Time Warner Disconnects Your Cable, Claims You Already Moved

Time Warner tried to convince Ryan that he had already moved after prematurely disconnecting his cable service. Ryan hadn’t even told Time Warner he was moving. His house’s new owner, who hadn’t yet finalized his purchase, merely told Time Warner he wasn’t interested in their services. Ryan writes:

My wife and I have been subscribers of Time Warner Cable (digital cable + internet service) for over 3 years. We haven’t had problems as big as most, but we’ve still had our issues here and there. Yesterday’s happenings, however, take the cake.

Around 5pm my wife returned home from being out for much of the day only to find that our cable had been entirely shut off. She and I have just sold our place and are buying a new one, but we hadn’t yet called TWC to have our service shut off. Needless to say, she was confused.

So she called TWC and received a wonderfully helpful CSR (sarcasm, here). She explained to him that our service had been disconnected, and wanted to know why. The CSR told her that it had been shut off because we didn’t live there anymore. My wife attempted to explain to him that we, in fact, still live there and aren’t moving out for at least 6 more days. She had to say “I am currently standing IN MY LIVING ROOM. WE STILL LIVE HERE.”

The CSR then told my wife that they had documents from our buyer saying that he owned the place, and that our cable wasn’t going to get turned back on. Keep in mind we never cancelled it. Also keep in mind that the buyer could not have had documents stating he owned the place because as of yet he hasn’t received his final papers from Escrow. The CSR literally said (and I quote), “Erin, Erin. Erin. You’re not going to get it turned back on. You’re not. We are not going to turn it back on.” (Erin is my wife’s name).

Finally my wife escalated the call to a manager, who quickly turned it back on.

In short, our buyer went down to a TWC storefront and told them he was moving into our new place. TWC lied when they said they had proof that he owned it, because even our buyer doesn’t have proof that he owns it yet. They shut our cable service off without contacting us to confirm, and simply took the word of a person who, as far as they’re concerned, is a complete stranger. The CSR was disrespectful to my wife and told her there was no way in hell our service (that we pay for) was not going to get turned back on. The manager fixed it all.

This is why you always want to escalate to a supervisor. As for Ryan, he has a plan of his own: “We’re going to try DirectTV for our new house.”

(Photo: daedalicious)


Edit Your Comment

  1. gatopeligroso says:

    Best way to show someone you are not satisfied with their service, take your money elsewhere. Good for you. Serves them right.

  2. I canceled my Time-Warner Internet today because it was going to take FIVE days for a technician to come out a troubleshoot my dead connection. In the meantime I called Verizon and had FiOs installed the day after I ordered it. I was shocked by the different levels of service the two provided me (Dallas-Fort Worth area).

    Oh and I am the guy that Time Warner wanted to charge $11 for them to disconnect just my cable TV service previously featured here: [consumerist.com]

  3. acambras says:

    Maybe I’m old school, but it aggravates me when CSRs who don’t even know me address me by my first name. I find it disrespectful.

    And this CSR did it to Erin 3 times!

  4. SkyeBlue says:

    Cable companies suck! After constant rate increases from our local cable company we switched over to Dish Network. When the cable company came out to disconnect our service they deliberately CUT the lines to our satellite. The owner of the satellite company had to make a special trip out to our home to reconnect the wires so we could have service. I live in a small town and the cable company was mad because they were losing alot of customers to the then new satellite company in town so they were vandalizing peoples satellite service. Nice businesses pracitces huh?

  5. hustler says:

    @negative-ground: I live in Lewisville, and dear god I wish they would lay fiber our here. Time Warner has been a cluster-fuck every step of the way. Every time I deal with Time Warner, they seem to think its my fault that I have no service. I’ve gone 3 weeks with no service before. I’ve recieved internet / cable / tv from 5 different providers, and Time Warner is pathetic.

  6. Hanke says:

    @negative-ground: I had issue after issue with TWC when I moved into my new home. The first problem was entirely of my making, and they were able to come out and fix it right away. (While hanging new shelves, I put a screw through the cable wire in the wall. The main feed to the entire house. Oops.)

    About 3 months later, things started to really go haywire. My cable modem would constantly drop connections, the reception on my TV went from crystal clear to ‘who moved my antenna’. A phone call to them had me reset all the equipment and replace the modem. 3 months later, repeat the cycle with the modem. And again, and again. One modem only lasted a week. They repeatedly sent out technicians, kept replacing my modem, and one technician gave me a handful of splitters and said ‘When it goes, change them’. The last worked a few times, until I ran out of splitters.

