Time Warner Cable: "Why Do You Feel Like You're Being Double Billed?"

Reader Dave is not having a good day. Time Warner Cable is being spectacularly unhelpful. First they changed the name of his company to his wife’s name. Then they double billed them. Then they sent a guy out to his house to physically disconnect his internet. Then another guy came to disconnect someone else’s cable and disconnected Dave’s instead. Finally, while he was trying to fix the double billing issue he got a TWC CSR that kept asking him why he “felt” like he was being double billed. What a mess!

David writes:

I’m writing this as I sit waiting for the next level of service. It’s been 3 hours and 10 minutes and my 5th Time Warner phone call of the day. A little background first… I recently got commercial class internet so I could fix my bandwidth problem. My wife had already called a couple times to tell them that her name had changed when we got married. I told them that when we linked accounts I wanted her name to be changed because it never took. Instead of doing this, they changed the name of my company to “Christi [redacted] Company.”

We got new commercial internet and it was a little faster, but not what I expected. The tests ran fine showing it was fast internet, but there was a lag. Running a traceroute clearly shows this. It just hangs while waiting for road runner nodes to respond. It does this randomly all the time and this makes pages load slow. This is what the engineer said would be gone after 7 months of Time Warner managers coming out to my house and finally bringing him out to talk to me.

Yesterday my service was going in and out because of a problem in the area. I called and they gave me a credit for one day of internet service. It completely screwed up my day of work. I had an unusual balance, but I figured my wife had forgotten to pay the bill. No big deal. I asked them if this would be an issue. She was at work and had the credit card. I obviously had no internet, so I couldn’t log in to our account and pay it as usual. They said that wouldn’t be a problem and that I could call or log in tomorrow.

Today started with the cable and internet not working. I called the residential number and went ahead and payed the bill with a credit card since the internet wasn’t working. The billing department said there was no record of a disconnect and it must be a technical problem. I asked if they could at least check the cable because it was residential. They said it was all commercial and I would have to call them. When I talked to commercial tech support, they said my account was a soft disconnect. I told them that billing said it was not disconnected. Commercial tech support told me I would have to call billing back.

When I told them that I just got off the phone with billing and that they had told me to call commercial tech support, they put me on hold. 15 minutes later they came back and told me everything was ok. Everything had been reconnected and should be working now. I reset everything and nothing was working. She didn’t know why the internet wasn’t working and stated working on it. She couldn’t access the cable boxes for some reason. She had me read the MAC address off of one to try and get to it. That didn’t work either. She told me I would have to call residential back about the cable boxes. I told her that earlier in the morning they stated that they couldn’t do it because it was all commercial. She said she would work on my internet and give the box time to reset. She would call me back later.

On to the cable problem. I called residential back and they couldn’t find my cable account. This is when things started to make sense. I gave her my wife’s number and it came right up. It said that it shouldn’t be disconnected and everything should be working. But the boxes in the house still were not working. We figured out that there were still two accounts. The one in my wife’s name that she payed online, and the one in my name that we thought was linked to the commercial account. It turned out that all the payments we had made on her online account didn’t apply to the new commercial internet. We had been getting double billed. All the new commercial internet bills were going unpaid and were therefore soft disconnected. But since there was no internet, the bill I paid this morning paid all of the commercial internet balance since I had called in under my name. She helped me figure everything out and was going to get a technician out here. I asked her if they would came same day, since one of the promises of the commercial internet is that if its down, they’ll fix it the same day.

She wasn’t sure since the cable was residential. When our 45 minutes of digging through problems was over I asked her why they were both disconnected since only the commercial internet was behind on payments. She wasn’t sure. She was going to connect me to someone to link the accounts. She connected me after about 10 minutes on hold. She took time to explain the situation to him. The guy asked for my account number. I asked him which one. I told him that was the problem. I gave him the residential account number. Then he asked for my pin. What do you mean? He said there was a pin number on my wife’s account. I had talked to people already about the account. Why would I need it now? He said there was nothing he could do until I gave him a pin. So I asked him to transfer me back to the woman I had been talking to. He told me that he couldn’t because she was in the commercial department. I told him that she wasn’t. She was in residential and I needed to reconnect to her because she had figured everything out already. I was put on hold for 15 minutes. After that I heard a ring and Jason Rutlage’s voicemail picked up. Who is that? Now what? All I could do was hang up.

