TWC Chat Transcript

This is a long entry which contains only a log of a chat tarnscript between me and 4 Analysts at Time Warner Cable

[I connected to TWC via online chat at 10:28pm central time, Tuesday 8th January, 2013]
[What follows is the entire chat transcript, with the last 4-digits of my social security number removed]
[I have added some approximate times, but the whole chat too 2-hours]
[I’ve also inserted some blank lines to help with reading]

We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.
We are experiencing higher than usual service times. Please wait and an analyst will be with you shortly.

[I get connected at approximately 10:49pm]

Jarrett>Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief survey. My name is Jarrett. Please give me a moment while I access your account.
Jarrett>Thank you for waiting.
Mark_>Hello Jarrett. I’ve just noticed that you’ve added another $3.95 fee to my bill start 11/15. I’ve had the same modem since I started this service in 2006, and I’ve been paying more than $150 per month, which has jumped to $200 in the last year.
Jarrett>I apologize for the inconvenience.
Jarrett>I will be glad to assist you with this.
Mark_>My questions are: 1. How does TWC justify this new fee? 2. Why has been average monthly bill increased by $40 in the last 12-months 3. Why does my TWC Internet service give me almost half the speed of my tmobile cellphone at more than twice the cost?
Jarrett>I apologize for the inconvenience.
Jarrett>Please allow me some time.
Mark_>It’s 9:51m pm here, I have better things to do with my late evenings, I have about 15-mins for this chat having already waited for 18-mins to be connected. So, you can have until 10:05pm is that enough time?
Jarrett>Yes, it is enough time.
Mark_>Cool, let me know what you need from me
Jarrett>Okay.
Jarrett>Thank you for your patience.
Jarrett>I have checked and see that you are billed for Double package of $24.99 + All the best $115.00 + DVr service $10.99+ HD DVR $10.00 + Modem Lease $3.95 + Turbo Pass $9.99 = Total $174.92 without taxes.
Mark_>So, you’ve confirmed the $3.95 modem lease. I’ve had the same modem since 2006 when the service was installed. That was my question 1.
Mark_>How do TWC justify this? Why has it only just started?

Jarrett>First of all, deciding to charge for leasing modem’s charge was not easy. But, to continue to provide our customers with the best equipment and services possible; we have had to pass on some of the cost onto our customers.
Jarrett>My apologies about it. If this has been a persistent issue, I could surely help you with it.
Jarrett>The cost of equipments in today’s time has increased and unfortunately, we have had to pass some of this cost on to our customers. As of November’2012, this charge of $3.95 is going to be billed to all our customers.

Jarrett>Understanding that we have increased our modem lease rates, we as TWC are also allowing our customers to use an approved modem of their own purchased from a retail store. If you wish to do so, you would simply require returning our modem and the additional monthly modem lease charge of $3.95, will no longer be charged to you. Here is the link where you could check all the approved modems: http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/topics/internet/buy-your-modem.html
Mark_>More importantly, my total bill without any movies or requested change of service has gone up an average of $40 in the past 12-months, I can’t see why. My question #2

Jarrett>I totally understand your discomfort with these new rates. But please try and understand that even other companies may charge this type of fee. Almost all our competitors have this equipment fee. Some of them even charge more than $3.95, and those who are not charging have plans to start this fee, as the cost of providing service and maintenance is increasing every day.
Jarrett>You could contact us by phone or chat. We will provision your modem, and then you can return ours to the nearest local office. Or else, you could directly visit the nearest local office with the current cable modem provided by us with the Mac ID and model number of your purchased cable modem. We will take care of the rest at our local office.

