Please Time Warner, Change The Name On My Bill

You might think driving to a Time Warner office, filling out transfer forms, and copying your IDs—twice—might convince Time Warner to change the name on your bill; but you would be wrong.

Rather than waste another 45 minutes languishing in line, Matt used our contact information to launch everybody’s favorite armament, the Executive Email Carpet Bomb:

Dear Mr. Jeff Simmermon and Ms. Terry Cronin,

The good people at the Consumerist recommended I email you with my problem, which has dissolved into a Kafka-esque farce.

The thumbnail sketch of my situation is this… In mid-June, my roommate Alexis moved to Seattle and out of the apartment we shared. I stayed in said apartment and wanted to continue TW’s service. Before she moved out, we’d gone into a TW Cable office, filled out the transfer forms, had them copy our IDs and thought everything would just be transferred–after all, we were only changing the name on the account, not any of the services–and they assured us it would be.

Toward the end of June or thereabouts, I received a letter saying that somehow they had not received a copy of my driver’s license, though I’d seen the woman who took our applications make one. Odd, I thought, but I dutifully made a copy of my license, filled out the form, and sent it in. I call to confirm that this is all I need to do. I’m assured it is.

In late July, I realized that the account was still in my roommate’s name when she got a new bill, so I went in to my local office (in Santa Monica) for the second time. I was told to go to the Culver City office as that’s ‘where the paperwork is…’. Uh, okay….so I drive over, wait in line for about 45 minutes, fill out all the paperwork again, they make TWO copies of my license. I confirm–enough times that they started to get annoyed–that this was all that needed to be done and the names would be changed automatically within two weeks.

Guess what I found out today? That’s right, the change has not been made.

I call TW Cable from work. I’m told to go into an office. I explain I’ve done that already. I ask for a supervisor. I wait for 40 minutes due to high call volume until my office closes and I have to go home and try again. Then I decide to give emailing you two a try.

Please, all I want to do is change the name on the bills. No service changes to my phone, cable or internet. No address change, either. Literally everything should be the same except the name on the bill.

Please, is there anything you can do? I’ve been happy with my service overall–which I’ve had since TW took over our account from Comcast–but this experience has wasted so much of my time (two Saturdays, several hours on weeknights, plus an hour at work today) that I’m exploring other options.

Thank you and regards,
Matt

Terry Cronin later responded:

I do apologize for all the confusion! I certainly will have this looked into right away. You should receive a call sometime today.

Read our handy guide and you too can learn how to fire the problem-solving Executive Email Carpet Bomb.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Sandtiger says:

    I too had a problem with this. I finally got it fixed but it was a one year off and on again fight.

  2. AstroPig7 says:

    In 2008-07, my fiancée transferred her Time Warner service to our new house and asked if the name on the account could be changed in the process. The account was originally opened by her mother, who has since passed away. After being told that the name could not be changed, we then received a bill for a totally new account number with a different service plan. A tense phone call reclaimed the old (cheaper) service plan, but neither the Time Warner representative nor their manager could tell us why a new account was created or why we couldn’t just put our names on said account. We were then asked to bring a copy of the death certificate to a service centre before allowing the name to be changed (a humorous request as my fiancée had already faxed a copy of the certificate to Time Warner soon after her mother died). To no one’s surprise, Time Warner’s service centres are only open on weekdays during business hours, so neither of us has the time to fulfill this request.

    Time Warner, your ineptitude is inspiring. I salute you with both hands and a few fingers down.

  3. hamsangwich says:

    Let us know if they actually call you and fix the situation!

  4. balthisar says:

    Why do they even need a copy of the license? Every time I’ve gotten cable service, it was like this: call the 800 number, tell them my address and such, wait for the tech, and watch TV and get on the internet.

