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)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    Wow, as soon as they first told me there was no connection, I would’ve said, okay thank you, I’ll call back another day, and take the free cable/internet. If not then, at least when the tech said its installed. I then would’ve recorded his work, and posted on you tube if unethical. Now they’ve deactivated your box/modem, and you’re screwed. I do respect your honesty and agree these people are retarded. I think I might’ve told the tech to re-wire anyway, I mean, they’re already there. He wants a job, and I’d feel better w/ new wire. 10 days for a call, for an existing connection, thats lame.
    Cute cat!

  2. Doc Benway says:

    Yup, that sounds exactly like Time Warner Cable. Could be worse . . . they could have shown up at your house and fallen asleep.

  3. Observer2121 says:

    So the problem is that you are getting mystical free cable and internet and you want this rectified?

    Just keep calling Time Warner over and over, they will eventually send out one of their own technicians as opposed to a contractor.

    Why you would do this is beyond my level of comprehension.

  4. acambras says:

    Cute cat!

    However, if they had a nutrition information label on that beer, he probably wouldn’t have such a belly.

  5. FreemanB says:

    His problem is that he’s paying for cable and internet at his old apartment. Once someone else activates service there, his would be shut off, including the authorization for his cable box and modem. It would have stopped working at some point in the future, which is why he wanted to transfer his service. My experience with CS is to keep calling until you find someone with a brain. Or at least someone who screws up in your favor.

  6. oneTee says:

    how Time Warner Cable continues to run as a company is completely beyond me. I’ve never dealt with a more inept company and a more frustrating customer service group.

  7. lincolnparadox says:

    Honestly, considering the CS that you’ve gotten so far, you might want to just get a satellite dish (I personally suggest DISH Network) for TV and look into DSL options that don’t involve Time Warner. I know how it goes, Mediacom is the only game in town here for cable. But, there are a few smaller companies that can set you up, if you just look.

  8. Mike_ says:

    I’ve moved 4 times in the past 10 years, and I’ve never transferred my account. I always cancel, return the old equipment, and set up a new account. It’s cheaper that way (new customer promotional rate), and I get new gear and more free coax and RCA cables.

  9. LilKoko says:

    Because, for one, SOME people try to be honest. And, two, when TWC eventually figures out that Jim has had “free” cable for umpteen years, Jim is sca-rewed!

  10. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    Time Warner is amazing.
    When my cable and internet crapped out Friday night, they actually diagnosed my problem as my modem “not being there” and asked me to plug it in if available.

    Wow. Cannot switch to DSL fast enough.

  11. evanchsa says:

    When I was a kid we had cable even though my parents never ordered it. They called the cable company at told them that we had service but weren’t paying for it and would like to sign up so everything was above board.

    The cable representative said there was no record of service and we must be mistaken. My parents called again but after the third time gave up and lived with the “free cable.”

    That lasted around 5 years ;) until the cable magically went out one day.

  12. synergy says:

    The easy answer is get in writing from them or some other documentation stating there’s no wiring to your place. Then continue to use the one you’re using. When they come around trying to charge you, show them where they said it’s impossible to have service because there’s no lines.

    Of course that may fall in gray areas on the legality… ;)

    I don’t use TWC. They’re thieves. And incompetent ones at that. I use a local company instead.

  13. synergy says:

    @FreemanB: It’s happened to both me and two friends with TWC that there was existing cable and they never shut it off. My friends left the country after a couple of years and the cable was still on. The odds of them realizing their mistake and suddenly shutting it off are slim or at least years and years in the future.

