March 18, 2018

Cord Cutting to the Extreme, goodbye Time Warner Spectrum

A few weeks ago, the Northeastern part of the US was hit by a large snow storm.  Apparently the storm unleashed enough power (no pun intended) to wipe out electricity for over 100,000+ households in the region.  I was thankful that the town I lived in had minimal impact and my property, for the most part, braved the storm.  A utility pole on the property had some damage so some of the wires like electricity, telephone and cable were laying across the yard.

Central Hudson(utility company) has done an amazing job to recovery and I was also able to find an amazing electrician to help me resolve all my power issues within 24 hours.  I wish I can say the same for Time Warner Cable or Specturm, my internet service provider. As a preface, I am already a "cord-cutter"; I only subscribe to high-speed internet access in my dwellings.  I can get all of my entertainment, news updates through Netflix, YouTube, etc.  This post is my personal experience on something that most Americans already felt.  In short, I have never experienced such arrogance and poor customer service that I am now thanking Time Warner Cable for pushing me to cut them out completely.   Here is what happened.

After the storm, we called to arrange for a technician to come out to physically hang up some of the fallen wires back on the utility pole.  I informed them we do have internet connection, so its just a physical hazard to have a few strands of heavily shield cables draping across the state highway into my lawn.  They insisted that we must be home for the technician to come.  So we agreed to the first weekend they have available and waited.  15 minutes prior to the appointment window, we received a call informing us that the technician called in sick, and will not make the visit (strike 1); we were frustrated but rescheduled it for the proceeding weekend.  On the 2nd scheduled appointment day, the technician did not show up in the agreed hour (strike 2); bare in mind that throughout these two incidence, we must have answered 6 different robo-calls asking us to confirm the scheduled appointments.

When we called to complaint about this, we were simply told that the technician "cancelled" the visit.  The service agent was not apologetic as his script is pushing to resolve the issue by scheduling another appointment; when we told them again that this is just their equipment(line) not hung properly outside of the house and they should just send a repairman out ASAP regardless of our availability given that we made 2 attempts to be home, they kept on insisting that owner must be there or else.  After attempting to escalate to a supervisor for a discussion, conversation quickly heated up and we were surprised to see how easily they were to offer for us to be transferred to the "cancellation" department.   Sure, I'll play.  With the even more incompetent cancellation department agent, she faked asked why we wanted to cancel our service, but she was just not listening to anything that transpired and was only focused on what company we were interested in switching the service to; when I generically mentioned I'll be shopping for a competitor she actually asked me what that competitor is offering me so she can match it, to which I yelled "SERVICE!"  The rest of the conversation became a big joke of back and forth where I started to realize the consistency in the general lack of customer service and total corporate bullshit that is driven by numbers; they do not have any understanding of customer relations and servicing.  The objective is either get subscribers or remove subscribers.  After a few minutes of this total bullshit, I started to think to myself: Google Project Fi offers free additional data SIMs and recently, they have rolled out an unlimited data plan.  With a spare phone & spare data SIM on-hand and speeds approaching landlines, why do I really need Time Warner?  At the end, I feel like I was just as eager to cancel the service as these Time Warner robots; at last, we have something in agreement.  Within minutes of cancellation, I fired up my own network and the savings from their monthly charge, I can easily go up to the new Project Fi Data Cap level plus get $30 per month of savings.  In the end, I should probably thank Time Warner, for pushing me to cut their cords, twice.  Just for fun, I did a little Google search on their customer service, and was appropriately given this entry from the Gothamist: Time Warner Cable Really Does Suck, Attorney General Finds

Oh, just for the final kicker, during the cancellation process, we received one more robo-call which is trying inform us that the already cancelled appointment #2 will arrive in the next hour.  And of course, that was just blowing smoke because no one showed.

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