Time Warner Cable Offers $99 Wideband Service, But I Can Only Get It By Paying $109

itsnotallinhere

(Meg)

After seven years of subscribing to Time Warner Cable’s broadband internet service, Consumerist reader Matt saw that TWC was offering upgrades to its wideband service for the tempting price of $99 per month… well, sort of.

After placing the upgrade order through the TWC website, Matt says he received two emails, one confirming the order and a second saying he would be receiving the new modem within 3-5 business days.

Being a much more patient man than anyone I know, Matt says he waited a few weeks before trying to find out why he still hadn’t received the new modem.

So he into his account only to find there was no record of any order being placed. So he tried again and once again received the two confirming e-mails.

When another week and a half went by without a new modem, he called TWC:

I was told that they can’t look up anything by order number, but she showed an order was cancelled. She could not tell me why, or by whom the order was cancelled. I asked to speak to a supervisor in sales/upgrades and she refused to transfer me.

I asked her what would happen if I ordered a third time online and was told that it would probably also be cancelled, but no reason why. She stated she could get my service upgrade pushed through, but only at a monthly rate of $109.00. She said the $99.00 rate was only available online.

At this point I’m dumbstruck. I can order online for the $99 per month rate and have the order cancelled, or I can successfully order on the phone at a rate of $109 per month.

She said my only option to get the 99 per month rate would be to bundle the package and switch my telephone service to them.

We welcome anyone from Time Warner Cable to step up and explain what in great googly-oogly is going on here. Of course, if cable companies were actually allowed to compete with each other instead of maintaining these ridiculous regional monopolies, Matt would just be able to switch.

Comments

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  1. Cat says:

    “She said my only option to get the 99 per month rate would be to bundle the package and switch my telephone service to them.”

    Huh?

    • MattSaintCool says:

      Read: “She wanted incentive monies for getting a customer to switch over more services.”

      • apple420 says:

        Sounds like he needs to open telephone service with them and then just never bother installing a telephone.

        • Cat says:

          And pay for phone service he doesn’t use? I’m sure they weren’t going to give him internet AND phone for $99.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I had AT&T try and pull the same trick when I got a new phone. Their 4 different computer systems couldn’t talk to each other, and the salesgirl couldn’t get her system to accept the new phone. She had to call in and they said they could do it on their system but it would be $100 instead of $50.

      I told them if they expected me to pay an extra $50 because they couldn’t get their own systems to work, they could just cancel the account. It took them an hour to figure out how to take that extra $50 off.

  2. GoldVRod says:

    “So he into his account”

    Well… that was obviously the problem.

  3. Eyeheartpie says:

    You know what would be awesome? If front line employees could be held responsible for their failings, and the company could be blamed for their failings. If the front line employee can’t tell me why my order is being canceled, I should be able to sue in small claims for false advertising or whatever the reason is.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      Wouldn’t this be a bait and switch? Offer price A for doing it one way, not being able to do it that way, then offer you price B to do it yet another way?

      • coldfire409 says:

        An attorney may be able to argue that, but a layperson arguing that would be tough. It can’t hurt to speak with one, but you may have to have proof that this is happening to several people.

    • coldfire409 says:

      They intentionally give the front line workers as little information as possible. I used to work for one of those companies and you should have read my resignation letter. It was 8 pages typed 12 point Times New Roman, and when I signed it I also had it notarized so there was no mistake that it was me and my words in that letter.

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Sounds like (and I may be wrong here) a bait ‘n switch.

    Where you place your order, you get all ready for what you wanted to purchase, then are forced to deal with a customer service rep who says they can give you want you already ordered, but at an inflated price if you add in something you didn’t want.

  5. Cat says:

    I believe “GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY” is the phrase you’re looking for.

    Howlin’ Wolf on “Going’ Down Slow,” (Chess single 1813)

    Frank Zappa on “Nanook Rubs It” ( Apostrophe, 1974.)

  6. RiverStyX says:

    “She said my only option to get the 99 per month rate would be to bundle the package and switch my telephone service to them.”

