Heart Attack Patient Has No Phone Going On A Week, Time Warner Botches Repairs

Thomas is on the 7th day without Time Warner Cable phone service, which is a bit of a problem since his mother just had a heart attack. They’ve promised multiple times to come out and fix it, and either broken those promised appointments or only partially fixed the issue.

My mother was put back into the ICU on Friday, after having a heart attack while still in hospital after 2 weeks. I was on my cell phone with Time Warner Cable, as I had been for several hours over the previous two days, trying to convince them that I needed them to come out and fix the service to my apartment, which provides my cable, internet and phone. They promised to make it a priority, and they told me they would send another technician Saturday morning. That would be 3 in as many days. After several weeks of complaining about the signal quality to my place, it took complete failure for them to even believe that my intermittent issues were a real problem.

All of this happened, while @TWCableBryanP was supposed to be monitoring my account for signal outages after seeing complaints online.

On Thursday, they sent a guy to the house who established that I had no signal coming in. On Friday they sent out a line tech, whom they said did the work that was ordered, but who didn’t fix my problem, and left without verifying the fact. Friday night, I was told that the problem was being escalated to a supervisor. Saturday night, I was told that my service order had simply been canceled by the tech, without calling me or letting anyone know. They said that they couldn’t do anything else until Monday.

I was promised a phone call Monday Morning to let me know what was being done about my account. That never happened. I called them in the afternoon to let them know that my mother was being released that evening, and that having a working phone was essential to her safety. I was told by a supervisor that they he would personally contact
corporate and call me back in an hour. 2 hours later, I call him back just before he was getting off work. He admitted that he lied to me, implying that he never thought I’d call back and track him down. He told me they had someone scheduled for Tuesday.

Finally, last night, they sent someone out, and I have partial service. The home phone can receive calls, but we can’t be heard when speaking. The internet is slow and splotchy, and the cable delivers sound and some channels are watchable. They are telling me that they will be out tomorrow to finish the repairs. After a week and lies and
let-downs, I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m shopping around, but no one else can do an install at my place this week, anyway, and with the prescriptions, we couldn’t afford a new deposit, anyway.

That stinks. Maybe you guys can get a prepaid cellphone so that she doesn’t have to only rely on your cellphone as her only means of communication. They’re pretty cheap and that way you can be guaranteed a working phone until/if/when Time Warner gets their act together.


Edit Your Comment

  1. agent 47 says:

    Yeah, I think prepaid is the way to go for the time being. Better safe than sorry is what me granpappy used to say!

    I just ditched Time Warner in favor of Fios after my bill went up $5 yet again. Here’s hoping I made the right choice!

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      But he already has a cell phone:

      “I was on my cell phone with Time Warner Cable, as I had been for several hours over the previous two days…”

      • agent 47 says:

        But his mom doesn’t. Right?

        • qbubbles says:

          His mom lives with him.

          • agent 47 says:

            Is he at home 24/7?

            • qbubbles says:

              Leave the cell with the old woman and go to work. Done.

              • agent 47 says:

                That would work!

              • grumblingmumbles says:

                maybe he needs his phone for work or has lots of calls that would bother his mother (who is recovering from a heart attack mind you)?

              • Nisun says:

                Yep, because leaving your new Smart Phone with an older woman is a good idea, especially if she could suffer a heart attack…. My grandma hated cellphones because she couldn’t see the buttons. Even her home phone HAD to have BIG buttons for her to be able to use it. I can just imagine his mother trying to unlock the phone and dial 911…. Might as well leave her with no phone.

              • Gramin says:

                Yes, because he only goes home and to work. He doesn’t need to go get her prescriptions, or go to the grocery store or run other errands. He needs a working home phone line. Period. Your ignorance never stops.

              • Marshmelly says:

                Yea, leaving a complicated cellphone with a presumably elderly woman who just suffered a heart attack is always a great idea. “leave the cell with the old woman and go”? Well, I can’t say you sound like the most compassionate person around…

                • qualia says:

                  Old people are old, not retarded, and most cellphones aren’t that different from touch tones, which are probably older than you are.. My 85 year old grandmother has a cellphone. It’s not like she’s a super genius.