  14. megscole64 says:

    Wow…just wow…I mean, amazing wow. I cannot comprehend that level of stupidity. I now feel blessed to have Comcast! The last time a person came out to do work they actually helped us even more than we asked…and for less money! They’ve been out twice in five years (we live pretty far out and lines are pretty old) and both times have been great. I don’t like how much we pay but at least we enjoy our service and don’t have to deal with idiots. Also – if I ever have issues and have to call in the customer service people are super pleasant…almost too pleasant. It’s freaky. :)

  15. FreemanB says:

    @synergy: I wouldn’t be concerned about them shutting off the actual cable. The problem would be the cable box and cable modem. If your equipment isn’t registered to an account, they can/will deactivate the equipment, effectively preventing it from talking to their system. You could still plug a TV straight into the wall and get basic cable, but you wouldn’t have internet access or anything else. So the OP would never know when he would lose access internet access. If he is like me, that’s a much bigger worry than the cable channels.

  16. kbarrett says:

    Then continue to use the one you’re using. When they come around trying to charge you, show them where they said it’s impossible to have service because there’s no lines.

    And then they will use that as “proof” that you installed the wiring yourself and are stealing service.

  17. The Walking Eye says:

    Mayhaps the landlord had illegally run cable to the building, hence TW insisting the building is not wired? Plausible explanation, however I don’t know if that would allow his modem and box to work, so it may not be plausible at all. *shrugs*

  18. killavanilla says:

    Some people don’t like the idea that they are stealing cable and internet access.
    They are called – ‘law abiding citizens’ and they don’t deserve to be told that doing the right thing is wrong.
    Just my opinion, of course.

  19. rochec says:

    Just to go along with this lovely story, here is my experience with TWC 2 weeks ago. I emailed this to Ben, knowing it wouldn’t get posted. But I’m on the I hate TWC boat at the moment so why not…

    “Reading through all the TWC/Comcast award winning customer service experience has made me want to share mine. So let’s take it from the top, bare with me this will take awhile…I had decided about 6 months ago to begin shopping for my first home, knowing how quick cable companies move I put in notice of my transfer the second I found the house I wanted to purchase. That game me roughly two months notice for TWC to simply transfer my service to my new address. No problem right? Wrong. July 16th is the big day and as it comes, I get a call from, of course, a 3rd party contractor who tells me my tap is already being used by my neighbors and will have to be upgraded for more use. This is fine, little things happen and that could be fixed that evening and the 3rd party fellow promises me he will be back at 8am the next day. I convinced him he would have to be, because I work from home and certainly need my internet up and running. 8am day 2 comes and I get a phone call. Mr. 3rd party begins with the good news, the tap has been fixed and I’m ready for an install. Then he proceeds to tell me he doesn’t have any work in my area (mind you I essentially live in downtown Dallas) so he will try and get his friend who lives closer to me out there some time that day to hook my internet up, but he can’t give me any sort of time frame. What can I do, not like I have anything better to do. As the conversation is ending he throws in the oh also your cable boxes won’t work on the dual line system and I don’t have any boxes that do so you won’t be getting cable TV today. I contain myself as it’s only begun and just say fine, because I’ve got my other phone out ready to call TWC and get this fixed. So I do, the first lady is very helpful and is as shocked as I am and promises me someone from dispatch will call me and they will get all the proper equipment out to me that day. After waiting about 4 hours I call back, because I’ve yet to hear from dispatch. I’m reassured of the same thing and there’s not much else I can do or ask for at this point. Again I wait, calling back again and am told all they can tell me is someone will be there before 8pm! Since I had just moved I also had a locksmith there this day, at about 4:30pm two guys in a white pickup truck in T shirts show up. They come and tell me they are here to do my cable and kind of just stare at me. So I begin to explain the situation about the 3rd party guy and how my cable boxes apparently won’t work. They tell me they are form that company and their supervisor (who is the guy who called me the day before and at 8am) didn’t tell them about my boxes being an issue and that they had no equipment. So I try not to freak out, because at this point I really just care about my internet. The two ESLs go out in the back to find the line and do whatever they act like they are doing and come back to tell me that I have no ‘drop line’ and that I can’t have my internet installed. Which is shocking because I could probably install a drop line and I have no idea what I’m doing. I send them away to go back to my redial and speak with TWC. I call and ask for a supervisor after explaining my day. I’m connected to a nice guy who I give a respectful earful to. He contacts dispatch who tells him they can have an actual TWC tech out between 5-8pm that day (it’s now 5:15), so I’m relieved. 8pm comes and goes so I call back. Now is where the real fun starts, I am told that there are no notes about a tech coming out and that my order has been cancelled. From what I gathered the supervisor cancelled my order, to allow the new tech come out, but that never happened. I don’t understand it full to this day though. At this point I’m infuriated and I ask for the supervisor again, who has now gone home. Instead I am transfered to the national help line and the lady there tells me she will have to transfer me back and is blown away by my story. She gives me the corporate phone number and transfers me back to a supervisor. After waiting on hold for 30 mins for that one, I hang up and call back. Sadly I don’t have the guy’s name who answered the phone anymore, but he was amazing. When he answered I basically just asked for a supervisor, not wanting to tell me story for probably the 8th time today. He all but refused to transfer me unless I told him the story and assured me he could solve the problem because he had “so much experience”. Finally I was forced to go through the entire mess again and once I was finished he had the nerve to tell me there were no supervisors on duty. I assured him there was one there, not only because he had said there was one originally, but because there was no chance they were there without one. Once again I got to hear how he had “10 years” of experience so he could be left unattended. He also proceeded to “be my friend” and tell me not to mention that I worked from home ever again to anyone at Time Warner, as their service is for ‘recreational’ use and that I would be quarantined and have my service disconnected if I was using it for work. Another thing that just made me want to tell this guy how much I hated TWC. After going back and forth with him he told me the best he could do was to make me a new order, which would put me about 3 weeks out and leave a message for his supervisor and then his supervisor could change my service date sooner. I agreed to this to get in the system again and then told him I would hold for his supervisor, which he responded with “no you will not”. Of course I responded to such with something along the lines of “as a paying customer I believe I am well within my right to speak to your superior and if the awful customer service continued he would be included in my complaint”. To which I was told if I made one more “negative comment about TWC” he would “release” me. Once again I told him I would hold for his supervisor again he told me I wouldn’t and proceeded to hang up on me. He actually hung up, I was stunned.