Mark_>So, having paid TWC more than $10,000 US Dollars over the past 6-years, you are now allowing me to buy my own moden to replace you[r] outdated, slow Internet modem? Am I understanding you correctly? If I don’t, you are surcharging me $3.95 per month until I do.
Jarrett>It seems that this issue needs to be escalated to National Road Runner support team right away. They are our internet experts. Do you have any further questions before I transfer your chat?
Jarrett>Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

Anna Williams>Hello! Thank you for choosing Road Runner Internet Technical Chat Support. My name is Anna Williams. I will help you.
Anna Williams>Give me 2 minutes while I go through your previous conversation with our Executive.
Anna Williams>In case if we get disconnected in the process of troubleshooting, you can either get back to the chat or else you can contact the local office regarding your query. Here’s the contact number:800-418-8848 / 512-485-5555
Mark_>It wasnt really about the Internet modem rental… but since I’ve been passed to you…
Mark_>Hello, Happy New Year
Mark_>having paid TWC more than $10,000 US Dollars over the past 6-years, you are now allowing me to buy my own moden to replace you outdated, slow Internet modem? Am I understanding you correctly? If I don’t, you are surcharging me $3.95 per month until I do.\
Anna Williams>Please give me two minutes while I go through your problem description.
Anna Williams>Thank you and wish you the same.
Anna Williams>I apologize for the delay in my response.
Anna Williams>It’s an issue with the billing. I will certainly direct you to the BILLING department in order to get this information.
Anna Williams>Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

Lyndon>Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief survey. My name is Lyndon.
Please give me a moment while I access your account.
Lyndon>Thank you for waiting. I appreciate your patience.
Lyndon>Hello, how are you?
Mark_>It’s now 10:17pm. I’m not happy about getting bounced around like this.
Lyndon>I apologize for the inconvenience.
Lyndon>I can understand.
Lyndon>I will be happy to assist you with the information.
Mark_>The Road Runner Analyst didn;t even give me the chance to ask questions before bouncing me back to you, I assume you are in billing?
Lyndon>I apologize for the inconvenience.
Lyndon>I will update the notes about this on our records.
Lyndon>I will be glad to forward your suggestion or feedback to the concerned.

Lyndon>I will help you with your question Mark
Lyndon>Extremely sorry on his behalf.
Mark_>My first question was sort of answered, although not on speed. My 2nd question is, without any movies or other change on my account, what has my total bill increased approx. $40 per month since this time last year?
Lyndon>Okay
Lyndon>Let me check that for you.

Mark_>We know that an additional $3.95 Internet modem surcharge has been added since 11/15/12 but what accounts for the rest?
Lyndon>Yes
Lyndon>It is a modem lease on your account.
Lyndon>However if you prefer then you can avoid this charge by using your own modem
Lyndon>In order to verify the account, may I have the last four digits of the account holder’s Social Security number?
This is to ensure the security of your account information.

Mark_>No its a penalty charge for not buying my own modem. I still have the one that you issued when I opened my account 6-years ago. Lets move on from that, how can you account for the rest of the price increase?
Lyndon>Okay
Lyndon>In order to verify the account, may I have the last four digits of the account holder’s Social Security number?
This is to ensure the security of your account information.
Mark_>[redacted]

Lyndon>Thank you very much.
Lyndon>For the bill of October you have received a discount.
Lyndon>Also service discount on your account has been reduced now.
Mark_>Personally having spend more than $10,000 with TWC over the last 6-years, I’m probably going to cancel my account if I can’t get a better deal than this.
Lyndon>Also Double feature ( Cable and Internt ) cost you $24.99
Lyndon>I can understand.
Mark_>What dciscount in October I have the bill here?
Lyndon>Sure.
Mark_>One-time charges & credits
10/03 -3.40 CR Basic Reception Service – Adjustment
10/03 -5.67 CR Standard Service – Adjustment
10/03 -0.95 CR Digital Basic Tier – Adjustment
10/03 -2.19 CR DVR Service – Adjustment
10/03 -2.50 CR HBO – Adjustment
10/03 -2.49 CR Showtime – Adjustment
10/03 -1.79 CR HD Digital Video Recorde – Adjustment
-18.99 CR Total one-time charges & credits\
Lyndon>It was for Showtime adjustment.
Lyndon>Yes
Lyndon>That is correct.

