Lifetime Service and ReplayTV
Jun 25, 2011, 11:26
What is lifetime service? When a company offers lifetime service as part of their offerings for an increased fee there is a certain expectation that goes along with it that as long as the company is around they will provide service.
Back in about 2004 I purchases a Replay TV. I had done my research and this DVR recorder offered all of the features I wanted. It offered a commercial skip feature, which was nice, and it also offered the ability to download recorded shows to my mac, which in 2004 was a feat in itself.
When I purchased the box (for $142.27) they offered a choice a monthly recurring charge of $12.95, or one-time lifetime activation fee of $299, double the cost of the box. Doing the math, it would take a little under 2 years to equal the monthly fee. This was a gamble, since my understanding was that if the box died, so did the lifetime service.
I was pleased when the box held out over the two years, and equally pleased when I passed the four year mark even though other DVR choices has surpassed my little 40 hour record box, and was able to navigate hurdles including the box’s inability to protect itself from filling it up completely, intermittent channel guide connection problems (requiring me to hold down the power button for 30 seconds to reset the box and do manual connects to the service), and leap year debacle of 2008.
At 4 years my $299 investment was “costing” me $6.23 a month for service. As one of the lucky few this little box continued to the “end of life” for the product, which is now my point of contention, bringing my final ‘monthly fee’ to $3.56 for my 7 years of service.
What I purchased was “Product lifetime service”. Since there are no specifics from ReplayTV here is the original site
The standard definition implied by the site is the lifetime of the product. As stated from their site… “Customers can choose either a $12.95 monthly subscription fee or a one-time $299 service activation/subscription fee good for the life of your ReplayTV unit.” You could not be clearer than this. Lifetime of the unit. Not lifetime of how long you want to provide the service, but lifetime of the unit.
If the companies’ doors close, realistically I would be out of luck, but as long as they pick up the phone, the service should be provided.
On June 23, 2011, I message came up on my tv that said that because the digital conversion is complete, they are ending the service. This is obviously bullshit, because I have a digital cable box and an HDTV and the replay box works fine.
In speaking to a representative, he stated the customer base has dwindled to a point that it is not feasible to provide the service. From the companies perspective I understand and if I was in the boardroom to take a vote I would probably agree. But being on the other side of the table I am dissatisfied. I paid for lifetime service, and my unit still works.
The corporation (digitalnetworksna) has made no accommodations to refund subscription fees, provide an alternate means of service, or an upgrade path with a competitor. In fact they state they are making no accommodation at all.
Corporations have a responsibility to be honest, and conduct business with integrity. Digital Networks has done neither.
Michael Begala is the person they point to, to “raise any concerns”. They wouldn’t give me his email address, but below is the info I do have.
100 Corporate Dr.
Mahwah, NJ 07430
There are also a number of good forums keeping track of the situation: