Time Warner Internet Lives up to Its Reputation

I had been hearing many stories about how bad Time Warner’s service was. Since the switch over from Comcast to Time Warner, we experienced no problems. That is, until December 29. Our Internet connection was slow to non-existent. We didn’t think much of it even after rebooting the router and cable modem. After two days of this, we called Time Warner figuring we needed to report the problem.
Paul spent an hour on the phone with the rep who just had to follow the script even though Paul had already tried everything suggested. The rep would NOT listen to Paul. After all, it meant straying from the script. Oh, the horror.
Eventually, Paul figured out (with not much help from Time Warner) that our modem had problems with initializing. OK, no problem. Replace it. Well, Time Warner can’t have anyone out here till January 4! THREE business days after the New Year. I have a deadline on January 3 and was halfway through my articles when I ran into this problem. In the two years I’ve worked with this client, I’ve never missed a deadline. Had I not owned a laptop and a nearby shop with free wi-fi, I’d miss it.
T-Mobile. Time Warner. Two technology companies where customer service isn’t in their vocabulary. Paul plans to call Verizon about FiOS (fiber optic service) this week. As for T-Mobile, the company is lucky that it has the best plan and price for my needs otherwise I’d switch providers. Time Warner isn’t so lucky. At the rate it’s going… I don’t expect 2007 to be a good year for the company.
Back to business after the holiday, eh?

20 thoughts on “Time Warner Internet Lives up to Its Reputation”

  1. We’re lucky, when our time warner modem goes out (and it has happened about 3-4 times over 5 years) one of their field offices is a couple of minutes from our house, so as long as I agree to install it myself (umm, yeah!), they let me just bring it in and exchange it instead of waiting for a tech to come out.

    When the proble requires a tech visit though, I almost want to cry. 😉

  2. I switched to DirecTV and Verizon DSL and couldn’t be happier. TimeWarner (previously Adelphia) in Los Angeles is exactly as insultingly terrible in 2007 as they were in Tampa and Gainesville in 1999. Pathetic. At least I can depend on meryl.net to bring me joy (almost) every day! :0)

  3. We signed on for Verizon FiOS and decided to cancel the repair on Thursday since the Internet was woring again. When Paul called to cancel the appointment, he heard a recording on the Time Warner customer support line that said they are cutting over our area to the new RR network and outages are happening throughout the area. The recording proceeded to say customers could experience exceptionally long wait times…

    Well, I bet that’s what happened to us in the first place! Sounds like a problem of “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” I wonder if the companput this in the recording after receiving a lot of calls from customers like us.

    Thanks for the kind words, David!

  4. Many companies’ idea of customer service is to train a representative to get a customer off the phone as quickly as possible. What I think is really the heart of the problem with customer service particularly in the cable industry, is that the infrastructure is inadequate to properly handle and process the number of clients served. In a nutshell, if the information were properly recorded in the first place, there wouldn’t be a need for a customer service rep. who’s trained to get you off the phone quickly. It seems the cable folks have it backwards – investing time and money into a customer service department that wouldn’t need to be so beefed up if their systems were integrated to reduce the amount of mistakes made.

  5. Comcast was utterly Golden compared to the service and connection I have received since the change over. Then after speaking with 2 supervisors to get one of the highly sought after and extremely rare “evening” appontments (6:00 pm) and obtaining and actually writing down the confirmation number they were a no show… and a no apology and a no fix and a no go. If I set the modem ablaze anyone know how to send smoke signals?

  6. I’ve had Verizon FIOS for almost a year and could not be happier! I had one or two problems early on, but it was user error (mine). Also have had DirecTV for the last four years and it’s been great too! Never any problems and no calls to customer service ever! I will have to look long and hard before thinking about switching to Verizon TV.

