Listen Time Warner, The 60-Year-Old English Teacher Didn't Order $1,400 Of Porn

Time Warner wants reader Nancy, a 60-year-old English teacher, to pay $1,400 for ordering porn—including 17 flicks supposedly viewed on a single day. Nancy didn’t order the porn, and has no clue how the charges were associated with her cable box, but one useless Time Warner representative suggested: “maybe your dog ordered them.”

Nancy writes:

Time Warner is charging me for movie purchases which I have not ordered. My current bill is 1400.30. The overwhelming majority of these movies are pornographic. My bill informs me that among many others, 17 were ordered on May 8 and 14 were ordered on May 10. Time Warner says it is impossible (their word) that these movies were NOT ordered from inside my house using my remote control and my cable box. I am a 60-year old English teacher. I have never seen a porn movie in my life. I LIVE ALONE. No one else has access to my house when I am a work. My husband who works out of another state is helping me in an effort to rectify this mess.

So far, we have been through the telephone drill (on hold, rude customer service clerks), a 90-minute visit to my local cable company where I was told that “maybe your dog ordered them,” a phone call to the Time Warner CEO’s office in Connecticut (national, not district) where I talked with a Customer Relations rep, a call from a Customer Care rep at district level, etc. None of this has helped. I was told at every level that the only way known to man that these movies could have been ordered is from inside my house using my equipment. I am 100% certain that they haven’t been ordered from my house.

It looks like I’m going to have to swear to that under oath in court because my husband and I have agreed that we will not pay for these movies (52 movies since 4/21, most of them costing $11.99 — I didn’t even know there were on demand movies that cost $11.99). Though I have been researching this problem for hours and hours and have seen comments from others being charged for movies they say they didn’t order, I have not seen anyone with a problem with Time Warner of this magnitude. Can you think of any possible way this could have happened?

17 porn flicks in one day? We’re young. We’re ambitious. But that’s too much—by far—even for us.

Nancy’s situation calls for a dose of common sense, which means executive customer support. Call Jeff Simmermon, Time Warner’s Digital Communications Director, at (203) 351-2221, and see if he can’t help wipe off those misfired charges.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Pro-Pain says:

    DirectTV isn’t any better. I had the worst customer experience ever with them yesterday. They really went down hill. DO NOT use DirectTV if you can avoid them, or @ least if you DO use them hope you never have to call customer service.

  2. snoop-blog says:

    …Or did she?

  3. kdollarsign says:

    I feel like if she did, she wouldn’t be on such a rampage. but yeah, snoopblog, that was my first thought.

    sixty year old english teacher or not.

    have the charges stopped coming?

  4. snoop-blog says:

    So I don’t get it. English teachers don’t watch porn, or 60 year olds don’t watch porn? Because I’m trying to figure out what her being a 60 year old english teacher has to do with the price of tea in china. As someone who watches a lot of porn, I can assure you, 60 year olds, and most likely english teachers watch porn. But I can totally see why because she is an 60 year old AND an english teacher I can totally see how that right there is evidence enough that she doesn’t watch porn.

    Not that I think she really did order it because I don’t.

  5. acasto says:

    She should check her closets. There may be someone living on the top shelf.

  6. am84 says:

    I think maybe the point in saying she was a teacher was to emphasize that she was probably not even home between like 7AM-4PM. Maybe they can check the times of when these movies were ordered? If she was at work and no one else was home, it obviously wasn’t her.

  7. pitawg says:

    Windows without blinds, and neighbor kids with identical remotes come to mind. I hear “while at work” and have to wonder.

    Is there any correlation with orders at a time she and her husband were not at home?

  8. The fact that her husband is outside of the state doesn’t help her case much…

    That being said, she’s a teacher. Anyone with the same remote and line of site from a window can turn on your cable box, and assuming they could see your TV, program the remote to turn it on. You turn the TV on, mute it, then turn on the cable. From there, it’s a simple matter of ordering movies. I’m guessing as a 60 year old teacher, she’s teaching kids in jr high to high school, who are nasty little bastards, and if they ever saw “Dirty Old Men”, could come up with the same idea. My recommendation is to point the TV away from a window, and put the PIN code on ordering movies.

    Either that, or she has a Japanese chick living in her closet who digs porn. [gizmodo.com]

  9. RetailGuy83 says:

    @pitawg: My thoughts too, how many neighbors over the years have gotten keys “just in case?” How many of those neighbors have college aged kids that came home 3-4 weeks before local school dismissed for the summer?

  10. snoop-blog says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: don’t they have security codes that you would have to know and enter on those things? And one would have to think if she could somehow be responsible for the porn if it was happening through the window by neighbor kids. If it was your own kid doing it behind your back, I’d think you would be responsible for the charges. I could go either way…

  11. Dobernala says:

    @snoop-blog: @snoop-blog: @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: Does TW even offer porn that would appeal to women? I bet a quick look at the titles of these movies she allegedly ordered would quickly put to rest the idea that she would want to order this crap.

