted to add my "this policy sucks" vote.

After the price drop, and HMO bundles I was about to buy two TiVo's as gifts. One for my Dad, and one as a wedding gift. The CC requirement that I read about here stopped me from getting either. My Dad is pretty adamant about not having a CC, he won't even use a plain old ATM card. So I knew that getting him a gift that asked for a CC before activation would put a bad taste in his mouth.

In general it just seems tacky to give a gift that requires anything like this before being activated. I'm very much a fan of TiVo, but I will not give one as a gift while this policy is in effect.

-Dylan

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Natron is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:38 AM
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Natron
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I think the best way to handle this is buy it for your self first and go through the activation and the setup. I am putting seasons passes with their favorite shows and recording them for a month or two. Next I will set it up at their house and re-do the guided set up. I will be able to program it via the Internet with TiVo Central in the future. Once they start using it I bet they will get hooked.

As a gift, it will be more exciting if it has 40 hours their favorite shows.

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dswallow is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 03:06 AM
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dswallow
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quote:
Originally posted by Natron
I think the best way to handle this is buy it for your self first and go through the activation and the setup. I am putting seasons passes with their favorite shows and recording them for a month or two. Next I will set it up at their house and re-do the guided set up. I will be able to program it via the Internet with TiVo Central in the future. Once they start using it I bet they will get hooked.

As a gift, it will be more exciting if it has 40 hours their favorite shows.


Don't forget that your gift, when prepared this way, leaves the recipient able to purchase value-added services in the future using the credit card that you activated it with. That's as much a reason for the many complaints here as the requirement of the credit card for activation is itself.

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Bigg is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 04:28 AM
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Bigg
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Activate them with your own CC for the person and put their lineup in and everything, and if you have the same programming service, you could even record stuff for them, as was said above.

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bitTraveler is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 06:44 AM
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bitTraveler
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I thought of a possible workaround for those wanting to give TiVo as a gift and not subject the recipient to a credit card request, themselves to future charges or expose themselves to possible cc number theft. Wouldn't it be possible to use one of the one-time use numbers most credit card companies now provide? I believe you can set it up to have a maximum credit limit of $1.

Hope that helps!

bit

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Gai-jin is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 06:57 AM
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Gai-jin
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I've never heard of anyone but paypal offering these. Where have you seen them?

I've also used the visa gift cards in this case that they sell at the local mall. I got some for christmas, and always end up with a dollar or two left. If I need to use a card that shouldn't be charged but is required for some reason, I use that card.

Gai-jin

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bmgoodman is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 07:09 AM
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bmgoodman
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Thumbs down Yes, I'm piling on, too

OK, I must pile on and say that Tivo really needs to fix this soon. I do NOT want Tivo storing my CC # for all eternity on the CHANCE that I might want another service... someday. I do not want to give a gift where the recipient must have a CC to use it, even though it has already been paid for. And I do not want that gift to, someday, charge against MY credit card when the recipient makes a selection from a new Tivo screen that asks if they want to purchase a new Cadillac on-line via Tivo! (OK, last example is extreme, but the point remains.)

Tivo, FIX THIS.

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bitTraveler is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 07:35 AM
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bitTraveler
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quote:
Originally posted by Gai-jin
I've never heard of anyone but paypal offering these. Where have you seen them?

I've also used the visa gift cards in this case that they sell at the local mall. I got some for christmas, and always end up with a dollar or two left. If I need to use a card that shouldn't be charged but is required for some reason, I use that card.

Gai-jin



I know Citibank has them available. They call it a Virtual Account Number (VAN). I believe Amex and possibly Discover have something similar as well. And, of course, PayPal.

bit

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Last edited by bitTraveler on 06-28-2004 at 10:28 AM

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chris frolic is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 07:44 AM
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chris frolic
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I will also add that I've now cancelled plans for 2 gift Tivos because of this rediculous policy.

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Leon WIlkinson is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 08:09 AM
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Leon WIlkinson
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Registered: Feb 2000
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Ok, Would it be possible for TiVo Inc. to come up with a verification card which the gift giver gives along with the TiVo. TiVo would get on file, from gift giver the recipient's name, address and what have you. Then they call and give the card number then verify the info.

If pet names and other genric info was allowed, I would think it would be pretty secure.

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gregm is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 08:09 AM
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gregm
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quote:
I believe Amex and possibly Discover have something similar as well.


Amex recently cancelled their service, unfortunately.

At first, this sounded like a reasonable thing, you have to provide the credit card number you used when you purchased the unit, to ensure that you're the person who purchased the unit, and that you didn't hijack the UPS truck or something, but since it's any old random credit card, I agree that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Judging from Stephen's post, this decision probably went something like this: "Okay, we've been working on this for weeks, but can't get rid of this stupid credit card requirement, and we need to launch the system soon. What do we do" "Well, I guess we just leave it there for now, and hopefully we'll be able to fix it before people start complaining about it."

Not an enviable position.

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Crrink is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 12:50 PM
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Crrink
TiVo Forum Special Member

Registered: Sep 2002
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[Dave Chapelle[Rick James]]
I wish I had four hands.....so I could give this policy FOUR THUMBS DOWN!
[/Dave Chapelle[Rick James]]

TiVoOpsMgr, I have 2 TiVo's that I bought lifetime on. What is the easiest way to determine if TiVo has my CC# on file? Who do I have to call to get you guys to erase it - sorry, but I don't trust you guys with it, and you don't need it anymore.

