Open Letter about Time Warner Cable, Central NY and their lies, sent to the BBB

posted in: Writing | 2

What follows is the complaint I filed at 3 after midnight, Thursday, August 11th, to the Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY. The issue in question is the unethical business practices of Time Warner Cable, specifically regarding the nature of “transfer fees” for having Internet service moved from one home to a new one.

Please share this post with as many people as you can; I want everyone to know about this. Also, when the customer service representative tells you that his/her supervisor cannot waive the transfer fee, THEY ARE LYING. When the representative or their supervisor tells you that the technician must visit to “test the lines”, THEY ARE LYING.

If you have a similar experience with Time Warner Cable (or your own cable company), please also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of your region.

Timeline from this ordeal, so far:

  • Spoke with Time Warner rep (male of unknown name), August 2nd, (around lunchtime) to have service transferred; was told there would be a $42.50 fee, non-negotiable.
  • Any #twithaca have experience with Verizon DSL (the 1.1-3Mbps package) — what’s the average speed? Is it consistent? Netflix/hulu ok? (August 2nd, 4:38pm)
  • @xxxxxxx grr… Are any other broadband providers decent? Trying to kick TW and their ridiculous fees to the curb. (August 2nd)
  • Serious question: should I tell twc that they don’t need to send a tech to xfer my svc because my internet already works? $42 is at stake. (August 7th, 11:39am)
  • (On facebook) “Got the fee waived. When the rep says “you can talk to the manager but they can’t waive the fee”, they are lying.” (August 7th 12:19pm)
  • (On facebook) “Ok — I called and complained. They waived the $42 fee for me. The funny thing is, they said a tech should have already disconnected tihs [sic] internet service so they don’t know why I have it. But I definitely skyped with my kids this morning. Which prompted me to ask “Then why do I have to pay for it if you need to check the lines for problems you would have to look into anyways?”” (August 7th, 2:12pm)
  • As predicted, the timewarner tech, while very friendly, did literally NOTHING. No wires were touched OR tested. You are LIARS, timewarner. (August 9th, 7:18pm)
  • Submitted this open letter (below) to the Better Business Bureau of upstate NY (August 11, 12:04am)

Please describe your complaint:

I was an existing TW customer prior to this incident. I moved across town and needed to have my service transferred. I called and discussed this with a representative and was told that there would be a $42.50 “transfer fee” to have my service transferred so that a technician could make a house call and handle the installation. I informed the representative that I would be able to do this myself and that, based on my prior experience with both this TW (Central NY), as well as other companies, the technician would show up and either do nothing at all or simply plug the cable modem in and then leave — both of which I am fully capable of doing myself. The representative informed me that the technician would need to “test the lines”, “verify the connection”, and various other technical jargon, and was clearly unwilling to negotiate the terms of this transfer fee. He explicitly said it was non-negotiable.

After agreeing to a very vague time window (5p – 9p) 4 days after I move in (a Tuesday), I reluctantly parted and went about my move

After moving, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, I hooked up my cable modem (which I had from my prior residence) and discovered that the Internet already worked. As I was already paying for service, I could only conclude that either (a) they had already transferred my service and I was all set, or (b) they had lied to me. I called up customer service on Sunday, August 7 (around 1 or 2pm) and spoke with a representative named Kelly. I explained that my Internet connection already worked and they no longer needed to send someone out, and that I felt I should not have to pay the extortive $42.50 for transferring my service, since it clearly already works.

Kelly said that the fee was mandatory, and that since her records said I should not have Internet, clearly there was a problem with my lines and that someone would have to look at it. I replied that if there was indeed a problem with my lines, it was not MY problem and therefore I should not be responsible for paying to have it fixed. She said the fee stands.

I requested to speak with her manager. She said “my supervisor will not be able to waive the fee; do you still want to speak with her?” I replied “yes” and she transferred me to her supervisor, whose name I don’t recall.

The supervisor had been briefed on the issue prior to greeting me on the line. I elaborated further with the details above, and she re-iterated that the line needed to be tested and whatever else. I also mentioned that I have been dissatisfied with the customer service I have received from TW in general (which is true,  but irrelevant here). Within 30 seconds of beginning our conversation, she offered to waive the $42.50 fee, despite me having been previously told by Kelly that this was not possible. We discussed how wrong I felt this whole situation was, and ultimately it was “resolved” with her crediting me $42.50 for the installation, with the appointment still standing. We said goodbye.

When Tuesday came around, I waited in my apartment in the 5p – 9pm time period and received a notice via telephone (as expected) that a technician was on his way. He arrived with his tools and some extra cable. This man was VERY friendly and I cannot stress enough that I have nothing bad to say about this person. I honestly felt bad he had to do this at all. I showed him that the Internet already worked, and he said “do you mind just keeping that modem where it is, then?” I said that would be fine. He said “I wish they would have told me about this, I came up here for nothing.” I happened to notice that the insignia on his shirt said “DC (somethingorother)”, and assumed that he was probably a contractor that TW retains for these installations.

From the moment he entered the door, the only things he touched were the door handle (with his hand) and my floor (with his feet). NOTHING ELSE. Aside from glancing in passing at my cable modem and noticing that the lights were flashing, he did no sort of testing, diagnostics work, etc. He said that I had service because it was “pending disconnect” from the previous tenant, and that they just re-activate it back at the home office.

I was, to my chagrin, absolutely correct about what the “installation/transfer” entailed; nothing at all.

How would you like this issue resolved?

I want TimeWarner Cable to stop with this ridiculous charade. It is a con-game, plain and simple.

I was lied to by two different customer service representatives AND a supervisor. The only  honest person I dealt with was the cable technician himself, and the poor man had to come out well outside of business hours for no reason at all.

I happened to have the chutzpah to complain and have my money refunded, but I’m sure many other people, while equally dissatisfied with this policy, might be too polite or not angry / aware enough to get the charge reversed.

I want Time Warner Cable to either

  • stop charging transfer fees and allow people to do self-installations again (as they used to), or
  •  stop lying about what the transfer fees are paying for — it is both insulting and misleading.

I would also like a personal apology from TimeWarner Cable, Central NY, for wasting my time and stressing me out with this whole ordeal. I will personally be shouting about my experience from as many platforms I can find (blog, twitter, facebook, Google+, etc) so that others know to stand tall and not believe the representatives when they lie about not being able to waive the fees.

2 Responses

  1. Chris

    Transfer fees are the biggest bunch of shit I’ve heard of. Especially since all it takes is a few mouse clicks on the ISP/CSPs end. The do it every day when they do “disconnects”. They can remotely test a modem to see what sort of signal strength it’s getting. If there are problems with that test, then they should send a tech out to trouble shoot at the pole to the house. Unfortunately, customer service anymore is a joke. TWC isn’t the only one that does that…Comcast is equally as bad. I fear the days of getting good service are over.

    And I truly miss the ability to self-install cable internet.

  2. Blog.amhill :: Geekery

    […] I dealt with similar problems previously when I was told that a technician needed to “do the transfer” in setting up my new apartment, even though I knew that he would just plug it in, make sure the lights turned on, and then leave (he actually did LESS). […]