  12. snoop-blog says:

    Well this story may explain the sudden findings of crumpled tissues around the house…

  13. B1663R says:

    I think she got a taste for the “forbidden fruit” and liked it.

    i read somewhere that ” a cheetah can’t change its spots but, if you join the spots together you get a very convincing Tiger.”

    GRRRRRR baby, GRRRRRR!!

  14. B1663R says:

    @Dobernala: Yes, there is a lot of Normal Porn (girl on guy) but there is also tons of Gay porn for both sides!

  15. snoop-blog says:

    @Dobernala: I don’t think anyone really believes she ordered the porn…

    …I think we just want to believe that when we’re 60, we will.

  16. timmus says:

    Time Warner should have to use security codes or a credit card number each time porn is ordered. If they don’t, the burden is on them to eat the costs, as far as I’m concerned. Her next step should be an EECB with a threat to contact the media. The media would love the angle of “old spinster having porno trouble”, especially since morality is kind of a hot button for a lot of local news outlets.

    And I bet those movies sucked… about ten years ago I ordered cable porn movies at a hotel in Reno.. never again.

  17. Mudpuddle says:

    Maybe someone is using her cable connection or has a remote that works with her cable box too. Imagine your ordering cable extras for yourself and inadvertantly ordering them for your neighber too.

  18. tinky XIII says:

    @B1663R: There’s a difference between lesbian porn and girl/girl porn. BIIIIG difference, trust me. =p

  19. snoop-blog says:

    yeah I’m not buying this at all. At age 60, you should have such a massive collection of porn already, that you don’t need to order movies.

  20. jeadie5 says:

    A kid in my neighbourhood was caught breaking into houses and ordering porn and calling 976 numbers. Maybe that is what happened here. He found a house that nobody was every home and started ordering.

    She should look to see if all the movies ordered were while she was out of the house.

  21. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Next step should NOT be an EECB.

    I’ll just keep saying this on every time warner post:

    Time Warner cares about their BBB rating. They will work with you very well once the BBB steps in.

    I know this from experience.

    Do not further dilute the strength of the EECB by using it when unnecessary.

  22. Michael Kohne says:

    One thing that needs to be said: Cable companies get a LOT of people trying to avoid paying for pay-per-view (especially porn) that they really viewed themselves. I imagine that the front line at TW Cable is assuming that this case is just one of the many.

    I used to work for one of the back-end providers of pay per view equipment (we made the software and equipment that handled pay per view – billing, talking to the box, transmitting the video, etc). We used to get regular calls from a cable company to look at one system or another because a customer complained that they never ordered that porn. We never found an instance where it was our equipment. Frankly, I think they very seldom found cases where it was anything except a teenager in the house (who would swear up and down that they’d never order such a thing, oh no, not me).

    If you can get high enough in the heirarchy, I would hope they would be able to fix it – especially if you can prove you were not home while some of the movies were being ‘watched’.

    Nancy also needs to try to get them to cut off at least the porn from her account. If she doesn’t use pay per view at all, get them to turn that off altogether. If you don’t have access to the service, then it’s a little hard for them to claim you used the service.

    Nancy might also want to get them to confirm that the cable box they have associated with her account is in fact the one that’s in her house. It’s far from impossible for them to have gotten a box on the wrong account.

  23. Amy Alkon000 says:

    As someone who watches a lot of porn, I can assure you, 60 year olds, and most likely english teachers watch porn.

    Sure they do, if they’re men. Some younger women will watch porn, but they mostly do it with guys, and occasionally — nowhere near the levels men do. That’s because male sexuality is far more visually-driven than female sexuality (and I say that as somebody who’s written — don’t laugh — scholarly articles for Hustler on the topic).

    P.S. Incidentally, if you want to be exploited as a writer, write for a women’s magazine. Hustler, which I write for occasionally, and Penthouse, which my late friend Cathy Seipp used to write for, pay well and pay fast.

  24. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    @Amy Alkon: Could you please explain that to my girlfriend? She has a very hard time understanding it when I explain it to her.

    Also, I know at least a few women who watch porn for their own enjoyment. They’re the minority, but don’t treat it like it’s unheard of.

  25. Catebb says:

    May 8 was a school day. If the movie charges occurred during school hours perhaps she could get a statement from the principal that he was at work and could not have ordered the movies. The 10th was a Saturday though.
    17 movies would take a big chunk out of a day – were they all ordered at once or one after another?
    Good luck with this mess.

