Tivo Customer Service

Thursday, I had a very disturbing experience with Tivo customer service.

In the past, on the rare instances where I had to call Tivo’s customer service department, I’ve always had a very pleasent experience … my problem or question was cleared up right away with minimum of fuss & bother.

Last   Thursday, however, that trend was broken … not once, but twice.

A year and 3 months ago we upgraded our Tivo Series 2 to a new Tivo HD (still don’t have a HD TV though).   When we purchased the new unit, the life time subscription was transfered from the Series 2 to the HD.     To entice customers to keep their Series 2 units after upgrading, Tivo gave one year service for free on the upgraded unit.   Well, we never used that free service.

So about 3 months ago I noticed a credit card charge for $9.95 from TIvo.   I called Tivo customer service and found out that it was for the month to month service since our free year had just expired.     I told them that I wanted to cancel the Series 2.   I was transfered to the “Retention” department and was offered three months of additional service for free.   During which time I could use the unit or sell it.   After three months I would have to call to cancel.

I immediately put the Series 2 up for sale on a few forums.   Almost immediately an online friend offered to buy it.       I told my friend that it still had 3 months of service, but they weren’t interested.   I told him I wouldn’t cancel the service until a few weeks before the expiration date, just in case he wanted to use it.   I put a reminder in my calendar to cancel service.

Fast forward to this week … I noticed the reminder and called Tivo.   After a bit of false starts I was transfered to their retention department and talked to Nicole.   I indicated that I didn’t own the unit any more and wanted to remove it from my account.   She immediately went into her “Upsell” mode and was telling me about the wonders of multi-room viewing, service discounts for multiple units, etc.   I interrupted her and said I was kind of busy and could she skip the upsell and just cancel the unit?

I don’t THINK I was rude in the slightest … she, apparently, thought that my interuption was very rude.   She said (in a very angry tone of voice) that I didn’t need to be rude to her and she was just trying to be helpful.   I told her that I knew all about the capabilities of Tivo and just wanted to get the unit removed from my account.   I also indicated that I didn’t appreciate her tone of voice.   At which point she hung up on me.

After taking a few moments to make sure I wasn’t angry, I called Tivo customer service back and asked to speak to a supervisor.   I talked to the shift supervisor and told him that I was trying to cancel the unit and that Nicole had been very rude to me and hung up on me.   He verified that Nicole hadn’t actually canceled the unit.   He, unforunately, could not remove the unit from my account.

He offered to have someone call me later that day to remove the unit from my account.   He offered 5pm, but I asked if it could be 6pm (I couldn’t be sure I would be home by 5).   He agreed and gave me a incident number.

I got home and waited for a call back … 6pm came and went … around 6:30 I decided that nobody was actually going to call.   At that point, Ginny and I decided to go out to dinner.

Honestly, I’m really surprised that any customer service organization let’s a bad customer experience get any worse.   In my opinion, the manager should have personally made sure that someone called me at 6pm.   That would have prevented my bad experience from getting any worse.   It would have also turned this negative blog post into a more positive one.

I’m going to call back on Monday to get the Series 2 unit removed from my account (and probably have to sit through the upsell spiel again) … but I’m not going to forget this experience.

Since I do have a tracking number for the original incident, after the Series 2 is removed, I’m going to ask to talk to a customer service manager and find out WHY I wasn’t called back.

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