Time Warner Won’t Fix Connection Broken For Years

The horror of Time Warner Cable NYC is legion, a textbook example of monopolies abusing consumers customers.

The latest chapter in the TWC grimoire comes courtesy of Sedef. His connection is sub-par and always crashes. A rotating crew of TWC give him different answers each time they show up. Sometimes, a neighbor is siphoning his signal. Sometimes, his connection is “too high” and needs “an amplifier.”

Sedef says he’s tried contacting supervisors to see about getting a half price discount on his service, seeing as he’s only getting half service. He’s “never heard back” from them after they said they would look into it.

While we sympathise with Sedef’s plight, you can’t stop there. If they don’t call you back, call them back. Or, check out this handy list of Every Phone Number For TWC Level 3 Tech Support. And/or call the office of James D. Fellhauer, chief of customer care, at 1-202-328-4017, after reading our guidelines on obtaining executive customer service.

Sedef’s letter, inside.

Sedef writes:

“I own a duplex one-bedroom co-op in midtown Manhattan. For the past several years, I’ve struggled to get a dedicated line for my broadband cable programming and Internet connection – a service for which I paid more than $100/month. Repeatedly, my cable programming would go down for no apparent reason, or alternatively (and more frequently), my Internet connection would inexplicably crash. In each instance, I would have to schedule a cable appointment and go through the requisite 1-2 appointments where cable guys literally ducked my appointment and claimed I wasn’t home, and finally showed up to fix the problem.

Early on, cable technicians would tell me my problem was that my line had a splitter located down the hall from my ground floor apartment, and I was getting half the signal broadcast to my unit, with the other half going to a unit around the corner (not sure what that owner was paying for his/her service). One admirably brave technician actually told me it was inadequate service and that my signal was unacceptably low; he said the cable company should fix this for me (I’ve since learned that Time-Warner contracts out cable technicians and this honest technician has likely been rotated off their list of technicians).

Not surprisingly, I was able to diagnose my own problem with all the future technicians who visited my apartment to “repair” my continually crashing broadband connection. Besides being either typically condescending in attitude, or unhelpful in ideas for long-term resolution for my problem, little changed. One technician actually told me that my signal was too “high”, laughably enough, and that it would need an “amplifier” as a solution. Sounded like a solution to an old-school audio (or even analog) problem, but of course, I never heard back from him afterwards.

At one point, I suggested to one of the many “supervisors” I was put in contact with at Time-Warner that perhaps they should credit my account for half the amount I was paying since I was receiving only half the quality/quantity of their advertised service. This suggestion was actually met with real consideration, and I was informed that they would look into this. Never heard back. Since then, I’m beginning to think that they actually pull this stunt/scam with a lot of tenants in buildings which are older and which haven’t had the same rapid installation of high-speed services as the newer buildings. Regardless, I felt powerless as a consumer to fix the problem, as my co-op board has a special relationship with Time-Warner so they served as the exclusive provider of cable in our building (not to mention, they may have been the only game in town based on my particular neighborhood).

Somehow I don’t think I’m the only consumer in NYC having this problem. I would love to give it more visibility in the hopes that we shame Time-Warner into doing the right thing.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. Triteon says:

    Are your neighbors having similar problems? If so, I would complain to the co-op board– speak with the power of the many even if TWC is the only game in town.

  2. Sheik says:

    The tech who said the signal was to high must have been high. Amplifiers are for weak signals. Does the splitter have a frequency rating? Usually a range of numbers measured in MHz. Assuming you can actually get at it. I believe that cable internet requires 5-1000 MHz, something like that. I believe that you can also buy a powered splitter which will boost the signal. Though if TWC actually did their job you wouldn’t even have to bother.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Blair writes:

    “I’m having a very similar problem with Comcast internet service in my high rise condo building (built in 1980). Internet works swimmingly for several months and then kaput – no signal. I’ve had techs come out 3 times. The consensus seems to be that it is a problem with the splitter, but they can’t find the splitter, and unless they can narrow down where it is by locating the signal, I won’t let them tear apart my walls and ceiling to find it. Is there anything else I can do, or am I totally screwed? I’d appreciate input from commenters.”

