Time Warner Cable — Worst Customer Service Ever

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: The office of the president has actually responded to our letter. The woman who responded apologized for the bad experience, credited our account for a month, and even gave us her direct phone number (which I will not post here) in case we have future problems. So, the customer service department still sucks, as described below, but the corporate office at least does what they can to fix it if you take the time to write. It’s all we can hope for after that experience. — M. Scott 11/17/2009.

[Please visit despair.com for a demotivator for every occasion.]

And now on to the text of a letter that we sent to the president of Time Warner Cable. All I can say is that if you have any other option for your TV and internet access, take it. I don’t. So I’m stuck with this complete and utter load of crap.

November 2, 2009

Mr. Glenn A. Britt
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Time Warner Cable Inc.
60 Columbus Circle, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10023

re: Customer Service

Dear Mr. Britt,

With you and your company advertising that you are working for a company based on customer service, I can only assume that you are completely unaware of the complete customer disservice that you are providing to your customers. Time Warner is behaving as a true monopoly, a company that couldn’t care less about providing decent and reliable service to its customers. I can only hope that you will take action to correct this horrifically bad situation.

On Friday October 30th at around noon, I called customer service to explain that my cable modem was not working properly. First, I went through the automated troubleshooting system, which has never been helpful at solving any issue I’ve ever had, including this one. It did not understand the symptom of the top two lights and no others flashing on the modem. After an interminable wait, I gave up and tried again an hour later to speak to a human.

An hour later the same message is on your system saying that there is an extended wait for a representative. I cannot spend all day on the phone and proceed with my other commitments for the day, assuming that the problem is on your end and will be resolved. At 10pm that night the problem is not resolved and I finally get through to a representative. I am told that a technician needs to come to my apartment, no information as to why, and schedule the first appointment I can for Monday morning. But I am told that if I call back Saturday after 8am when the dispatch office is open I may be able to get an earlier appointment.

On Saturday October 31 at about 8:15am I spoke to a representative who, in addition to telling me that the dispatcher was not in that early, also informed me that my cable modem service has been out since Friday October 30th at 7am because my cable modem was no longer compatible with the new software upgrade you installed. He proceeded to insist that we received a paper notification of the change two months ago when in fact we received no such thing. I am extremely careful with reading my mail and no such notification ever arrived. I am on paperless billing and do not receive paper correspondence from you.

The conclusion then is that with no notice whatsoever, Friday morning our internet cable stopped working due entirely to the disservice provided by you and your company. Since I always pay every bill on time and still often lose my TV service due to its being actively disconnected, I can only conclude that your staff delights in cutting off the service of those who pay their bills regularly for many years. company does not take the responsibility of providing services that a customer has paid for seriously. [ed. note: We toned that down a bit]

During my call on Saturday I was asked to look at our modem and tell him what model number it is. The representative finally tells me that the problem is that the new software on your end no longer works with my modem. He claimed he will try to get me an earlier appointment once the scheduling office opens, now at 9am. He also told me I can bring the modem in myself to be exchanged for a new one to one of your offices, none of which are in a convenient location or at a convenient time for us. He also informed me that he will try to get me an appointment for either late on Saturday or sometime on Sunday and will call me back by 3pm.

Soon after that conversation, my husband realized that we do not need a full appointment but just for one of your technicians in the area to make a quick stop at our building and exchange the modem. We were told on that call that we would receive a call if there was any problem with this arrangement. We left our old modem in a package with our concierge at the front desk in our building and went out for our appointments for the day. We could not really imagine a problem since all of your technicians were clearly busy all day, there must have been one near here at some point. However, we received neither a phone call nor a new modem at our concierge desk. To neither call nor exchange the modem, a very reasonable request in light of the near deliberate problems that your company had created for us, is the height of unprofessional behavior.

At 4pm, no one has been to our building to exchange the modem. We call your technical support line and find out that nothing was done this morning by either of the technicians we spoke with. While there is a note in the system about our call, there is no record of any attempt to even consider exchanging the modem. There is only still the Monday service appointment in the system. The one I spoke with who claimed he will try to get me an earlier appointment and will call by 3pm did neither. The one my husband spoke with who claimed he will try to have a technician stop by just to exchange the modem did nothing to that effect.

Now at 4:15pm my husband has to race to your 23rd street office to get the modem exchanged, or else be without internet for the entire weekend, an unacceptable situation for us as we have important e-mail that needs to be attended to before Monday. Interestingly, at the 23rd Street office, my husband did not even have to give a name or account number. The serial number on the back of the old modem told them everything they needed to know. This means that your computer system had a record of the fact that we had an incompatible modem and that no one had ever bothered to program your internal customer service system it to warn and re-warn your customers that their equipment will cease to function on a particular date.

After my husband returned with the new modem, doing the job of your company in acquiring a replacement, we plugged it in and nothing happened. We still could not connect to the internet. So I call your customer service line once again. The first question I receive from your representative is “Why did you switch the modem?” Needless to say, my husband and I were completely flabbergasted and annoyed beyond belief. What do you mean that the customer dis-service representative had no idea and no information on the fact that we had a modem you no longer support and now have gone to significant trouble to acquire a new modem with no notice and no help from anyone in your company!

After walking me through unplugging and reconnecting the new modem your representative informs me that there is a problem and we need a technician to come in. He further informs me that there are no weekend appointments available and we are stuck until sometime on Monday without internet service. I then spoke with a supervisor and received the same complete lack of cooperation. She informed me that there must be a problem with the line in our apartment even though nothing has changed. And further informed me that “there is no squeezing in” of emergency appointments and we are simply out of luck.