I'd like to add that I was planning on buying 50 lifetime gift subscriptions, but that would be a lie - suffice it to say that this policy may well affect my future buying decisions, and in case you couldn't tell, that's not a good thing.

TiVo just got cheap enough to become a great house warming present - this asinine policy diminishes that tremendously.
I hope you're happy with your "Umm, gee, that's just the way it is" attitude.

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TiVoOpsMgr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 01:12 PM
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TiVoOpsMgr
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Registered: Jun 2000
Location: Alviso, CA, USA
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Well, I definitely am hearing this feedback loud and clear.

Please believe me when I say we did not enter into the current arrangement lightly or casually or without reason. We went through a serious amount of meetings and we were worried about exactly the kind of reaction we're seeing here. But due to the architecture of our business systems, the credit card was a strict requirement that we could not eliminate as much as we did work to do so.

In reviewing the notes from the meetings, the biggest reason for us to require the credit card was fraud protection. There are numerous examples of companies that have faced serious threats from crackers trying to reverse engineer their gift sub numbering system. (Just think about the resources this forum brought to bear in trying to crack the 3.0 backdoor password...) By requiring a credit card, if the gift sub number turns out to be stolen or forged, we have a backup method of billing.

Nonetheless, because of the feedback here, I will re-open this issue with the team and report back as to the feasability of removing this requirement.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. (Now tell me how you REALLY feel!) Your comments really do make a difference. I hope we can all have a meeting of minds in this area.

Best regards,
Stephen

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Last edited by TiVoOpsMgr on 06-28-2004 at 01:42 PM

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TiVoOpsMgr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 01:27 PM
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TiVoOpsMgr
Director, Svc. Ops

Registered: Jun 2000
Location: Alviso, CA, USA
Posts: 944

quote:
Originally posted by Crrink
TiVoOpsMgr, I have 2 TiVo's that I bought lifetime on. What is the easiest way to determine if TiVo has my CC# on file? Who do I have to call to get you guys to erase it - sorry, but I don't trust you guys with it, and you don't need it anymore.
As is legally required by the terms of our relationship with our bank and our credit card processor, we maintain the credit card in our business system associated with your orders for the period of time required to service your account. There is no option to erase your credit card from the order while your order is not canceled (although you can replace it with a different credit card if you like -- you can do so yourself using Manage My Account). As far as I am aware, you are the very first person to request that this information be removed.

This data storage policy is as true for TiVo and TiVo's business system as is it for any company with an enterprise financial system that manages a billed service. Similarly, your bank, the credit card company, and the credit card processing agency all maintain a record of your credit card being associated with your service orders -- and they will do so for effectively forever, and keep numerous backups that I doubt could all be tracked down and changed. You cannot erase your credit card info from their records of this order either. (This too is the practice doubtless employed by your phone company, your cell phone company, your ISP, AOL, DIRECTV, and any other service provider from whom you have ordered a service using a credit card.)

I have no doubt that the restaurant you ordered Chinese food from ten years ago still has your credit card information on file. It is a standard business practice to keep it, and practically impossible to erase it. If ever audit issues arise, records are simply required. And furthermore, of course, it is the job of your bank and your service providers, including TiVo, to protect this information. This is a job that we at TiVo take EXTREMELY seriously.

Without going into the details of our security practices, I can say that in the five and a half years that we have been taking orders, we have had zero security breaches of credit card information. Like any service provider, we guard your order information with the best security possible. The information is stored in a single system, and the credit card information cannot be retreived from our system via any system that is on the internet at large.

Please feel free to contact me privately if you want to discuss this issue further.

Best regards,
Stephen

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E. Stephen Mack, Director of Service Operations at TiVo (estephen@tivo.com)
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NOTE: I prefer e-mail to Private Messages. Due to the volume of e-mail I receive, please try to go through normal channels or post your question on the forum BEFORE contacting me directly, if possible. Thanks!

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OLdDog is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 06:25 PM
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OLdDog
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TiVoOpsMgr,

Thank you for your response. I am pleased that you are reopening this issue and look forward to the resolution.

However I have one more question: Your last post on this was "Today 03:27 AM" so; DO YOU EVER SLEEP???

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dobbie1 is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 07:40 PM
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dobbie1
Member

Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Cleveland, TN
Posts: 75

quote:
Originally posted by TiVoOpsMgr
Well, I definitely am hearing this feedback loud and clear.

By requiring a credit card, if the gift sub number turns out to be stolen or forged, we have a backup method of billing.

Best regards,
Stephen



Thanks Stephen for the response taking it back to the table for discussion.

However, the above statement seems strange. If the sub-number is stolen or forged TiVo wants a method for billing, but what if the recipient is totally unaware that the number is invalid, do you automatically bill the credit card they provided? What if they did not want to purchase the TiVo service and were only using it because it was a gift. They are going to get billed like it or not. Would not the better option be just to cancel the TiVo service once the fraud was detected? I would assume that it doesn't take that long to detect an invalid number. It is my belief that if someone is out to try and steal service in this manner, it is just a easily to give you a credit card number for validation then immediately cancel the card.

I sincerely hope this issue is analyzed in detail on what really is gained by requiring a credit card for validation for gift subscriptions.

Regards

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island1 is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 10:33 PM
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island1
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TiVoOpsMgr

There are a lot of arcane accounting, system and identity verification reasons for this, and unfortunately that's the way it is. We did try to remove that requirement during the design of this program, but there were too many issues and ultimately we were forced to launch as we did.




Taken from the same mold of "TIVO customer service" that you don't (can't) get a pro-rated fee for canceling service. I believe that too was related to the way the billing system was setup. This from a software designer!

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