by Mike Masnick

ReplayTV's Bait And Switch Pricing

from the holiday-promotion dept

Let's say you're a company that has just recently bought a struggling PVR maker like ReplayTV. You know that there's a lot of competition out there this holiday season, coming from all different directions, such as market definer TiVo and all the various cable and satellite TV providers. So what do you do? You drop your prices to a very low price and put bright green stickers on the boxes saying that the first three years of service are free. When people call you up and ask you if this great deal is for real, you tell them "absolutely". Next, you let people snap up these boxes in short order realizing that at $150 and no service fees for 3 years, they're getting quite a deal. Then, just as they've wrapped up the wonderful gift for their loved ones, you put out a press release saying that the retailers screwed up, and you will be charging a $13/month service fee after all - despite the bright green stickers. In most places that's called bait & switch or simply lying, but the folks behind ReplayTV seem to think it's a way to get good holiday sales.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 26 Dec 2003 @ 2:58pm

    No Subject Given

    Tell the whole story Mike, geez. It's not like they put the green stickers on the boxes after they said we'll charge 150. Sure they messed up, but what they did was VERY bad communication, and they messed up, they didn't say we'll sell these for 150 with service, then take the service away. They were sellign these boxes at 450 with service, hence the green stickers, and changed their pricing policy, without doing their hoemwork, and making sure everyone knew they wouldn't have service anymore [ie. making sure retailers knew properly, making their website updated properly, etc]. They did a major messup, which will cause them lots of bad PR, and lots of people will [and have] got the lifetime service for that price. But insinuating they placed the stickers on the boxes knowing it was 150 price, and goign to take it away, thats not correct.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Alex, 29 Dec 2003 @ 9:33am

      Re: No Subject Given

      Actually, ReplayTV is now deactivating the service for boxes that came with the lifetime service. And yes, ReplayTV customer service was confirming that these units would have Three year/99 cent thereafter service.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2003 @ 3:53pm

    Corporate responsibility

    If a company decides to slash a unit's selling price by 2/3's, it is their job to do the homework concerning units in "the [sales] channel". Said company clearly screwed up in this case [at best], or even defrauded. Any decent company would honor what the stickers on the boxes, and forms inside the boxes, said. Product labeling is a form of contract. If ReplayTV won't honor their own written deals, they deserve the big fat class-action lawsuit that they are quite likely to get these days. Especially considering that the 'service' is nothing more than regurgitated TV Guide listings. Hell, selling that for more than $10 per month invites a price-gouging lawsuit in itself, which would be a problem for TiVo as well. Considering that generic DVRs from satellite and cable companies come with much lower fees (or no service fees but a monthly lease fee for the hardware), TiVo and ReplayTV are both destined for extinction if they don't adapt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.