Check Your Time Warner Cable Bill For An Extra $5 Charge

Reader Brett writes in with a warning:

I just got my Time Warner bill in Southern California and wondered why my bill went up by exactly $5. I called customer service and asked them that exact question. Heather informed me that there was a billing glitch which charged an extra $5 and affected numerous people. She said the glitch would be fixed in the next few days but she would credit my account.

I asked her if I hadn’t called, would Time Warner have automatically credited me? Her answer was “No. You have to call to get the credit”.

So Time Warner has a “billing glitch” and won’t credit your account unless you find it and call them yourself.

We’re crossing our fingers that the TWC CSR was wrong, and that TWC corrects billing mistakes that it knows about… Still, you should probably check your bill and call for the credit if you find that random charge. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Meghann Marco)

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  1. ACruzer says:

    These “glitches” seem to happen quite often. Whats to say that they don’t do this every once in a while to boost the revenue stream a little bit. A Billing error in their favor is pure profit. When will people start asking questions…

  2. taylorich says:

    Had a problem last month with TWC increasing my bill by $2.47. So, I decided to go online and see what the increase was for. It seems I had been signed up for something called a “Service Protection Plan” which added $1.99 to may base charge, added $.19 for a partial month and associated taxes and fees. I never received any information or was contacted about this “Service Protection Plan” and certainly never approved the charge. They were almost too quick to remove the charge, which they said that I had authorized.

    Watch those TWC bills!!!!

  3. dbeahn says:

    Yeah, sure they correct the glitch. More likely they file it under the “Well we don’t know who was effected unless they call, so we’ll have no choice but to hang onto the money we stole from people that don’t call….”

  4. kerry says:

    This sounds like the same idiot tax credit card companies have been known to levy. Basically, they put on a charge for nothing, call it a glitch and reverse it for anyone who calls and complains. The collect the money from everyone who fails to call about the charge. Free money. Woo!

  5. tvh2k says:

    From the title it sounded like TWC was charging $5 to check your bill online! I had my pen ready to draft a letter to the CEO. After reading the article, however, it turns out they’re just ripping off customers the same way they always have :-P

  6. TedSez says:

    If I sent Time Warner a bill for $5 and someone there mistakenly paid it, and I cashed the check, would that be okay? Or would they consider it, I don’t know, “stealing”?

  7. Goatweed says:

    Does the $5 charge show as a seperate charge, or is it rolled into the package(s) ? I’ll definitely be on the lookout this month.

  8. aparsons says:

    Companies are getting really good about this. Take for instance Missouri Gas Energy. I opened my bill this month and on a postcard was a note that said “You’ll notice that your new Service Base Amount is $24.99.” WTF!?! When did I get notice about a 150% increase in a base fee – when they sent the bill!?!?! Also, they conveniently cannot office same-day cancellation on service (3-day “milking” period) but were more than happy to offer same-day service on hookup.

    It’s a sham and you don’t have a choice anymore other than to get rabbit ears.

    Don’t get me started on the mandatory $30 installation service for TWC Digital which takes a whole 5 minutes.

  9. PDQ says:

    So when I call will I still spend an hour on hold like I did when they took over the Adelphia and Comcast territories?

    God I hate that company!!!

  10. TechnoDestructo says:

    @kerry:

    It’s kind of like a forced rebate.

  11. Max Mercy says:

    Not to mention that apparently you have to call to change your plan from Adelphia to the “cheaper” TWC rates…otherwise they just suck around 20 dollars a month because they “can’t just change you to the cheaper plan without your consent, you have to call to make this change sir.”

  12. HeySuburbia says:

    Before I signed up for TWC’s auto pay option I would only get bills every two months and then the second one would always include a “late fee” for not paying the previous month’s bill. If this happened once I would just assume my bill got lost in the mail, but this seriously happened four times in a row. Granted, maybe I’m partially at fault for not realizing I didn’t get a bill on time, but the cable bill is one of those bills that you totally forget about until it comes in the mail and you realize it’s time to pay.

    On the bright side, I signed up for a digital cable & high speed internet all in one package at a 12 month introductory fee two years ago and they seem to have never raised me price from the introductory fee to what I should be paying now.

  13. aparsons says:

    @HeySuburbia: Same thing happened to me. If you pay on TWC’s website via credit card, you are automatically enrolled in the paperless billing program. Happened to me and the following month I never received a bill. I called asking why I didn’t receive a bill and they told me my account was past due. I haven’t used a credit card on their website since that happened, two years ago. I pay by check and receive the paper statement in the mail.

  14. rkingucla says:

    i’m just curious about the billing glitch too. it seems like one part of my package went up by $5, from 39.95 to 44.95. Is that the glitch, or did they randomly up the price by $5 this month?

