December 29, 2007

Time Warner Cable Internet and Sneaky Price Increase

Posted in Customer Lack of Service, Life in Los Angeles, Movies, Music at 5:06 pm by loolar

Time Warner, without so much as an insert to the bill, raised my internet access monthly bill from $34.95 to $44.95.

Most of my bills are on autopay, and most of them are flat fees per month, meaning I only open the statements when I’ve got two or three; I quickly make sure they’re charging what they should, then file them.

So imagine my shock when I opened this month’s statement from Time Warner Cable and found the price increase. No new line item, no notation, not even an insert explaining the 30% increase – let alone a phone call. I quickly checked the last two months; nothing in there either. Were they just hoping I wouldn’t notice?

Naturally, I immediately called them. After an acceptable wait time (about 3-4 minutes), I got a human being. Male, heavily accented, didn’t offer his name. He called up my account and told me I have been “under a promotion” for the last year, and now that the year is up, the promotion has expired, and my service is reverting to the original price.

Understandably, I told him to put the “promotion” back. He said the only promotions they have are for more services, like digital phone (of course!). So I asked to speak to a supervisor.

At this point, it got surreal. He put me on hold, then came back to say, “No supervisors are available. Besides, they won’t change the pricing, what I’ve told you is how it works.” I insisted he let me speak to a supervisor, at which point he added that they were, “busy doing other things.” He could not elaborate. The best he could offer was that I should, “call back later.” When they’re finished doing other things? “Why should I call back later,” I asked, “if I don’t know what they’re doing, and therefore, if they’ll be finished?”

Never mind the gigantic, crushingly obvious question of just what in the Grinch’s goiter is more important than talking to your customers?

I insisted he try again; I was on hold for less than 20 seconds before he came back with the same scripted line, that, “no supervisors are available.” And continued to insist that they couldn’t help me anyway, he’d already given me the answer they would.

So it seems that companies, in a continuing effort to anally abuse their customers while taking our money without any responsibility for actually servicing them, have escalated the fight. They now have realized that most of us understand the poor minimum wage lackey front line customer service phone drone – assuming, of course, that they’re not some fungible galley slave from a sweatshop in another country – is useless.

They know that we the customers are no longer satisfied with scripted platitudes – horror of horrors, we actually want results! I want to be treated with common sense and character. Not companies that suddenly change the deal because it’s not in their favor anymore.

The most frustrating thing, however is this – what can I do about it? Cable companies are still monopolies; I can’t decide to leave this company in favor of another. So assuming I still like high speed internet, all I can do is shut up and keep paying. Hell, they could double the price, and it would still be cheaper than me putting in a land line to get DSL, the only viable alternative.

Oh for when satellite internet comes around. Time Warner, I am now counting the days until I can tell you where to shove your promotion. In the mean time, at least I can hurl stones at Goliath thanks to my David – the blog.

Oh, and I can also resolve to stop paying for Time Warner products. In fact, with the extra $120 a year they’re getting from me, I’m sure they’ll completely understand if I obtain a commensurate amount of TV, movie and musical entertainment “free of charge,” courtesy of this expensive internet connection.

I’ll just tell them that me paying for that stuff was a “promotion” which has now expired.

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14 Comments »

  1. rob sama said,

    you should submit this to the carnival of the capitalists.

  2. rob sama said,

    funny, just came across this two seconds after reading your post:

    http://www.tnl.net/blog/2007/12/27/could-tech-support-undo-palm/

  3. Chris said,

    Right on brother! I have only internet through TWC also with no land line for DSL. ABout a year ago my bill went up, same as you, from 24.95 to 39.95. I downgraded from 6 to 1.5M to keep the 24.95 price. Now I get a call from them saying my promotion has expired and I need to pay 34.95 (their lowest rate) for 1.5M internet (their slowest speed). I wasn’t even on a promotion that I knew of. The lady is trying to get me to sign up for the bundle of services (over $100/month), but I told her if they can’t get me a 24.95 price for internet only, they are going to lose what little business they have with me. I’ll do my surfing from work before I give them any more $$

  4. Justin said,

    Boy I agree with you, this is outrageous! In NC they don’t even offer a 1.5mbps speed, its either 5mbps for 49.95/month (on a promotion price) or 768kbps for 38.95/month plus taxes and fees. And that is just the internet…now lets talk about cable. They have increased “digital cable” $15 over the past three months! I find this completely unacceptable!
    What can we do to get them to stop this hijacking? Do we go to the FCC? Get a partition going?
    For right now I am going to give them back their digital boxes, go to the next lower package, build a mythtv box purchase my own cable modem and go down in speed, that right there will cut our bill in half.