      • Nisun says:

        it was HIS cell phone not his mothers… she may not know how, or want to use a cell phone. Also since its his cell phone he may need it while he’s some place like work? Also panic button type devices often use a phone line, not cell phones. As for no one being able to hear him, with the “call for help” devices that allow the operator to here you and talk to you, that could be a problem (Lets say she couldn’t get out of bed and needed them to phone her son, instead they think she’s dead because they cant hear her). I would call the old school phone company and get them out to hook up a line until TW Cable can get it fixed (months?)

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Well, if you dial 911, and they don’t hear anything on the other end, standard practice is to send out a car to investigate.

    • dg says:

      Exactly – I agree. Get mom a prepaid phone for a while… Then send TimeWarner the bill for it because they F’d around with the repairs…

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The entire post is confusing if you don’t realize right off the bat that Thomas’ mother is most likely living with her son.

    I went through the entire letter and went “what does his mother being in the ICU have to do with his apartment? And then I re-read it and found “I called them in the afternoon to let them know that my mother was being released that evening, and that having a working phone was essential to her safety.”


    • physics2010 says:

      I was about to block consumerist completely as their titles tend toward hyperbole. I will accept your theory that the mother lives with the son and therefore him not having a telephone at the house would be an issue.

    • Gramin says:

      Agreed. Not trying to take away from the issue, but a horribly written email/post.

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    But he already has a cell phone, which he used to contact Time Warner. He shouldn’t worry about minutes because since Time Warner is failing to provide him service, he can bill them for his overages or deduct it from his bill.

    Also, ANY charged cell phone can dial local 911 free. It’s the law.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I should qualify that by local, I mean the towers forward it to the nearest regional 911 service, whom then conference you in to the appropriate agency(police/EMS/fire/etc) to assist you.

  4. Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

    Why would he need a prepaid cellphone if he already has a cellphone, per the second sentence of what he wrote? While a backup might be nice, his current cellphone would certainly be better in case of emergency, as it would be more readily traced back to him personally than a more anonymous prepaid unit.

    I think EECB information or executive contact numbers would help him more. He needs to get ahold of someone who is actually paid enough and has the job security to give a rat’s ass about his situation and see that it gets fixed.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Thomas’ mom lives with him, and needs a working phone to call him or 911.

      • qbubbles says:

        Pie, are you autistic? You keep repeating the same obvious fact over and over throughout the comments. Yes, she lives with him. AND HE HAS A PHONE. So obviously there is a phone in the house. If he has to leave the house, leave the phone with the old lady for emergencies.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Are you saying autistic people just repeat things over and over again like a parrot? I find that highly offensive. Many autistic people are smarter than you and possibly I. Ever hear of Temple Grandin?

          • qbubbles says:

            Never said autistic people werent smart. I was a tutor for an autistic boy for 2 years, and he often repeated himself over and over again. He was extremely bright, and would often teach me things about astronomy and cosmology, but when he was nervous he would fixate on something and repeat the last phrase that was stated over and over until he was calmed down.

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

              Oh, so because you dealt with one autistic person, that’s how they ALL behave? If we all did/believed that, I would dislike all cane-swingers because they steal my girlfriend.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              If you worked with an autistic person and had any kind of relationship with them, you most likely wouldn’t be using the term in a derogatory way. Some of them can have repetitive behaviors, but so can people with OCD and many other disorders.

              I just feel that if you actually worked with someone in the population, you would have enough empathy not to make fun of someone by calling them autistic.

          • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

            “Many autistic people are smarter than you and possibly I.”

            “…and possibly I.” Brilliant, GitEm SteveDave!!! Low self-esteem is not an issue for you. :)

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

              I have a 148 IQ, so it’s not a self esteem thing.

              • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

                Damned show off. You are making me have self-esteem issues here. Mine is a lowly 136. I feel so inferior.

              • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

                Guess I’ll ball up my paltry 142 and go home then. Harrumph!!!

        • Gramin says:

          qbubbles, are you ignorant? You can’t expect him to leave his cell phone at home and have no way for someone to contact him. What if his mom has a heart attack and the hospital needs to reach him but he’s out of town for the next several hours?

          Why don’t you try constructive comments instead of calling my friend autistic. Not only are you insulting him, but you’re also insulting those who suffer with autism.

          • qbubbles says:

            He’s not about to “wander off” for hours at a time when his mother is recovering from a heart attack. In fact, I doubt he’s even going to go to work. She probably cannot get around the house on her own without assistance, so this is a moot point. But go right ahead and defend your “friend”. Because that’s what the internet is all about.

            • Gramin says:

              Heart attack patients don’t require 24/7 assistance. If they did, the hospital wouldn’t send them home. She needs access to a phone 24/7 because once you have that first heart attack, your chances of having another increase.

              I’m defending my friend because you’re ignorant and made a derogatory comment. Why can’t you make your point politely without attacking him? Does it make you feel better to call him autistic? Do you feel like a man now?

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          But if she needs to reach him, then how will she do so without him also having a phone?

          Also, this is why I WON’T bundle my phone with cable. My parents had their entire utility pole knocked down by a truck and all the other utilities hooked the lines back up to their house and the other houses the pole serviced without being called. The electric company replaced the pole and hooked the lines up late at night, the phone company was there the next day. The cable company? Everyone had to call individually to have them hook service back up so to fix the same issue at multiple houses they sent out different techs on different days. What a waste of time and money.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Are you being deliberately obtuse? He has one cell phone and no home phone service. How does leaving her his cell phone help her to get in touch with HIM if he doesn’t have his cell phone? We don’t know anything about his work situation or his line of work. What if he drives a delivery truck for a living and is away from a fixed phone line during the day? The point is, he obviously isn’t content to leave his mother with a cell phone, otherwise he probably would have thought of that.

          • Gramin says:

            While I agree with you Pecan, I have one issue: TOO MANY DAMN PRONOUNS!!! I had to re-read it to follow your logic. His her him she… huh? :)

          • aloria says:

            Hell, I have a “desk job,” but I’m more likely to not be at my desk. Meetings and server room stuff, you know.

        • aloria says:

          What if she needs to call HIM? If she has his cell phone, that makes it pretty hard.

        • coren says:

          Leaving him with no phone to use if he has an emergency. Very workable solution, that.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          Autistic people aren’t stupid, nor do most of them sit and repeat themselves. Many of them are incredibly intelligent with IQ’s in the superior, gifted, and genius range. I work with autistic teens and they certainly don’t sit and repeat themselves.

          Not trying to be an a-hole, I just think you should have used the word retard instead.


  5. Nighthawke says:

    Get on the line with your local telephone company and get the Plain Old Telephone Service back. Even if you are on limited income, you can still maintain service as per state and federal law. Tell TWC to kiss off, cancel their crappy phone service and go forward. If they are unable to resolve it, then they have every right to lose customers because of it. If you go limited income, you may have difficulty in maintaining your service with TWC if they jack rates on you.

    Stick with what is guaranteed to work if you have medical issues.

  6. cytoman says:

    I had a similar issue with my phone. The phone appeared to be working only no one could reach me. When I finally figured out there was a problem and confirmed it by calling myself from my cell phone (the person calling heard a ringing phone but my phone never rang) I called TWC and they said ‘opps’. When I said I didn’t want to pay for the service because it hadn’t been working they sent my bill to collection. I had never missed a payment and was not overdue but because I told the agent I didn’t think I should have to pay, they sent me to collection.
    These are evil people. Do not use Time Warner Cable.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      What did they mean by “opps”?

      • cytoman says:

        They told me they mis-configured the switch when they were doing maintenance and shut off my phone over 1 month earlier.

