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Old 12-24-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
abovethesink
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I hate Time Warner Cable -- What can I do?

Vent time.

A few weekends ago I tried to order the UFC PPV as I was told here that it would work. I set it to record and about fifteen minutes in I tried to turn it on only to find a black screen. This part didn't annoy me as I had braced myself for the possibility going in. I called back and this time explained that I had a TiVo and they put me on hold for about ten minutes. They came back on and said they'd need to transfer me to a tuning adapter specialist. The phone line then rang and rang for a few minutes and I gave up. I called back and got the same experience verbatim.

At this point I figured I was too far into the fight card for it to be worth it anymore. I was disappointed as I had read many times here that non-on demand PPVs would work, but I had anticipated problems and was fine simply cancelling the order as I hadn't received it.

But this is Time Warner Cable we are talking about here.

When I called back to cancel I was informed that it is impossible for them to tell whether or not they had billed me for four days. I pointed out that since I had ordered the show I was likely billed for it and would simply just like the charge removed as I didn't receive it, but they said there was nothing they could do until the charge showed up in four days. Okay. Four days later I call back and they had billed me. The fact that this had strung out for days was annoying, but all I needed was the charge removed and everything would be fine.

But this is Time Warner Cable we are talking about here.

I was told that because of where I was in the billing cycle, the charge could not be removed, only credited back on the following month's bill. I protested and said that I was simply asking for a refund to my bank account for a show I had paid for and had not received. I was again told there was nothing they could do, but the rep offered a work around. If I simply cancelled my auto-pay, made a payment for what I should owe minus the PPV, then I would briefly show that I had missed a partial payment until the next month's statement with the equivalent credit appears and evens it out. This is an absurd and ridiculous step to take in order to prevent a company from taking a mandatory, interest free one month loan from you without your consent, but I did the math and did as he suggested. I just had to wait a month and re-enroll and then everything would be fine.

But this is Time Warner Cable we are talking about here.

Fifteen days after I cancelled auto-pay and paid the amount that I should owe, Time Warner Cable charged me the entire balance automatically. Let me repeat that. Fifteen days after I removed Time Warner Cable's right to take money for me and made a payment for what I properly and truly owed them, they AGAIN, without authorization, deducted that SAME AMOUNT for a second time PLUS the cost of the PPV that I DID NOT RECEIVE!!! This is where I started to lose it, mostly because I was leaving the country the next day and I'd have to deduct the act of theft from my vacation budget.

As calmly as I could, I called Time Warner. Billing was busy twice before I got through. I was put on hold and a few minutes in they just dropped me completely. I called back, was put on hold, and then was randomly transferred from hold to a machine asking me a question I didn't understand about some tech I don't have. It sounded like it was meant for their installers. On the FIFTH try I got a rep that was able to put me on hold without losing me. He said that even though I did indeed cancel auto-pay over two weeks earlier, that "I must have already been in a batch scheduled to go out."

Bluntly I stated that credit would not work and that they needed to refund me flat out. He put me on hold again and came back to tell me they could do that. He just had to fill out a form and it would be refunded in 48-72 hours. Knowing that would be fine, I consented and shortly after left for my trip satisfied.

But this is Time Warner Cable we are talking about here.

I returned from my trip this morning and was able to check my banking situation. They never refunded the money. What I am listed as owing on the website makes no sense. The online statement in pdf form gives me an error message when I try to download it, but only the December one that I need -- all the others archived will load perfectly.

I know I need to call them, but I am at a loss here. This is the single worst experience I have ever had with a company and I have dealt with Time Warner Cable previously. Yet there is nothing I can do to punish them while still retaining TV at all, let alone TiVo. I can't get either dish provider because of obstructions even if I was willing to get rid of my TiVo, but I am not.

What would you do?
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:08 PM   #2
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First, if someone here said PPV w/TWC would work with a Tivo, they were wrong. Maybe they thought you subscribed with a cable co where internet based PPV was available, but PPV with TWC without a cable box isn't possible. I rent one, just one, for that. Not sure how to weed out bad advice other than look at number of posts and judge by that.

As for a refund, I'd take the credit. It's still as good as money in your pocket because it will reduce your next bill. The TWC people you are talking to on the phone may personally want to cut a check, but they can't. Not a way to do it with the apps they're given.

