If you cancel your Tivo subscription it may be vital to do it in
writing and by certified mail.
Doing it by telephone will
not give you proof of cancellation, not even if Tivo sends an email
confirmation, and if you cannot prove cancellation, the Tivo corporation
may keep billing you for months.
Once Tivo has your credit card
authorization, getting them to stop billing has been next to impossible
for some consumers, costing them hundreds of dollars and destroying their
It makes no difference to Tivo whether or not you are actually
hooked up to their service. If they have your credit card number and
you cannot PROVE cancellation, Tivo will charge your credit card again
and again, in some cases for years.
If someone had told me that,
I wouldn't have believed it but I've just spent several hours searching
the web and I'm telling you not to take my word for it, do some web
searches yourself on keywords like Tivo billing problem and you'll soon
see a pattern emerging. Clearly something is amiss in Tivo's corporate
If I had stock in Tivo I'd be selling it because any company
that treats its customers so dishonestly is too apt to be playing fast
and loose with its accounting methods too.
When I'm done
writing here I'm going to follow my own advice and send off a certified
letter to the Tivo corporation, copying my attorney while I'm at it.
They didn't get me for much, under $50, but no one should be a Tivo
I was given a 3-month Tivo gift subscription. The Tivo box and our
cable box were not compatible and after a few weeks I disconnected the
In order to avoid charges I made a point of telephoning
Tivo to cancel the subscription before the 3 month gift sub ended. To
do so required talking with an aggressive Tivo sales representative who
did not want me to cancel the subscription and did not want to take no
for an answer. I held fast, however, and thought it was taken care of.
The following month I replaced my computer and in the
process lost archival email, including correspondence with Tivo. When
Tivo charged my credit card this month I was not overly concerned,
however, because the Tivo equipment had not been hooked up and I assumed
Tivo records would reflect the cancellation.
After an hour and 4 telephone calls, including two times on indefinite hold, I learned:
1.) Tivo claimed they had no record of my canceling the subscription.
Either the Attitude-strutting Tivo sales rep I talked to 2 months ago
failed to complete the process or, when contacted now, Tivo's billing
department chose not to investigate thoroughly enough to find record of
my cancellation. I think it is possible that my canceling a gift
subscription before it ended ran counter to Tivo's normal methods, thus
dropping the cancellation into digital oblivion, but the Tivo billing
department was unwilling or incapable of further research into my
2.) Proving subscription cancellation is entirely up to the customer.
The rigmarole about Tivo recording phone conversations is hooey; they
cannot or will not use those recorded conversations, if they even exist,
for the customer's benefit. The Tivo Corporation pays sales
representatives commissions to dissuade customers from canceling their
subscriptions, then, if the Tivo rep's pitch fails, it's up to him/her
to process the cancellation. A Tivo rep has a choice whether to take
another phone call -- which might lead to a sales commission -- or follow
through on the one he just had that was a failure and will net him
nothing but a black mark on his turnover record. It's like leaving it
up to the fox to take inventory in the hen house. Little wonder if
those fox sometimes neglect to follow through. No company the size of
Tivo can claim disingenuity about such a glaring managerial failure; the
only explanation is that Tivo CHOOSES to disregard the problem because
doing so means big dollars for their bottom line.
3.) Whether or not a subscriber actually receives the Tivo
service they're being billed for makes no difference to the Tivo
corporation. The Tivo billing department acknowledged that their
records verified I had not been hooked up to their service for over 2
months but they nevertheless refused to issue a credit for the charges
to my credit card made after cancellation, standing by their claim that I
had not canceled the subscription.
I did some web investigation and learned that claiming non receipt of
subscription cancellation is an old trick of the Tivo corporation, one
that likely produces many millions in revenue. At first I was inclined
to believe such shoddy behavior could not be deliberate but the volume
of complaints on the web suggests it is a problem Tivo chooses not to
There are probably too few dollars involved to interest a class
action lawyer which is a shame. Clearly Tivo's corporate ethics need
the kind of cleansing best done by a large financial penalty.
For shame, Tivo, for shame!