Time Warner Cable’s Second Epic Fail
“Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice….”
Back in December Traci and I switched our home telephone, cable, and internet provision from AT&T U-Verse to Time Warner Cable. The transition was absolutely brutal and was filled with countless flaws. I wrote a blog about the complete mess that Time Warner made of the transition, posted it on PablosPlace (you can read it here) and when it hit online, I immediately got a response from Time Warner via their twitter, apologizing for the mishaps and “escalating our matter to corporate.” The subsequent escalation resulted in a conversation with a lady named Glenda, who did what she could to make the situation better, and for the most part, she was able to put a band-aide on the situation.
Bottom line, Glenda addressed the issues that we had point by point, scheduled a technician to come back out to the house to provide the correct equipment, and adjusted our bill to a closer to promised rate, and we made peace with the fact that they weren’t going to own up to the $89.99 per month rate that the flyer clearly indicated. It was a concession on both of our ends, but ultimately we were going to have the service that was promised to us at the beginning, and we’d be ok with the rate that we’d be paying as it would still be saving us roughly $20 a month by switching services. If we’d only have known how much of a bargain with the devil that we would have made….
Time Warner has been consistently poor since we activated their services with a “go-ahead” on December 4th, and their first installation on December 11th. The following week, they finally installed all of the equipment that they promised, and it only worked intermittently. The DVR device then, and even now, cuts off recordings at the end of the shows and sometimes cuts them off mid show. The internet connection only works intermittently and didn’t at all in our bedroom until I went out and purchased additional equipment (which I was not reimbursed for) to get internet in our room. And now, the company is completely ignoring our requests to redeem the $150 Best Buy Gift Card that they promised us within the first 90 Days of activation, as well as the Xbox 360 4gb Console that was supposed to be a part of the deal. I’ll get into each of these items in detail, now.
Firstly, after the installer completed his work inside our home for the third time in a week, we finally had what we considered to be decent service. The cable worked, the phone worked, the internet worked. It lasted for about a week when things changed. The internet was the first thing to present problems as it was extremely slow in the latter stages of the day, even dropping the signal completely if multiple devices were in use at the same time. Down in our bedroom, about 150 feet away from where the router was installed, the internet connection was poor. It would often go from 3 out of 4 bars of signal, back down to zero or one bar, and then back up again. Any devices that were connected to the WiFi in our bedroom dropped signal repeatedly, which for Traci, who spends a large percentage of her time on her iPad and her iPhone in our bedroom, presented a very large problem. So bad was the signal that our cell phone bill was charged for exceeding our internet data plan for the very first time in the history of us having cellular plans, with the only addition to our service being the dropping of WiFi inside our own home. It was pathetic.
We contacted Time Warner yet again who went through a series of checks on the connections. They verified that the signal was in fact “working,” but we eventually convinced them that they needed to send out a technician to check the problem that we were reporting in our home. It took some convincing, but out came another TWC install technician. Upon seeing that our internet was in fact not working as we claimed, the technician installed a Netgear N150 Router that he placed a few feet away from the modem, and declared the problem fixed. This actually helped for another couple of days, until the router apparently died. About a week into the “new solution”, the router wasn’t giving off any signal. We called technical support yet again and spent nearly 90 minutes on the phone between being transferred around, until a technician finally was set to come back out to the house. This time, I spoke with the retentions department and voiced my concerns over the inability to use our services despite the fact that we were paying for them. He issued me a credit for the broken equipment, and set up a technician to come out and install the Time Warner Cable High Speed Internet which supposedly carried with it a much stronger router, which should provide a much better signal that would hopefully reach the bedroom. Note that I said hopefully.
The new High Speed Internet Service, which is more expensive that the one that we initially signed up for, was given to us at our same rate for the first 6 months. The installer came out within a day or so to uninstall the N-150 router, claiming that this wasn’t something that Time Warner Cable did, or ever did do, but disconnected it and took it with him nonetheless. He then proceeded to begin the installation of the High Speed Internet which required completely different connections. Midway through the installation, a second Time Warner Cable installer showed up indicating that he received instructions to “disconnect our service completely.” The second installer, along with his unusual request came clear out of the blue sky. Traci turned him away and the first installer there helped prove what it was that was actually being done. Obviously someone had made yet another mistake at Time Warner.
The High Speed Internet solution didn’t fix the internet problem in the bedroom however. As I entered into discussions about possible alternatives with the installer, he recommended a wireless range extender be installed in our bedroom. So mid installation, I went into my Best Buy store to pick a $79 wireless range extender, and a new power surge protector with additional outlets as the new item would require more than what we currently had to supply. The two items cost nearly $150. I returned home, installed the wireless range extender and configured it myself, and low and behold the WiFi in our bedroom was now working. It took multiple trips and a $150 investment, but we finally got the internet connection that we were after.
The next part of the story is the most baffling. When we signed up for the service in December, it was on the flyer the different promotions that we’d be receiving. I want to read to you, verbatim, the language that was on the flyer:
“This holiday, activate select packages from Time Warner Cable starting at $89.99 a month. Packages include TV, internet and Phone. Get a $150 Best Buy Gift Card AND an Xbox 360 4gb Console, plus Free DVR Service for 12 months (when you sign up equipment extra) and Free HBO, The Movie Channel, Showtime, Cinemax for 3 months when you sign up. “
Then in small print the following was said right after. Pay special attention to the words in this part:
“Best Buy Gift Card sent by mail. Xbox 360 4GB console available after installation of services. 1-800-TWCable anytime to cancel. Regular rates apply after promotion periods. Recurring bill pay required for premium channels.”