  26. littlemoose says:

    How has nobody commented on the awesome picture that accompanies this story? It’s pretty great.

  27. Sasha_Pie says:

    Here’s the breakdown: There are only 4 possibilities…

    1. Someone stood outside her window and ordered the movies.
    2. If she lives in an apartment building, the maintenance crew or someone else illegally gained access to her apartment.
    3. The serial number of the equipment listed on her account isn’t actually the box she has in her home
    4. A guest or family member actually did order the movies and won’t admit it to her

    I cannot stress this enough: PUT A PIN ON EVERY SINGLE BOX IN YOUR HOME.

    You need to escalate. Get legal if you have to. I don’t know about Time Warner, but we had an internal group specifically tasked with handling PPV disputes.

    I worked for several months on a project for a cable company that handled THOUSANDS of customers disputing $100s of dollars of porn charges on their bill… and most of the time, the charges absolutely 100% were ordered from their house and the customers later admitted that their son/husband/relative/guest did order them. The problem is that so many people blatantly lie to customer service to try to get PPV charges dropped, that it’s impossible for ANY cable company to say “Oh, you didn’t order it? Okie-doke. No problem, I’ll just credit you $1000.00. Thanks for calling!” No one is going to credit that much money just on your word and your age. And chances are that the charges are legit. You would be AMAZED at how often people, especially teenagers, order adult movies back-to-back.

    Any cable company worth its salt will be able to research the issue with some depth and

    And despite what you may want to believe, there is NO age limit to being interested in sex. I’ve had 60-70 year old women admit watching adult movies to me… so the age thing has NOTHING to do with it.

  28. tahamaki says:

    2:00 “Afro Whores”, 3:30 “Afro Whores”, 5:00 “Afro Whores”… It says in the morning you watched “The Grinch” for ten minutes, then switched back over to “Afro Whores”.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    Hello, Mrs Robinson!

  30. dragonfire1481 says:

    Is it possible some ne’er do good cable tech could have hacked into her connection, redirected it elsewhere and ordered the movies themselves?

    I don’t know how secure digital cable is.

  31. Trai_Dep says:

    @snoop-blog: Men are more hunter/gatherer, visual oriented. We trend towards watching things that catch our attention that moment. Women, not so much, and in general don’t watch much porn. Especially sixty-ish ones. And English teachers, I’d bet trend smaller too (but those Art History teachers: whores!)
    A Venn diagram of People Who Watch 17 Porns/day, and women and sixty-year-olds and English teachers and Consumerist tip contributors* would be a lonely, lonely diagram.

    If it was a sixteen-year-old water polo team kid making the same claim, on the other hand: hang him, hang him high.

    * I made that last part up. Hi Mom!

  32. Optimistic Prime says:

    I wonder if it was a former student of hers that she failed or caused to be held back that did it.

  33. pgh9fan says:

    She should put a block on ordering premium services on her account. Then when another charge shows up she’s got them.

  34. Sasha_Pie says:

    @dragonfire1481: It’s not really possible with digital equipment. At least for the cable company I worked with, PPV is a two-way ordering system which requires a serialized cable box to initiate an order. Even if someone had an extra box connected to your cable lines, it wouldn’t be charged to your account unless the serial number of that box were also registered to your account.

  35. Trai_Dep says:

    Does Time Warner Cable even have Dog-on-Dog porn?
    Because if they do, I’m feeling pretty queasy.
    Unless it’s that soft-focus, running-in-the-fields, tentatively sniffing each other’s butts soft-core D-on-D porn.

    PS: the default for all PPV titles should be password protected. Period. Of course, they’re too greedy to have a common-sense practice like that.

  36. nuttish says:

    If you’re sure you’d win this lawsuit, and I’m relatively sure Time Warner will default or settle by knocking these items off your bill, you are FAR FAR FAR better off proactively suing Time Warner in your local courts for breach of contract and a declaration that you don’t owe the charges alleged. If you get a judgment in your favor, you avoid ALL of the potential hassle of Time Warner assigning this to a debt collector, or worse yet selling the account to a debt buyer who WILL sue you for $1400 at some point down the line. This is so because debt collectors are not in the business of dealing with customer disputes. They collect debts, and they do it by irritating you, harming your credit, bothering your friends, and overstating their claims when they know you have a legitimate dispute. Protect yourself early by just filing suit and getting a declaration that you’re right.

  37. betadan says:

    I work for a cable co that will remain nameless, (no not Comcast). I have see this happen before, it is usually cause when the customers Digital Terminal has a DVD recorder hooked up to it. The DVD recorder will try to order programs from on-demand services, and record them. so not entirely the cable co’s fault, but we would at least re credit the first time and roll a truck as well to verify the diagnosis. For the reason that it’s smarter to roll a truck for 75-100 per SC than keep re crediting porn at $10 per shot

  38. Tmoney02 says:

    @snoop-blog:
    “As someone who watches a lot of porn, I can assure you, 60 year olds, and most likely english teachers watch porn. But I can totally see why because she is an 60 year old AND an english teacher I can totally see how that right there is evidence enough that she doesn’t watch porn.”