    Finally, after giving me three months of free internet service for these problems, they send out a site engineer. They replace my underground feed from their box to their demarc on my house.

    That worked for about 6 months, and the modem went again. This time, they sent out two site engineers. They installed a GROUND WIRE on the demarc. Guess what? No more problems.

  7. In short, our buyer went down to a TWC storefront and told them he was moving into our new place.

    Why would he go to their office to tell them he DIDN’T want their services? Was he
    canceling his own service at his old place? Why did their address even come up in the

  8. queen_elvis says:

    I had to call Time Warner recently when — well, I don’t want to spend all day on this post, but the crowning moment was when the CSR told me she couldn’t transfer me to the second-tier customer service people, so I asked for a supervisor and the supervisor told me that of course they can transfer me to Tier II. Then she transferred me back to Tier I. [faceplant]

  9. balthisar says:

    My Comcast service in SE Michigan (current house as well as previous) has always been perfectly to my satisfaction. So has my DirecTV service.

    Are my expectations too low, or do we only hear the complaints here? Just out of curiosity, does anyone have anything good to say about their cable service?

  10. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    I have had TWC for internet for three weeks now, and I decided a week ago to switch to telecom for internet.

  11. liquisoft says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    I think that was a grammatical error. The new buyer went down to the store to say he was moving in soon and wanted cable hooked up.

  12. Nilt says:

    I’ve had similar things happen myself in the past when I lived in apartments. I even had my power shut off once because someone who refused to pay their bill sent them a move notice with a different unit number. The power company tried to charge me an emergency reconnect on top of it … talk about ticked off. I was livid.


    Maybe I’m old school, but it aggravates me when CSRs who don’t even know me address me by my first name. I find it disrespectful.
    And this CSR did it to Erin 3 times!

    Yeah, you’re old school. I’m somewhat old fashioned myself; I hold doors and carry bags for ladies, even those I don’t know. I don’t, however, want people to call me Mister or Sir. When they do, I ask them to call me by my given name as that’s what I prefer. Perhaps Erin did as well, we don’t know.

    I assure you, if you want me to “respect” you, I’ll usually not do so when you demand I speak to you using formalities to which you’re really not entitled. Nobody is “above” or “below” anyone else. Not the President of the US, not any so-called royalty … nobody. I will address some folks as Sir depending on the situation but to demand this just because you have a CSR on the phone is absurd to me.

    Pardon the odd indenting if it’s presrtn after posting. Not sure it that’s just in preview or what. I couldn’t get it to disappear so I gave up trying.

  13. JohnMc says:

    Say, isn’t this the same cable company that has a super retention dept and makes it very hard to cancel the service? Well Erin just gave ya the ‘out’. Go down to local franchise, wave a bunch of fake documents around, say you are the new owner and presto your service is canceled!

    More than one way to skin these suckers….

  14. howie_in_az says:

    They should be in line to get some free services courtesy of TWC, especially after the condescension by the CSR who needs a stern talking to.

  15. Quattuor says:

    Really, I’ve had equal amount of trouble from cable companies and telcos. It makes choosing internet service a very depressing experience.

  16. K-Bo says:

    @negative-ground: It’s always quicker to get them to come out and set up your service. Tricky part is getting them to hurry out when you are already paying them :(

  17. bonnie says:

    Wow, that is a bizarre policy for TWC to have.

    We recently bought a new place and I called Comcast to try to set up cable for when we were planning to move in. But Comcast would do nothing until the previous owner contacted them. Slightly frustrating for me as the move date got close, but I absolutely understood why it was necessary to operate that way – to avoid situations like the one above.

  18. sharki3232 says:

    I live in Norfolk and have Cox cable and I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with their service. Everytime I’ve called up with an issue I’ve gotten surprisingly good and polite customer service and the one time my service went out I was refunded for the time lost!

  19. @K-BO

  20. @K-Bo: Good point.

  21. Chongo says:

    I had the complete opposite situation with Comcast in Chicago.

    Since I work from home alot I had to make sure then when I moved from one apartment to the other, that I had a maximum of 2-3 days without internet service. I called a month ahead of time and they said the current tennet did not cancel yet. They said I couldn’t sign up for service, or even schedule an installation day until the guy canceled. I tried 4 more times, always checking to see if he canceled yet. When it got to 2 days before moving in the guy finally canceled. It really wasn’t fair to someone who was trying to be on top of things.