I called back and had to explain to someone that I had to find the lady from earlier. All he could see was that I talked to some guy. At that point, the internet lady called back. I put him on hold and clicked over. I explained that we have no idea what’s going on. Both services are paid and should be working, but they’re not. She said someone could come out tomorrow. But they promised me that someone would come day of if there were any problems. She said she would see what she could do and call me back. I clicked back over and gave the guy my wife’s phone number. He looked at the notes to find the woman I was looking for. After 10 minutes on hold I heard some clicks. A bunch of noise started coming out of the phone. I kept saying hello for about 20 seconds and a woman answered… “Thank you for choosing Time Warner. How can I help you today?”

AAAAHHHHH! I was speechless and had no idea what to do next. I briefly explained that I needed to find this woman and I told her what was going on. I gave her my wife’s number and she asked for a pin. I don’t know it, that’s the problem. I explained that there were two accounts. She told me that I needed to disconnect one of them. NO! Don’t do that. That’s the last thing I want. I want the services working for one, and then I want the extra money back that I paid. She told me to call the commercial department back. I hung up and called them.

Commercial told me that a technician is scheduled to come out between 3 and 5. They can’t do anything else. Now I have to call residential back. At this point I noticed that the internet sync light was on. I have internet, but no cable, and the season finale of Lost is on tonight. I got a knock at the door. It was the commercial internet guy. He had just hooked it up outside. It turned out that it was a hard disconnect on both. The internet and cable was physically disconnected. But he couldn’t turn on the residential cable because he was a commercial internet guy and he would get in trouble. He called and verified that I still had residential internet service and was being double billed. He said that he’s the only one that does commercial disconnects and he didn’t disconnect me. He called residential services and they said the account was in good standing and there were no disconnects, so he went downstairs and connected it for me. Apparently someone came to disconnect someone else and pulled my cable instead. The neighbors were moving. It might be them. Now everything worked, but I was still being double billed.

When I called Time Warner to remove the double billing, it had been 4 hours at this point, she kept asking me why I “feel” like I’m being double billed. Again, she asked why I “felt” like I was being double billed. I began to read this whole thing to her in order to get her to understand. I had been writing all day as it unfolded and I sat on hold. She finally stopped me and decided to work with me. I asked her why anything was disconnected at all. She said it WAS supposed to be disconnected. I replied, “Soft disconnected, not physically, and not cable TV.” So she issued me a credit for internet and video for one day. Total credit… $8. Money I lost by not working on what I was supposed to be working on… $400. Not to mention that I lost 6 hours of my life over this. Now I’ve been on hold for the last hour to remove the old residential internet from my account. In that time I’ve proof read and finished writing this. This started at noon. It’s now 6:15pm. As of now, nobody can tell me why anything was ever physically disconnected.

–Dave

Dave, you’ve been more than patient with TWC. If you’d like to try speeding your complaint to the top of the pile, here’s some contact information for you.

(Photo: meghannmarco )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. AndyRogers says:

    Are cable companies government agencies? Because they act like it.

  2. TMMadman says:

    Maybe getting it in the behind is what made him ‘feel’ like he was getting double billed.

  3. NotATool says:

    As nice as it always sounds on paper, trying to “link” or merge two accounts (especially residential and commercial) is a recipe for FAIL.

  4. RandoX says:

    tl;dr

  5. battra92 says:

    Wow, I’ve always had good service with TW. Maybe I’m just lucky.

  6. mgy says:

    What is the difference between a “commercial” technician and a “residential” technician? Why is it necessary to separate the two even though they appear to have identical training and ability?

  7. boss_lady says:

    I’m sorry, but it always makes me laugh when customers say their internet is going “in and out” or “going down on me [them].”

  8. Bruce says:

    A bit of advice… When dealing with large organizations – Take notes with regards to who you spoke with, which department and get other identifying information!

    Get their name, their department, their employee number or phone extension and even if possible, which -time zone/city- they are in. Note the time you made the call.

    Large organizations will use multiple service centers and knowing which center you connected with previously makes it lots easier to reach the same people again should you need to.

    Another thing to remember, talk to them in a calm, reasoned voice, the last thing some CSR wants to deal with some raving hot headed lunatic on the phone. Treat them with basic respect and courtesy and they’ll be much more willing to assist you in solving your problem.

    That’s hard to do but it works much better then calling them a %#@*)!% in the first sentence of the conversation.

    You want to speak with “the internet lady”?!?!?!

    One moment sir, we’ll connect you right away! /sarcasm

    Asking to speak to “the internet lady” simply does not work.

    “Hi, can you connect me to Ms. Jones, employee # 123 at extension 456 in -city- please.” works a lot better.

  9. bleh says:

    If Comcast and Time Warner ever merged it would signal the end of days.