  7. From reading the other comments, I must have a different Time Warner. I have had my internet service with them for 10 years, since they first came to Houston and although it did take them several years to get their act together, they are now doing an awesome job. No, I do not work for them or even know anybody that does. I even have my phone service with them now. When I have to call them, which is rarely, they are courteous and helpful and when I explain that I’ve been through the routine for getting my service back up, they immediately schedule an appointment for me. I’ve had techs come out at 10:00 at night and they have appointments available 7 days a week.
    One time when they had an outage in my area, a service representative called me to make sure my service was back up.
    If my modem seems to be the problem, I just pack it up and take it into their store and exchange it. No questions asked. Same thing if I have a problem with my DVR. We are going to be switched to Comcast in the spring and I am dreading it. I stuck with Time Warner during their rocky startup period and have been enjoying the results of their efforts to improve for many years now. I have not heard good things about Comcast and don’t know what I’ll do if they don’t measure up to Time Warner. Since I have digital cable tv, internet and phone service with them, it’s a major concern of mine. One other comment, years ago when I would call in to their service center I would always get someone that spoke very poor English. I don’t know if they moved their call center back to the U.S. or if they are hiring people now that speak better English but now they all sound like Americans and they are a pleasure to talk to. They never seem to be in a rush to get rid of me and work through the problem patiently. I give them an A+++.

  8. Yes Meryl, ISPs still seem to have not got the message about customer service – but then again they’re not unique in that regard.It seems all to prevalent today and most people have come to accept it as the norm. I recall, on another note, some columns you wrote a few years ago for Lockergnome, decrying your problems with AV software a la McAfee and Norton and all the responses you were getting from your readers. Whilst I haven’t changed my opinion of them both (have tried as recently as 2006 and found them both slow and resource consuming), I wondered what you and your hubby choose to use these days

  9. I do not have the time Warner service in my area. But I do have T-Mobile and wonder what the complaint is. In my time with them they have fixed a few errors and with no problem at all. They have the friendliest customer service I have had the pleasure of dealing with with any large company. I signed up for rebates on the three Motorola phones and got them in record time. About three weeks. I had trouble with one lost rebate but the representative fixed the problem on his end and saved me having to send in another form. I got the rebate a week later.
    Whatever reason I have had to contact T-mobile the issue has been handled professionally, and always in a courteous manner without incident.
    As far as cable is concerned I have Comcast but am, as I am quite literally switching over to FIOS as I write this response. Comcast gets 5 mbs down if lucky and less than 400k up. FIOS 20 mbs down 5mbs up. same price. Comcast sucks, as does their service and tech support. Glad to see them go. Now if FIOS works as sold it will be heaven on the Geek scale of WOW!

  10. Paul, we’re using Trend Micro PC-cillin and it’s been great. Uses less resources and haven’t had problems (I didn’t say that… my computer didn’t hear me say that… Not cursing myself… nope.) 🙂

    It’s a sad state if we have truly come to adopt lousy customer service as routine.

  11. I got RoadRunner (Now TW) 7 years ago when you had to pay for installation and had good response in the beginning, but in the last few years it had gotten worse. When I had family over last May, all my computers died on the line and after 2 hours working on the phone with RR, they said a tech would be out in 4 business days. That was the last straw, I had Bellsouth up and running in 2 days and I am well satisfied with their service.

  12. I have had a good experience with my Time Warner. If you have even rudimentary computer skills you can troubleshoot most of your problems. And if it is hardware related you can swap out the offending item at any of the stores around time. Go ask AT&T to replace the DSL modem you just bought from them. My guess is they will ask you to purchase another one. And customer service for all the ISP’s suck. My guess is that there is more money in selling the product than there is in troubleshooting the product. Either way we are about to see AT&T unleash their new product Uverse that is supposed to be very impressive. (I am not sure how they plan to get 20mbps up and down off a twisted pair of copper wiring, but I am all for faster speeds.) Also I have noticed the cable comapnies have increased their speed almost double fold when new competition is unveiled in the area. (Way to go Capitalism!) In my mind, if I have a good thing I don’t mess with it. (I have lost too many girlfriends by trying something new, lol.)