  22. @liquisoft: But then I still don’t see how the mistake happens. If the new guy wants the service anyway why shut it off? I would think the mistake would be their cable bill ending up in the new guys name because they thought he was already there.

  23. janine says:

    TWC was great with me and my move. I called ahead and scheduled a time to move into my new apartment (I told them to shut off and restart service there as well; but I happened to know no one was living there). After I found out that the new apartment was going to have its floors redone and I had to push back my move in date, TWC shut off my cable in my soon-to-be-old apartment by mistake. I called them to turn it back on and it was on within 30 minutes. It would have happened quicker, but something about my move confused the CRM software. They kept trying different things until they got it back on though.

  24. janine says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I can answer, see above. TWC can’t schedule a new hookup without turning off the old one. I swear I’m not a shill, it’s just with the service nightmares I had with the move, moving the cable was one of the easier tasks. (I should tell you about the nightmare bed delivery…thank god I have an Aerobed)

  25. gabi says:

    I hate to say something positive about Comcast, but… They have never shut off my cable early, and because of the lack of competition in my area, I’ve had to keep them as my cable/internet provider for about 5 moves. They always call to confirm that I am, in fact, moving before they do anything to my account (that is if the buyer contacts them first).

    So… Yay Comcast? TWC must really suck if I’m saying that…

  26. hlygrail says:

    I must be in the minority, but I’ve had TWC (cable + Interweb) for more than 10 years. In the case of cable, I was one of the original 8 people chosen to beta-test the TWC cable rollout (circa 1996) here. Although we dropped cable TV when we moved to a newly-built house recently, I’ve maintained the cable internet, and can count on one hand the number of outages we’ve had since the beta. Any time I’ve called for support, I’ve been able to skip the L1 script-reader because I’ve already done their level of homework, and get routed straight to the L2 folks so I can help them fix their DNS or oversubscribed-hub problems. In the off chance it’s really down, it’s back up in less than an hour, and if they need to visit my house, they’ve been there within 10-15 min of when they said they would, and even called ahead if they were going to miss by a few minutes.

    I’m not saying run out and sign up with TWC (their cable TV lineup is too expensive for too little), but for Internet, depending on your area of course (I’m in the Raleigh, NC area), you could do a whole lot worse.

  27. liquisoft says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    That’s exactly the problem. The new guy said “Hey I’m moving into this place and I’ll want cable,” and TWC said “Okay, let me just shut off the current cable 1 week ahead of time without obtaining any proof that the current residents no longer live there.”

  28. ARPRINCE says:

    When they re-connected you, you should have called them up again and asked them that you don’t want it anymore. hehehe

  29. Anitra says:

    The exact opposite thing happened to me with Charter cable. We were in the process of buying a house and had done everything except the closing. We need high-speed internet at home to deal with work issues that can come up at anytime, so my husband calls Charter to schedule an appointment to “turn on” the service for a few days after the closing (we weren’t moving in until about a week after closing). The CSR tells him he can’t even schedule an appointment until the old owners have turned the cable off. It’s nearly impossible to get an appointment less than a week in advance, especially if you need it to be on a Saturday. After a lot of arguing, we call back on the day of the closing and strong-armed them into coming on the next Saturday. Ended up having to deal with the cable guy as we were moving in, but it could have been worse.

  30. Msgundam84 says:

    Is Comcast a monopoly yet? Up here in Jersey they are the ONLY cable tv
    providers in my area, and their prices and service SUCK. Average of 6
    days wait time for a tech to come, and their MOST basic cable service
    (no cable box, no nothing, just straight basic cable) is $52.80 per
    month. A complete and utter rip.

    When I went to college in PA and lived in an off-campus house, we had
    competition. We went with RCN for cable TV and got a nice TV package
    for just $35.99 a month.

    COMCAST SUX!!! Comcastic my ass. More like sucksastic or fucktastic.

  31. Msgundam84 says:

    Oh, but nothing compares to Sprint. TWO bills in two months for phone
    accounts my father never opened. After the first bill we complained
    that it was fraudulent, and after much headache we got the account
    closed. Talked to their fraud management and they assured us it was
    taken care of and that they are investigating the matter.

    Just two weeks ago I get ANOTHER bill from spring for ANOTHER phone bill (new account and new number and anything).

