Los Angeles To Sue Time Warner Cable For Sucking

Today, the city of Los Angeles plans to give a little gift to Time Warner Cable—a lawsuit! From the LA Times:

The 25-page lawsuit, a copy of which was reviewed by The Times, claims the company violated its franchise agreement with the city by having subscribers spend hours on hold with customer service representatives and allowing excessive repair work delays.

“Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ripped off,” Delgadillo said in a statement. “Time Warner must be held accountable for its promises.”

The lawsuit cites several examples of how Time Warner Cable mislead customers or failed to live up to agreements made when it became the main cable provider for Los Angeles two years ago, including:

  • their advertising gave a false impression that prices would remain the same
  • they failed to answer 90% of customer service calls within 30 seconds, which is a requriement of their franchise cable agreement
  • their technicians failed to show up on time or complete repairs promptly

The paper says Time Warner Cable could face “civil penalties of tens of millions of dollars.” We can’t wait to see what Time Warner Cable says about this.

“L.A. to sue Time Warner Cable over poor service” [Los Angeles Times]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Kajj says:

    Yay! Maybe this will be the beginning of the end for TW. Of course, nature hates a vacuum, so I hope you like Comcast, LA!

  2. dragonfire81 says:

    “We at Time Warner take this very seriously…”

    Isn’t it amazing that a company must be sued to try and get it to provide efficient and timely service??

  3. godlyfrog says:

    It’s not TW’s fault. 5% of their customers are constantly calling and using up 95% of their repair resources, so they’re going to put a support cap on all accounts and charge extra for anyone who goes over that cap.

    Wait… I think they used that excuse already…

  4. gqcarrick says:

    Well to be fair LA is a monsterous market. TW is probably sucking because they had to take over for Adelphia which held the LA market until they were bought out by Comcast and TW.

  5. Truvill says:

    While not in the LA department, I’m glad I’m leaving them by the end of tomorrow.

  6. Kounji says:

    This is why time warner is trying to split off the cable unit. They suck balls at providing cable service. It all makes sense now

  7. Quickness says:

    Now, if Chicago would go after Comcast, I’d be a very happy guy.

  8. BenedictNumskis says:

    Ohmygod FINALLY someone’s doing something about Time Warner. It’s not just
    LA–I’m in NYC and they have been the bane of my existence forever. My
    internet or cable TV cuts out, I spend an hour on hold waiting to talk to
    someone, and then they say they can only send a technician over in 2.5 weeks
    smack in the middle of the afternoon on a workday, with no offer of
    compensation. They must be taken down.

  9. opsomath says:

    Awww. Is the poor company regretting its government-granted monopoly?

  10. mariospants says:

    wait… was there a change of ownership at City Hall? Don’t the politicians usually protect these corporations?

  11. ThunderRoad says:

    Wisconsin solved this problem with an industry-written statewide cable bill that basically nullifies local agreements and allows the cable companies to screw the customers even more.

    Way to go Wisconsin! Home of the wholly-owned-subsidiaries in the legislature.

  12. Mr_Human says:

    @mariospants: Even politicians need their cable . . .

  13. mariospants says:

    you know, the more I read about this story, the more it brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. This is AWESOME. ACCOUNTABILITY, by god. and no money-grubbing class-action lawsuit to boot.

  14. mariospants says:

    @Mr_Human: heh heh, that’s good. I like that.

  15. @gqcarrick: Yep. It’s not just LA, though. Up here in central New York, we’re having the exact same problem.

    Cable goes out the second three flakes of snow fall, usually on Fridays, and you’re SOL for the whole weekend. TWC naturally blames the weather (34 degrees F and slightly overcast), although I’ve gotten good service from DirecTV in the worst lake-effect snow Mother Nature can churn up.

    They re-arrange the channel lineup (you might see one or two new channels, but the rest is just rearrangement), call it an upgrade, and raise prices another five to ten bucks a month.

    In the unfortunate event you need customer service, you usually need to budget at least an hour (40 min. to get a turn with a CSR, 20 minutes to explain the problem and be understood), and the usual result is that they’ll schedule a service call – in three weeks.

    Sound familiar, Angelenos?

  16. gqcarrick says:

    @Steaming Pile: That sucks for you. I live between Buffalo and Rochester and my cable almost never goes out even with the howling winds we get out here in the country. My girlfriend lives in Buffalo and her’s has never gone out and we all know the winds and snow Buffalo gets. TW must just suck out there in central NY.

  17. kborer22 says:

    can we get one of the ordered up for comcast?