  13. My Time Warner experiences cover both sides of the spectrum. When I lived in Huntington Beach, they were the local service provider, and we had zero problems. Their cable television programming, DVR, and user interface (especially) were great.

    Fast forward to now, I’m in Anaheim – a switchover city (Adelphia to TW). I have to say the Adelphia DVR and UI was definitely lacking to the TW programming in HB, so I welcomed the switch over. Well, what we got was the same crappy Adelphia UI for the television with a new TW watermark, and the same outages that everyone else has been complaining about. After waiting 5 business days for a tech (who ended up showing up 4.5 hours late), he basically was no help, said he didn’t like the company he worked for, and left us where we were before he showed up. Needless to say, we’ve not been happy with the TW switchover either.

    Moving to Los Alamitos this summer… I’m hoping the situation is better there!

  14. Someone emailed me this — it was good to hear this perspective:

    There in you mentioned the support person “sticking to the script”.

    As a support person myself, like that individual you were speaking with (however NOT with Time Warner), we are unfortunately REQUIRED to “stick to the script”. We don’t really have a script…..but there are logical steps we must complete. Not doing so would cost us our job.

    There are many many times where I have to spend 5 minutes just satisfying the “jumping through the hoops” part of the job our quality control procedures require us to follow.

    I agree with you. At times what’s happening during a tech support call can seem so redundant at times, from the caller’s point of view. We as the frontline, would love to do things different also. Many times, we fell just as you do. Sadly though “REAL TIME” logical thoughts have been removed from our job description, all too often.

    All we ask from the callers like you is some degree of understanding that we are doing what we are required to do so we will have a job to come back to the next day. The changes to processes we would both like to see at times aren’t going to be initiated during our talking with and troubleshooting the specific issues(s) you’re calling us about. Even “we’ feel at a loss when it comes to getting those changed.

  15. In the Dallas area, the switch from Comcast to Time Warner/RR was excruciating. We only had about half a dozen service outages, but we were without our ISP email addresses for TWO MONTHS and it was RR’s fault that it happened. Now several months later our cable internet is suffering the peak time slowdowns indicative of a company that will not upgrade coverage in an area with many subscribers.

    I literally do not have one friend or acquaintance in the Dallas area who is still with TW for TV or internet. We thought we were stuck because we are too far from the hubs to qualify for DSL, but I came home to a welcome sight on Friday. VERIZON FIOS is finally being installed on our street! Bye bye TW!

    We’re so fed up and sick of having to call TW constantly because it seems to take 2 service calls to fix anything and we have to wait an average 30-45 minutes to talk to a customer service agent. Who has that kind of time?

  16. I live in suburban Cleveland, Ohio and our area was Cablevision, then Adelphia, and now Time Warner Cable. I picked up a DVR just about a month and change ago and while I love the features and how it all works the interface is utter crap. It looks like it was designed in the mid-90s and it’s absolutely horrid. I have a few friends in the Montrose/Fairlawn area and although they have the same boxes (Explorer 8300 and 8000 — I have the 8300) their interfaces are streamlined and brand new (and very TiVo-esque). I asked our company why our interfaces are utter crap while theirs are nice and he said “they’re rolling out changes to the system but it will be a bit before they all become available in this area”. I’m sorry…you’re saying it takes a few months to get 3-4 files from 1 location to another? I could copy the files onto my smartphone and bring them to the nearby office if you’d like because this interface is TERRIBLE.

  17. I love the fact the TW in Los Angeles is now Month-To-Month. No contracts unlike verizon, DirectTv or Dish. Yeah the customer service is a little shoddy but as soon as you threaten cancellation start talking credits. Remember no service = No Pay. I had my full installation paid for by TW. It’s the fast internet access Ive ever had 7mB/Sec. $29.99 per month 1 Yr.