Mark_>That was because TWC disconnected my service while I was away, and only connected it again when I asked… for no apparent reason. Thats not a discount
Lyndon>Okay
Mark_>What was the Showtime adjustment?
Lyndon>Okay
Lyndon>It is an adjustment since the subscription was not good.
Lyndon>Weak signals.
Mark_>Fine. So that was a one time credit. What is this Showtime adjustment?
Lyndon>Yes
Lyndon>That is the adjustment done.
Mark_>OK. So we understand the October credit. Back to my question, why has my total monthly bill, inc. taxes increased by $40 in the past 12 months?
Lyndon>Okay
Lyndon>Also the service discount got reduced.
Mark_>Why did the service discount get reduced? and by how much?
Lyndon>Since it is a promotional event and time specific.
Mark_>I have no idea what that means. I have been a customer for 6-years, how could a promotional event apply?
Lyndon>Okay
Lyndon>Please be online while I transfer this chat to right support group.
Lyndon>Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

Melva F.>Hello, thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable, my name is Melva. Please give me one to two minutes to read the previous chat session, thank you.
Mark_>Can you tell me who you are, your employee number, and why this chat was escalated to you?
Melva F.>Thank you for holding patiently.
Melva F.>I do understand that you have questions about your billing. Is that correct.
Mark_>Reading the entire chat session will take more time than I have left
Melva F.>I can surely provide you with my name, which should be displaced on the chat. My name is Melva.
Melva F.>My agent ID number is 15930
Melva F.>I am not sure of why your chat was escalated, but i will be happy to assist you.

Mark_>I’m sorry, you are the 4th analyst I’ve been transferred to, its taken me an hour now.
Melva F.>I do understand that reading the entire chat session will require more time than you have available
Melva F.>I apologize for the delay.
Melva F.>However, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mark_>Lets put it in simple terms. I’ve spent more than $10 US Dollars with Time Warner cable since I’ve been a customer, almost none of that on movies.
Mark_>$10,000 Dollars
Mark_>I’ve reviewed my charges for the last year, my average monthly bill has increased $40 per month
Melva F.>I understand.
Mark_>Are there any discounts you can apply to my account? My service is simply too slow and too expensive otherwise
Melva F.>I apologize that you’re feeling as if the service is slow.
Melva F.>Can you tell me what service you’re referring to, Mark?
Mark_>my Internet service.
Melva F.>Can you tell me, when you’re running a speed test, what speeds are you receiving?
Mark_>There is a table here http://markcathcart.com/2012/11/11/coffee-and-the-internet/
Melva F.>Can you please tell me what speeds your getting with your Time Warner Cable service when running a speed test?
Mark_>18mbps down 2.71mbps up – My point is for what you are charging, thats too slow

Melva F.>That is definitely a great speed.
Melva F.>The internet portion of your service is only $34.14 a month, Mark.
Melva F.>You are getting great rate for your services.
Mark_>plus the other services and fees that I have to pay\
Mark_>excluding tv and phone
Melva F.>The turbo is an additional $9.99 which is actually now $20 more a month.
Melva F.>So you’re still getting discount on the service.
Melva F.>That is correct. You do subscribe to other services so there will be other services and fees added to that rate.
Melva F.>Absolutely.
Melva F.>You are still getting an awesome rate for services.
Mark_>and now you’ve added a modem surcharges of $3.95 per month for a modem that is 6-years old.
Melva F.>If you would like to lower you billing I would advise you to remove the premiums from the account. The premiums are 24.99.
Melva F.>Yes, there is a modem lease fee that Time Warner Cable charges.
Melva F.>That this is per month.
Melva F.>In the past, we have not charged you to lease our modem, however we are charging now.
Melva F.>You do have the option of providing your own personal modem for internet and the modem lease fee will be removed.
Melva F.>Would you like to do that, Mark?

Mark_>No, you are surcharging me instead of providing a more up to date modem. Its the same single port box you installed in 2006, since then you’ve charged me phone over $10,000 for phone plus Internet and cable. The phone is connected to that same box isn’t it?
Mark_>What are Premiums?
Melva F.>The modem that you have was just added to your account last year. If you feel that the modem needs to be exchanged you can exchange it at any service center at no cost to you.
Mark_>given how much you charge, your billing statement pdf’s could at least provide links to the descriptions of each charge
Melva F.>The phone is connected to the modem as the modem is a dual modem; for phone and internet.
Melva F.>The premiums are the movie channels that you subscribe to. You actually have two; HBO and Showtime.
Mark_>No it wasn’t. It’s the same modem I’ve had since the service was installed in 2006. An engineer may have exchanged it, but that was because my HD DVR kept failing.
Mark_>I’d rather drop all the other channels and keep HBO. Can you arrange that, delete the basic service and showtime?
Melva F.>I am sorry that you feel that way, Mark. No billing statement provides links to a description of each charge.
Melva F.>However, you do have the ability to search our website for that information.
Mark_>So if I cancel my Internet you’ll charge me for the modem for the phone?
Melva F.>Mark, when I an speaking of the modem, I am speaking of the box for the internet and phone. That has nothing to do with you HD DVR.
Melva F.>In order to have HBO you would have to subscribe to some level of cable; meaning a minimal of basic.
Melva F.>Basic cable is $24.99 and HBO would be $14.99.

