The Money Chronicles Volume 9: Whatever Time Warner Calls It, It's Not Customer Service

Like many households, we get our TV content through cable, namely Time Warner Cable. We’ve been a customer of Time Warner for about 20 years. About 14 years ago we upgraded to a larger channel package, and about 10 years ago we added high speed internet. During that time the price has gone up, but we’ve made no changes in our plan in 10 years.

Last week got a letter that said our “special promotional rate” is ending and our rates will go up about 28%. But…the good news is that because we’ve been such good customers, our increase will be only 21%.

As they say on ESPN, “C’mon man!” Do they really think this is anything more than a 21% increase in our cable bill? Do they really think I’ve been enjoying a temporary promotional rate for 10 years?

We have several options other than Time Warner Cable, but I like the high speed internet and want to keep our email addresses. So the other night I did a live chat. I’m posting it here:

Nyla> Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief sturvey. My name is Nyla and I would be happy to help you. Hi Tom! Let me access your account detaills for the same. Please allow me a moment.

Tom> Thank you Nyla. I currently get both my cable TV and my internet through Time Warner Cable. Right now I pay $96.00 per month for both. If I cancel my TV but keep the high speed internet, how much would that be?

Nyla> I understand your concern. Please allow me a moment. I see that you are having the bundled service at the discounted rates and you are planning to switch to Internet only plan in the near future. I am afraid as I do not see any new offer that can be set up on your account at his moment. However, I found a good deal of $99.99/mo for 12 months promotion. It includes all the three services as of now. I am afraid, I do not have the code to add that promotion and therefore, I am unable to confirm whether your account is eligible for this promotion. If you want I can provide you the phone number to check the eligibility and check other details available for you. Also, please note that currently your account is on extended promotion.

Tom> Yeah, that doesn’t really answer my question. How much would it be for me to get only the high speed internet access and nothing else?

Nyla> The normal rates for this bundled services are $105.99 and you are getting that at a discount of $26.00 effectively making it $79.99. As your services are bundled I cannot get the actual rates.

Tom> Why not?

Nyla> However, you are having the Standard Internet on your account. The normal rates for that alone currently are $54.99. As two services are bundled and therefore they are at discounted rates. I cannot unbundle them to see the individual charges for each.

Tom> Does that mean that if I cancel my TV cable and keep internet access, my monthly bill from you is $54.99?

Nyla> I can help you with the number to see what you might be eligible for. No.

Tom> OK, then what does it mean?

Nyla> I cannot unbundle the services to get just the Internet prices for you. There are different types of bundles available for different areas, different customers according to different plans. Due to restricted system access, I am unable to do that.

Tom> Can you connect me with someone who can?

Nyla> I request you to call the Customer Service at 1-888-892-2253. Sure. Sorry for the typo.

Tom> I’m talking with you from La Jolla, California. Just out of curiosity, where are you?

Nyla> Tom you have to call the above provided number. We are located in Western India.

Tom> OK Nyla, thank you for your time.

Nyla> Again, my name is Nyla. Thank you for chatting with Time Warner Cable. We value you as a customer and are here to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you would like to take a brief survey, please click on “Close” and the survey will load.

Does it appear to anyone else that Nyla isn’t really customer service, but a salesperson?

Direct TV, expect a call from me.

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