  18. I have been researching this topic to find some way to fight this injustice my cable internet service has suffered, and stumbled across this site so I thought I’d share my experience with you.
    We have been Adelphia customers for about six years now with little to no problems other than your occasional storm outage. But ever since Time Warner took over, our internet connection has slowed to a crawl and disconnections are a constant plague. As my wife is currently doing work-at-home data entry, her job is now in jepeordy, and my recent addiction, world of warcraft, is currently unplayable due to the recent bandwidth cuts and constant disconnections. As there are no other cable providers in the area, we are being forced to go back to sattelite service, which in my past experience sucked, but I’m hoping it’s better than Time Warner.
    If there is a way to do something about this takeover, I would love to hear about it.

  19. Our Time Warner Cable Internet in Garland, TX, went down this morning and, at 10:30 pm, is still down. I tried to call all the numbers I have, and got nowhere. I even had reps actually hang up on me (and I was not being rude or anything) and kept getting busy signals and “we’re having technical difficulties” messages (automated).

    During one of my fruitless conversations with a Comcast rep (all my calls to Time Warner were rerouted to a Comcast call center), the rep said that Comcast was taking over the Dallas area (again!). I’ve been with Comcast since 1999 and suffered through the AT&T BBI fiasco (Comcast took back over then, too) and when I saw that Time Warner was taking Dallas from Comcast, I thought to myself “I wonder how long this is going to last before Comcast takes back over.”

    Well… I guess I have my answer.

    I’m beginning to feel like no one wants us. I love cable internet and everyone I speak with who has it also loves it. So, why is it that we keep getting bounced around like unwanted, eveil step-children???

    If anyone has any info on this latest outage and alleged re-take-over, please share.

  20. This is a LONG horror story, so I’ll condense it.

    June 24, 2007: Signed up online for Time Warner Broadband Internet at my 80-year-old dad’s new house in Garland. The screen said I needed to buy a modem, and offered one “Free” ($75 with a $75 rebate). I ordered it. The deal was one year, no contract, at $29.95/month.

    July 3, 2007: Modem arrived, but no contact from TW. Called and learned that my signing up online didn’t actually accomplish anything other than making me buy the modem. Scheduled an installation, earliest they could offer was July 12th.

    July 12, 2007: Tech called to say he was on his way. Girl called immediately after he arrived to say that the tech couldn’t make it and would have to reschedule. We said, “That’s funny, because he’s here.” He messed around for an hour, then said he didn’t have a tall enough ladder to reach the overhead cable, which he thought was broken. He’d send someone else the next day.

    July 13, 2007: Nobody came, nobody called. I called and was told nothing was scheduled. They scheduled someone for the next day.

    From this point on, it was a daily or every-couple-days dark comedy of either no-show technicians or know-nothing technicians. Three or four completely missed appointments, no reason. It took till July 26th for them to actually put in cables that sort of LOOKED like internet cables, and to connect the modem so it blinked. Unfortunately, it didn’t connect to the internet. At all. They said they’d send somebody the next morning. Nobody came, nobody called.

    Got a bill for over $80, which included cable TV. My dad doesn’t even own a TV, and I hadn’t signed up for that. They “corrected” the bill and sent a new one for just the internet–for $46.60 instead of $29.95.

    Two more days of missed appointments on the 30th & 31st (today). I called just now to “disconnect” the service that had never worked. The one customer service rep that tried really hard to help actually called me to check and make sure everything was working! I told her NO and filled her in on the past week. She apologized profusely and issued credits sufficient to clear the bill and repay me for the modem. No complaint about her.

    Apparently many TWC techs are freelancers or something with little/no training and obviously no accountability. I sure wouldn’t buy stock in TWC at this point. I called Verizon and scheduled FIOS to be installed next week at my dad’s, and also at my house where I’ve had the same cable TV and later internet service (different names, same company) since 1985.

    Time Warner not only lost a new long-term customer, they succeeded in driving off a VERY long-time customer for good.


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