  7. bitslammer says:

    Sounds like par for the course from my TWC experience.

  8. qbubbles says:

    Use your cell phone. Yes, it sucks what TW is doing, but you honestly have no reason to have your panties in a twist when you have a cell. I think the real issue is that you dont have TV or internet.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You clearly didn’t read my comment up top. Thomas’ mom lives with him. She’s getting discharged from the hospital, and she needs a working phone.

      • qbubbles says:

        Yes, she lives with him. And he has a cell. Leave the damn cell with the old lady and go to work.

        • oloranya says:

          I’ve met elderly people who can’t even figure out how to turn a cell phone one, never mind dial 911 on it when they might be having a heart attack.

          Not to mention if he has one of those alert button things for her, that requires a landline.

        • kc2idf says:

          OMFG! If my eyes rolled any further I’d be looking at my brain!

          He should get a prepaid so that he can keep his cell on him, because clearly he doesn’t use it for anything besides calling 911 for his mom.

      • Gramin says:

        Pie, it’s useless to argue with q. He’s ignorant and is clearly single-minded here.

  9. c!tizen says:

    How I wish FIOS was available for me. I have dreamed of the day I could call Time Warner to give them the news of our long over due break-up. “It’s not me, it’s you. You’re too demanding of my money, never able to truly satisfy my viewing needs, and your bandwidth is far too temperamental which always leaves me wanting more.”

    • agent 47 says:

      When I did it, they asked why I was canceling (I only have internet, no cable) and I told them about the $5 increase. They offered to give me free cable, which I don’t care about, and I said no thanks. That was it! They said ok, it’s canceled, later!

      • c!tizen says:

        you are a lucky, lucky person. I’ve been waiting for FIOS to get here for years.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          It’s FiOS. Lowercase “i”. I say that as a resident of one of the first towns in NJ to get service. And I love it. 3-4 outages in 7 years that lasted no longer than 24 hours total.

          • agent 47 says:

            Uh oh…I only had two outages with TWC in two years. :(

          • Gramin says:

            STOP IT! I forbid you from talking about FiOS. It’s making my mouth water. I’m extremely jealous. You’re kinda like Justin Timberlake or Orlando Bloom right now with your hot woman and you’re just flaunting her in my face.

        • LatinoGeek says:

          Verizon has slowed/stopped their Fios deployments to new areas. If your town/zip doesn’t already have it, then don’t expect them anytime soon.

        • Gramin says:

          I wish I could have FIOS too. Unfortunately I live in Chicago and don’t think it’s coming my way… ever. Very sad. I hate RCN (and hate my highrise for making me have RCN).

  10. sirwired says:

    It’s time to complain to whatever local govt. granted the cable franchise. The fact that the supervisor outright lied (and then admitted it) is completely, totally, 100% unacceptable.

  11. stormbird says:

    I think his concern is that he will be out of the house (work and so on) and his mother will be alone. He has a cell, true, but he’ll be taking it with him. A prepaid cell would be fine as long as he lives where he can get a good signal.

  12. mjd74 says:

    If I had a serious medical issue like that I wouldn’t be relying on Internet phone service anyway.

  13. Big Mama Pain says:

    “Use your cellphone people”-SHUT UP. It’s not really about how he’s going to call 911 when his mother has another heart attack. He’s being completely bent over by TWC, and it’s bs. Time to escalate this up the food chain, hopefully to get the deposit back and switch to someone else-although, I don’t know who that would be considering I hear horrible things about pretty much all major phone/internet/cable providers.

  14. pot_roast says:

    Complaint to the state PUC is in order. There’s no excuse for that. If the cable companies want to provide phone service and act like a telco, then they can be treated like on etoo.

  15. Darkrose says:

    Sounds like a signal issue to me. Probably needs a line tech to come put in a new drop (doubtful it’s inside wiring). Signal leves are probably out of whack.

