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>>> Got an HMO refund - well, sort of. <<<

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Darrelpr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 01:57 AM
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Darrelpr
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Registered: Mar 2003
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Thumbs up Got an HMO refund - well, sort of.

I know that anytime you purchase something, you're taking a chance that the product will be available at a lesser price sometime down the road. Still, I wasn't a happy camper when I saw Tivo's announcement that they were going to roll HMO into the monthly service charge at no additional cost after I had already purchased it last year for $99. In view of this, I opened a support case with Tivo via their online support and asked what, if any, consideration was going to be given to those of us who had purchased HMO and had basically paid to "beta test" the service. I really didn't expect a reply.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call from a living, breathing, non-automatedTivo tech support rep this morning. Long story short, Tivo is going to give me a $25 credit on the credit card I use for my Tivo billing! (Since they were so quick to make the offer, I tend to think that this is something they've already decided to offer on a case by case basis - but that's just a guess on my part - the Tivo rep didn't comment and I didn't ask.)

Granted, I would've been happier with a full $99 refund but to be honest, I didn't even expect Tivo to respond to my question. Even though I'm only getting $25 back, I have to give Tivo credit for making an effort to keep me as a customer. They are under no legal obligation to compensate early adopter customers yet the fact that they contacted me directly and made any type of offer will at least keep me in the Tivo camp for the time being.

Moral of the story? Before you bash Tivo for their pricing, give them a chance to respond. It may be worth at least $25* to you.

* I may have been able to hold out for even more but given the circumstances, I didn't push. I'm a happy camper.

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islander is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:18 AM
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islander
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I'm just going to throw this out for discussion...

Apple offered the .Mac service free of charge for a while. You got a mac.com email address, 20 MB of web space for storage, etc. Later they added a few more options and changed it to $99 a year. Should Apple have gone back and charged all those people who used the service for free?

Is this not the same thing? Price changes, so people who paid the first price (whether $0 or $99) get the 2nd price ($99 or $0).

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skubish is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:28 AM
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skubish
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the apple case is completely different islander.
Apple offered it free at first to beta test the service and then start charging once all the bugs are worked out. This is a common practice in the computer world. Besides who is going to complain if the service is free and then they start charging for it.

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Darrelpr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:29 AM
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Darrelpr
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Islander,

I totally agree with you. Tivo doesn't have to offer any type of refund - that's why I jumped on the $25 offer. With regards to the .Mac service, Apple (and any other company) would be foolish to try to make fees retroactive. Consumers are not very forgiving.

On a side note, I've seen other posts where HMO customers are getting bigger refunds but since I've been using HMO since the first day it was publicly available (and for the most part I've been happy with it), I think the $25 offer is fair.

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islander is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:37 AM
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islander
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I was just playing devil's advocate... I don't really expect Apple or any other company to retroactively charge a fee.

But the question becomes: at what point do you say that the amount you paid was worth the experience you got? You, and every other HMO subscriber, got to use HMO for some time before the people who got it for free...

There will always be a cheaper item tomorrow when it comes to technology, so you have an opportunity cost issue here (see! I was paying attention in economics class!)


p.s. I know you said you're happy with the $25, so I'm not trying to "target" you... this just seemed like a good thread to throw this out for discussion, and I hope you don't mind.

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Darrelpr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:54 AM
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Darrelpr
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quote:
Originally posted by islander
p.s. I know you said you're happy with the $25, so I'm not trying to "target" you... this just seemed like a good thread to throw this out for discussion, and I hope you don't mind.
No problem - I didn't think you were targeting me specifically.

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Crrink is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 12:57 PM
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Crrink
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Man, makes me want to shoot off an e-mail to get $25 for free.
I bought HMO when the first discounts were offered ~ 3 months after the service debuted.
I don't feel entitled to any sort of refund at all, but free money is free money.

I'm probably too lazy to bother asking, but it's surprising to know they're doing anything for people who bought so long ago.

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TiVoOpsMgr is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 01:43 PM
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TiVoOpsMgr
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Crrink, if you're upset, you're upset, and that isn't good for our business. Give us a call, explain how you feel, and give us a chance to make you not upset anymore. Sound fair?

Best regards,
Stephen

__________________
E. Stephen Mack, Director of Service Operations at TiVo (estephen@tivo.com)
http://www.tivo.com/support/
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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Stu_Bee is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 02:24 PM
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Stu_Bee
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Squeeky Wheel Policy at Tivo

quote:
Originally posted by TiVoOpsMgr
Crrink, if you're upset, you're upset, and that isn't good for our business. Give us a call, explain how you feel, and give us a chance to make you not upset anymore. Sound fair?



I dislike company policies that just reward the complainers.