  5. Lucky225 says:

    OP: I have an exploit for time warners online billing that will change the name without the need of calling them let alone showing a new photo ID/name change document email me if you want me to change the name on your account. Lucky225@gmail.com

  6. Lucky225 says:

    Nevermind, apparently as of August 10th they updated their payxpress so the exploit no longer works :(

    • Sarah Black says:

      @Lucky225: In SoCal, the “exploit” still works. Just a few weeks ago, I was able to update the name and address on my account, no problem.

      Bypass the new “Membership Login” page by going directly to the “Pay your bill online” link (left-side menu, under “Customer Care”), which will take you to the older PayXpress screens [twlax.convergentcare.com] . Once logged-in, choose the “Update Profile” page and fill it with your corrected information.

      Taking care of things online bypasses the minimum-wage staff and the 45 minute on-hold/in-line times.

      • Lucky225 says:

        @SnowingCookies:

        Word, In tx it would have a field for your name greyed out, so I would just change the html to make it an editable field and then submit. But Central Texas got a new makeover for payxpress, so now my name on the account is permanently fake since I have no way of proving I’m the name on the account to make a name change back lol.

  7. Difdi says:

    I had a similar problem with Comcast when I moved into my current apartment. I wasn’t going to be present for the install, but since Comcast had a contract with the apartment complex, I was assured that I didn’t need to be present.

    Installer comes, installs cable service (TV and internet) and leaves. Two days later I move in and everything is great. Fast forward two weeks, and I have a connectivity issue. But despite my name being on the account, and me calling from the phone line in the apartment the account was installed in…the CSR won’t talk to me about my account. Why? Because my SSN doesn’t match the SSN listed in the account, so the CSR is assuming I’m up to some nefarious purpose…

    It seems that during the activation, the installer was supposed to enter my SSN into the account. Since I was not present, the installer used his own!

    It took me over a week to get that SNAFU sorted out and convince Comcast I was actually me…

  8. Bryan Price says:

    Cingular/AT&T screwed up my wife’s name (the contract’s under her name since before we got married) and simply added Prince after her name. I’ve finally managed to get it changed to Price, but they refuse to take her old last name off.

    And then one month, they decided to drop the direction of our street name, a problem because there are two addresses with the same number, but different directions (and I won’t get into the different street that has NO direction!), and the USPS unable or unwilling to figure out that one name goes to one address, and the other two names (step kids included) go to the other address. It’s been happening especially after our regular postman retired, and now we get different people now. That should have been fairly easy, but it still took 15 minutes in their store (I was about to try this over the phone).

    • johnva says:

      @Bryan Price: Cingular/AT&T did something similar with my account (actually, they made a typo when entering my name into their system, inserting a non-existent vowel in my last name). This was about 4-5 years ago. Every time I’ve called them since then for any reason, I’ve mentioned this and asked them to correct it, and they say they will. But it never changes. It doesn’t seem to matter much, but it’s kind of astounding that they can’t fix something like an incorrect name on the account.

  9. Bryan Price says:

    was=wasn”t.

  10. renegadebarista says:

    Look on your bill and find what municipality the franchise fee is paid to. Call them and file a complaint against Time Warner and odds are it will get taken care of quicker then an EECB

  11. danthefreakinman says:

    Been there. I have a PPL (electric company in PA) bill that has my girlfriend’s mom’s name on it. We own our own house. Bought the house without her mother’s name anywhere and PPL continues to send bills to us, for our house, with her name on it. We signed up for a new account (did not transfer anything) and it’s her freaking name! They won’t change it. We stopped trying. We’ll just wait it out till the next house. It is really amazing.

    I’ve also had similar problems with Comcast refusing to change a street name when the name of the street changed! Screw it.

  12. Overheal says:

    Matt I hope you ask them to give you some free Encore or Showtime for your time and troubles.

  13. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Wh……..where’s the picture of the cat? Consumerist! Where’s the picture of the cat with the wrong name tag?