  18. Acd says:

    My TW internet goes out multiple times each day and they’ve never been able in the past two years to fix it, let alone even identify what the problem is. So a few weeks ago I finally added a Verizon DSL as a backup network for when my TW goes out. Now I can just click over to the other network and keep on working. Then after a while I click back to the faster TW connection to see if it is up and working again. If I had known that the only way to have constant TW internet service was to pay for a backup I would have done it much sooner. The extra $15/mo. for the DSL is well worth not having to wait on hold to deal with the TW customer disservice department to complain that my internet is out again.

  19. nXt says:

    So my question is, if the City of LA wins, is any of the money going to go to the customers (who are the ones that’s affected) in LA?

  20. mike says:

    I think the major problem with most of these corporations is that they must answer to stockholders and investors first, much like many of us have to pay our creditors before we can do other things.

    To stockholders, customer service is secondary to how much money the company brings in. The lost of one customer so it can gain 2 is common sense.

    Of course, I don’t no this for sure. But I have been thinking more about it lately as I put more money in the market.

  21. HeartBurnKid says:

    Hey, can LA county get in on this action? I’m in Lancaster, and Time Warner sucks up here too!

    I’m still mad that everybody in the AV that had 10Mbps service got taken down to dial-up speeds for a week and a half, and when I called up, I went through 4 different people, each and every one of which had me go through the same retarded troubleshooting steps. Yes, my cookies are going to affect everybody in 2 cities, sure…

  22. opfreak says:

    @ThunderRoad:

    no wisconsin made it easier for companies to compete.

    they are allowing state wide licenses, instead of having to work with ever two bit county/city board.

    otherwise Timewarner could just buy a local area and not allow other companies in.

    Thunder must work for road runner, because they hate the fact comsumters now have another choice in tv service.

  23. MissPeacock says:

    I would like to see this happen with Charter as well. I wish they had an agreement in Birmingham like the one TWC has with L.A. They scheduled three appointments with me and failed to keep every single one. Never answer the phone within 30 seconds either.

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    C’mon, Time-Warner Cable: shoot your customers in the stomach. Give Rocky something to really complain about!

  25. jdmba says:

    TW is no different than Comcast was, or AT&T was, or MediaOne was (well, this is actually a reverse chronological history of how my cable bill logo has changed, without me doing anything).

    The penchant of cable company technicians to skip your appointment and claim you were not home is legendary. It has happened to me over and over. TW’s new policy to combat this is that the tech will call you up to 3 times prior to your appointment, and if you do not answer, they will not show up.

    This policy, however, seems more anti-consumer, as it allows the tech to now simply say “I called, they didn’t answer” instead of having to come up with new and exciting excuses for why they didn’t show up.

    Hopefully this will get addressed, although I doubt it.

  26. julsh2060 says:

    Cable companies have been missing the requirements on their local franchise agreements for years. I think you’ll see more and more of this as local property taxes have declined and cities think of more creative ways to drum up money.

  27. jimv2000 says:

    A more proper lawsuit would be Comcast vs Everyone

  28. caffeinequeen says:

    Mmmmm, let me pour myself a glass of sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

  29. nobodygrrl says:

    TW is horrible. I lived in Santa Monica, which had an exclusive agreement with Adelphia (we all know how grrreat that company was). TW swooped in to “save the day” and then did absolutely nothing. After consistently overbilling me and threatening to cut-off my service unless I double-paid my bills (yes, DOUBLE pay) to prevent future errors on THEIR part, I did my own threatening and managed to actually get them to pay ME money for my hassle. Being a lawyer helps sometimes. And, before you ask, satellite wasn’t an option for me. After moving, I’m now a disgruntled Charter subscriber.

    Also, there was an interesting article in the LA Times the other day about LA’s dismal HD choices and how viewers are being screwed by Comcast and TW. [www.latimes.com]

  30. Rippleeffect says:

    I was a customer at the time (still am >.< ),but I know I won’t see any money back from this suit. Had Adelphia highspeed cable, went through the transition and for the past two years, have had horrible connections, lost packets on the same switch, at least 15 visits by “techs” and they can’t solve the problem. Horrible service support, bad excuses.

    If FIOS was in the area, I’d be with them instead.

    grrrrr

  31. Tiber says:

    Don’t worry, all TW needs to do is call the FCC and tell them that they’ve hired one new rep so the problem has been fixed. The FCC will then reverse the charges and praise this as a victory of the free market, while TW raises prices due to finance their “upgrade.”

  32. Bizdady says:

    Im in the LA Area and with TW. I hate them! I pay for the same channels twice with minimal HD Channels. Couple times my internet has crashed and had to hold for 40 minutes plus just so they can reset something on their end, it wasnt even on my end.