  16. RagnarIV says:

    Honestly if I were you I would lodge a complaint with the BBB etc. However check to see if their product is advertised as digital phone or VOIP, if its advertised as VOIP it may not be FCC regulated. In that case they don’t legally have to fix your services within 24hrs. If they advertise it as Digital Voice and it is FCC regulated, I’m not 100% sure on the procedure, but lodge a complaint and they can be fined around $15,000 for not responding to the issue within 24 hrs.

    Also I would send an EECB, if they do have a guaranteed 24hr turn around then you can light a fire under their arses. Also it sounds like you have RF issues to your modem. Find out the access IP to your modem and record your levels. Thats tangible proof that there is an issue.

    There are plenty of places on line that can tell you what your levels should be.

  17. backinpgh says:

    What if the patient needs to be left alone for some period of time, becomes incapacitated and dials 911 but can’t relay the address information? That’s the downfall of leaving this person with only a cell phone.

  18. MissMostlyMittens says:

    He needs to file a City Complaint. In the LA Market it is quite easy as the number is for City Hall and is listed under unresolved issues on the last page of the bill. Hopefully it’s similar in his area but I’m sure he could call City Hall and get the correct phone number. When I worked for Cable, city complaints were treated very differently from regular complaints because the cable operator is responsible for proving that they resolved the issue in a timely manner. He could also play hard ball and call the Call Center, speak to a supervisor and say if he doesn’t speak to a manager or director within an hour he will file a “ITA” (has to be a sup reps may not know what ITA means). That should get him the help he needs. Also if he files a complaint with the City and the “Office of the President” reps call him back, I would give them one day to fix it before I would call the city and tell them I want the OTP’s supervisor to call me back. I would ask what the person’s title is though. In some areas only supervisors follow up and they don’t have the same power, so at that point definitely want to get a Manager or Director on the phone. Any way I’m not sure if the OP will read these but if so I hope that helps.

  19. scurvycapn says:

    Said a million times already, but get a regular old land line. We have a local calls only, 3.4 cent per minute on outgoing calls line. It’s only used for phone calls to/from my fiancee’s parents, doctors, and in need be, emergencies. The bill comes out to about $10-12/month.

    If someone’s health is at risk, go for the land line. Doing anything else would be foolish.

    • Orv says:

      I agree. All the phone-over-broadband providers here make it very clear that you’re not supposed to rely on their services for emergencies.

      I laugh pretty hard every time Comcast tries to sell me phone service. They can’t provide reliable Internet access, why would I trust them with my phone?

  20. JeffSimmermonTWC says:

    Hi — I’m the Director of Digital Communications at Time Warner Cable. Please accept my sincere apologies for this problem. If I were in this position, I’d be extremely frustrated, too. From what I understand, the circumstances for dropping/burying a line in this situation were fairly unusual for us in that we had to drill through the sidewalk in front of the customer’s home in order to put in the right cable. It is also our understanding that this problem has been resolved as of last night (8.4.2010) and everything is now in working order.

    If that is not the case, please contact us directly at twcable.help@twcable.com and we’ll address the situation as quickly as possible.

    Thanks, and again, my sincerest apologies.

  21. Christopher Wilson says:

    If you still have a phone jack hooked to the local phone co you can hook a phone in and dial 911 with no service. Won’t work if you had time warner wire the phone service into the house’s wiring though.

  22. Taddare says:

    This is why I still have a land line and why I told my grandparents not to get a cable phone. If you have any reason to need a phone, you can’t trust a cable line.

    I live in an apartment building full of seniors, most of which have cable phones now. Last time we lost power for 2 days I was one of 4 people in a building of about 120 units who had phone service.

  23. nerble says:

    I work for an partner company of TWC and this is standard. We’re a cable company, we don’t act like a phone company. We’re told basically that a customer w/ a medical issue is not a reason for a force in (getting a tech out next day if no regular appointments are available). Go back to standard telephone if reliability is essential.

  24. adamwade says:

    Yet another reason why Internet phone is bad…not worth it, doesn’t even have real 911. POTS is where it’s at, just as it has been for 100 years.