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Old 10-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
abovethesink
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Won a "victory" over TWC

I went on Time Warner's website today to see what my first billing cycle with a TiVo in lieu of their DVR would look like. I knew they'd get it wrong and fail to discount me as the FCC mandates, but even after a lifetime of experience, I somehow still managed to underestimate Time Warner Cable's incompetence and/or corruption.

I had expected my bill to stay the same instead of being discounted, but nope. It increased about $110! They removed me from my package, unbundled my services, and charged me for each item individually. So I braced myself for hold music and called TWC.

After a 15 minute hold, I played dumb with the first rep and let him root around to try to figure out why my bill rocketed up. Surely he would not tell me because I changed my equipment to my own in blatant violation of federal law, right? Thankfully, he did not. Instead he informed me that my previous package had simply ended. I read him last month's statement that indicated I had this package through next April. He checked again and somehow managed to come back with the same answer. Somewhere between amused and annoyed, I asked him how I managed to miss winter coming and going and he decided to check with his supervisor.

20 minutes on hold this time. Finally, with the help from his supervisor, he figured it out. It was because I moved to my own equipment and the package required me to use their equipment. In the immortal syllable of Homer Simpson, "Doh!" I quickly explained that that was a FCC violation, and therefore illegal, and said I may as well just speak to his supervisor now since that is where we were heading anyway. He, probably happily, obliged.

25 more minutes of hold music!

The supervisor started by asking me if I was told I needed to use that particular equipment with the package I had. I said no, I wasn't told that, and that that was a good thing as that would be illegal. I then read him the law verbatim with little explanatory additions sprinkled in (i.e. "That means your DVR!" "That means your bundling services!"). He sounded annoyed and for a minute I thought this was going to turn into a serious headache. After all, the FCC is currently shut down until either the Dems cave on Obamacare or the Reps stop using the same hissy fit tactic my three year old uses when he doesn't get his way. But, despite his tone, he said the right things. Yes, this was illegal. It definitely shouldn't have happened. He'll look into it and get a fix. He said he'd call me back in 10-15 minutes with a solution.

The biggest surprise of the whole interaction was not that I ended up not needing the FCC, but that he actually called me back in 10-15 minutes. Someone at TWC who provides customer service! A rare man indeed. He said he couldn't reinstate my exact package due to the system insisting I have their equipment for it, but that he found a way to price match and give me a ten dollar discount in lieu of their equipment. As an apology for the inconvenience, he extended my discounted rate for another 12 months. I accepted this.

But let us think about that for a second. Their entire computer processing system does not have the capability to follow the law. It is literally incapable. No fact has ever encapsulated the Time Warner Cable experience better than that one right there.

I lost almost two hours of my life to get what I was entitled to all along. Time Warner is no longer attempting to steal from me. What a victory.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
dianebrat
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I think you're mistaken on a few points.
A bundle requiring their DVR is considered acceptable as long as they discount from going price.

A bundle with TV, Internet, and Phone can be met with a CableCARD instead of a DVR from them.

They can not charge MORE for your DVR and their CableCARD, but they can discount their own, so which FCC mandate are you saying they violated?

It's like the old rule (now dismissed) on credit card purchases, you were not allowed to charge more for using a credit card, but you COULD give a discount for cash,
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:28 PM   #3
abovethesink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dianebrat View Post
I think you're mistaken on a few points.
A bundle requiring their DVR is considered acceptable as long as they discount from going price.

A bundle with TV, Internet, and Phone can be met with a CableCARD instead of a DVR from them.

They can not charge MORE for your DVR and their CableCARD, but they can discount their own, so which FCC mandate are you saying they violated?

It's like the old rule (now dismissed) on credit card purchases, you were not allowed to charge more for using a credit card, but you COULD give a discount for cash,
Either I wasn't clear or you skimmed, but what happened then didn't come across apparently. I had a bundle. They didn't sub in the Cablecard for the DVR at a discounted price, but instead they cancelled my bundle and charged me everything on those bloated a la carte prices.