If TIVO made a decision to give some sort of reimbursement for those that previously purchased HMO, then do just that, for everyone. Don't just give it to those savy enough to be on Forums to find out about it (or those that would call support hoping for a miracle), or those that find $25 actually is worth jumping through some hoops.

I know it's more expensive to Tivo to give a reward to all HMO purchasers, complainer or not, but (IMO) is a more ethical way to do business.
======
- Before people complain: Yes, I believe HMO should be free..always have (eventhough I purchased it at $99). Yes, I think Tivo offering some sort of break for those that previously purchased HMO is fine as well. Just don't think it should be on a hidden complaint only basis.

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kcm is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 06:28 PM
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kcm
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Re: Squeeky Wheel Policy at Tivo

quote:
Originally posted by Stu_Bee
I dislike company policies that just reward the complainers.

If TIVO made a decision to give some sort of reimbursement for those that previously purchased HMO, then do just that, for everyone. Don't just give it to those savy enough to be on Forums to find out about it (or those that would call support hoping for a miracle), or those that find $25 actually is worth jumping through some hoops.

I know it's more expensive to Tivo to give a reward to all HMO purchasers, complainer or not, but (IMO) is a more ethical way to do business.
======
- Before people complain: Yes, I believe HMO should be free..always have (eventhough I purchased it at $99). Yes, I think Tivo offering some sort of break for those that previously purchased HMO is fine as well. Just don't think it should be on a hidden complaint only basis.



I completely agree. This alone is the major reason I am starting to dislike TiVo -- not the actual policy of making HMO free to everyone (even after it was never improved on for the early adopters that paid)..

I don't mind that, I mind that TiVo seems to be doing everything here very sneakily. The rollout was a surprise to me, an HMO purchaser, until I saw even more advertising about it on my TiVo. The refunds are secret if you're wise enough to call. And so on?

Am I upset about paying $50-100 for HMO before it became free? Nope. Do I really trust TiVo any more? Not really.

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stevel is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 07:38 PM
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stevel
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So - you'd be happier if TiVo kept the price at $99?

Prices drop over time for most technology products. If you bought at a given price, you made the decision that the product was worth that price to you.

I don't see what is "sneaky" about what happened here, nor why you would not trust TiVo.

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kcm is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 08:09 PM
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kcm
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quote:
Originally posted by stevel
So - you'd be happier if TiVo kept the price at $99?

Prices drop over time for most technology products. If you bought at a given price, you made the decision that the product was worth that price to you.

I don't see what is "sneaky" about what happened here, nor why you would not trust TiVo.



Since you didn't quote anyone in particular, I'll assume you were replying to me.

You didn't read what I wrote. Go back and read it again. It has nothing to do with the price. Early adopters pay more. However, products usually improve with time, too. Companies usually thank their beta testers, especially the ones that have paid to do it.

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pendragn is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 08:22 PM
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pendragn
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quote:
Originally posted by kcm
Since you didn't quote anyone in particular, I'll assume you were replying to me.

You didn't read what I wrote. Go back and read it again. It has nothing to do with the price. Early adopters pay more. However, products usually improve with time, too. Companies usually thank their beta testers, especially the ones that have paid to do it.


Did you actually Beta test the product? Of course you can't answer because of the NDA . The HMO product people paid for was a complete product, not a Beta version. There was a beta version, complete with bugs, then fixes that plenty of people tested for quite some time before Tivo started charging the $99. I'm sure TiVo thanked those beta testers, but we'll never hear from them because of the NDA.

People that paid $99 for HMO when it came out, like myself, did not pay to Beta the software. That's just not correct.

tk

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CrispyCritter is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 08:22 PM
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CrispyCritter
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quote:
Originally posted by kcm
You didn't read what I wrote. Go back and read it again. It has nothing to do with the price. Early adopters pay more. However, products usually improve with time, too. Companies usually thank their beta testers, especially the ones that have paid to do it.
I'm also very unclear what you're complaining about. Can you give what you think TiVo should have done, and then name another company that actually does that?

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Stu_Bee is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 09:44 PM
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Stu_Bee
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What Tivo should have done?
Hmm....good question. How about a $50 gift certificate for their Company Store

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papabrody is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 10:44 PM
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For everyone who states something to the effect "Prices change" or "prices drop over time for most technology products" my guess is that prices drop on hardware after a technology matures, but usually rise on software and rarely goes from $99 to free.

TivoOpsMgr, you have always weemed like a standup guy, but I agree with the other posters, that TIVO should have a defined, publicized policy regarding refunds vs a "call us and we'll work something out" policy. I know you are trying to do right, but something about that method doesn't sit well with me. BTW, I paid $50 for HMO, enjoyed it an am not asking for any $$ back.