Mark_>Yes, thats why as far as I’m concerned I still have the same modem that was installed in 2006. You said it was changed last year. Last year I had repeated DVR failures, eventually an engineer came out, he may have replaced it but how would I know
Melva F.>Basic gives you channels 2-22 only.
Melva F.>If you do not have internet service on the account or wish to use your own internet modem you will not be charged a modem lease fee.
Melva F.>That is correct. The fee would be removed.
Mark_>So how would the phone service be connected, via the modem?
Melva F.>I understand. I would like to let you know that the modem was exchanged last year.
Melva F.>The phone would be connected via the modem. That is correct.
Melva F.>The modem lease fee is only associated with the internet services, not the phone service.
Mark_>OK, we are getting no where. Please let me summarise for the chat record
Melva F.>You’ve asked me if the modem is associated with the phone; if you would still get phone through the modem
Melva F.>I am confirming that you will still use the modem (dual modem) for phone service.
Melva F.>In no way do I want to make this confusing.

Mark_>You feel I have an excellent deal on Internet spped; I feel its overpriced for what I get; You suggest the only way to reduce the bill is for me to buy my own modem; I feel this is a penalty on a loyal customer who has paid over $10,000 in fees on time, for not buying my own modem; You are unable to remove the basic cable channels I don’t use; You confirmed that the modem will still be used for phone service if I cancel Internet, but I won’t pay the $3.95 rental fee for that modem; I’ve spent 75-minutes on chat, got pretty much nowhere it terms of understanding how to reduce my monthly bill with cancelling my service.
Mark_>without cancelling my service
Melva F.>That is correct. Everything that you’ve mentioned above is correct.
Melva F.>If you’re wishing to keep HBO you must have a minimal of the basic cable.
Melva F.>You cannot have any additional services on the cable without having the basic cable.
Melva F.>I am sorry if you’re in disagreement with this information.
Melva F.>I am also sorry that you feel that you have got nowhere with the billing information.
Mark_>FYI I get a faster Internet service at lower price through my cellphone now I’ve upgraded, running speedtest from my laptop connected to the phone, perhaps this helps understand my concern. My all in, taxes included fee for this is $42. If I’m to cancel my TWC Internet, I might as well cancel phone and cable. I don’t really need the phone as I already have a cellphone and can get another as stated; and we’ve already agreed cable isn’t useful
Melva F.>I understand what you’re stating.
Mark_>I guess I was hoping for more having spent more than $10,000 with TWC. Thats a heck of a lot of money.
Melva F.>If you are wanting to cancel the services, any core services (cable, internet or phone service) we will ask that you make contact with customer services tomorrow to cancel. We do not remove any core service through Chat.
Melva F.>We do value you as a customer with Time Warner Cable.
Melva F.>You are on a promotion for your services and we have provided you with the the options to help lower you billing.
Melva F.>The modem lease fee is charged to all customers that subscribe to internet service and use our modem for internet. The cable can be altered, meaning you can remove the digital and the standard services,but to keep HBO you will need at least the basic.
Mark_>Thats how I got to you… I don’t understand what this promotional offer was and why its been reduced
Melva F.>Also, if you wan to remove the phone, we can also get that removed for you.
Melva F.>This will require you to contact customer service.
Melva F.>Whenever you are placed on a promotion the promotion is GUARANTEED for X-amount of months.
Mark_>Okay
Melva F.>In this case, your promotion rate of the base rate for cable, internet and phone, not inlcuding the additions, was $99.99
Mark_>so what promotional was I on, when did it start, and when did it end?
Melva F.>and this was guaranteed for 12 months.
Melva F.>After 12 months it increases.
Mark_>Okay
Melva F.>Sure, Give me one moment and I will tell you when it increased.
Melva F.>and when it started.
Melva F.>The promotion started 05/14/2011
Mark_>and so it finished in 5/12 which pretty much lines up with what I saw when reviewing my bills for the year.