  33. drftjgoj says:

    @nobodygrrl:

    Yeah, I read that article. Its so frustrating to live in the entertainment capital of the world, yet have such terrible HD coverage. I live in Los Feliz, and have had nothing but problems w/ TWC for the past few years. Messed up installations, incorrect billing, missed appointments… you name it, I’ve experienced it. Its as if they go out of their way to screw customers over…

    I’m planning on switching to DirecTV, but I’m gonna wait until before the NFL season starts. If DirecTV is smart, they’ll run some promotion discounting NFL Sunday Ticket around then.

  34. TorrentFreak says:

    HA! Stick it to ‘em LA. I hate TimeWarner. They are the only game in town here. They are expensive, the customer service is terrible, and they cut yoru cable ‘by mistake’ everytime someone else in the neighborhood doesn’t pay their bill.

  35. Techguy1138 says:

    I live in LA and just got an HDTV with an ATSC tuner.

    Do you realize how awesome OTA HDTV is in LA? I’ve got around 50+ channels that come in far clearer than TW cable ever has using a $4 pair of rabbit ears. I also have an in TV program guide.

    I now try to watch cable as in frequently as possible. OTA is so much clearer. Unless you have a favorite station you MUST have save the $$ from TW and get a digital HDTV.

  36. thinner77 says:

    i lived in North Hollywood, the ass-last area to get the “new equipment”
    from Adelphia, the “golf course” cable company.

    Garamendi waits 3 months to allow TimeWarner into L.A. He is lambasted
    by those of us who are moronic enough to bleeve “what could be worse
    than Adelphia?”

    Time Warner’s suckFest begins. I then move to Van Nuys, as a result
    of Condo-Conversion…a hazard of rent control apt. living in L.A.

    Did you know there is a “Time Warner LEGACY area” vs. a “Former Adelphia
    Time Warner area”? i had to return my cable box–in person, not give it
    to the technician who came to my apt., this was a result of the LEGACY area.

    i spent 4 hours on hold…several times. I lost my discounts i had been told
    were good for 12 months. I was refused, more than twice, to be transferred
    to a supervisor! I was…my god, i’m havin’ flashbacks!

    There is no Verizon DSL available in Van Nuys. only AT & T.

    In the last week, Time Warner has been at my apt. door, at 8:30 PM,
    to sell me a DVR box, and has called me after 8 PM to sell me
    digital phone service.
    If i call them, hold time for the first CSR is 15-20 min.

    i pay 90.00 monthly for digital cable TV, 6 MB cable modem internet,
    and no premium channels.

    no regulation, no competition, no fines or penalties for bad service,
    and no recourse but to sue them. that’s why the City Atty. has to
    get involved. the deal L.A. made with Time Warner is a joke! on us…

  37. LosersHaveCreditCardDebt says:

    I have no problem with my Time Warner Cable. I do have a problem with those idiot fiscal fools on the LA city council.

  38. jackspat2 says:

    I HATE TIME WARNER. They are the worst here in LA. They’re always late and I was on hold for 47 minutes one time. Their HD lineup is terrible and my cable box freezes and needs to be reset all the time. I hope the city of los angeles gets to sue them.

  39. PingPongDarts says:

    I dislike Time Warner as much as most of you but I have to be fair and say that the internet they’ve provided to me in Hollywood has been extremely reliable (though occasionally slow on weekends). I work from home and have been with them for almost a year and have only lost service once. Of course, that’s just my side and I am in no way defending any of the other examples people have provided so far in this thread as I can only assume they’re true.

    I AM supremely pissed at them for even considering phasing out “unlimited” internet bandwidth, though.

  40. We all know what the result of this will be…
    It’ll be a fine of a hundred or so thousand dollars or a fine in the lower millions which will roughly equate to a drop in the bucket for a Cable company like Time Warner which will give them no incentive to better their services.
    SSDD.
    Nothing changes.

  41. aikoto says:

    Awesome. Whether it’s effective or not, this is still a good precedent.

  42. ViperBorg says:

    Final-f***ing-ly.

  43. intlpostman says:

    Time Warner Los Angeles changed my service plan from my grandfathered Comcast plan, which was a better deal. What was the agreement between Time Warner and Comcast in regards to existing customers plans? I was under the assumption that Time Warner was required to honor this plan until the consumer requested a change. Does anyone have any information on this part of the agreement between Time Warner and Comcast?

  44. Anonymous says:

    I just moved here to LA from New Jersey and my internet, cable TV and phone provider was Comcast New Jersey, what a great company, lots a new movies,
    with time Warner every day the same movies and too many repeats, I’m very disappointed with there Cable TV, I’m happy with there internet service and telephone but in the future i will look for Satelite TV