    Well She says it her self in the article:
    “I have never seen a porn movie in my life.”

  39. mythago says:

    That’s because male sexuality is far more visually-driven than female sexuality

    Which is to say, researchers have shown porn aimed at heterosexual men to groups of males and females. Males as a group liked the porn much better than women, so men are “far more visually-driven,” QED. (I mean, c’mon. Even if it were true, you’ve SEEN porn. It isn’t exactly designed to appeal to even the most visually-driven female.)

    The large number of titles in ONE DAY is kind of the tipoff that something’s weird about this.

  40. English Teacher ?

    60 year old ?

    What do those terms have to do with this post?

    Rewrite the title: “Customer did not order $1400 of Porn”.

    The descriptive terms were added to inflame the sensitivities of the casual reader.

  41. timmus says:

    She says it her self in the article: “I have never seen a porn movie in my life.”

    Holy cow, 60 years old and never seen one? Outside of fundamentalist spheres, are there people who are really that sheltered?

  42. Tmoney02 says:

    @timmus:
    Holy cow, 60 years old and never seen one? Outside of fundamentalist spheres, are there people who are really that sheltered?

    Yes its sad since either
    A) Shes actually seen one and would never admit to it
    b) She views all porn as dirty and wrong

    Either way sad and shouldn’t be that way but to each their own. I blame it on generational gap. My parents would fall into A or B. Younger generations far more accepting and far less ashamed of porn. Heck we make porn stores role models now, for better or for worse.

  43. Joedragon says:

    There have been cases of boxes still having the orders of the last people who had the box being put on the bill of the new person to get the box as the cable co did not fully reset them. Also the account maybe messed up and other peoples boxes are on it.

    cable is shared so a bad box in a neighborhood is pushing out others and some of them fall on to other boxes in the neighborhood.

    Why is there no cut off for PPV / on demand where they call when you hit something like $50 $100 and so on to see if you are ordering it?

    Also are the movies being ordered with out the time to see the full movie? 14 in one day be from a bad box / system error.

  44. dvdchris says:

    Don’t you think Time Warner would find it unreasonable to believe someone ordered 17 porn movies in one day? All they would have to do is look at her PPV history. If she never watched PPV and all of a sudden there are 17 porn PPV in one day, it strains belief that these are legitimate charges, or that she ordered them.
    I’m also not discounting the ‘neighborhood kid’ theory either. I know of a case where teen boys were helping an elderly lady on a regular basis until it was found out they were calling phone sex lines using her phone…

  45. snoop-blog says:

    Never seen a porno? I’ll bet she expects us to believe she doesn’t fart either.

  46. Nev-in-NYC says:

    I say call the Digital Communications Director referenced before the comments, explain the situation to him and then say that there will be several other calls immediately following that one. First a call to the BBB. Then a call to an attorney to proactively sue them, and then a call to some media outlets to get some coverage of this. Methinks thesmokinggun, abovethelaw and some legit news outlet like cnn or a local news team would do the trick. No way in hell that a jury would rule against her in a case like this. Talk about a sympathetic plaintiff…

  47. Sasha_Pie says:

    @nuttish: Court is not necessarily such a slam dunk. The company will ALMOST NEVER lose in court once it has proved that the box was in the home and that it provided a parental control option, which the customer did not use. I think the entire time I worked on the project (out of hundred of lawsuits) we lost one case because our evidence was lacking, not because the person was convincing.

    Think about it, it’s impossible to prove that NO ONE was in her home during the time of the orders. Even if she was at work, a family member could have been there… and unfortunately, you’re responsible for anyone who orders from the equipment.

    Secondly, I call BS on the supposed $1400 in charges. How much of that is the regular service charges? 52 movies at $11.99 each is only $623.48.

  48. Joedragon says:

    $623.48 + $50 cable internet + $100 for tv + hd + box fees + $50 phone + $100 for HBO and others is still $923.48.
    Is her account messed up?

  49. Sasha_Pie says:

    @Joedragon: That does sometimes happen in a perfect storm of events, if someone orders a couple movies and then immediately returns their cable box, and if the order processing was delayed, and if the box then wasn’t reset properly, that the next person to have the box would get charged in error. But since she said the charges have been continuous since 4/21, that’s unlikely. Not to mention that’s an easy error to spot if the order date was before the box was installed. She doesn’t say how long she’s had this box.

