TiVo Can't Let Reader Go, Keeps Billing Thrice-Canceled Account

Over a year ago, Michael didn’t want TiVo service anymore, and he called them to cancel. This would have been a perfectly reasonable request. The problem, he tells Consumerist, is that TiVo refuses to acknowledge his multiple cancellations, and now won’t let him call and try canceling again until he pays the balance that has accrued since his credit card expired.

I have had a continuing problem with Tivo since I canceled my account in September 2008. I wasn’t on contract; and had not been on contract for some years.

When I called to cancel, the rep pulled out all stops to convince me not to. I insisted, and it was done. Supposedly.

Tivo kept charging me every month for service, though. I called Tivo twice more in the first few months, and both times I was told my account was indeed canceled. However, they continued to charge me into 2009. I did chargebacks/disputes every month. My credit card bank always refunded my money, so that kept me happy. A little bothersome, but I already called Tivo three times about this and they weren’t doing anything. Eventually, I was issued a new credit card when the old one expired, and figured I wouldn’t need to do the chargebacks anymore (because Tivo had an old card, how could they keep chargin me?). Somehow, though, they were.

Finally, I wrote a letter to my credit card company to ask whether the $12.95 they were absorbing (often credit card banks will not file an actual dispute for a low charge) every month for over a year was worth it. I also asked how Tivo could continue to charge me if they aren’t using my renewed card expiration date and CVC code.

The charges stopped. Great!

Two months later, though, I got a letter in the mail saying my account with Tivo was behind, and that my service was discontinued. The letter also said I was being sent into collections. I called Tivo. They claim that I owed $12.95, and that they have no phone calls on record from me since February, 2008 (which I think was a tech support call, but don’t really remember). The representative said they could cancel, but would not cancel service until I paid the $12.95. They also told me that unless I paid immediately, I would be sent into collections and that the amount I owed would continue to grow (by $12.95 per month) unless I paid the $12.95 owed so I could cancel service.

Then they told me I could not access updates and scheduling for Tivo at this point. My account was on hold. I pointed out that not only did I cancel before, but that I haven’t even used my Tivo since September 2008!

We went around and around for a few minutes until I just hung up.

So, according to Tivo, they will continue to charge me $12.95 per month, and send the accruing amounts to collections until I pay so that they can cancel my account. On any account that was (attempted to be) canceled three times. That hasn’t been under contract for years (I think my original contract expired in 2006).

Look, TiVo, Michael’s a great guy and all, but sometimes you just have to let go.

Try sending TiVo a letter by certified mail canceling your account. Bonus points if you have a lawyer friend who can write a quick letter on your behalf instead. You’ll have proof that your letter existed, and certified mail might be just the thing to make TiVo sit up and take notice.