Time-Warner Cable Tells Soldier He's Getting A Refund, Then Threatens To Ding His Credit Score

Consumerist reader Bill is in the U.S. Army and has been calling Fort Bragg, NC, his home when he wasn’t in Iraq. Recently, he was given orders to relocate out west, which meant it was time to pack up the family and — among other things — transfer his cable service. Unfortunately, since Time-Warner Cable doesn’t service his new location, he had to cancel. But what started out as a simple solution that would net him a $64 refund quickly degraded into cancellation fees and threats of inflicting pain on his credit score.

Here it is in Bill’s own words:

In May, before we moved, I called Time-Warner to see if service was available where we were moving. When we determined it was not available, I canceled my cable service, which the operator was happy to do. I was not told of any penalties at that time. A few weeks later, I received a statement showing a credit for the portion of my May service not used — approx. $64. My wife confirmed on the phone with an operator that we owed nothing and would soon receive our check.

A few weeks after moving, I received a new statement from Time- Warner stating that I now owed $14 after being charged a $78 cancellation fee. This fee had never been discussed in our previous phone calls with TWC customer support, and contravenes the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act because we moved on active duty orders.

When I called and explained this to the customer service rep, he offered to make the balance zero — but if I wanted the $64 that TWC owed me, he would have to talk to higher management to get the fee waived. I told him I did want that money, and that it was not an option for the company. He said I would hear back in a few days.

On July 2, I received a call from a TWC collections representative, asking me to pay on the phone or face credit reporting. When I explained the situation, he was the first one to ask me to fax a copy (no email of course, because everyone uses faxes in 2010) of my orders, and he would clear it “today.”

At that point, Bill thought he’d finally put the whole ordeal behind him. Until the other day when he received yet another invoice for $14.

He called customer service and was told that they had indeed received his fax, but had no explanation for why he was still being charged. Once again, he was promised that someone would discuss the matter with “management” and that he should check with them in a few days.

Let’s hear from Bill one last time:

In many military posts, Soldiers’ only option for internet and cable in their barracks is Time-Warner — I wonder how many of them received such charges, didn’t know their rights, and were intimidated into paying.

We’d definitely love to hear if any other members of our armed forces have had this or similar problems with Time-Warner.