  50. Pylon83 says:

    @nuttish:
    Except for the fact that she will have to fork out for an attorney, and isn’t likely to recover the costs. Remember, this is the United States. You pay your own way in court (save for very few, limited circumstances where there is statutory authorization for attorneys fees). 6 hours of any decent attorneys time will be $1200, plus costs (copies, internet research, filing fees, etc.).

  51. LouDobbsChivasJersey says:

    Maybe the dingo ordered them.

  52. AgentTuttle says:

    Them saying it’s impossible just shows how out of touch with technology they are. Anything can be done with technology, just look at the last couple of bogus elections.

    Anyway, Direct TV almost got me in trouble with my soon-wife when she was charged with a porn we didn’t order. She explained nobody was home and they refunded her $5 at a time on a few bills. CONVERSELY, she has only ever ordered one movie (non-porn) and was never charged for it.

    Yet they think their system is fool proof, hack proof, mistake proof.

  53. “Anything can be done with technology, just look at the last couple of bogus elections.”
    @AgentTuttle: I agree. There’s no way the Democrats had that many votes. Their just dipping back into the old Joe Kennedy days and rigging elections.

  54. stevejust says:

    As for all the age-related comments:

    C’mon if a 52 year old is buying crotchless panties as Victoria’s Secret, why not a 60 year old addicted to porn? Her husband’s gone… she gets lonely… she breaks out the rabbit.

    I can’t BELIEVE no one brought up the thong suit.

    I think a more plausible story is someone figured out how to hack a box that happens to have her serial number, though. But maybe not.

  55. CyberSkull says:

    Assuming a 90 minute film and 17 * 90 is 1530 minutes. There are only 1440 minutes in a day. There is no way to order and watch that many films in a day. Period.

  56. Invalid_User_Name says:

    CyberSkull: I was thinking the same thing. Sounds like to me that some numbers have been crossed and someone else kept ordering movies because the first ones ordered did not show up.

    Would love to know how this gets resolved.

  57. Caveat says:

    Happened to me with Dish Network for one movie. First they denied my claim to cancel the charge, then I asked to cancel the service, at which time they canceled the charge. I still canceled the service. I am not a 60 year old female English teacher, but the porn did not match my sexual orientation. I would have offered to take a brain stimulation test to prove it, but it was not offered…Still, all our lives are now wrapped around our credit HISTORY. The credit card companies track every purchase and every late payment. They should also set up a porn history profile. If the teacher does not have a history of porn watching then it is unlikely that she would overdose in one day…

  58. GearheadGeek says:

    @CyberSkull: A friend of mine is the director of engineering for a Time Warner market, and one of the things under his authority is the video-on-demand system. I can’t remember the exact number, but he told me that the average viewing time for VOD porn is under 10 minutes. The actual run time of the show has no bearing on the time spent viewing it.

  59. rjgnyc says:

    @Caveat: Because if someone never bought porn until that day, they clearly never saw or had an interest in it?

    It sounds like a lot of conditionals in here that have nothing to do with anything. “she’s 60, she teaches english, etc”

    And honestly I kinda found it funny that they told an ENGLISH TEACHER that “THE DOG WATCHED/ATE IT” – I can’t be the only one who sees the humor in that.

  60. P_Smith says:

    If it were seventeen movies in three mounths, I’d doubt her.

    But seventeen movies in a day? What sort of morons do they have to be not to admit that they (no pun) fucked up? Or are they making their own rape fantasy porn where they screw the customers?

  61. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Amy Alkon: That’s because male sexuality is far more visually-driven than female sexuality (and I say that as somebody who’s written — don’t laugh — scholarly articles for Hustler on the topic).

    As someone who has also written (and photographed!) for such publications, I respectfully disagree. ‘Tis a myth that females are not “visually-driven.” All of my female sex industry workers, writers, and authorities will agree with me hands down.

  62. jashba says:

    This happened to me with BrightHouse in Florida. During the hurricanes in 2004, we were without power for 2 weeks. We left town and drove up north to visit family. When we came back we still had no power for another week. The next cable bill were were charged over 900 dollars for repeated porn charges on the account, all during the power outage. BH STILL wouldn’t remove the charges until an employee friend got their supervisor to credit us, being as we had proof the box was off. We still ended up paying 300 of it to close the account. They told us that the charges came from OUR REMOTE, so apparently, they wanted us to believe that someone had taken our remote out of our apartment, used it on their cable box, then broke back into our apartment, put it back, and re-locked the place before we got back…

  63. richcreamerybutter says:

    * female friends in these fields

  64. wring says:

    this happened to Hank Hill. he cleared his name by watching hours and hours of porn. she should do the same.

  65. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    She should make them check the IP of the box that actually ordered the product.

    I am not in any way in that sleezy profession of cable companies. I do profess.