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Crrink is offline Old Post 06-28-2004 11:21 PM
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Crrink
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quote:
Originally posted by TiVoOpsMgr
Crrink, if you're upset, you're upset, and that isn't good for our business. Give us a call, explain how you feel, and give us a chance to make you not upset anymore. Sound fair?

Best regards,
Stephen



Well, that's just it - I"m not upset, and I don't think that TiVo owes me anything. Hey, I'm even glad that everyone gets to enjoy HMO for free now - I think that's a good thing!

That being said, if I saw $25 laying on the sidewalk, I'd bend down to pick it up. That's all I'm saying.
I don't feel entitled to anything, but if I can get $25 by spending 15 seconds on an e-mail and 3 minutes on a phone call, that's not a bad deal.
Even though I don't deserve it.

Like I said, I'm probably too lazy to do anything, but Darrelpr's post made me think about it.

Heh, maybe I'll send and e-mail that says something like, "Hey, I'm not mad and I still like TiVo, but I heard you were giving out $25 for anyone who bought HMO early, so I was wondering if I could have $25.......okay, how 'bout Tree Fiddy?"

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ZeoTiVo is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 12:02 AM
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ZeoTiVo
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quote:
Originally posted by stevel
So - you'd be happier if TiVo kept the price at $99?

Prices drop over time for most technology products. If you bought at a given price, you made the decision that the product was worth that price to you.

I don't see what is "sneaky" about what happened here, nor why you would not trust TiVo.



it is not about the money, do you see any one complaining about the price of the hardware dropping so fast after they paid more, I Don't.

it is about the fact that TiVo did not have a very good business plan on offering and pricing HMO and basically tested out if it was able to make its own revenue on "early adopters". Yes TiVo owes nothing to anyone as they delivered exactly what they sold and the same service continues, but they did a lot of PR damage to their most loyal customers by simply trying to ignore the obvious fact that those who thought HMO was a premium feature, those who thought HMO would need to be purchased for TiVoToGo as stated in their press releases, those who bought it at a 50$ discount thinking the price may well go back up etc.. would be burned when they change DIRECTION completely on how HMO is bundled.

on top of that they work it like a mail in rebate and go above the call of duty for those that call in but leave a large subscriber base not in the know out in the cold, that is not an even handed business policy and just taxes an already overburdened support system as well.

as for me, since I am now getting TiVoToGo as part of standard service and I want TiVo to become profitable and grow I am not calling in for a rebate. my actual perceived value has gone up since TTG is free. It is not about the money or all technology becomes cheaper over time -- IT IS about the fact that they poorly executed a very poor business plan on HMO and took a PR hit they could have avoided

in the same vein of wanting TiVo to succeed as a company I hope they take all this feedback (some of it in the form of rebates from their bottom line) and avoid a similar event in the future.

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Whoops, missed that Zeo did address this in his reply. ZeoTiVo is right! - TiVoOpsMgr

TTiVoToGo FAQ, I have never seen a company so bashed in a forum becasue its software is a little late

  • TiVo series 2/HMO 40 hours unmodded - so far
  • Toshiba SD H400 for 99$
  • JavaHMO/ paid for my HMO whiner
  • AVcast to broadcast TiVo/DVD/PC throughout house and playfort
  • 5 at a time NetFlix subscription

Last edited by ZeoTiVo on 06-29-2004 at 12:07 AM

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Fist of Death is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 12:11 AM
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Fist of Death
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quote:
Originally posted by TiVoOpsMgr
Crrink, if you're upset, you're upset, and that isn't good for our business. Give us a call, explain how you feel, and give us a chance to make you not upset anymore. Sound fair?

Best regards,
Stephen


Wow. This is an amazing statement. You guys rock!

F.O.D.

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TiVoOpsMgr is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 01:03 AM
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TiVoOpsMgr
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quote:
Originally posted by papabrody
TivoOpsMgr, you have always weemed like a standup guy, but I agree with the other posters, that TIVO should have a defined, publicized policy regarding refunds vs a "call us and we'll work something out" policy. I know you are trying to do right, but something about that method doesn't sit well with me. BTW, I paid $50 for HMO, enjoyed it an am not asking for any $$ back.
We do have a defined, publicized policy regarding refunds: We offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

However, like any company, we want to make upset customers not upset. I guess my mistake is in somehow trying to imply that we're doing something different for the Home Media price change than anything else that happens: We (like any company) are always willing to try to make exceptions to our policies for customers who are upset.

From the sounds of what you and Crrink are writing here, neither of you are upset. I'm glad to hear it, and I want you to know that everyone here at TiVo appreciates it, because we work hard to improve our services, features and policies all the time. And we take feedback from our customers very seriously.

Best regards,
Stephen

__________________
E. Stephen Mack, Director of Service Operations at TiVo (estephen@tivo.com)
http://www.tivo.com/support/
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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>>> Got an HMO refund - well, sort of. <<<

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