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.

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