    I spent another hour or two continuing to call and getting nowhere, so I finally called it a night as I thought I may have a heart attack. I also decide to call the 3rd party supervisor at 10pm that night to tell him that I was basically left out to dry because of him and I hope he will be there first thing on day 3, as his two ‘friends’ told me they would be. To my surprise I get a call very early on day 3 from the ‘rapid response’ supervisor who tells me he can have a tech out today to solve my issue. I was absolutely stunned and actually excited. So I get a call from a real live TWC tech who tells me he’s about 20 minutes out. After about 30 mins I get call from my girlfriend (who I live with), she is at our old apartment that we just moved from and she tells me that she “just got done talking to the TWC tech”. So all the excitement is gone in a flash, as he has a work order for the wrong address and basically tells her he can’t help us because his work order is for that address, not our new one. She gives him the sob story and convinces him to come over, he finally agrees but says he won’t be able to perform any sort of installation. Also he tells her we have two accounts and that has caused this new issue. Which of course is wrong, so I call TWC and finally have the common sense to record a conversation I have with them. Of course I get the most helpful person they have there who assures me I don’t have two accounts, I just have a transfer and the old address exists until my new address is installed. The tech finally arrives and refuses to believe this is the case, so I have to call TWC again. Time Warner doesn’t seem to have an option I could ever find to enter an extension, so I have to speak to someone new, again, and try to explain what is going on. The new person doesn’t understand one bit and even the tech tries to explain it to him. Finally we get it across to him that he needs a new work order for an install at our address so he can begin working. I am put on hold, as he needs his supervisor to get this done. After about 20 minutes of holding the gentlemen returns to tell me that my install date is August 7th, not July 18th so he can’t get anything done for me and the tech will have to leave. I try to explain how my order was cancelled and that the august date isn’t my real install, that July 16th was and I’m 2 days behind already. This guy is adamant that my install isn’t today, to which I ask then how did this tech get here? Again I’m put on hold, so I run to another phone and call to get another CS operator. This lady is a miracle worker and gets the work order changed after about 45 mins on the phone with her, so a very helpful tech begins my install. His name is Young and if you are in the Dallas area and unlucky enough to get someone from the rapid response team, hope it’s him. Sadly as nice as he was he didn’t completely install my cable, back to that dual line problem, so I can’t watch the Daily Show in bed! Something I can live with at this point.