    I am just used to the crap that T_W deals out.Each and every box you rent has it’s own IP and is provisioned to your account.

    Make the provider prove beyond verbal, that it was actually ordered from that set top network provisioned box. Or more than one network provisioned box.

    Got to love netowrk logs.

  66. mikelotus says:

    @CyberSkull: she does what i do – fast forwards through the talk an foreplay to the good stuff

    @GearheadGeek: 10 minutes per movie? does that really sound possible?

  67. choinski says:

    Its not like the cable company has lost a tangible product that can’t be replaced or diminishes its inventory. Give the lady a break.

  68. Pylon83 says:

    @choinski:
    Actually, the cable company has to pay the PPV company for each time the movie is viewed. So if they credit back the whole charge, they actually lose money.

  69. Bix says:

    @betadan:

    How the heck does that happen? Something weird with an attached IR blaster?

  70. MageSeer says:

    I work for a particular cable giant… maybe even the one in question, but not in her area. I’ve seen this happen a few times before. Sometimes it winds up good, sometimes it winds up at corporate. From my experience, I’ve never once seen a ppv/mod charged to an account that wasn’t ordered from a customers cable box. Each box has a specific MAC address assigned to it which is how we can view the customers purchases. We use this data to see how often its viewed, rewinded, paused, fast forwarded, etc, but only for On Demand services since is a two-way system. If you were to ask me, either someone is sneaking into her house or someone is running a secondary business. And I’ve had many lil’ old ladies call in to make 2k dollar payments. Why? They make a lot more reselling than they do off social security. I’m not saying thats whats happening, but it is a possibility.

    By the way, corporate escalations is: 866-563-6312 if it helps any.

  71. Doug Nelson says:

    I used to live in a house where the TV would turn itself on every afternoon. It turns out it was a sunbeam hitting the IR sensor, but it drove me nuts trying to figure out what was happening until I finally saw this.

    Not a big stretch to think something similar is going on here.

  72. Dobernala says:

    @Pylon83: This is assuming that the movie was actually viewed. If the lady didn’t actually watch the movie and nobody else did either (assuming some sort of billing error here), then I don’t really see why TW would have to pay anyone either.

  73. houston2882 says:

    ummh, 60? alone! gotta be doing something more than reading those boring English books. Dealing w/min wage telephone answering people is not going to correct the issue. I say get one of those sleezy TV lawyers and let “THE STRONG ARM” sue them for mental stress.

  74. martymefurst says:

    Sasha_Pie nailed it, either the mac address of this customer’s box is actually in another customer’s home (like if the installer scanned the wrong box out of their truck to this customer, and installed that box somewhere else, which is really unlikely because it would have been caught when they tried to install that other box and found it already on an account) or a visitor ordered them. The visitor is of course usually an angelic 13 year old boy who would never do anything like that, but I guess a maintenance guy with a key could do it too. The system is 100% infallible as long as the mac address on the account is correct. The pickle that the cable company is in when people dispute these bills is that the programming providers know that the system is 100% reliable, and they expect payment regardless of whether the customer pays or not, and Playboy or Spice’s cut of that $1,400 is a pretty big chunk of cash.

  75. I have found that Time Warner responds well to complaints to the Public Service Commission.

  76. rjgnyc says:

    @mikelotus: Most people aren’t watching porn for the plot, nor do they really want to have a marathon beat-off session. It sounds pretty reasonable for someone to only watch the fun parts of a porn and fast forward to just the part they want to wank to.

    They’re not going to really care about the pre interview or the credits at the start or if the guy playing the repair man is out to fix pipes or the cable box.

  77. Trai_Dep says:

    The thing is, if every subscriber had to punch in a DOB (default) or another password before a PPV would play, this couldn’t have happened.
    Of course, they want the rubes to order without thought, so they don’t do this.
    Great. So take their lumps now. Seems fair, since TWC didn’t put any safeguards in.

  78. MageSeer says:

    You’d be surprised at how many customers are upset over the default 0000 pin code that is on most newer cable boxes.

    There is some personal responsibility though. If every customer would put a pin on their boxes we wouldn’t have this problem. However, lets enjoy the fact its given us a few chuckles today.

  79. jackspat2 says:

    For that much money, I could hire a prostitute and make my own porn. Hahahahah

  80. 2719 says:

    It does not matter if she did it or not. She is responsible for the charges.

  81. GearheadGeek says:

    @Doug Nelson: It’s a big stretch to think that a sunbeam is sending a signal to the cable box that a) turns it on, b) select video-on-demand, c) chooses the adult section, d) selects a movie, and e) confirms the order of the movie.

