Sunday, September 2, 2012

Time Warner Cable: Determined To Be The Worst

["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published Sept. 6, 2012]   © 2012 

I can’t tell you the depths of depression I felt when Olof announced that he wished to add additional service to our Time Warner Cable Internet and TV accounts.
“Olof,” I pleaded. “Do not feed the lions.”

I have say in fairness to TW that our internet service has performed almost flawlessly (except, of course, when their cable TV technicians disconnect it while trying to fix our endless TV problems).   They even repaired the cable for free when Winston the Wonder Dog chewed through it during one of his early visits.
One of our fundamental problems is that the TV cable installation (done separately from the internet installation) was totally botched to begin with, requiring some dozen follow-up service calls, endless replacement boxes, and still has sound that cuts out and a picture that breaks up.  We rent an On Demand movie, pay for it, then get a message saying, “That movie is not available at this time.”  (Do they only have one copy?)

Time Warner Cable (their motto:  “We can’t fix anything”) has consistently earned its national bottom ten customer satisfaction ranking year after year. Every time I have to deal with them, I think nostalgically of the ever-reliable rotating antenna I used to have on my roof which actually produced a picture and sound.
So I told Olof that if he wanted additional service, he was ordering it and taking the day off to wait for the TW Cable guy. I even gave him the whole script:  They probably won’t show up when they’re supposed to.  They will not achieve what they are there for.  But when they leave, you discover they’ve broken something else.  They have this down to a science.

Olof, an innocent, says, “It’s a really straight-forward installation.  I don’t see how they can mess this up.”
I was intentionally out during the appointment time.  When I came home, Olof was looking very unhappy.  He’d told them when he made the appointment that all our TW Cable wiring had been run under the house because of our fragile plaster walls. But the guy who shows up says he doesn’t go under the houses.  Plaster walls or nothing.  He leaves. 

Olof, a TW Cable virgin, has forgotten to make sure that everything else works before letting the cable guy escape.  Sure enough, our TV service is out.
I call and get Clint. Clint promises 100% absolutely that someone will come back by 7 p.m. to do the new installation and restore our cable TV service.  It is currently 11 a.m.

We call throughout the day.  Not to worry, they say.  We’re on the schedule.
At 7:00 p.m. I get Brandy but ask for a supervisor.  Brandy promises that if I will hang up, a supervisor will call me back “in ten minutes.”  Like I was born yesterday?  “No, thanks,” I say, “I’ll hold.”  Twenty-five minutes later Brandy is back on the line.  Sorry, she says, all the dispatchers, technicians and supervisors have gone home.  They’ll need to reschedule installation and repair.  First available is Sunday, three days hence.

The next morning I am on the phone at 7 a.m. and get Jason, an alleged supervisor.  Jason promises me that a technician will be out between 5-7 that day to restore the TV service.  The new installation will have to wait until Sunday.  I ask why no one called us when they weren’t going to come.  He says their records show that the scheduled technician (hereafter known as “The Lying Bag of Sheep Dung”) cryptically noted that he was “unable to access area under house” and hence cancelled the call without ever coming here.

At 6:55 p.m., just as we are about to give up, a TW Cable guy named Avery shows up.  He agrees our TV cable service is out but is puzzled as to how that could be since the first guy never went under the house.  We are sure he is going to shrug his shoulders – it is, after all, Friday night - and leave in TW’s inimitable way but he is determined to fix this for us.  We are so dazzled we are speechless.  Is this really a TW Cable guy?  He finally dons his hazmat suit and crawls under the house in the now-pitch blackness and discovers that when the first guy had been tugging on the cable from the outside of the house, he had pulled it out from the splitter underneath the house.  Avery fixes this and voila.

Avery fesses up, however, to tripping over one of our above-ground sprinkler heads in the dark thus disabling our sprinkler system. He offers to pay for it.  We decline.  He’s honest to boot! If only we could just get Avery on retainer.

Meanwhile, Olof decides against the new installation.  He is no longer a virgin.  In fact, he’s feeling like he’s been violated by a horde of surly ninjas.  Even though we’ve kept TW Cable because they’re the evil that we know, we conclude it’s time for the evil that we don’t know.

Neither of us feels inclined to spend yet more time on hold with TW Cable to cancel the new installation call that was rescheduled for Sunday.  When they come, we’ll tell them we’ve changed our minds.  Take THAT, Time Warner Cable!

They never show up.


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  2. The third dog in this post, Buddy, makes me feel nostalgic. You may or may not know this, but I used to have a dog named Buddy as well. I grew up with Buddy, my family's yellow lab, starting when I was in middle school. He died just this past January after spending twelve years with our family. I know Buddy is a really common name for a dog, but it still made me feel a connection!
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