Melva F.>It was at that rate for 12 months.
Mark_>Are there any promotional rates available now?
Melva F.>So you were paying $99.99 plus the box charges, the turbo speed internet charge, the double feature premium channels charge.
Melva F.>It was not finished 05/2012. however it did increase 05/2012 to $114.99 before taxes for that package that was $99.99
Melva F.>So, the promotion that you were on went up $15.00
Melva F.>You are still on a promotion.
Mark_>okay
Mark_>so what is this double feature premium charge?
Melva F.>You were also getting the double feature premiums discounted $10.00l; at $14.99 for 12 months.
Melva F.>this has now increased to the normal rate for the double feature.
Melva F.>I hope that I am not confusing you.
Mark_>So thats gone up $10 plus the $15 for the promotion + $3.95 for the modem… add to that taxes and fees and that will come to pretty much the $40.
Melva F.>That is correct.
Mark_>This double feature premium is what, HBO and Showtime?
Melva F.>We have no control of taxes, so we can only speak on the increase that is the before tax amount.
Mark_>oaky
Melva F.>That is also correct; double feature premium is HBO and Showtime.
Melva F.>Yes, Mark.
Mark_>Well thats another thing I never asked for, Showtime. When was that added to the account?
Melva F.>I understand that you may not have asked for it, however in order for it to be added to your account you had to have agreed to the promotion for both at $14.99.
Melva F.>HBO alone is $14.99 so you were getting two for the price of one.
Mark_>I was getting 2 for the price of one… even though I didn’t ask for the 2nd. This seems like a slightly convoluted way to extort money, only I’ve noticed it.
Mark_>So I can call customer service and reduce my bill by $10 by removing showtime
Mark_>I assume since I didn’t ask, they’ll also remove the 2-months already paid
Melva F.>Mark, that is not true. We would have never added anything to your account that you did not agree with at that time.
Mark_>I’m confused then. Somehow after 5-years of service I went onto a promotional rate, that rate included a double premium package that was discounted two for one, even though I didn’t ask for Showtime; now the disciounted package has gone up $15; the two for one has gone away and I’m paying an additional $10 for showtime. Do you see my confusion?
Melva F.>Mark, did you give us a call to make changes to your account?
Melva F.>If you did, this is why your package/rate was changed.
Mark_>I have no idea now… as I said I was having regular DVR failures, at least 3. I’ve just double checked my spreasheet, I show total fees paid to TWC of nearly $14,000 US dollars. I’ll call customer service and discuss with a supervisor. Thanks for all your help.
Mark_>One final thing. I want to give the opportunity not to have this chat posted on the Internet. In order to do that I must receive your request in writing, and there will be a $19.95 service charge for that? OK, do you understand?
Melva F.>Mark, I would like to let you know that I am a supervisor with Time Warner Cable.
Melva F.>However, if you’d like to contact us via telephone you can do so. Any Supervisor would be willing to assist you.
Mark_>but you can’t do anything unless I call. You told me that earlier, I asked you right at the start of the chat, you never said then you were a supervisor
Melva F.>I am sorry, I will not be sending you any request in writing about not having a chat posted on the internet. Any media concerns should be handled by our specialist that consult, communicate and or relate to the media.
Melva F.>Are there any other questions or concerns I may be able to assist you with today?
Mark_>I’ve now spent almost 2-hours on this, I appreciate your time. no thank you.
Melva F.>Mark, you never mentioned wanting to speak to a Supervisor in the chat session.
Melva F.>We cannot make changes on the account to remove a core services; e.g, remove cable, remove internet or remove phone service completely, unless you call in to Customer Service. t
Melva F.>That is correct.
Melva F.>If you have no other questions or concerns, please click on the “End Session” button to end this chat session. Once again, thank you for being a Time Warner Cable subscriber and have a good day!
Melva F.>I appreciate your patience and allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

1 thought on “TWC Chat Transcript”

Leave a Reply