Time Warner Cable Is Really Anxious To See You Go

Jack has been a customer of Time Warner Cable for a long time, what with the virtual monopoly in his town and all. He never really had any complaints until he was getting ready for his upcoming move. He dutifully called in a week and a half before the move, so his TV/Internet/phone package would be turned off at his current home, and installation set up at the new place. So, naturally, they turned off all three services at his current place the very next day. He complained, and they turned them back on. Then a Time Warner rep called up to “fix” the problem, flipping a switch to turn off all of the services. Again.

We have long been customers of TimeWarner Cable for our TV, phone, and internet, especially since they had a monopoly in our area for many years. Of course we had the usual outages, lost services, and annual price increases, but mostly our relationship has been good. Until we decided to move recently.

Anticipating our move, I talked with a local TW representative, who advised that we notify customer service 10 days or 2 weeks early to assure smooth service, and he gave me a ‘611’ customer service number, which, he said, was local and not thru an international call center. Sounds great, right?

12 days before our planned move, I called customer service at 611 (which proved to be a man named John in South Carolina), and explained that we needed to transfer our service from our old address to the new address. He asked a few questions, and we made an appointment for February 4 between 3-5 PM. I asked if the old service would end at that time, and he assured me that it would. Sounds great, right?

Next day, while we were out, telephone, internet, and TV service at our old address were terminated. Gone. When we called TW, their records showed a request to terminate our service the previous day. When we explained about our planned move and service transfer, they agreed to send someone that evening to restore service for the next 12 days. No explanation as to why it was shut down. Our bills were always paid on time.

Next day, we had a call from a TW sales rep, concerned that we had cancelled our service, and wondering why. When we explained that it had been done in error and corrected, he said “Oh, I can fix that.” and our phone went dead, along with internet and TV. Gone. We again called local customer service, where another rep explained that she could restore the TV service, but we would have to call another number for the internet connection, and we would be without our phone for the next 6 days. (Why is it they can cancel the service with the push of a button, but not restore it with the same button?)

Next I called the number she gave for internet service restoration, and got a friendly international call center person who listened to my story, then explained that since I had cancelled my internet service, he would have to run me thru the steps to initiate new internet service, with new email service and new email address. I then repeated that I had not terminated my service, TimeWarner terminated my service, so why not just reinstate my old email service and addresses? So he did.

With another week to wait before our move, we await the next bizarre move from our “communication” provider. I am perplexed that a “customer service” person would arrange a transfer of service 2 weeks in the future, then turn off the current service immediately. We still do not know if or when someone will appear to establish service at our new home. No one at TW has mentioned credits on our bill for lost services, or possible charges for setting us up as a new customer at our old address.

If this situation continues without phone service and he’s expecting an important call, Jack could try an executive e-mail carpet bomb to someone in power at Time Warner.


Edit Your Comment

  1. PHRoG says:

    Hey right hand…you seen left hand?

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Cable monopolies are evil, especially when they control phone & Internet service too. Such monopolies should be outlawed.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        I agree. It was one thing when it was an issue of how much you are paying for MTV or HBO, it’s another when they have control over two very important methods of communication (internet and phone).

    • UberGeek says:

      Right hand: “Who’s this ‘Left Hand’ you’re referring to? Have you been two-timing me? If I find out who Left Hand is and what she’s been doing with you, so help me… I feel like cheap trash now. I should just leave you.”

    • IraAntelope says:

      left hand, anyone controlling you? No? Me either.

  2. ThatTastesTerrible! says:

    Hope the OP didn’t have to pay for each “service visit”. Just getting a guy over to plug something in runs around $75 these days.

  3. Kate says:

    No one will offer you credits for lost services – you have to scream and yell for them first.

    • PHRoG says:

      That stopped working about 6 years ago I’m afraid. :'(

    • PLATTWORX says:

      The WORST way to try and get a credit for lost service or deal with any poor customer service situation is to “scream and yell”. It is exactly how you end up with nothing or far less.

      Calm, professional communication (via phone, mail or e-mail) is always the way to go… and I have gotten alot of credits from alot of companies over the years doing just that. I have also managed customer service departments and assure you without question that the crazy screaming and yelling customer ALWAYS got a much smaller adjustment then the one who was calm and friendly and gave us the opportunity to make it right. The last thing a person wants to do when being verbally assaulted is be generous.

    • phsiii says:

      Yeah. I’d love some jurisdiction to set up an expedited court process for customers to recover damages due to incompetent/lying CS reps. Would force companies to start taking CS seriously…

    • IraAntelope says:

      or just ask them nicely in a civil way.

  4. ancientone567 says:

    Usually it is the other way around. They won’t disconnect you lol or give you a really big argument.

  5. prezuiwf says:

    For what it’s worth, I am moving in a couple weeks and called up TWC to get everything switched over, and got the BEST rep I’ve ever dealt with at TWC and one of the best at any company I’ve ever called. He helped me get a new-subscriber package so my rate would be lower and with free install, was very helpful, and even followed up via e-mail after we discovered a minor address snafu to make sure everything was going to be able to go off as planned.

    Haven’t done the install yet so I can’t entirely claim the entire experience will go perfectly, but I do think it’s worthwhile to put out there that TWC is not always all that bad, as much as I prefer FiOS and would get it if I could.