    So needless to say it was not a fun experience for such a simple task. Hell I even brought the equipment myself and all the had to do was plug it in! Since then I’ve been called 3 times by some sort of collection company asking for my equipment back for TWC. I received two bills for the same billing period (1 day apart) and I was billed for 5 cable boxes, when I have 3. I will have DirecTV next week. The saddest part of my nightmare is my run in with telco reality, as I called Verizon to get FiOS net installed so I could totally drop TWC and I was told that they won’t be offering service in Dallas because they “don’t want to compete” and “that’s business”. Not it’s not, business is about offering a superior product, which they do, to a consumer, me. If only they would challenge each other so we could reap the benefits.”

  20. ShadowFalls says:

    I would have had him rewire it anyways if TWC is paying and not me. How many do it around here is run one line each, one for tv and one separate line for internet. I would doubt his apartment was wired like that.

  21. bnissan97 says:

    You go fuckin stupid corporate america.

    I really wish that companies would get fined for such stupidness.

  22. aikoto says:

    I don’t know why this is, but every cable and telephone company I’ve ever dealt with is a nightmare.

  23. agent2600 says:

    I would agree with the previous comments, if they say you don’t have cable and its working, just use it…why not? I did the same thing for like 3 months at my apartment, before TWC said, oh, you have cable working in your apartment? Ok…now we need to start charging you….And that was that 3 months free cable.

    As for you not allowing the contractor to do some type of work…I’m sorry to say, but thats messed up, and he had every right to get mad at you. If was just going to switch out the connection hub with a new one, this would be nothing but beneficial to you neighbors (new metal always has a better singnal) OK so your neighboors cable would go out for what…5 minutes while he switches the line…goodness, they might have actually noticed, scratched there heads and before the knew it it woulda poped back on, and might have even looked better.

    You were denying this contractor his pay, its not his fault TWC screwed up, and well, how would you like someone to come in to your place of work, say “Oh I’m sorry, because of circumstances outside of your control, you are not going to get paid today” Ya you would be mad too if someone stole the food of your table, and thats what YOU did (not anyone else), you seriously think that if he went to his supervisor and said, “oh the cable line was already installed, can i get paid anyway?”. And while you describe this contractor as being unpleasant, judging from your agitated tone in your post, some how i doubt you were a chipper customer to deal with.

  24. The Meathead says:

    @agent2600: Completely failed.

    Offbase on all accounts.

  25. create says:


    I am RoadRunner support for my local Time Warner…

    and you have *no idea* how many times a day some idiot calls and flips out on me because their internet is out again, and when I ask them if their modem is plugged in, as I can see it is offline, they miraculously find it unplugged.

    what’s better, the ones who really just want to blame Time Warner for something and continue to argue with me like I unplugged their f**** modem or we sent some stealth ninjas to do it just to piss them off

    I’d say on a daily basis, probably 20% of my offline modems are people who’s kids unplugged them or they did themselved (“oh yeah, i was painting that room…”) and I’d say 25% of those people are usually mad that their modem was unplugged and proceed to scream at me more, lol

  26. @lincolnparadox: Wish I could do that where I reside. I parted ways with Comcast 5 years ago and went with Dish network. Unfortunately, DSL is just plain old not available where I live.