HOWTO: Get Actual Customer Support From Time Warner Cable

After three months without internet and numerous failed calls to Time Warner Customer support, Mike happened to overhear a rep mention the term “L3.”

L3 refers to “Level 3” tech support, the level at which the reps actually know how to fix problems. They can do more than simply tell you to turn your modem on and off.

On his last phone call, Mike asked for L3 and was patched through immediately.

He says, “The L3 agent who responded spent about five minutes with me troubleshooting before telling me I needed a new modem. He set up the time and place I could pick it up, and even gave me a refund for the three months of non-service.”

If you have a seemingly irresolvable Time Warner Cable connectivity problem, asking for L3 may do the trick.

Just don’t tell the laminated binders, they suffer from low self-esteem.


Edit Your Comment

  1. bambino says:

    Three months? Either you’re really lazy or you don’t care about pissing money away. I’m on the phone with TW the same hour something isn’t working.

  2. John Q Media says:

    Perhaps you missed the “Numerous failed calls” bit, although the phrase really doesn’t do justice to the process I endured. Each call I made was an exercise in hair-pulling bile-churning frustration.

    This was not three months of me sitting around going “I wish my modem would fix itself.” This was three months of me on the phone for an hour or more several times a week with the most useless tech support agents I’ve ever had the displeasure of speaking to.

    Twice they blew me off by telling me they needed to check something on the server and would call me back (they never did, either time).

    At some point during the process I got fed up and demanded that they send a repair crew to my apartment. They sent a team (the wait for a repair crew was two weeks, by the way) who stomped around my apartment swearing to eachother and glaring at me whenever I was in the room with them. They poked at some wires, never looked at the modem, and said “We don’t know what the problem is.” on their way out the door.

    Once the tech support agent told me that he was seeing a live connection on my account and that everything was all fixed. I was at the computer at the time, trying and failing to load any web site I could. I told him so and he said that the problem must therefore be with my computer and then hung up on me.

    In the end I only got the real problem fixed (that my modem was broken and needed to be replaced) by discovering their special L3 tech support team. Their agent was friendly, sympathetic, and very knowledgable. After being transferred to him, he discovered the problem within minutes and set me up with a new modem. I picked it up the next day, got a total refund for the past three months of non-service, and haven’t had modem troubles since.

    Your response seems to indicate that the problem was me. This is not true. I spent many aggrivating evenings after work on the phone with a line of clueless CSRs whose number one priority was not fixing the problem, but getting me off the phone with them.

    If I had known to ask for L3 in the very first call I made, the problem would have been solved in minutes, rather than months.

  3. something_amazing says:

    L3 just means Level 3 and a similar setup exists for comcast as well.

  4. Kornkob says:

    And frankly, having done phone support myself, simply asking for Level 3 support (or even level 2 support) without going through the motions with the first guy isn’t going to work.

    You see, if that front line tehc just pushed every caller who asked to L3 without doing his job first, he’d get fired. It’s his job to make sure that he’s done all he’s capable of AND that the problem appears to fall within the scope of a higher level work group before he pushes it on.

    BTW– in my work experience ‘Level 2’ and ‘Level 3’ are really just generic terms for teams of folks with a more specialized set of knowledge and/or tools. Asking for ‘Level 3’ is like asking the admitting nurse at the hospital to see ‘The Specialists’. It’s a meaningless statement without an understanding of the problem you are looking to resolve.

  5. Ben Popken says:

    Maybe it was because John had built up a significant call log that he was able to be passed on so quickly.

  6. bambino says:

    Yeah, I got the ‘numerous failed calls’ part, and I understand that TW takes their time in scheduling tech visits, but seriously, three months. A quarter of a year. I’m not saying the problem is you, John Q, because you obviously would like for your modem to be working, but if I were in the same situation, I would have contemplated a hunger strike while barring the entrance door to my local TW after the first month. CSRs are going to hang up on you if they don’t feel like dealing with your call, that’s a known fact. Case in point, I was ‘transferred’ over 9 times while calling Sears this week for an appliance tech visit. After being hung up on for the second time, I called back and got a sympathetic CSR who promptly scheduled the visit. It’s a crapshoot, and it’s a shame.

  7. masd says:

    Time Warner seems to be very willing to be told what to do. My apartment was subscribing to Oceanic Time Warner’s cable and internet service. I noticed that the modem was performing very poorly, so I did a little research and read that the modem was recalled, and after reading a forum post of another subscriber having the same problems I was who wrote that Time Warner had replaced the modem, I gave the company a call.