  4. VentMan says:

    Yeah… these guys at TWC have some freakin nerve. Coincidentally, this has been the subject of my blog for the past week. First the fouled up the installation and then they seemed to be blocking iTunes, which points to even more serious issues than customer service, like Consumerist posted about last week. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
    And as of today, my “on demand” isn’t working. GOod thing I don’t watch too much TV.

  5. HawkWolf says:

    when comcast was merging with @home and taking over for roadrunner where I live, they apparently didn’t like to send out techs so they would give me insanely weird bullshit answers.

    “oh, there’s a ham radio operator in your area jamming your signal.”

    I heard that for about 5 different calls until finally the guy admitted that problem area was something like 3 miles away from where I lived. The real problem? My ancient-enough-to-be-yellowed-plastic Motorola Surfboard modem was broken. A brand new shrinkwrapped modem later, my connection worked like a charm.

    This was about four years ago.

  6. Magister says:

    Where did the creepy dead bird on the RR service truck come from?

  7. AcidReign says:

    …..Actually, there may be something to the “too much signal/amplifier” thing. Better cable amplifiers/splitters also have an input attenuator built in, so you can turn down an over-driven signal and clean things up. I have one in my basement that feeds all of our TVs.

    …..Houses sell constantly on our street, and Charter turns folks on and off remotely, without touching the overall signal power to the neighborhood. Rather than call their horrible service when the TV signal gets messed up, I head to my splitter, and dial it back in again. Takes about 30 seconds.

    …..If your internet connection goes out, try pulling the plug on your modem, letting it sit for a minute or so, then powering it back up. I’ve “fixed” a LOT of friends’ “bad internet” problems this way.

  8. jeffd says:

    I’m no stranger to TWCNYC CS issues, and here’s what you need to do to ensure your issue is resolved.

    1) Most states have a Public Service Commission (for NY, visit http://www.dps.state.ny.us/). When you contact them, they have a dedicated contact at the utility who will usually escalate the issue to the appropriate party. The utilities like to keep the PSC happy. Unfortunately, the PSC has a tendency to be like any other large gov’t agency: slow and beaureaucratic. Still, it’s a good place to start.

    2) Find out who the execs at TWCNYC are, specifically the person who oversees consumer affairs (i.e. “VP of Residential Services” or some such title). Ask the main switchboard (NOT at the CS number!), or look for the name in press releases or quotes in newspaper articles. Once you get this person on the phone, be polite, explain the lack of response from CS. Don’t threaten. Play the sympathy card. If you can’t find a VP, you can always try the Office of the President (but know the name of the President before you call). You’ll be connected to the assistant’s assistant, who should direct you to an “executive support” team.

    3. Last resort: get physical. Cancel service, return your equipment, pay your bill. Trace the cable feeding your apartment as far back to the entry-point to the building as possible. Remove it (pull it out) or destroy it (cut it in multiple spots, and then paint over it). Re-order service, and they’ll now be forced to run new cable.

    Good luck — it’s always a nightmare to deal with these guys, but you’ll win in time.

  9. cyberchick says:

    For the posters in Co-ops and apartments if your lines or splitters are buried in the wall you would need to make access for a tech to check. It sucks but if the equipment goes bad it needs to be replace no matter where it is ( it can be hell getting to some wires and splitter. Imagine going under a trailer that has leaking sewage). For the original complainant if there is a wire split between your apartment and your neighbors it could just be the way the co-op complex wired the building and all lines would need to be checked. Where I worked a 25 story building linked every apartment up together. Who ever lived below you had to be home so your service could be checked. An appointment had to be booked with the apartment building in advance an every customer below you had to be home- what a nightmare).