  10. I’m a little confused, and got very lost in that letter. My understanding was, his wife had a residential account with TWC. They got married. Her name switched. They changed their account from a residential to a commercial, but having 2 different boxes. Still only 1 internet connection for 2 boxes. It was supposed to be 1 commercial account for 2 boxes, but TMC had 1 commercial, and 1 residential? The wife was paying on the residential still, nothing on the commercial, and no one bothered to look at the bill?
    Pfft. What ever happened to husband-wife communication. I’m probably wrong about all of this, but that letter, at least at 11AM with less than a pot of coffee in me….

    My eyes are crossed.

  11. DeepFriar says:

    @battra92: not only are you lucky, you are the only one!
    My campaign of hate against TWC will not stop until they win Worst Company. And then I will take a breather for about 3 weeks before resuming.

  12. Buran says:

    Notice how it’s suddenly a commercial problem to the residential people and residential to the commercial people?

    Funny how that means they don’t have to do any work.

  13. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    …she kept asking me why I “feel” like I’m being double billed.

    That is a serious pet peeve of mine. I absolutely hate it when trying to explain to someone that something is or isn’t happening and they ask why I “feel” that way as though their errors are really just me having an emotional problem.

  14. @boss_lady: Oh, great, now I’ll never be able to hear either one again without giggling!

  15. caffeinequeen says:

    I hate Time Warner Cable like it was my job. I’ll spare you the long story of my DSL woes with them, but recently they’ve started sending me a bill for my cable TV. Okay, fine, but my apartment complex pays for cable TV and the bill, addressed to “TV Viewer”, is for zero dollars and zero cents.

    Oh, Time Warner, why dost thou sucketh so much?

  16. sith33 says:

    “The tests ran fine showing it was fast internet, but there was a lag. Running a traceroute clearly shows this. It just hangs while waiting for road runner nodes to respond. It does this randomly all the time and this makes pages load slow.”

    That’s normal for traceroute – some nodes don’t respond to the icmp requests that traceroute sends out. Do you have other quantitative documentation of your issue?

  17. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I just got finished with a (in my opinion) major issue with Time Warner Cable. Allow me to give you some advice:

    TWC surprises very quickly and quite well to BBB complaints.

  18. axiomatic says:

    switch DNS servers. that made may latency issues go away permanently. Time Warner and comcast historically just CAN’T do DNS correctly.

    I use opendns.org dns servers now and no longer have latency.

  19. samspot says:

    I had a similar problem with time warner when i moved. They didn’t disconnect my old service like I asked, and auto debited two bills from my checking account for about 6 months. It was probably another 3-5 months after they started taking my money before I finally got any sort of refund, and I’m still not convinced I got it all back, but I was really sick of calling their support. Support was completely clueless and never seemed to properly understand my problem. Needless to say I hate TWC and I don’t allow companies to pay themselves for my bills via EFT anymore.

  20. BearTack says:

    @axiomatic:

    If opendns.org provides DNS servers for free, how do they recoup their costs?

    IANAL, but my interpretation is that their privacy policy explicitly allows sharing of personal data with “affiliates.”. Your interpretation, or their actual policy, may indeed vary from my interpretation. Read it at whole at [www.opendns.com] or in part below:

    Affiliated Businesses
    We are affiliated with a variety of businesses and work closely with them in order to provide our services to users. We will only share personal information with affiliates to the extent that is necessary for such affiliates to provide the services. For example, when a website visitor searches on OpenDNS, the IP address and query are shared with OpenDNS’s advertising partners. We require our affiliates to provide the same level of privacy protection that we do and they do not have the right to share or use personal information for any purpose other than for an authorized transaction. Some of our affiliates may be located outside of your home country; by using OpenDNS’s websites, you consent to the transfer of such information to them.

  21. aaronw1 says:

    The problem is that for many people, what appears to be the same problem is actually many different problems in disguise.

    For example – the user changing his dns servers to opendns. The only thing that this can ever fix is the dns lookups – the actual packets have to go the same way that they went before. Also, you may get slightly screwed up akamai pages getting served to you because you’re using a ‘foreign’ dns server.

    The user that mentioned traceroute ‘stalling’. If it goes * * *, or if it returns times, but an IP only, it was stalling while trying to get a name and was *NOT* indicative of an actual packet transmission issue. The only that ever matters is end to end latency/packet loss – nothing else and it is extremely difficult to diagnose issues correctly if you don’t have the appropriate level of access to the network

  22. mentor972 says:

    Verucalise, yes you are confused. There was only one cable box and one internet box, but the box had been switched out. It’s not a husband, wife communication thing. We both thought that the internet account she was paying online was the new commercial service, when it was actually additional residential internet that had been cancelled months ago.

  23. mentor972 says:

    @sith33 – Yes I do. And Time Warner was baffled by this as well. They have admitted there are problems.