  82. evslin says:

    Don’t those cable boxes have a private IP address that the provider can use to send reset signals to and such? Why not have her unplug the cable box and see what does/doesn’t drop off the grid to prove whether the videos were ordered from her house or not. If the company’s documentation is right then it’s an open and shut thing imo.

  83. GearheadGeek says:

    @mikelotus: I don’t know what you think is impossible or even unlikely about the 10-minute thing. Start movie, fast-forward to naughty bits, get off, turn off the TV and go clean up. My friend who’s the director of engineering is quite smart, knows how his VoD system works, and wouldn’t lie to me. I believe the 10-minute average. Why don’t you? Do you watch porn for the dialogue? ;)

  84. Aresef says:

    “…see if he can’t help wipe off those misfired charges.”

    And I see what you did there.

  85. petitcerise says:

    @Amy Alkon: I don’t think you should generalize. A lot more women like porn than would ever admit to it and not just to watch with our husbands/significant others. But that discussion probably belongs on Jezebel.

  86. @jackspat2:

    For that much $ spent on a pro…. she better stay a whole week and wash my windows and floors during her free time.

  87. cashmerewhore says:

    Funny story:

    My friend was telling me about her husband’s experience with ambien this past week. (hang on, it relates)

    He got hungry after taking the pill, so went to make a PB sandwich. Somewhere in the sandwich making process the pill kicked in. He did a bunch of weird stuff, including ordering a PPV porn which he watched exactly one minute of (as shown on their bill).

    Anybody in the house taking a prescription sleep aid?

  88. mikelotus says:

    @GearheadGeek: Oh sorry, I did not realize there was quick squirting teenage boys on here.

  89. RetailGuy83 says:

    @mikelotus: Really?

    Sometimes when no one is around to impress, you just want to get in, get out, and be done. I know how I like it, 10 minutes if I was already inclined, probably not unheard of.

  90. figpetus says:

    This is probably what happened, my younger brother did the same thing once: She was looking at the different titles, going in to check the descriptions, and ordering them, but not starting them. With TW you have to start a movie after you order it, and I’m betting the menu might have been a little confusing to a “60 year old English teacher”. She probably kept thinking she was gonna get to watch one, and when it didn’t work, moved on to another title, to do it again and again, until giving up in frustration because old people can’t understand technology

  91. sycophant says:

    I have absolutely no experience with US cable boxes, but the systems we use here with subscriber-based satellite service could quite possibly be scammed. It is possible to make a clone of the subscriber card which contains the information from which billing associations are made.

    Someone mentioned MAC address as the way the cable VOD and billing services are managed, which would make sense. If that’s the case then I’m almost certain it would be possible to clone/fake a MAC address on a decoder. I worked for an ISP once that did a MAC address controlled delivery system and it was definitely possible to clone an approved MAC address to get free service.

    Also repeated billings for the same title just screams accounting error to me. That some sort of unusual error in the type, content or format of requests or communications for her cable box is causing errors or unexpected conditions in the billing system.

  92. Avery says:

    @MageSeer: Why would she complain ANONYMOUSLY to Consumerist if she actually was buying the porn and tell them she was going to take it to court?

    Someone stole her MAC address, maybe through network sniffing. Is it really that hard to believe?

  93. Trai_Dep says:

    @cashmerewhore: If so then the makers of that FrankenPill should pay the freaken charges. :)

  94. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Reminds me of when I was a kid and ordered a porn. Knowing my parents would kill me, I had a plan to order every single porn for the next week, so they would automatically assume it’s a glitch.

    Guess what? It worked!

  95. lalafalala says:

    Firstly, let me get this out of the way:

    No, I don’t think the sixty-year-old schoolmarm did it. Not because of her age or gender or because she morally couldn’t have, but because she probably wasn’t home. And I think we all know her dog didn’t order it.

    Now onto the other issue that has, thanks to Amy Alkon, herein arisen. No pun intended:

    I am a girl. Yes, I am cute. I am also straight, which I reveal only to indicate my averageness in this regard. I am also, despite being all of the above, extremely visually-oriented, and thus a mere visual whiff of something that’s sexual (limited to the all-human variety, admittedly), and I become aroused. Doesn’t matter if it’s “traditional” porn, Skinamax, lesbian/girl² porn, it hits that part of my brain and beyond my own control, wham, there you have it. And, forgive me for getting too personal here, but to stress to what level this is true: I’ve climaxed merely WATCHING porn. Same with reading erotica. Yep, same with hentai. And yes, even I was surprised the first time this happened. So watching the so-called nasty-nasty, or visualizing it mentally, allows me to cruise hands-free. Rare? So I’ve heard. Impossible for others? I doubt it.

