Friday, June 11, 2004

The other day a friend of mine at work was talking to me about electronics (my vice), and he mentioned TiVo. I told him that for some reason, TiVo had passed me by and asked him to tell me a little about it.

After describing things that TiVo can do, he told me that if I was interested, he knew where I could get a used unit cheap. A friend of his had bought a Series 1 unit at a closeout when K-Mart closed a store. He'd plugged the unit up to be sure it worked, but had never actually subscribed to the service and used the unit. He'd sell it to me for $75. I told my friend that I wanted to buy the unit.

He brought it to me day before yesterday (Wednesday); that evening I hooked everything up and started to go through the guided setup. After a point in the setup, the unit powered itself down, then powered up and started setup all over again.

After I'd gone through that process several times with the same result, I dialed customer service for Philips (the manufacturer of the unit). A recording told me that if I chose to speak to a technician, the service charge would be $19.95. I hung up and dialed TiVo's customer service. A recording told me there would be a 35-minute wait. I waited an hour and five minutes, and never got through.

So, I just unhooked everything and took the unit back to the office with me yesterday. I called my friend; he said that it wouldn't be any problem for his friend to take the unit back. He came to my office, picked up the unit and gave my check back to me.

On Wednesday afternoon, I'd gone ahead and subscribed to TiVo service through their website in anticipation of having everything ready when I got the unit hooked up. So now I had to call customer service to discontinue the service. I wasn't looking forward to making the call in light of the hour and five minutes I'd wasted the night before.

However, when I called them yesterday, the recording said I'd have a 5 to 10 minute wait. A very nice customer service representative answered the phone after only 7 minutes. When I told her I needed to discontinue a service I'd signed up for only the day before I explained what had happened with the defective unit.

She said that if I wanted to cancel, that was no problem at all, but she was authorized to make me a special deal on a new TiVo unit. She offered me a brand-new Series 2 unit (more features than the one I'd tried the night before) with twice the storage space on it for $129.95 with a $50 mail-in rebate. So, for $4.95 more than the defective Series 1 unit, I got a brand-new Series 2 unit with twice the recording capacity!

I told her I wanted the Series 2, she placed the order, and said she'd transfer my account to the new unit. She also told me TiVo was paying the shipping charges on the new unit. I got an e-mail last night confirming shipment via UPS. I checked the tracking on it this morning, and it's going to be delivered TODAY!!

I am shocked and delighted; now I can hook it up tonight and spend some time this weekend learning how to use it.

Sometimes things work out in spite of yourself!

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