That was the flyer. It had the Time Warner Cable logos on it, the contact of Ramiro Salazar, the guy who sold us our package. It said “Sign up here today!” and that was it. After a couple of conversations with Ramiro about how the program was exactly the same as the one that we had in our home currently with the same exact setup, we were stoked about the deals. But, here we are in March. Today is the 12th. That marks today being the 92nd day since the date of installation. And guess what….we don’t have an Xbox in our house, and we don’t have a $150 gift card. And so began the follow up calls to Time Warner customer service to follow up on their promotions that they promised us.
Now mind you, in several of the many calls that we have placed to Time Warner Cable, we have asked about the promotions. With regard to the Gift Card, it was explained that in order to receive the $150, we would have to remain current on our bill for 90 days, and then they would send it to us in the mail. That was all well and good. It’s 3 months later however and we’re growing skeptical of whether or not the $150 is in fact showing up because of what is happening with the Xbox, and because of the responses of each of the Customer Service Representatives and the Supervisors of those Customer Service Representatives have responded with. With respect to the Xbox, Time Warner has uniformly admitted that they have NO RECORD OF THE XBOX Promotion. They instead said that they would send an email to escalations and that someone would be in contact with us regarding the promotion. Weeks have gone by, and no call. So last week, we followed up yet again and were told that we needed to contact Best Buy for Business Marketing and Promotions to claim the Xbox prize, as it was supposed to be sent by them.
So now Traci gets on the phone and called the BBFB Marketing Department and the people are extremely nice. But their response was as expected. Basically, they can’t release the Xbox until Time Warner Cable clears them to do it, which typically takes place IMMEDIATELY after the service is activated. They also stated that it would make sense that we should be receiving this incentive, as it was the promotion that was running in all Best Buy Stores at the time that our service was setup, and that Time Warner Cable should know about the promotion. Basically, everything that they said we expected, and we realized that Time Warner Cable was worse than the most terrible chain of customer service that has ever existed. Time Warner Cable is now just a bald faced liar that is trying to milk us of our cash, and screw us over. Now….we were more than pissed.
Traci and I went down this morning to the Time Warner Cable offices on Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Chatsworth, armed with the flyer that Ramiro had given us upon our installation. This process was recommended to us by one of the customer service reps of TWC who apparently didn’t believe that we’d received the promotion because it didn’t appear in her notes. But into the office we went and surprisingly enough, we received the EXACT SAME RESPONSE IN PERSON that we’ve received over the phone the whole time. Despite being as nice as she could possibly be, and being apathetic and apologetic, the kind lady basically informed us that just like every single person that we’ve ever spoken to at Time Warner, that there was nothing that she could do, and that all she could do was send another email to escalations and that someone would be in contact with us. She even went so far as to tell us that she’d “like to get my supervisor, but he isn’t in today.” When we asked her when he would be in, she said that she didn’t know because he divides his time over multiple offices and that she doesn’t know when the next time is that he’ll be in. We asked her for a phone number to either escalations or to corporate so that we could follow up with the situation. She apparently didn’t have any of those numbers, or she wasn’t going to give it up. I simply just began laughing at her and exclaimed in front of the large group of customers that was gathered in the lobby how I couldn’t believe how poorly run this company was, and how they managed to stay in business by taking advantage of their customers.
The entire experience with Time Warner is without question the worst experience that I have ever had with any company ever. I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt more taken advantage of. The best part about having our current Time Warner service has been watching all of the “Switch to Time Warner Cable” commercials that run incessantly throughout every single program break that is on. The cable commercial encourages people to “come back to Time Warner.” “Give us a try,” they say, “and if you’re not satisfied, we’ll give you your money back.” I’m in utter disbelief.
So here is what I am claiming. We will be eventually cancelling our Time Warner Cable Service. How they could ever expect that we would actually stay with them is completely and utterly ridiculous. It will come when we have got two things.
1) We want the promotions that were promised to us. They owe us at least that much for the headache, the stress, and all of the countless lost hours that we have spent without internet, without working cable, waiting for installers, on the phone with inept customer service reps, supervisors and other Time Warner Cable Reps. The other money that we’ve spent so that we could get their equipment to actually work gets thrown into this as well, and we’d like to be reimbursed for that equipment that we can no longer return as it is outside of the return policy.
2) The second item will be setting up another provider for our Cable, Internet, and home telephone. I don’t care if I have to pay $500 a month. I don’t care if I have to pay $1000. As long as I don’t ever have to deal with Time Warner Cable EVER again, the extra monthly amount will be well worth it.
The saddest part of the entire ordeal has been my reluctance to get back on my site and bad mouth Time Warner Cable for all of their shortcomings. I didn’t want to blog about this. I really wanted to believe in them when they told me that they were going to make the situation right. But here we are, being passed over by customer service who “can do nothing other than send the items to escalations,” and then being blatantly ignored by their corporate offices. Either no one in the entire company has the capability of doing their job at the company, or they are purposely going out of their way to anger us. My only guess as to why they are blatantly ignoring us as a customers is that their offices are so full with people that they have completely screwed over, that they just haven’t had a chance to get back to us yet. And now, how am I supposed to feel like a valued customer. Sorry Time Warner, you lose. And I’ll be on here repeatedly telling the story about how bad you’re screwing your customers until you can do something to finally fix it.
I now have very little faith that escalations will get back with us, and I have very little faith that they will come through with what they’ve promised, or that even though they advertise on television that there is a money back guarantee, that they’ll deliver. I suspect that this horrid company will try and find a way out of their commitments and that we will be left with nothing other than the broken promise that “If you aren’t satisfied, you can get your money back.” Laugh if you will with me….because we all know that money back just ISN’T happening.