  15. SadSam says:

    I had a similar, but slightly different, experience with DirecTV. Living in So. Fla. my DirecTV was thrown out a wack by back to back hurricanes. DirecTV advertised heavily that it would fix — for free -the DirecTV dishes that were damaged by the hurricanes. DirecTV came out to fix my dish but the next month I noticed a service charge. When I called to ask DirecTV to take the service charge off my bill per the hurricane related promsies they did so after confirming my zip code. I then asked how the procedure for hurricane repairs worked. I was told that everyone was charged for a service call but that if they called in and confirmed their zip code the charge was taken off. I wonder how many folks didn’t call to inquire.

  16. Bryan Price says:

    I had issues trying to keep my old cable company’s bill paid. Mainly because it seemed that they never arrived, and if they didn’t arrive, I didn’t pay them. I then found out WHY I wasn’t receiving my bill some months. I got my bill. And four others were attached to it, all stuck by the glue holding the flap down. I should have turned it in to the company to show them that they needed to fix something, but I then left town. And they aren’t even who they used to be now. Part of Time Warner now I think.

    Any rate, I would be screwed with something like that today, because I wouldn’t have the bill to look at.

  17. macinjosh says:

    My cable bill recently went up by a penny. I’d fight it, but I’ve already lost the time/money typing this post. :)

    Actually, coincidentally, I just got notification of my new bill being available, and it’s now down 3 cents.

  18. crankymediaguy says:

    I swear, every company in America, even big ones, is run by people who think like crooked carnival workers.

    Remember how you went to the County Fair and you played a game and you thought you won the big pink gorilla on the top shelf but the carny behind the counter cited some rule you didn’t know about to tell you that you didn’t win the gorilla after all?

    In the carnival business, that guy is known as an “alibi agent,” for obvious reasons.

    You can understand why a carnival would pull crap like that since they’re only in your town for a few days and they won’t be around next week, so why not screw you over? It isn’t right, it isn’t legal, but you can understand the logic behind it.

    Now, however, even big companies (can YOU say “Enron”) operate the same way, even though they WILL be around next week.

    Why? My theory is that the executives are under BIG TIME pressure to get the stock price up, which they can only do by producing high margins, forcing them to pull unscrupulous crap like this.

  19. homersays says:

    TWC used to offer you an in-house appointment for free if you could not get to a TWC-owned store, but now they charge you $30 to come to your home. This is insane. I ordered an DVR box, but could not make it to the store and when they tried to charge me $30 to come to my apartment, I asked to speak to a manager and told them if they charged me the $30, I would leave TWC and goto Verizon.

  20. ahneill says:

    Hi I’m an attorney here in Southern California for the nonprofit consumer advocacy group, UCAN.org, based in San Diego, California. We bring actions against phone, electric, and energy companies for nickel and diming people on their bills, amongst other consumer advocacy. Can someone please identify what is the name of the specific charge? This could go a long way to getting the company to systematically correct the error. Remember when a company credits you for charges like this that they often continue gouging the unsuspecting. Anyway, feel free to help by submitting the details of what happened at http://www.ucan.org

  21. Max Mercy says:

    @rkingucla: I just called TWC/socal with the same question regarding the 44.95 from what used to be a 39.95…”oops looks like you were part of a technical glitch that happened this last billing cycle.” i wonder how many people it slipped by giving TWC an extra boost in profit.

  22. Drinker Nisti says:

    Gah! I was on the lookout after reading this post– sure enough, the charge for the internet service was up $5 on our newest TWC bill.

    I called customer service and was outright lied to– Pete in billing said that the internet plan went up $5 and that “fliers were mailed out to everyone.” I expressed my surprise, since the deal we signed up for back in December promised a specific rate for 12 months. Pete claims to check my account and says, “nope– you get a $10 discount for 12 months. The rates are subject to change.” Me: “Well, I definitely didn’t get one of those fliers. Could you please mail me one?” Pete: “Oh, I can’t do that. I’ll have to transfer you to sales…”

    While being transfered I found the paperwork that spelled out our fixed $19.95 rate and was prepared to do battle. I describe the situation to an Amber and she explains that the charge was due to a “migration problem” and she immediately fixes the bill.

    Our neighbors recently got FIOS and love it… We’re definitely looking into other options when our 12-month deal is up…

  23. SkyeBlue says:

    We have high-speed internet with SBC and also have Dish Satellite TV. Every month I was getting a $5.00 charge on my Dish bill because they said I did not have my phone hooked up to the satellite receiver. But I have never disconnected it. Come to find out if you have satellite TV and high-speed internet and it is ALL hooked up to the same phone line it makes it hard for the satellite people to tell if your phone is connected to the receiver. It drove me crazy having to call them EVERY MONTH to get this 5.00 charged removed from my bill. They seem to have finally gotten it straightened out though.