    Worst part is that they lie. I call customer service and ask if the
    account is flagged or if their is any problem with the account. The CSR
    says nope. I ask to transfer to fraud management, speak with someone
    and ask if anything is wrong with the account. Again…nope. I then let
    them know the story.

    The person then says…oh, it was flagged but the bill was sent out
    before they could catch the new fraudulent account. My ass. They are a
    bunch of fucking liars. I am thinking of using the special Sprint
    number that Consumerist provided not too long ago…..

  32. Msgundam84 says:

    sprint* not spring. heh

  33. maevro says:

    Haha, I canceled my TWC phone and HBO package and they both were turned off like I asked. The only thing was that after about 5 days the HBO package came back. That was over 2 months ago and they haven’t charged me for it.

    Serves them right for making me pay almost $10 for HD channels when Optimum (Long Island) gives you them all for free.

  34. bnissan97 says:

    Lucky they transferred you to a supervisor. How many of you have had the person on the phone refuse to do so or hang up?

  35. Rusted says:

    Why even have cable or satellite? Why pay to watch advertising? No live TV since since 2004. Just multiply the local cable bill times 54 months…..

  36. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    That was exactly the same thought I had. Maybe he hated that particular cable co. so much he went to the storefront and was like I’m moving into this house and I don’t want your services that I haven’t ordered or paid for. LOL.
    Also in response to Chongo I think the previous owner probably didn’t cancel yet because like you he didn’t want to go without internet until right before the move. So I don’t understand how what he did was any different from what you did.

  37. Lee2706 says:

    @janine: We just moved into a new place, from Torrance, CA to West Los Angeles. Our service rep opened up a new account so that we were carrying two accounts for a day or so while we waited for the installer to show up at the new place. Sure enough, we find out that West LA uses totally different boxes than Torrance. This is due to the fact that Adelphia covered this area then TWC bought them out or something. So, we couldn’t use our old Torrance box and the installer said it was a better piece of equipment. To top it off, I had to return the old box to Torrance. While I wouldn’t normally mind driving 20 miles, this was 20 miles down the 405 fwy during rush hour. I was mildly ticked because the phone rep said we could use the same exact equipment. Dang….

  38. snowferret says:

    Thats funny. When I moved I didn’t give Roger’s a month’s notice so they charged me for an extra month.

  39. Floobtronics says:

    Please, utility companies are just a shade away from completely retarded in matters like this.

    When we bought our first house, the dizzy woman we bought it from didn’t bother to disconnect her phone or her cable. In order to get Comcast to put service in our name, I had to put the call on hold, then conference in my wife on her cell to say she was the former owner and to go ahead and disconnect service.

    Her phone, that was another story. Seems she hadn’t paid the bill in months, and MCI was more than happy to disconnect her.

  40. xerus` says:

    Man this is crazy– I’ve never had problems with Time Warner. I had them for the summer for a temporary apartment as I worked a summer job at college, and I had great service.

    Once I had an issue with the signal for my cable modem, where it would drop the connection constantly. I called them up, and the next day a tech dropped by and fixed everything up and never had a single problem again.

    When I finally had to cancel my account when moving out, I had no issues. I cancelled my account, turned in my equipment at the local office, and they even dropped the 70 dollars I had on my bill for August.

    And also, DirecTV blows ass– so good luck with that.

  41. jerseyjokeboy says:

    I keep having similar problems, but with Comcast. Cable works fine, but my internet goes kaput way too often. Once the modem drops the signal, even if it resets itself quickly, I am left with no wireless connection from the router to my other computers. They did send a tech to check it out. He tested the modem and replaced some minor part outside, but nothing really changed. Sometimes a simple manual reboot of the modem and router works, but not always.

  42. Timelock says:

    TWC is such horse crud, and I’ve always had problems with their service.

    When I moved in to my new apartment they sent a guy over to install the cable modem, well after he finally got done connecting the line(Took about an hour for him just to get an active connection), he then tried to use my computer to make sure it was working, and sat done in my chair. I instantly told him to get off, because I didn’t want him anywhere near my information. The worst part though, was when he asked me what an IP address was. I rolled my eyes and pretty much told him he was done and to get out. He was so not worth the $40 set up fee.

  43. blkhrt1 says:

    i’ve had no problems with them. i don’t know what your problems are.

  44. blkhrt1 says:

    yeah good luck with directv’s lame service. hope the wind never blows more than 2 mph, or your signal’s going to be fucked. And don’t EVEN try it in the rain. Seems like water melts the dish or something.