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Archive for December 17th, 2012

Time Warner vs AT&T uVerse.

December 17th, 2012 5 comments

So here it goes. I’m back to Pablosplace. It feels like its been forever. Probably because it has. Some has been work. Most has been a lack of motivation. Regardless, I’ve got a story that I needed to get off my chest, and this seemed like an appropriate venue. So here it goes.

About 4 years ago, Traci and I switched our Cable, Internet and home telephone service from Time Warner Cable to AT&T uVerse. Bottom line, we were paying more money to have our home phone with AT&T, and the other two services with TWC, and switching the three services as a bundle gave us a couple of features that we liked. We got faster Internet, smaller monthly bills, and increased customer service from what had become abysmal with TWC.

After a few years with AT&T, we’ve been mostly happy, but the costs have risen year over year, to the point of the most recent bill reaching nearly $190 for our monthly service. At long last, Traci and I had reached a breaking point and we had the discussion that we’d be open to a change for our core services.

A few weeks ago at my Best Buy store, Ramiro, the TWC sales rep shared a promo which gave the same package that we’re receiving now with AT&T, but for only $89.99 a month. The package was good for a year, and as a holiday bonus, they were giving people who signed up a $150 Best Buy gift card, and an XBox 360 that would arrive within 90 days. It was a sweet deal that we investigated, asked a ton of questions to make certain that all of our bases were covered. The deal checked out, so we decided after years of being away from TWC, that we’d be back.

I called Ramiro and let him know that we were a go, and he put the ball in motion. I let him know again about our current home setup, and how we wanted to have the exact same service. After a few bizarre phone calls back and forth, which revolved completely around whether or not our home phone number was in fact our home phone number, and the digits were correct, we got a call that installation was set. Time Warner would a) Port our phone number to switch the service back to being provided to TWC, and B) they would cancel our AT&T service for us. The latter half shocked me and we called customer service again to verify, and the rep from Time Warner assured us that “yes, they will cancel the service for us,” and that “no, we wouldn’t have todo anything as it would all be handled by Time Warner. After installation, we just needed to take our AT&T equipment to any UPS store, and they would ship it back to AT&T.

So the day of the install, the technician comes to the house at 8:30am, and the first thing the installer says to Traci is “Which room do you want the box to be setup in?” This is when we knew, the crappiness of Time Warner Cable had begun.

Ramiro screwed up royally. He created an order for one box, and we had two TV’s. I had gone over this with him on two separate occasions, but it didn’t matter. He still screwed up the order because apparently counting to the number TWO is just simply too difficult. The installer got on the phone and tried to get customer service to get us another box with DVR capabilities, but was having a hell of a time. Then issue number two came up. They couldn’t have DVR in our living room viewing the recordings from the DVR in our bedroom without a service called “Whole House DVR.”
The installer, who was a genuinely nice man who claimed to have been with TWC for 16 years, walked Traci through the differences between TWC’s coaxial cable connections and AT&T using CAT-5 cable connections, and how sharing DVR capabilities over CAT-5 was simple, but that coax required two specific boxes to accomplish this. Because our order was for just 1 TV, the installer was not equipped with the needed cable boxes.

Then problems three and four were presented. The installer informed us that “Whole House DVR” was more expensive than one room, and that by the time that he equipped the house with the same setup that we had with uVerse, we would be paying for the services, the equipment, and additinonal service fees. All of the sudden, we were going to be paying MORE for our monthly services than we did with uVerse. In addition, the installer would need to finish the job, and then come back to “upgrade” our service, which would require an additional $50 installation fee. Turns out, this was unacceptable, and the calls to customer service began.

Our installer went to bat for us. Customer Service finally found someone that would wave the $50 junk install fee. TWC was going to get us a second DVR box to install “Whole House DVR,” and when it was all said and done, and I was done with work, I’d get on the phone to deal with customer service to get us our $89 a month promised fee for service.

While we were eating dinner, the TWC installer finished up the job and we tried out our new service. The TV was ok, despite the fact that it had some fuzziness in some of the HD channels. But it was otherwise alright. The DVR in the living room couldn’t set recordings, but it can view them. Even though we were promised HBO, Showtime, and a few other premium channels, we didn’t have access to some of them (we apparently aren’t signed up for “that” package). The phone line crackled terribly, making it nearly impossible to understand someone on the other end of the line. And while the internet worked in the living room, the signal from the router wasn’t strong enough to reach our bedroom. This was a tremendous problem because this is where Traci spends a lot of her timeon her iPad. Needless to say, we were far from happy.

So we dialed up Time Warner and got on the phone with a worthless customer service rep, who then placed us on hold for a supervisor. At the 35 minute mark, the supervisor came on and became from my experience, the single worst service provider in the history of services that I’ve ever encountered. Words can’t really quantify how unbelievably terrible this supervisor was, but after about 20 minutes on the phone with this imbecile, we went over his head. An hour and 15 minutes into the phone conversation, we got another supervisor who did what he could.

Basically he explained that the deal that we were promised by Ramiro was different than any other promotion that he had the capability of offering. Apparently Time Warner gives customers different promotions based upon where they sign up for their services, and if customers sign up in retail stores, those reps have different deals. He explained the retail stores have better promos, because they are often sponsored with deals from the retail establishments that the reps are in. This gives them more leverage, and customers sweeter deals. The whole thing seemed very shady to me as I said to the TWC supervisor “What’s the incentive for customers to sign up with you vs. a store? And why would TWC give different quotes for services to different customers for the exact same service? Isn’t that an unfair business practice?” The supervisor assured me that this was the way that they operated. I was shocked.

At the end of the 1 hour and 40 minute call, the powerless supervisor assured me that the best that he could do was send an email to the higher ups at TWC to open an investigation to see what they would be charging us for our service, and that they would contact us within 72 hours with a response. Well it’s now been 5 days, and we still don’t have a resolution as no one has contacted us back.

Making matters even better, Traci went to the UPS store yesterday to send our equipment back to AT&T, who didn’t have a shipping number. She then spent 45 minutes on the phone with AT&T canceling our service, and being informed that Time Warner didn’t do it, and that we were still responsible for the days of services that we hadn’t used because Time Warner was connected. Another thank you very much Time Warner.

It should also be noted that Ramiro, the moron sales representative, has completely disappeared in all of this. He has been non-responsive to text messages on the personal cellphone number he gave me. He hasn’t picked up the phone any of the multiple times that I’ve attempted to contact him. And his voicemail has “not been setup yet,” which means that you can’t leave him a message. He’s just unreachable. He did put a phone call into me two days after the installation date, from a blocked number that read “private” at roughly 11:30pm on Thursday night. He got my voicemail, and the message was asking me when we wanted to setup the installation. Talk about a complete failure.

So that’s where we are now. At this point, we still don’t know what our monthly rates are going to be. We don’t have a fix for all of the problems that we currently have with our services. And there doesn’t appear to be anyone who would like to provide us, the customer, with a solution to any of this.

Now this part is something that I wish everyone could read that would even contemplate switching to Time Warner Cable.

As an employee of Best Buy, I will NEVER recommend Time Warner Cable to ANYONE. Ever.

If the topic of conversation comes up, and if ever discussing whom the best providers of service are, I intend on sharing my own personal experience as a means to discourage people from subscribing to Time Warner. Their company is completely and utterly unprofessional, and I cannot in good faith refer anyone to them. I would NEVER want to refer a customer to them, where there runs the possibility of someone else being treated in the manner that Traci and I have been.

Time Warner definitely has some work to do if they intend on keeping me as a customer, though at this point, I don’t think that there is much that they could do to keep me.

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