TWC is getting some competition in many areas so maybe they'll stop acting like a monopoly. Remember, the folks you're talking to on the other end are just like you and me and even though TWC corp may have crummy policies, if you're nice to the people you talk to, I've found most of the time they'll do everything they can to help.
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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As someone who's spent a few months in my own billing fight with TWC, I've learned the best recourse is to file a claim with the Better Business Bureau laying out all the detail and facts. You're issue should be quickly resolved. I'd recommend asking for free month of service as restitution for all the BS, you've got a decent chance of getting it based on my experience.
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:53 AM   #4
JosephB
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Why not just take the credit on the next month? It's not that complicated, and a tiny portion of this is on you for ordering a PPV with a CableCard device. Since you knew going in it might fail, cut them a little slack.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:51 AM   #5
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I don't have TWC, but your experience sounds pretty much like standard operating procedure for every cable provider in existence. Much of the process is automated and is out of the hands of the CSRs you speak to on the phone. Most providers bill you in advance for the upcoming month, IIRC, and once you're in the queue there's nothing they can do until you actually get the bill.
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Old 12-25-2013, 07:16 AM   #6
dlfl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JosephB View Post
Why not just take the credit on the next month? It's not that complicated, and a tiny portion of this is on you for ordering a PPV with a CableCard device. Since you knew going in it might fail, cut them a little slack.
"Cut them a little slack" ?? Not even a tiny portion of this is on him. TWC should know what can or can't be delivered to a TiVo. Only the fact they have local monopolies can explain their poor behavior, both technically and in account processing.
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:39 AM   #7
JosephB
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Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
"Cut them a little slack" ?? Not even a tiny portion of this is on him. TWC should know what can or can't be delivered to a TiVo. Only the fact they have local monopolies can explain their poor behavior, both technically and in account processing.
Demanding that they rewrite their billing system for him seems to be a little extreme, though.
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
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Demanding that they rewrite their billing system for him seems to be a little extreme, though.
I would tend to agree, as was referring to the billing screwup as "theft"
I would also agree TWC is as incompetent as they get in all version of this story, but not criminal. Sometimes it's not malice, just incompetence (but of a very large scale...)
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Old 12-25-2013, 03:55 PM   #9
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Any chance you have a local office you could go to? Ive had issues with Comcast before, and the service at the local office always exceeds the drones on the phone lines in the call centers.
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Old 12-25-2013, 10:14 PM   #10
dlfl
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I would tend to agree, as was referring to the billing screwup as "theft"
I would also agree TWC is as incompetent as they get in all version of this story, but not criminal. Sometimes it's not malice, just incompetence (but of a very large scale...)
I expect it's a great comfort to know you were screwed over by large scale incompetence rather than due to malice.

This isn't an isolated case. Their billing system treats customers with quiet arrogance -- because they can get away with it.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:51 PM   #11
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As for one of the csr type folks. Let me say , that's not how it goes with the company I work for (Mediacom). If you call in the night of the PPV, while the events going on and its not working, we fix it for you or we credit the event.

You can order PPV with TIVO for us, which is great since I get 50% off all ppv.

You definitely got the short end of the stick with TWC. As someone who handles billing/service issues all day long, its ridiculous what happened to you. If we have a customer call in and cancel autopay, as long as they debit date is longer then 48 hrs out, nothing happens. We refund any credit/debit payments within 72 business hours of processing.

Yeah there are bad csr and bad customer service folks out there. If your getting the run around on the phone, try chat, or better yet your local office.

FYI BBB complaints don't mean jack squat, and I get folks every day who threaten that junk, over the piddliest of things. I had someone cancel service today because we had to remove a ABC affiliate that we were no longer legally allowed to carry due to exclusivity rights.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #12
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If you are really annoyed, and I would be (not sure what these other people are smoking - YOU definitely are not weird or the problem here!) then it's time to make some waves. Start with your local officials: city council member, county supervisor, etc. - whomever is your most direct representative. And while contacting them add in the local franchise board or whomever licenses Time Warner in your area. Be just as courteous and thorough as you have been in your post here (I'd nix the sarcastic TW lines ) and you will probably be amazed at the response you get. If I'm just spoiled by my local government and you still get the run around, start expanding to your state representative, state attorney general and/or consumer protection agency. If you live in a really large city/county they may have more local equivalents too. And for good measure you can include the appropriate part of the FCC.

The biggest problem is most people never complain to those who have the power to put the fear of god in companies like Time Warner. For those gearing up to reply of all the reasons why it's a waste of time - don't. If everyone spent a fraction of the time interacting with their elected officials that they do online, much of this stuff would get taken care of. Don't direct it at me but instead at those empowered to act on your behalf!

You just have to have the proper expectation, patience and persistence. It doesn't have to be time consuming, either. A quick email or letter here, a follow up there - slow and steady wins the race. Companies act this way because WE let them get away with it...
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