  14. Chasiu says:

    Last year, I tried to change the name on my Time Warner account from my mother’s to mine (no service changes also, just wanted to put it into my name as I was paying for it). We have the Triple Play package, where I pay one monthly fee for the phone, cable TV and internet. I call the office and they tell me that I have to prove that I live in the house by showing my name on the land line bill… Well that’s exactly what I wanted to change, the freaking name on the telephone account. After that exchange, I just figured it wasn’t worth it. Time Warner would probably mess up the name transfer by shutting off the service and reactivating a month later or something equally moronic.

  15. tgrwillki says:

    *sigh* I used to work with the AMDOCS billing system (had to use it to verify information from data mining), Cabledata. As such, having seen it, and the competing systems (CSG and ICOMS) This never should have even been an issue in the first place. Quite literally, it should take no more than a minute’s time to be corrected and have a person on their merry way.

    Routinely, I see this to be an issue for people, and I seriously wonder how incompetent a person could be to the point where they are unable to click a mouse three times, highlight some text, type over the text, and apply the changes.

    Thank god I’m not in the cable industry any more.

    • johnva says:

      @tgrwillki: In my experience, the cable industry doesn’t hire the highest caliber of employee, in general. Before dealing with Comcast, I wouldn’t have imagined some of the people they employee as CSR’s would even be employable, anywhere.

      • tgrwillki says:

        @johnva: You do realize roughly 2/3 of Comcast’s Customer service isn’t their direct employ, right?
        Usually, if you ask an employee where they are, you can get a quick idea of who they work for; Here are a few examples:

        If they say they’re in… They Work for:
        Lethbridge – Convergys
        Shreveport – The Answer Group (TAG)
        Sault St. Marie (Soo) – Convergys
        Madison, MS – Comcast (IF you’re calling for support with your phone service, expect your call to be transferred here from your local office)
        Jacksonville, FL – Comcast (If you live in the Southeast, and call for internet support from any where outside Atlanta, you have about an 80% shot of your call going here)
        Orlando, FL – Comcast
        Tallahassee, FL – Comcast
        Atlanta, GA – Comcast
        Schaumburg, IL – Comcast
        Alexandria, VA – Comcast
        Miramar, FL – Comcast
        Naples, FL – Comcast
        Huntsville, AL – Comcast
        Nashville, TN – Comcast
        Charleston, SC – Comcast
        Augusta, GA – Comcast
        Knoxville, TN – Comcast
        Philadelphia, PA – Comcast
        Jackson, MS – Comcast

        Usually, what you’ll see happen is there will be somewhere between 20-300 CSR’s at each of the comcast call centers, and somewhere between 2000-4000 CSR’s at an outsourcer like convergys. During peak months, they will usually add on about 20-35% of their internal work force as temps from a staffing agency like randstad.

        Also, as a final note, their customer service grades the effectiveness of their call center based on IVR prompts and telephone numbers recorded by the phone switch, so if you want to make sure that you see some sort of effective change, make sure you always call using the same phone, and always press the same numbers through the IVR. If you aren’t getting help with One CSR, hang up, and call back in and enter the same prompts. It’ll start to hurt the call center’s effectiveness rating, which is something they actually take very seriously (because it directly impacts the employment status of the call center director)

        • johnva says:

          @tgrwillki: From my perspective, I really don’t care why their customer service sucks. That’s their problem to fix. I shouldn’t have to know whether the reason the person I’m talking to doesn’t even understand how to string together a coherent sentence is that they are outsourced or not. That being said, it seems like Comcast is hiring some absolute bottom of the barrel low bidders for their outsourced call centers. I’ve talked to people there that not only couldn’t help me with very basic and simple problems, but literally were so stupid that they had to have the problem explained to them 5 times before they even understood what it was.

  16. yikz says:

    This is typical of most big corporations. They run to the 85% rule. It’s cost efficient to provide good service to 85% of the population. The other 15% are too expensive to serve. You want to change an account? It’s just easier to cancel and start out new. You’re more than likely to get better benefits from a new account. You could easily call up and ask for 3-6 months of free HBO, plus a huge discount on VoIP or something else… and free set top box rental or a free DVR upgrade. Changing the account name is hard to do because most billing systems are not set up to change. It’s either add new service, or disconnect old service.

