TiVo is fired

I haven’t really been using my TiVo since I got the HD cable box. The HD cable box is not great but it supports HD and my old TiVo doesn’t. I like the TiVo UI — my series 1 TiVo served me well for nearly 8 years and it still works fine. I only stopped using it because it didn’t do HD and I’ve been waiting for a good HD-TiVo solution that I was sure would fully work with my cable. Since I haven’t used the old TiVo in months I want to stop paying for it. (Yeah, the breakeven point for the “lifetime” subscription was years ago — oops, I never expected to keep this first-generation TiVo for so long. I was sure that something more compelling would come up from TiVo or someone else within 3 years…)

I’ve heard some horror stories about getting the CableCard TiVo to work with Comcast — getting it to work seems to hinge on how well the Comcast guys you happened to get were trained. Comcast is going to be fired too. This is too bad, since otherwise I would have picked up the CableCard-OK HD TiVo when the price dropped.

So I’d like to suspend service on the old TiVo. TiVo would lose me as a monthly customer, but I’d still be willing to pick up a new TiVo in the future. No problem, since TiVo has a pretty nice account management web interface. Except…

I can do everything except cancel or suspend service on the TiVo web site. I have to talk to someone on the phone to cancel — so far I’ve been on hold for 15 minutes once and then the support line hung up on me. Now I have called again and am waiting on hold again.

Making me call to cancel or suspend service is why I am unlikely to ever buy any more TiVo products in the future. It’s too bad, too, because without that I would still like TiVo despite the fact that they have no products that can help me right now. Perhaps they do not care about alienating customers that want to suspend or cancel service but it does seem to preclude the chance of any customers that leave ever coming back. I am sure to tell my friends about this experience, too, changing my recommendation that folks pick up a TiVo despite being offered a cheap but lame DVR from the cable company to just use the cable-provided DVR. The monthly fee is cheaper and there’s no up-front equipment cost.

I’m up to 15 minutes on the second attempt at getting a person to talk to. This seems designed to ensure I’m in a particularly bad mood by the time anyone ever answers. I suppose if they never answer the phone then they think I can’t ever cancel.

Update: At around 22 minutes, somebody answered. She was very polite, tried to get me to stay, pointed out that they had CableCard-enabled HD TiVos when I explained why my TiVo was no longer adequate, and apologized about the wait and the hang-up. I have no complaints about the experience once I finally got to talk to someone.

However, since the only reason TiVo forces a call for cancellation is to benefit itself with a “saves” mechanism then putting people on hold for a long time and having a buggy IVR that hangs up on them seems pretty counterproductive.