Is this your idea of being customer service oriented?

Well, another ten minutes or so after hanging up with your completely incompetent staff, the modem suddenly started to work. Apparently, all that was required is more time for a brand new modem to initialize and begin normal operation. Why is this a difficult concept to teach your representatives? Why was I not told that I just needed to wait a bit longer and to call back in half an hour if I still had no service? This simple statement would have saved me an enormous amount of stress fearing I was without internet until sometime mid-day on Monday.

So, you performed a software upgrade to your system making our modem unusable. You did not notify us of this impending change. Even if you did send a letter out and it was somehow lost or overlooked, your system should have known that we still have the old unsupported modem. It is your obligation to repeatedly contact us by postal mail and e-mail and phone to notify us of the impending service disconnect.

Furthermore, there were numerous instances when you should have notified us of the problem. When I first called on Friday at noon your automated system should have immediately said that we have an outdated no longer supported modem that needs to be replaced immediately. Your phone technician Friday night should have told me that. And in addition, we call you on a regular basis when you disconnect our TV service and have to get a technician to send a signal to our cable TV box. Those technicians should have had a big red flag to tell us that we still have an outdated modem that will not work as of October 30th.

You have failed to provide any level of service or reliability or accurate information. Your internal software system is completely useless. It does not notify your staff that we have an outdated unsupported piece of equipment. It does not even tell your staff what we actually have in our home; they have to ask us what the model number is. You clearly train your phone technicians to simply say anything to get people off the phone rather than actually provide service and solve a problem.

Perhaps you should consider a new greeting for your customer service call staff, “Thank you for calling customer service where we’re not satisfied ’til you’re not satisfied.” [ed. We removed this as too inflammatory and not likely to further our cause, even though we both like it.]

After being customers for well over a decade, we consider this whole chain of events insulting, infuriating and completely unacceptable. We insist that we receive at least one month of service for free to make up for the terrible inconvenience, hassle of running around and stress due to your lack of planning, system failure and incompetence. You need to seriously look at your internal software system and its lack of information. You need to seriously re-train your customer service staff to actually know something about how your systems and equipment function to provide some level of service rather than dis-service.


WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER!! Feel free to share your story of Time Warner Cable incompetence here. And, don’t forget to write to Mr. Britt regarding your own experience.


7 Responses to Time Warner Cable — Worst Customer Service Ever

  1. whatever says:

    time warner does in fact have the worst customer service and they lie. I just got off the phone with them. just signed up for cable 3 weeks ago no specials. told me to call back and get to get the special but guess what uim no longer considered a new “customer” they told me they are ripping people off.im canceling the garbage. internet sucks too

  2. whatever,

    I’m glad to hear you have another option. Take it. As I explained above, I don’t even have any options. I have to just grin and bear it. At least I can blog …

    And, of course, I should mention that I have received no response from the president’s office. I was not expecting one from the president himself, but not to even get some pre-canned response from his office is quite disconcerting. Most companies will at least give some lip service.

  3. Mr. Fusion says:

    Most Americans are restricted to just one cable and (wire) telephone provider. Consider yourself very lucky if you have separate providers for each.

    And there ain’t too much you can do about it.

  4. ComcastNoBetter says:

    How funny that I had a somewhat similar frustrating experience with Comcast, that is still not resolved.
    I’ll leverage your letter when I write mine.
    I actually received email notification that my 10 yo cable modem would no longer work, well in advance, so that wasn’t the problem. So I purchased a new one, from their list of ‘approved’ modems to work with their new technology. I called support to provide my new ‘MAC’ id on ‘MY’ new modem. A few minutes later, all was fine..

    then I got the bill. They listed a MODEM RENTAL CHARGE. (note, I also owned my previous modem, and had never had a rental charge). It’s been 3 months and I’m still getting a rental charge, for a modem I OWN. A technician never came to my residence, I never went to their office, so how could they possibly have a record that I have their modem. Certainly there would be some serial/inventory number associated with the ‘phantom’ modem I’m renting and how I acquired it.

    Each month I call, and they do credit the charge. Each time saying that the last person didn’t fix it right. Several times I have asked to talk to a supervisior. Was told they would call me back. No call yet.

    I am very close to switching to DSL, but if I cancel now, they will probably send me to ‘collections’ and claim I owe $200 for not returning a ‘rental’ modem !!!

  5. ComcastNoBetter,

    Yeesh!! A charge for renting a phantom modem??!!? It must be a virtual modem, an entirely new concept. Those guys must be really high tech … or something.

    Good luck fighting it. I think you probably do need to send a letter to the president of comcast. Maybe you’ll get better results.

  6. John Paradox says:

    One of the options I’ve seen but not investigated are the ‘cellphone modems’ like AT&T or Cricket are offering. I expect the speed and connectivity are about the same as ‘cellphone web’ on a ‘smartphone’. But, with everyone apparently locking their Wi-Fi, my netbook becomes useless except at WiFi Hotspots or at home.
    Also, I am on COX, and have few complaints- unless you include the two (2) times trucks have torn down (literally…) the cable. I did see that the second time it was a truck from Home America Furnishings (now bankrupt, yay)that did it.. I called Home America and complained, but they didn’t seem to have any idea what I was talking about. COX, however, had a technician within 24 hours to put the cable back up (replace), so their service is fine for me.


  7. Sarah says:

    That’s something I would never want to go through! As an employee with DISH I know we do take our time at the point of sale to make sure our customers know what they are getting and make sure they get what they want. We are always here to help with our 24/7 tech support and billing. We also offer promotions and deals for our customer and never add anything with out their knowledge.

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