  6. blogger X says:

    I was a former TWC customer, before Comcast took over the area I’m living in. Has their service improved? My internet would go out Saturday night, all day Sunday, eventually come back on Monday. Of course, customer service was closed Sunday.

    • DarthCoven says:

      I seriously don’t understand how these companies don’t have 24/7 call centers. Cablevision in NYC has been great. I can call them at 3AM on a Sunday if I have to and I can talk to a flesh and blood human being that is actually located stateside and if they can’t fix the problem remotely I’ll have a tech within a day or two.

      One of the most common problems that people encounter has actually prompted them to have an automated system send a signal to your box to reset it remotely. In years past the call center rep had to do it but now they have a menu option to have the signal sent to your box if you get the “Unauthorized Set Top Box. Please Call This Number” message on your screen.

      Yes, the Dolans can be epic douches, but their customer service departments have improved greatly in the past 5 years I have been a customer.

  7. thomwithanh says:

    Time to go to FIOS?

    • scoosdad says:

      People throw that advice around here as if FIOS was on every telephone pole in the country, just dripping data and waiting to be connected up as an instant alternative to every clueless cable company everywhere.

      It’s like getting advice to switch to a different cable provider. Unfortunately in most of the country, having two competing cable companies on the same street is rare.

      I also gotta point out here that Verizon’s history of stellar customer service is right up there with Time Warner’s. It was Verizon who cut off my internet service when another customer who was given my old telephone number when I switched numbers a few months earlier was a deadbeat and didn’t pay their bill. Then they told me it would take 10-14 days to reestablish my service even though it was their fault.

  8. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    I remember leaving TWC, & they said they would close my account, if & only when I return their equipment. So I stopped paying them & have yet to return their stupid modem, gosh I gotta do that this weekend.

    I recently switched the GF from RCN to Fios, the girl on the phone could not have been happier to see us switch. She spoke fast & made the whole transaction easy-peazy lemon squeezy. The GF was paying $160+ for all three services, I got her down to $78 for same services, post tax ! Gotta love competition !

  9. Queep misses WarOtter :( says:

    I had this same basic issue happen to me with Cablevision when moving to a new apartment. My internet connection just stopped working one day. I called them and found out that the disconnect order went through the day I made my call, rather than the day of the move (and like the OP, I made sure to specify that I didn’t want it turned off now). To top it all off, they needed to send a tech to my location to turn the connection back on and the earliest appointment available was a week later.

    I asked if there was anyone to complain to since this was a major inconvenience. I was told that since I didn’t currently have service, I wasn’t technically a customer anymore, so no. I should wait until I’m hooked back up and call back. That comment still makes me so angry.

    When I moved out of the second apartment and into a house that could get FiOS, I was so happy to permanently disconnect from Cablevision. Voting with my wallet FTW

  10. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    “(Why is it they can cancel the service with the push of a button, but not restore it with the same button?)”

    I think they can, but they just don’t want to, and don’t have to, because no one seems to hold telecoms accountable for their terrible customer service.

    • scoosdad says:

      Lily Tomlin as Ernestine the telephone operator from “Laugh-In”:

      “We don’t care. We don’t have to, we’re the phone company.”

      (gives the switchboard plug a yank cutting off the call)

  11. PLATTWORX says:

    “No one at TW has mentioned credits on our bill for lost services, or possible charges for setting us up as a new customer at our old address.”

    They are not about to. You must ASK for credit for lost service in my experience or they just keep moving. Had this happen with Comcast twice. I had to EECB and ended up with $100 in credits on my bill. Yes, they should offer… but don’t expect it.

  12. Hotscot says:

    I went through the same thing with Verizon. (They cancelled instead of transferring)
    Eight hours over ten days on the phone trying to get it fixed. My wife actually cried at one point.

    After the whole debacle was eventually fixed I sent a letter complaining that they had cancelled rather than transferred my service and in return I received this.

    “We are very sorry you had trouble cancelling your service so we’ve gone ahead and done that for you immediately.”

    This time I cried…

  13. Dallas_shopper says:

    TWC did something similar to me in 1997 when I was moving out of my college apartment. My roomie and I arranged for our cable to be turned off on the last day of the month. It was cut off the day after we made the request. We had to wait for a tech to come out and “turn it back on”, whatever that meant.

    U-verse is no better. I could write a book just about the hassles I had when I moved 3 miles down the road and switched tv and internet service from one address to another.

  14. karlmarx says:

    This is the Consumerist link to Time Warner Cable Corporate numbers


  15. kent909 says:

    They are paid minimum wage. They are not paid to care, pay attention or understand what you are asking for. They show up and answer the phone and do what they think you are asking.

  16. u1itn0w2day says:

    What! a cable company taking their customers and business for granted. O M G

    My guess is they closed somekind of ticket or service order in their computer system so they could get credit for a disconnect order. This is a metric for somebody.

    I would try to write a shorter letter with as many facts as possible including dates, times, who or what numbers called, phone number, type of service and a service order or ticket number assigned to the request. Helps Time Warner back track their mistake if they ever intend to. Give them one last chance then I would go to the state utility regulators and FCC.

  17. IraAntelope says:

    “If this situation continues without phone service and he’s expecting an important call, Jack could try an executive e-mail carpet bomb to someone in power at Time Warner.”

    Jack tried this this AM and had results before noon. TW connected phone, then disconnected internet, then finally got everything going. Said she had a message to get it fixed.