    And no, all you other histrionic arm-chair (or degree-holding) psychologists of the intertubes, I was never sexually exploited as a youngster, had no dirty uncles living nearby, etc. Didn’t even play “doctor” with the boy next door. Depressingly normal development all around, although I wouldn’t claim my conditioning was of the average variety, as I was raised to view neither the human body/sexuality, nor sexual acts, as obscene. To me, my pre-adolescent body just was, and I carried that neutrality into my adulthood. It was stressed that sex was neither morally good nor bad, and in practice, I was told, it could be either, and what I made of it personally was entirely up to me. Foremost though, I was taught it was human and natural and interesting and to be experienced, to my own accord. So fitted with this viewpoint, I even waited a while to have sex (yes, past the high-end of average first-time age), not because of fear as instilled by church or parents, or the guilt associated with going against the wishes of both or either, but entirely because of the complications I’d witnessed youthful sex inject into my partaking peer’s lives. This is, of course, where porn came in especially handy: it’s hard to get knocked up, or the clap, by/from yourself. But I digress.

    Being intrigued as I am by sexuality, I have had countless conversations with other woman who will admit, in confidence, to having similar (if less intense, but sometimes not by much) responses to sexual images. The fact that they often also express that they are uncomfortable with these responses, and flat-out say the images and their own responses to them disgust them, as well as that they know, or were brought up to believe, that it’s wrong for them to respond this way, causes me to suggest the obvious: that girls -at least the ones of my Y generation and older- unlike boys, were/are conditioned by parents and society to “look away” and repress such responses and impulses, lest they risk feeling guilt and/or shame, or even social punishment, for not doing so. Anecdotal as this evidence is, it’s telling. Negative emotions don’t exactly make me feel great in the sack, so I can see why for many women fitted with THIS viewpoint, porn’s a flat-out turn off.

    Perhaps the resulting date of these studies is actually more indicative of this fairly ubiquitous and systematically-induced emotional malaise amongst the female population regarding sex and sexuality, (as well as of the underlying mores held by those doing the interpreting) than of the “fact” that women are simply not physically/neurologically able to be physically aroused by visual images.

  96. ivanthemute says:

    @Avery: Someone stole her MAC address, maybe through network sniffing. Is it really that hard to believe?

    Yes, it is. IIRC, Time Warner uses Scientific Atlanta model converters and DVRs. These boxes, because of some court ruling years back, have an M (two way) cable card in them which acts as seperable security. These cards are unmarked and physically sealed into the slot on the back of the converter. As such it is damn near impossible to pull the MAC off of it, let alone the serial number, bound IP and pairing data required to allow it to sync to the network. Second, the converter itself has a serial number which is paired to the converter, then bound to the IP address assigned to the box. IF! you can spoof all of that on the network, then yea, you can fake it.

    Occam’s razor folks. Is it some sneaky bastard spoofing two devices, two IPs, and ordering this stuff? Possible, yes. Likely? No. Is it some sneaky bastard watching porn, racking up charges and not telling momma? Possible, yes. Likely, yes.

  97. Mudpuddle says:

    “Alright, fess up! You know you slipped into a nice pair of leather thigh high boots. Strapped on a matching leather strapless bra. Sipped some more peach rum, then grabbed your whip, sat down with your remote control determined to watch as much smut as your heart could take. Didnt you? DIDN’T YOU!!!!” a Time Warner Customer Service rep.

  98. hwinkler says:

    So many commenters reporting that this happens a LOT — teenagers gaining access and running up $1000 TW bills.

    Seems like a good gig for TW: Entice 15 year olds with the stuff they can’t resist. Then get law enforcement to make you pay the $1400 bill. For them, no need for normal due diligence businesses should do before selling you $1400 worth of goods. “Grammy said you could buy $1400 of (baseball cards, chewing gum, Vicodin) and charge it to her? Here ya go!”

  99. bwcbwc says:

    This is why I put a block on the PPV channels on all of our cable boxes, not just the one for the kids. You have to enter a PIN to order anything.

  100. provolone says:

    She should be given a volume discount at the very least.

  101. From working at the bank AND at dish network, if you ask if they have had a teenage visitor recently or one lives in the house, they go…’oh. ohhhhhhhhh’ and then realize someone in the house DID order it. This kind of stuff doesn’t usually happen on accident.

  102. Mudpuddle says:

    Darn Gnomes

  103. megafly says:

    I would think the first step would be to lock up the cable reciever somewhere with witnesses and see if the charges keep coming with the box out of the house.

  104. littletater says:

    It’s not that farfetched.

    Amazingly enough, the same thing happened to me & my husband and we came to the conclusion that someone had stolen our MAC address – we had charges on days we were out of town, and no one had our keys. We’d also have charges at times when we both left for work, and the charges would be several hours apart, like 8 AM, 11 AM and 1 PM.

    It was a ridiculous struggle to get the money refunded, but we finally got it.