The Time Warner Cable Mission Statement
I’m annoyed. Like, really annoyed.
And it’s because of Monopoly.
No, not him. Them…
Frustration is aching at my bones to the point where I feel the need to write this post. So here, Internet, is an account of my last 120 minutes:
Browsing cable/internet packages on Time Warner’s website, I think, “Man, they don’t make this very intuitive. Let me just call and straighten this out with someone.”
I call the number listed on the screen.
I’m presented with a menu and asked to answer some questions. Pretty standard stuff. And, after a few responses, I get to talking with a real person.
Not bad guys, not bad at all…
We go through the process of giving name, address, contact info, etc. Now it’s time to figure out the package.
I’ve laid out the requirements, which he seems to be inputting into a system, and he responds with two different options.
Both of these options are completely different than what I was presented on their website. Hmmm... Curious.
One option is $126 per month. The second is $133, with better internet. Okay, let’s take that one. Buffering sucks.
“No problem, sir. Let me set this up. One moment, please.”
Yes, I’m still here. And I’m told that there will be an installation fee of $9.99 for the internet service. Okay, sure.
“Okay let’s schedule this… One moment, please.”
I’m graciously thanked for my patience, although I’m given no reason for the wait. He kindly lays out some options for when I can have the installation done. We agree on Friday at 10am.
“Great, thank you. Let me finish putting your order together. One moment, please.”
I’m at work and multitasking all the way through, so honestly, the wait hasn’t bothered me to this point. But having been on the phone for 50 minutes, I’m starting to wonder…
“Hey, I’m just curious as to what the wait has been for. I’ve been on the phone for almost an hour now.”
“My apologies sir, we are having issues with our system here. However, I am finalizing your order and wanted to let you know that the activation fee is actually $99.99. I apologize for the mix-up.”
Yeah, that “installation fee” is now an “activation fee” and is 10x the price originally given. He blames his own negligence. Okay, fine, I can live with that.
Let’s move this along, I have things to do….
“So you will have to pay that cost, along with the one-time fee for the cable boxes, up front. And your final package price is $144 a month.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa… Let’s back that up. I can forgive fudging the fee, but the monthly price is now $11 more than you had told me before. I ask him if he can review the order for me to clarify.
I’m put on hold. “One moment, please…”
The man has been nice, so I don’t want to take my frustration out on him. Time to tweet.
Realizing I should have written Time Warner’s “Help” account, I loop them into my tweet, hoping for some sort of explanation.
The rep returns to the phone and recites two numbers to me. My order number and my account number. Both are 16 digits long, and it wasn’t exactly easy to understand.
I ask him to send over the package to me in an email so I can review, and given the time I’ve waited, request that he stay on the line with me. He does.
We wait together, as the email isn’t coming through. He recites my email address back to me and claims to try again multiple times.
I get four emails in this time, but none from Time Warner.
My patience is wearing thin and I tell him that this isn’t a reflection of him, but I’d like to speak with his supervisor to understand what is going on.
I get in touch with the supervisor who recites my email address back to me. It’s correct. He says that I should receive it within 24 hours.
My explanation of how unacceptable this is doesn’t seem to be getting me the email any faster. So I request that he read the entire order to me, in an attempt to confirm over the phone.
He recites the order, which is correct, and tells me my monthly total is $155 and that installation is set for Friday, from 11am-12pm.
This didn’t sit well with me, and I ask him why the previous representative told me a different number and time.
“One moment, please…”
Cut to: Twitter.
I get a reply from TW’s Help account, telling me that they can escalate the issue and have someone call me back.
I trust nobody can blame me for not taking them at their word and I decide to stay on the call I’ve already invested 90 minutes into. I tweet back…
They reply quickly…
Ah yes, I’d love to give up on this 100 minute phone call so that someone from the Department of Incompetence can call me back to do it again in 1-3 business days.
The supervisor returns and apologizes for the poor experience I’ve had. He tells me that he doesn’t have the authority to remedy the situation and/or give me discount.
That, I’m told, can only be done by “Customer Care”. He says he will transfer me.
“One moment, please…”
After listening to four minutes of an unbearable tune I can only describe as “elevator music meets Skrillex”, a voice comes on the line. It’s a machine.
“We’re sorry that we are unable to hear you at the moment. We will now hang up. Please try calling back another time.”
Seriously though… click.
Silence. Unbelievable, blood pressure-raising silence.
And the only question I’m left with, is — why? Why did this happen?
Because I have no choice.
Time Warner Cable has a monopoly on my apartment building, as it does most of New York City and a lot of our country. I literally cannot go to another provider. Short of hiring live entertainment every night (I’m debating), this is my only option.
Monopolies cripple the customer.
A monopoly like the one Time Warner Cable has does two things. First, it devalues the customer experience. “Why give a shit? They have to buy from us.”
And second, it completely halts innovation. There’s no reason to innovate when there’s no competition.
So not only does it suck now, but it’s not going to get better.
So what can I do?
Well for one, I’m praying that Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable will help things. But that seems a bit optimistic.
Next, there’s hoping that Verizon Fios (much better service) can expand more rapidly. Again, optimistic.
Or how about getting Google Fiber wired up over here?! Yeah… not quite yet.
The answer really is — nothing. I, and all consumers, have no power in this situation because of the monopolistic circumstances we find this [extremely important and relevant] industry to be in. My only hope is that others read this, can relate, and cause enough raucous for there to be actual change.
But again… optimistic.
So what I’ll do is wait.
Wait and wait for that email to come in (still hasn’t), because who the hell knows what the new cost and date of my installation will be. I sure don’t.
And I’m pretty sure nobody at Time Warner Cable does either…