So if you're a consumer electronics manufacturer in the midst of a highly-publicized product release, you'd think that the last group of customers you'd want to alienate would be the die-hard fanatics who participate in your forums everyday and were among the very first to place orders for said product, right? Well judging by the tone of the comments on the TiVo Community boards, that's exactly what the company has down to its so-called VIP subscribers -- you know, the ones who possess those coveted lifetime subscriptions and woke up extra-early this past Tuesday
to ensure that their new Series3 boxes
would arrive the next day. Except TiVo apparently wasn't ready to handle the deluge of orders that it received, and after two days of wondering what the heck was going on (calls to customer service were met by confusion and misinformation on the part of the phone reps), everyone finally received an email confirming the delays and promising shipment by Friday. Luckily TiVo had the good sense to refund the shipping charges -- in some cases $50 worth -- to these early adopters, but much to the VIPs' displeasure, they learned that they'd be unable to cancel their pending orders if they wanted to go the retail route; and what's more, there was some confusion as to whether store-bought TiVos would even be eligible for the $200 lifetime subscription transfer
. As of this writing it seems that only a handful of folks actually got their boxes on Friday, with everyone else scrambling to reschedule the CableCARD installation appointments they'd made with their cable providers
. So while there's little argument that TiVo makes a fine product with a world-class interface, perhaps when it eventually comes out with the Series4, it'll do some better planning or leave distribution to the professionals
-- apparently, TiVo and e-commerce don't seem to go too well together lately.