    That last sentence is the payload they depend on for more revenue, Time Warner has been pulling this scam for years..They advertise a price, say $35 for internet..But when you call to sign up, they demand you also buy their bundled tv and phone service to get the $35 internet price..In turn, it ends up being like $120 a month when all you wanted was internet.

    Another annoyance is every time I call them, each person I speak to runs through a 5-minute spiel asking me to order all sorts of additional junk I have no need for. One time I called to ask if they received my deposit, and she tried to guilt trip me into buying a new cellphone for around $100.

  7. Coffee says:

    This situation sounds an awful lot like bait and switch. If so, TW is committing fraud.

  8. DanKelley98 says:

    Hey TWC: “I was told that they can’t look up anything by order number”. So…like…whats the purpose of an order #?…….

    • Lyn Torden says:

      It’s for reference use on the court summons when they are sued.

    • nishioka says:

      I’ve dealt with Time Warner’s online ordering before. The order I submitted was more or less ignored, and things didn’t get straightened out until I called the local office and asked what the hell was going on.

      It was explained to me that the online ordering is handled by a different entity than the local office, and in the end the local office just gets told where to send the installer and when, whereas if you call the local office to get service, you’re handled from start to finish by someone in the building there.

      That was last summer, apparently Time Warner has yet to improve things.

  9. Lyn Torden says:

    Bait (to online) and (because they crippled the online) switch (to the more expensive optn).

  10. Mike says:

    This is bait n switch. Report them to your state AG and the FCC. If you order the service for the $109, it’s a contract resulting from an illegal act and technically unenforceable in court, although you may have a hard-sell with the judge. It depends on whether he or she has TWC service or not!

    • Mike says:

      Also your state utility or corporation commission, or whoever licenses them to operate in your area.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I have used the our Michigan AG in the past and that office rocks. Contact them and you will get service from the company you complained about. It’s a beautiful thang!

  11. Lyn Torden says:

    “I asked to speak to a supervisor in sales/upgrades and she refused to transfer me.”

    Hang up, call back, get a new rep, jump straight to asking for the supervisor. Repeat this process until you get a supervisor or a responsible CSR. Note, there is no guarantee of success.

  12. hush404 says:

    I wonder if reps actually understand the words coming out of their mouths? I get they they’re told to say certain things and get the customer to a certain point… but.. some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths are incredibly illogical… I wonder if they actually notice and don’t care or just sit there and continue to sniff glue?

  13. krom says:

    Sorry, I can’t read this story, I’m too busy bitching about the price of EA downloads. You know, important stuff.

  14. SoCalGNX says:

    That great! They made me a similar offer. They sent me a notice saying they owed me money when I left them. After three calls over two months I don’t have the refund but they assure me its gone so there is nothing more to worry about!

  15. kabamm says:

    OK then. And this is another reason why TWC will *never* see a dollar of my money.

  16. Extended-Warranty says:

    Ok, so we have the OP’s side of the story. So before we all throw out bait and switch, I’d like to hear the other side. You know, the one that usually tells what really happened.

  17. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Download Backtrack, figure out how to crack WPA and WEP, user neighbor’s or coffeeshop internet until the government unf*cks the regional monopolies that allow cable companies to be such douchebags.

    In theory, of course.

  18. thesalad says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with TWC.
    Ring ..ring..
    Thank you for calling TWC.. my name is herpaderp
    salad: HI I’d like to purchase your internet service that is advertised for 29.99 thank you
    herpaderp: Hrm.. I dont’ show that avaliable in your area it’s 34.99.
    salad: Herpaderp… I’m prety sure that I just checked online and it was avaliable for my exact address.. it does not say online only I’d like to order it over the phone so it’s easier for everyone.
    herpaderp: Sorry I dont’ see it avaliable.. let me get my su….
    Salad: I’ll jsut order it online this is stupid.
    Salad was able to get it installed.

  19. icerabbit says:

    Where have I heard that before?

    Oh that’s right we’ve been around the block a few times with Time Warner Cable on pricing, bundling, additional fees, …

    If TWC and others go through with the all encrypted channel line-up and no longer broadcast the locals in HD via Clear QAM unencrypted; I fully intend to cut the cord and go OTA.