  5. Dane said,

    I just got off of the phone with TWC after experiencing the same price hike. I called with the plan to cancel my service and switch over to DSL. The customer service rep offered to downgrade my service from 6 mbps to 1.5 mpbs because it is cheaper. I said no. She then said that she may be able to find a promotion for me. A few seconds later she told me that she can sign me up for another “promotion” where I pay $29.95 for 6 mpbs for one year. I agreed. Now I just wonder what would have been the next “promotion” if I did not agree to to the $29.95 deal. Hmm…

  6. scott said,

    I just got my Time Warner bill – I have all 3 services (phone, modem, TV) and was paying about $98 for the last couple of years, now to my horror I get a bill for $148!!!! – that is a 50% increase. I called them immediately and they said the same thing, I was on a promo, and this is the new rate. I know myself and I know that there is no way I would’ve have signed up for a “promo” rate that would go up 50%. So, they said they would go back and listen to a recording of the initial call with the rep and get back to me…. a week has gone by and I haven’t heard anything. They are total crooks and the FCC needs to stop worrying about Janet Jackson’s boob and worry about consumers getting fleeced by big companies!!!

    • Rebecca Lucas said,

      I had the same thing happen to me

    • Rebecca Lucas said,

      The same thing happen to me this week with TWC. They claim we had a promotion for 1 year that ended.. 99.00 to $166.00 over a 50% increase. I said the same thing to them that I would NEVER have signed up for a promotion that expires with a huge increase. They went through the typical BS about sorry the rep never told you it was a promotion and more lies. I told them this was unacceptable the women said I could speak to the ” Retention and disconnect Dept.” I am not kidding thats what she called it. She said they may have a better offer for me. The women in this dept. at least seemed to be trained in dealing with frustrated and pissed off TWC customers which they must have many..anyway after a lot of pushing she offered all 3 services for around 124.00 but without the “road runner turbo” so if my internet slows down to much I’ll have to add it on and pay more! I had to agree to a 2 year contract and have 60 days to look around at the few other also crappy choices in this horrendous industry. Time for the gov’t to step in and regulate the hell out of this industry. These stories are happening all over the country and includes Verizon, AT&t, Direct TV, Dish Comcast, Cablevision they are crooks.

  7. Piontinorm said,

    I agreed with you

  8. Jay said,

    Just got my latest bill and noticed the franchise fee went up from $1.58 to $3.60 . I wonder what they did to justify that increase. We are really being taken over the coals!

  9. Jay said,

    You’re absolutely right. What they’re doing is illegal. We get crappy service, scripted answers from customer service agents (who unfortunately have to deal wit the brunt of our problems and they’re just the messengers we’re assigned to shoot) But here’s the good news… someone actually did something about it ;-)

    read this article and spread the word

    http://laist.com/2007/03/24/city_of_moorpark_sues_time_warner_cable.php

  10. Bob said,

    Time Warner also send me a bill without telling me that there was an price increase. They raised my internet access bill from $49.95 to $54.95.

    When I called them about the mistake, that’s when I found out there was a price increase. They claim that an email was send out. Now seeing what everybody else is saying I know they lie about sending out a notice about the price increase When I called they proceed to try to show me how I can save money with additional services which I don’t want. I don’t like this at all. No consideration, or option about the price increase. Just send me bill and hope I wouldn’t notice. Not fair business practice! They think they can do anything they want because they are the only cable company in town…. but that day is coming to an end soon. And I will be switching as soon as I can and NEVER do business with them again! I just sold my shares in Time Warner also.

  11. Cliff said,

    I have noticed new increases in franchise fees and now my monthly bill and some ‘service change’ fee when I had no service change.

    Is there nothing we can do about this mess? CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT anyone?

  12. Brad said,

    I had the same Issue. my bill went from $39.95 to 53.95. When I called about it. They gave me that same end of promotion BS. I wasn’t any under i told them. They didn’t care. They’re jerks. Not even a notice of the price change! I am looking else where for internet services now.


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