Last month, the CEO of Time Warner Cable called his company’s upcoming merger with Comcast a “dream combination” — and in the same speech, he delivered some decidedly less-dreamy news. There would indeed be rate increases coming for TWC customers in 2014, he confirmed. Now, those increases are starting to appear.
Over the past couple of billing cycles, TWC customers from all around the country are indeed saying that they’ve seen their bills go up. A subscriber in Massachusetts described a $4 hike for her TV/internet bundle; another in Los Angeles reported a whopping $11 jump this month.
When the L.A. subscriber asked TWC in a customer support web chat why she was seeing such a large increase in her bill, he answered, “I can check that the reason for the price increase is the recent price on the account for all the customer.” When she asked for clarification, the rep confirmed that all customers experienced a similar price increase.
Both of those subscribers use paperless billing for their cable bills. But reader Stacey, who lives in the Raleigh area, gets a paper copy of her internet-service-only bill from TWC each month. And her most recent contained an unfortunately timed pair of surprises. One was a $3 rate increase. The other? A letter from TWC singing the praises of its pending merger with Comcast.
The full text of the letter reads:
Dear Valued Customer:
Recently, Time Warner Cable announced plans to merge with Comcast, forming an industry-leading technology and media company dedicated to delivering great customer experiences.
Above all, this merger will benefit you, our customers. Our two companies have been behind many of the innovative services that you enjoy every day — digital cable TV, high-speed Internet, DVRs, Video On Demand and WiFi in the home and on-the-go — to name just a few. The combined company will innovate faster and deploy even better products and features, including a superior video guide, faster Broadband Internet speeds and even more WiFi access points so you can access the Internet wherever you go.
We expect the merger to close around the end of 2014. In the meantime, all of us at Time Warner Cable remain committed to providing you with great TV, blazing fast Internet, rock solid phone service and innovative home security and monitoring. And we will continue to make significant investments to improve reliability and to enhance our customer service.
We are very excited about the promise of this combination for you, our customers. We’ll keep you posted as things evolve in the coming months.
As always, thank you for choosing Time Warner Cable.
Robert D. Marcus
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Consumer groups and lawmakers have continually expressed concerns that the mega-merger would raise prices for consumers since the day it was announced, and it seems those concerns were well-founded.
The merger, which is still a long way from actually being approved, is already causing headaches for TWC subscribers — long before they can actually see any of the supposed benefits from becoming Comcast customers.