    Most big corporations simply don’t care about the small segments of the population that aren’t getting service.
    First and foremost, they are concerned with the bottom line as reported to the investors. There are 2 pieces… revenue, and expenses. Any way possible, these companies will cut expenses. They’re so busy minimizing service and maximizing revenue that they have no way to get the employees to do their job. If I were an employee, and the company was trying desperately to contract the work overseas, I’d have to say that I would probably have a bad attitude, and that I would probably do just enough to keep from getting fired too.

    Stop into McDonald’s or the Post Office, or Kinko’s, or any low-paying corporate job. You’ll find people just don’t care about providing service.

    The employees believe that someone else will do the stuff they don’t want to do. They will do enough that it looks like they are busy… and just keep from getting fired. Upper managemeng gives these issues a very tiny amount of attention, while letting the bulk of these problems go un-touched. Afterall, ignorance is bliss!

  17. Canino says:

    When Comcast first offered cable modem in my area they put something wrong on my bill – name or phone or something was wrong, I can’t remember. The only way they could fix it was to cancel the entire account, wait 24 hours (because it was at the same service address), then start a new account. Then they kept calling me and bugging me about making an installation appointment because the “new” account hadn’t been marked as installed. I had to get a supervisor to mark it as installed after convincing him I was actually able to get online.

  18. mavkato says:

    When my wife and I got married, our electric service was in her name. A week after the wedding, she called Xcel to change the name on the service, they said they it could be done, but would require a three dollar service charge on our bill. Needless to say, two years later, the bill is still in her maiden name.

  19. Tyr_Anasazi says:

    Also remember that most companies view customer support as purely an expense, so ultimately customer support isn’t a priority…

  20. ReverendBrown says:

    Interesting. I had this situation some six months ago. They told me on the phone to drive over in person. The office staff, to my surprise, fixed the name on the account right there, no fuss. Getting my exwife’s name out of my auto insurance, though… nightmare.

  21. LoriLynn says:

    My mother has been trying for 8 years (since my father passed away) to get his name taken off various accounts (Comcast included)and for some reason they keep telling her this is impossible.

    I hope this gets resolved very soon for the OP, I know how frustrating it is.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      @LoriLynn: If your mother has the time, then I recommend taking your father’s death certificate to a Time Warner service centre and demanding that the name on the account be changed. If they give her the runaround with that fact, then I would report them to the local franchising authorities.

  22. chc08 says:

    It was a huge pain for me to switch the TWC bill over to my roommate when I moved out. At first they said we could do it over the phone, then had to go in person with photo ID etc etc…
    The reason of course is that they’d rather you just cancel your service and then your roommate would need to pay installation fees all over again.

  23. xwildebeestx says:

    You’d think Leo Laporte up there would have a little bit of pull.

  24. DashTheHand says:

    I’ve had my name permanently misspelled on several of my billing accounts with various resources: my cell phone, my cable, and a store branded credit card. I’ve attempted to get each to change several times but nothing happened and I eventually gave up. It all works like its supposed to so I don’t really care.

  25. erratapage says:

    As a divorce lawyer, my clients bring many of these problems to my door. I had one client who moved out of the house in favor of his wife, but still wanted to continue paying the cable bill that was in his name.

    His wife wanted better cable service, so kept calling the cable company pretending to be him, even though he had a note placed on the file telling them not to authorize changes without his permission. She got it both times.

    Fast forward a month to when we agree that the cable bill needs to go into her name. He’s told by the cable company that they both have to go into the cable store together to get the account name changed so that the company can check ID’s. Well, that’s not going to happen!

    Oh… but if he just cancels the account? They’ll charge him $1,200 for the boxes if she doesn’t return them. Go figure.