TWC Charges $30 To Drop Off A HDTV Box At Your House… Or You Could Get It Yourself

Brandon says he just got and HDTV and called TWC to see about swapping his digital cable receiver for an HDTV receiver. TWC said no problem but it would be a $30 “carrying charge,” which amounted to basically a TWC worker throwing an HDTV receiver in the van and driving a few miles to drop it off at Brandon’s house.

Cleverly, Mr. Brandon went and picked up the HDTV receiver at the TWC office himself, ducking the $30 fee. However, they still charged him a $10 “switching fee” for the extreme effort it took to do the following:

“The guy literally scanned my old box, went to the back room, picked up the new box, took it out to me, scanned that box, gave me a cable, and typed in a few things in to the computer. It took him 2 minutes to do this and it cost $10 dollars — thats a $300/hour rate (at least thats one way to look at it).”

His letter, inside…

I recently got an HD TV and if there’s one thing you’ll learn from the experts at Best Buy, the picture quality of anything you view will be very poor if you aren’t using the latest Blu-ray technology, or if you aren’t using there $100 HDMI cables, or if your cable service isn’t streaming HD.

My digital cable service with Time Warner Cable gives pretty poor quality viewing on my HD TV, so what I did was call in to ask if I could switch my digital cable receiver with an HD receiver so that I could start viewing HD quality broadcasts. They said that it would be no problem, that the receiver would cost a few dollars extra, but my monthly service charge would be the same, but I would have to pay a one time “carrying fee” for the delivery. I told them that I would think about it first so I hung up.

I e-mailed a friend of mine who’s into HD and he suggested that I just go to the local Time Warner Cable store and swap the boxes myself. It seemed like a pretty good idea, so I called Time Warner Cable again to find out if I could do that. Please note that the TWC website actually lists all of the local Cable stores, but the phone number is the toll free TWC number, not the local store’s phone number. So I had to wait on the line for about 20 minutes listening to the recording tell me that “a Time Warner Cable representative will be with you shortly” every 30 seconds.

Finally someone came up and I asked if I could do the “carrying” myself and switch cable boxes at the local Cable store and she said yes. Finally I felt like I one-upped this company for the first time. They were about to charge me $30 dollars to drive the HD reciever less than a mile from their local cable store to my place — a mere 15 minute transaction.

While switching boxes at the store I was still charged $10 for a “switching fee”. Although $10 is not a lot of money, its all about the principle. The guy literally scanned my old box, went to the back room, picked up the new box, took it out to me, scanned that box, gave me a cable, and typed in a few things in to the computer. It took him 2 minutes to do this and it cost $10 dollars — thats a $300/hour rate (at least thats one way to look at it).

My advice to the Consumer is that if you want to deal with TWC, find out what you can do yourself instead of leaving it them and incurring a heavy service charge.

— BEN POPKEN