That would be in violation of this FCC rule:

Quote:
(2) For any bundled offer combining service and an operator-supplied
navigation device into a single fee, including any bundled offer
providing a discount for the purchase of multiple services, such
provider shall make such offer available without discrimination to any
customer that owns a navigation device, and, to the extent the customer
uses such navigation device in lieu of the operator-supplied equipment
included in that bundled offer, shall further offer such customer a
discount from such offer equal to an amount not less than the monthly
rental fee reasonably allocable to the lease of the operator-supplied
navigation device included with that offer. For purposes of this
section, in determining what is “reasonably allocable,” the Commission
will consider in its evaluation whether the allocation is consistent
with one or more of the following factors:
It is a violation to cancel a customer's bundle six months earlier than the deal was set to expire and subsequently raise their rates over $100 because they chose to use their own box.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
mr.unnatural
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You were probably locked into your bundle for the specified period with terms relating to the hardware you were leasing from TWC (i.e., their DVR). Most providers allow for changes to a bundled plan, but only if you add more services. By reducing the bundle to use your Tivo instead of their DVR you changed the terms of the plan. That usually voids whatever bundled plan you may have had and automatically signs you up for a newer plan based on current rates. You may also have had to pay a penalty for early cancellation.

I'm only speculating on the above since I have not seen or read TWC's terms for whatever bundle you signed up for. While you are correct with respect to the right to use your own equipment (i.e., a Tivo) instead of their DVR, the bundle price was probably inclusive of the fact that you were using their DVR for a specified period that you committed to. When you dropped it from your plan you probably violated the agreement and automatically set off alarms in their billing department.

In any case, glad to hear you got it worked out to your satisfaction. Nice to hear a happy ending to any CSR-related conversation.
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:01 PM   #5
abovethesink
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All right. Someone explain to me how I am misreading the bold part below. The Time Warner billing supervisor even said out right to me that what someone did by mistake was illegal.

Quote:
(2) For any bundled offer combining service and an operator-supplied
navigation device into a single fee, including any bundled offer
providing a discount for the purchase of multiple services, such
provider shall make such offer available without discrimination to any
customer that owns a navigation device
, and, to the extent the customer
uses such navigation device in lieu of the operator-supplied equipment
included in that bundled offer, shall further offer such customer a
discount from such offer equal to an amount not less than the monthly
rental fee reasonably allocable to the lease of the operator-supplied
navigation device included with that offer. For purposes of this
section, in determining what is “reasonably allocable,” the Commission
will consider in its evaluation whether the allocation is consistent
with one or more of the following factors:
The way I read that is that in layman's terms is this: If a provider is offering any services that come with a box bundled together, then they must allow the customer to have access to the same bundle with their own equipment. Later it says not only must they allow the customer with their own tech the bundle, but also at a discount.

Someone reinterpret that for me if I am doing it wrong.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:37 PM   #6
LoadStar
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abovethesink is correct in the last post. In fact, TWC has a form on their webpage to request a "bring your own box" (BYOB) discount for any bundle that includes equipment:
http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/re...ount-form.html
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
mattack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abovethesink View Post
20 minutes on hold this time. Finally, with the help from his supervisor, he figured it out. It was because I moved to my own equipment and the package required me to use their equipment. In the immortal syllable of Homer Simpson, "Doh!" I quickly explained that that was a FCC violation, and therefore illegal, and said I may as well just speak to his supervisor now since that is where we were heading anyway. He, probably happily, obliged.
.....
The supervisor started by asking me if I was told I needed to use that particular equipment with the package I had. I said no, I wasn't told that, and that that was a good thing as that would be illegal.
You're contradicting yourself and/or you lied.

They *DID* tell you you needed to use that particular equipment with the package you had, according to what you said in that first quoted paragraph.

(That is *SEPARATE* from whether it is legal/they are allowed to tell you that.. But they DID tell you it.)
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:17 PM   #8
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If the people running the counter at the local TWC office and the techs on the repair trucks were the ones running the corporation, I'd probably have nothing but nice things to say about TWC.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:31 AM   #9
abovethesink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack View Post
You're contradicting yourself and/or you lied.

They *DID* tell you you needed to use that particular equipment with the package you had, according to what you said in that first quoted paragraph.

(That is *SEPARATE* from whether it is legal/they are allowed to tell you that.. But they DID tell you it.)
What he asked was whether or not I was told that when I signed up, not during the previous call, which they didn't. Why would they? They barely know an alternative like TiVo even exists on the ground level. Also, semantics here, but the previous agent didn't even outright tell me that. He said my price changed because I switched to my box, which basically implies it, but he never outright told me I couldn't be on that package without their box.

In the end they did more or less tell me though, but they price matched it so it doesn't really matter to me.
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