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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Tivo Challenge: Taking Back My Channels

There we were; poised to watch the finale we'd waited four months for.  It was Idol night, and tonight the winner would be crowned. 

I had a meeting so it would be Tivo'd until I could get home and zip through to the result.  Suddenly there was a mysterious text from my husband:
I tried to extend the recording, but there's no channel 2 in the guide!
Wha...?  But.. I was perplexed.  It was there yesterday.  Before I called in to Directv to inquire about a DVR upgrade, and said no when it came to the 2-year contract agreement that would be required.  And now all of my local network channels weren't accessible? 

Upon calling tech support, I learn that Tivo has issued a software upgrade that has left thousands of customers without their local programming.  "Our hands are tied!  It's Tivo's fault!" claimed the tech last night, as well as the young woman I spoke to today.  This is apparently happening with all Tivo subscribers, not just those with the satellite service guru.  After 'troubleshooting,' the conclusion was "We simply don't know when this issue will be resolved.  BUT!  Tivo is offering an HD receiver that doesn't have this problem, as well as the Directv DVR also is problem free.  All that's required is the HD service at only ten dollars extra per month and a 2 year service agreement!" 


We read about these things all the time - networks in negotiations that result in loss of programming with various providers, Tivo is notorious for outraging their subscribers by not catching the extra lingering minutes of important finales, and my favorite is how we buy these DVRs, thinking we now own a brand shiny new electronic, only to find out that 'purchase price' is merely a 'leasing fee.'  Terminate service and the equipment is obligated to be returned to the provider with no refund to the consumer. 

Meanwhile, we all pay astronomical monthly fees, even though we now have internet viewing and stream-to-tv options available.  But much of that technology is beyond the understanding of a growing-older generation who simply wants to sit down and watch a favorite show.  Seems to me that if I knew those options were becoming easier to latch on to, I'd take my chances in keeping my customers happy any way I possibly could. 

My demands are not unreasonable.  So, I pleaded my case of our 14 years of loyal service, to no avail.  No budging on the agreement. 

Well, Tivo, and Directv, I accept this challenge.  How many customers are you willing to lose to get that signature?

Directv:  (310) 535-5000, (310) 535-5225 fax
Michael D White, CEO
Ellen Filipiak, Senior Vice President Of Customer Care

Tivo: (408),519-9100, (408) 519-5330 fax
                Thomas S Rogers, CEO
                Dan Phillips, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Operations

Imagine my frustration when the Tivo/Directv DVR that we’ve owned for nearly eight years suddenly stopped functioning properly – we lost all of our local programming, on a night that our family had gathered around to watch a momentous television event – and when I call in to see what the issue is, was told that Tivo has sent out a ‘software update’ that has stripped many customers with all satellite or cable services of their local programming. 

We have done the troubleshooting by connecting the phone line, connecting to the Tivo service, rebooting the unit, etc, to no avail, and have been told it’s basically a waiting game.  This is unacceptable.  My work depends on things like the local news, and we pay for local channels for the main bulk of our viewing. 

The only options are, as I understand them, to sit and wait for Tivo to get around to fixing this issue they’ve created, as we continue to pay for service we’re not getting, or upgrade our receiver to the brand spanking new Tivo HD receiver, or the Directv promoted house brand HD receivers, both which require a programming service charge of ten dollars more per month than I already spend, in a time when we are trying to be as conservative as possible.  Coincidentally, I called in to inquire about these promotions only two days ago, but the breaking point that prevented us from doing the upgrade was the requirement of the two-year contract agreement.  Then, within hours, this happens.

I understand the policy for new customers, but frankly, our history should speak for itself.  My husband has been with Directv since 1998 – this screams loyalty.  We have sat by and watched year after year as new customers receive all sorts of free services that we have paid steadily for (NFL Package, et al).  But where is our reward? 

Here we are, facing what we as consumers have no control over, and our only way out is deprivation, or to be coerced into a two-year agreement that financially we do not feel secure in areeing to.  And we have given the company our service for 14 long years, despite all of the enticing ‘bundle’ offers that come our way.  I’ve done the comparisons, and yes, dollar for dollar it all equals about the same for television services – it’s the bundle of phone/internet where they beat out Directv.  And right now, to avoid this hassle, and feeling as though we have no appreciation for our loyalty, those companies are going to get a second look.  And likely our business as well, if this cannot be resolved to our satisfaction. 

What I am requesting is this:  Either Tivo replaces our receiver, at no cost to us (because ultimately we will not own the equipment), to compensate for this ‘software issue,’ and we will resume our Directv service, or we go through the proper equipment upgrades with Directv, but the two-year agreement is waived. 

Anything less is unacceptable, and we will walk away.  I hope that our history with both companies will be taken into consideration, and that this will be handled promptly as we are in one of the two biggest months of television programming in terms of locals/networks. 

Very sincerely,

Kymberlie Ingalls   *   Neuroticy.com, Founder


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