    The cable service is in my bosses name, so I didn’t have any of the information they wanted, and really didn’t want to go through my boss to get it, because it probably would have taken a short life time (or cancelled to prevent any possible fees…). So I called them anyway, told them I want my modem replaced, and then walked over to their little bill payment center at the local Mall and walked out with a new, properly functioning modem.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    John Stewart writes:

    “Hello All:

    I would like to report to you an inaccuracy of your article in the following passage:

    He says, “The L3 agent who responded spent about five minutes with me troubleshooting before telling me I needed a new modem. He set up the time and place I could pick it up, and even gave me a refund for the three months of non-service.”

    Most divisions of Time Warner Cable do not operate this way. Technical support is provided by L3, but nothing else. Billing matters for the division I work in are always Customer Service, no questions asked.

    Be more specific when you engage in libel. My department works very hard to be lambasted in this manner by your outfit.”

  9. Ben Popken says:

    Dear John Stewart,

    The post only refers to technical support, potentially misleading title aside.

    Be more specific when you engage in accusing people of libel. Make sure you only refer to items which are actually libelous.

    Btw, love the show.

  10. UncleTogie says:

    Here’s another magic trick for you Roadrunner clients….

    I was pissed. These idiots at TW had the cable TV working, but not the Roadrunner. I called for over a month, and not willing to settle for DSL, decided to bug ’em ’til they gave me what I paid for. One night, I call and rant… I’m NOT getting off the phone until they have a solution, PERIOD. The L3 tech asks:

    “How about we put your modem on “Probation”?”

    I was agog, thinking this moron just couldn’t resist smartin’ off. In a tight voice, I asked just when the cops were picking the modem up.

    It turns out that it’s a monitoring program for TW cable modems. They start logging traffic and signal to/from your modem, to try to peg those tricky intermittent problems. They assured me they’re not monitoring content; you decide for yourself there.

    It DID seem to make a difference after about a day or two, and so now when I have more than a few days of service glitches, I ask to be transferred to L3, and ask them to put my cable modem on probation. Works better than the 10 techs they sent out.

  11. taras1 says:

    Time warner problem also. I had wires across the front of my house due to Time Warner messy installation a few years ago. I didn’t mind to much though because I had 2 trees in front of my house and the wires were not to visable. Now the trees have been removed I didn’t want to advertise time warner by having wires across the front of my house. I called time warner and set an appt. they never showed up told me to wait 8 hours for them. Called again set up another appt. and was told he couldn’t do it and would have to set another appt for wires to go through the side of the house. Called and set another appt and they were not supposed to be here till 2 pm and showed up at noon. I was glad I just came home from grocery shopping. Well He came into my house first and went into my living room and through my den I stopped him. His shoes were very dirty and he left tracks where he steped. I have off white rugs and tan rugs. I stopped him and put 4 large towels on my bedroom floor but he went off the rug there and tracked stuff there also. I have 4 rugs marked up and then he also took my expensive area rug when I pointed it out to him and wiped his shoes on there. Cable said well you don’t expect him to take off his shoes first do you. NO I DON”T but i do expect him to wipe his feet before coming into my house. Well he only put the cables under the siding in the front of the house and you still see part of the cable and did one cable through the wall over. I called cable again and now waiting 2 days someone is supposed to get back to me about my rugs. Now the waiting game or I will call again. seems like there is only one person i can talk to regarding this in cable and that is why i am waiting according to them. Thanks for reading this.

  12. silentnight says:

    ive had T.W. now for about a month and everyting is still going wrong. i bet i have talked to 15 techs plus everytime they dont want to talk they tell me i have to go to microsoft so ive talked with them as well. it seems like every day something goes wrong and iwail on the phone for 40-45 min and they still dont know how to fix the problem or youcant understand them. doesnt anyone know if there’s some one that is a ceo or big shot that i can talk to?

  13. sailinlove says:

    My complaint stems from their inept record keeping system. In October 2006, TW replaced my excellent high speed cable access previously provided by Adelphia. The service and speed immediately drop significantly. Subsequently I canceled their service, after they had replaced one modem, and then returned the second modem to the TW service center. They initially billed me for a non returned modem, (retained by their technician when he replaced the modem), however appeared to clear my record. Then without any invoice or attempt to contact me, they turned this over to collection agency. Currently I have placed numerous calls to both TW and the collection agency, faxed my receipts for the returned modems, and waited on hold forever. All to no avail. TW and the collection agency are still attempting to collect for a moden they retreived over ten months ago. What a great company?