Over at DeathAndTaxesMag.com, Brooklyn comedian and actor Anthony DeVito has posted what he describes as a “manifesto” on why he hates Time Warner Cable.
It begins with a simple trip to his TWC office to get a new set-top box. While waiting in line, Anthony was approached by a TWC rep who said she could help lower his monthly bill. Considering that he was paying $197/month, he didn’t have much to lose.
So Anthony talked to the rep, who asked him for the details of his current programming package and proceeded to write on a contract in big bold letters “$84.99 FOR TV + HSO + 1 BOX $10.25 DVR INCLUDED + MODEM FEE $3.95.”
After all the additional math was done, the TWC rep calculated Anthony’s new total at $109.19, a pretty huge discount from what he was currently paying.
Having spent decades in the direct-marketing world, and being experienced in the fine art of small print, Anthony immediately questioned the veracity of the price he was being quoted.
That’s why I made sure to ask Adrienne specifically if that price referred to every service I currently have. “Of course!” Remembering all those movies where the devil finds loopholes in what people ask for when they make deals with him, I decided to be even more specific. Does this include HBO? Yes. All my other movie channels that I don’t even like? Yes! So, every single thing that I am now getting from Time Warner will cost me $109.19 for a full year? “Yup,” she gloated.
You can probably guess what happened when Anthony opened his next bill and saw he was being charged $159, fifty dollars more than what he’d been promised at the TWC office. Looking through the bill, he immediately saw the issue — in spite of what he’d been told, his premium channels had not been included in the discounted rate.
Attempts to deal with the issue by phone were fruitless, with CSRs repeatedly telling him that, since there was no promotion in the system matching what he’d been told, there was nothing that could be done.
Hoping that having a copy of a signed contract would be enough to make his case, Anthony returned to the TWC office where he details the following conversation with “Chad”:
ME: No! Not great! There’s a $50 difference in the amount on the contract and on my bill!
CHAD: Oh, you see, that’s because Premium Services are extra.
ME: But I asked Adrienne specifically about those, and she told me point-blank that they were included.
CHAD: She obviously made a mistake.
ME: You say mistake. I say overpromised to calm me down because I was complaining about what a bad company Time Warner is. Either way, what are you going to do about it?
CHAD: Oh, there’s nothing we can do about it. Premium Services aren’t included in any promotional offer.
ME: See what she wrote? This is the deal, and this is the price. And this is her signature.
CHAD: Yeah, but she just wrote “TV” here. It doesn’t say Premium Services.
ME: So, according to you, “TV” is just basic cable. It could just as easily mean everything that’s on TV. Every channel. Even the Korean ones. It could mean The World Of Television As Provided By Time Warner Cable.
CHAD: It doesn’t mean that. We don’t discount Premium Services.
ME: So what now? You guys just say whatever you feel like, and the company doesn’t honor any of it?
In a misguided attempt to put polish on turd, Chad pointed out to Anthony that he should be glad he’s getting some of the promised discount.
“See, this amount is $159 and you say you were paying $197,” said Chad. “That’s a lot less!”
It became pretty clear that Chadbot was programmed to keep saying the same things over and over, and he kept looking at me like he was stunned that I was unhappy. As if we’re all raised from birth with certain life lessons: Don’t talk to strangers, always cross the street at the light and Time Warner never discounts Premium Services. Was I raised by wolves?
In the end, Anthony just decided to remove all of his premiums with the exception of HBO.
“I have less channels now, but I won’t miss them too much,” he writes. “Thanks, Hollywood, for making so many shitty movies that I’ll never watch no matter how many times Starz shows them.”
Unfortunately, like many people in America, Anthony is stuck with a cable monopoly with Time Warner Cable. Verizon FiOS is inching its way across the area, but Verizon recently entered into wireless marketing deals with TWC and other cable companies that would seem to remove any incentive to roll out the FiOS network quickly. There’s satellite, but that can be problematic for people living in apartments, and he’d still need TWC for acceptable-speed Internet access.
As we’ve said many, many times, mistakes happen; what really matters is the response to the mistake.
To us, this situation stinks more of an employee deliberately misleading a customer, but we accept that it could have been an honest error. Rather than simply tell Anthony to suck it and be glad that he received any discount whatsover, TWC could have easily come up with a compromise that would have kept him as a long-term customer rather than one just counting down the days to cut the cord.