Despite Crisp Cable Service, Time Warner Insists There Is No Wiring In Your Building Whatsoever

Time Warner refused to transfer Jim’s account information to his new apartment because they claimed, despite the crisp and clear signal he received, that his apartment was not wired for cable service. Time Warner insisted on dispatching a contractor, who, after verifying that Jim’s line worked perfectly, decided to do some unnecessary work so he could get paid. Jim writes:

I moved from one apartment in the city of Poughkeepsie to another last weekend. I had called Time Warner before the move to verify that there was an existing cable connection in the apartment I was moving to and to verify that it was active. The customer service representative informed me that indeed, there was an active line and that the easiest way to transfer my account was to bring a copy of my signed lease to my local office and inform them of the change.

Needless to say, I headed over to my local office who immediately told me there was no such policy in place. They directed me to contact customer service.

I moved into my new apartment and hooked up my cable modem and digital cable receiver. Voila! Connectivity and clear picture. I called customer service on Monday of this week to transfer the account and let them know that yes, there was an active line that was running direct to the apartment and yes, it was active. At this point, the customer service representative informed me that there was no way I could possibly be receiving Internet or television service as there is no wiring in my building whatsoever. There are three apartments in my building — all with cable television — so I found this somewhat hard to believe. The customer service representative informed me that a technician would have to come to the house and verify that the line running to my apartment was indeed my own and that I was not piggy backing on any other connections. A service call was scheduled for today, Friday August 3, between 12:00 and 4:00 PM.

At 4:45 PM I called Time Warner to ask about my service call and they informed me that the technician was “on his way.” The 19 year old technician arrived at 5:00 PM and walked up and down the block looking for the house. I went outside to flag him down and he came upstairs to look at my existing wiring. At this point he looked up and said “Wait. Your connection already works. I’m supposed to be doing an install.” I explained to him that he was merely there to check the line and verify that it was the one I was being billed for. He looked disgusted, and then proceeded to try to head downstairs. Instead, he opened my closet door and walked him, before angrily demanding to know how to “leave this place.” I followed him outside to show him where the cable enters the house from the pole. He looked at the wiring and said, “well, you’re all set, but how hard do you think it is to get up on that telephone pole behind the house next door?” I informed him that I had no idea, considering I don’t frequently climb telephone poles. I will never forget what he said next:

“See, the problem is that I’m a contractor, and if I just come here and verify your connection, I’m not going to get paid. I have to replace something so I can bill Time Warner for it.” He began unscrewing my downstairs tenants cable connection while saying “Like these – I can’t leave these connectors here, they are old, and if I just replace them and run an extra line from the pole to the house I can get paid.”

I have worked in datacommunications for over ten years, and I understand the plight of the contractor who doesn’t get paid. That being said, I wasn’t about to allow the technician to dismantle my neighbors’ connections – a job he was not at all authorized to complete – so that he could get paid. I informed him that if he had a billing problem with Time Warner he should take it up with his dispatch supervisor – not with my neighbors’ cable. He became angry and tried to leave without signing off on my paperwork, indicating that my connection was indeed live and authorized. I got him to sign the paperwork, then immediately called Time Warner to confirm the information I had been given as I didn’t trust the technician at this point to complete the authorization process in the office.

Upon calling customer service I was informed that not only are there no cable lines present at my location (despite the fact that the technician who had just left saw all three of them), but also that I had refused to allow the technician into my home whatsoever to do service. Then, the agent transferred me to a supervisor, Rudy, who informed me that it is “normal procedure for a technician to update the wiring on my existing connection and that a new line may have needed to be run to the house.” I explained again that what the technician was trying to do was unnecessary work that had nothing to do with my cable line and that the technician had flat out told me he was doing the work merely so he could bill TWC for it. At this point, the supervisor called the dispatch supervisor, who explained that the technician in fact did no work while he was here.

Rudy suggested that if I stay home all day again tomorrow someone mightarrive if I’m lucky. Otherwise, they will have to schedule an appointment some time in ten days. However, they will deauthorize my cable modem and digital cable box in the interim because they cannot confirm they are connected to a line!

Needless to say, I will be stunned if this problem is taken care of tomorrow, and I’m already in the process of looking at DSL, but my central office is far away and my speeds will be sufficiently less than those of my existing (and clearly working since I’m sending you this e-mail via my home connection) cable modem. Any suggestions or contact #’s that might help me get my problem escalated?

Time Warner customer service agents are notoriously inept. Stop wasting your time with them and jump directly to executive customer service. Call the Time Warner mother ship at (212) 364-8200 and ask for Glenn Britt’s office.

(Photo: Snickerpuss)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.