I have previously spoken on the subject of poor customer service in another blog article regarding service at a local fast food franchise. But that was mild compared to the ongoing saga of my recent adventures with Time-Warner cable. I am here to warn you if you may be entering into the Realm of the customer service world of Time-Warner. As Dante said in Inferno, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. This applies to customer service hell, as well. The following is my recollection, as best I can, of my recent experience with Time-Warner. I am probably leaving some parts out because during the moments of my insanity brought on by the interaction with customer service, there is periods of missing memory.
Recently I was enticed by the idea of having a 50mb internet connection to my home. Having lived with a DSL line that averages 8.6mb, this speed enhancement was very alluring. So, against my better judgment, a phone call was made to Time-Warner to order both high-speed internet and voice over IP telephone service. The salesperson was most helpful and promised me that I would have an installer at my location in two days to run a cable to my house, and that my equipment would be dropped shipped in three days. He also indicated a price that was very competitive with my current provider for phone and internet services. I am not positive, but I think he may have also promised me the moon and the stars as part of the deal. I was lured by his siren song and accepted the deal. That was the high point of the interaction with Time-Warner.
Two days later, when the promised installation of my cable line was to take place, it did not happen. Three days later, when the equipment was to arrive, it did not happen. At this point I started to have some misgivings. A phone call was placed to Time-Warner and the customer service representative was having a difficult time in understanding how it is possible that I did not have a cable connecting my house to their pole. She also was flabbergasted by the idea that I did not ever have cable service at my house. It was obvious to me that we lived in an alternate universe to one another. After a lengthy conversation, a new deal was struck, a new installation date was determined, and a new deliver date was scheduled. The customer service representative was informed in no uncertain terms that should these dates or commitments not be honored, my intention was to call back and cancel the entire deal. At some point, I am not totally clear on the chain of events, an installer in a bucket truck showed up across the street from my house. He got out, looked up at the pole, scratched his head a few times, got back in his truck, drove away and was never seen again. It was later reported to me that the record indicated that he had a conversation with the customer, advised them of a problem, and that an alternate solution would be found. Hmmm, he did not talk to me nor my wife, and no one else lives here. Perhaps the dog barking at him through the fence counts as a conversation with the customer.
The promised equipment was delivered, but there was still no cable attached to my house so it was not very useful. The day of installation came, but no installer came. So, as promised, I called them back and canceled my order. Of interest, several days prior, I actually received my first bill in the mail. It was for the agreed upon amount, but did not include the voice over IP telephone service. I simply ignored the bill since I had canceled the service but was surprised to receive a second bill a month later. I called, explained, and was promised everything would be taken care of. Next month, I received another bill. I called, explained, and was promised everything would be taken care of. Then to my utter astonishment, I received a collection phone call at home threatening to cancel my service if I did not pay my bill. I explained and was promised that everything would be taken care of. By this point I was close to having a “Falling Down” episode. The next month, you guessed it, I received a bill in the mail. Although the bill had been reduced to about $8.00, I was still receiving a bill for a service that I did not have and a cable that was not attached. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened should they tried to make good on their threat and cut my service off. In their world they would probably need to install a cable, implement the service, and then turn it off.
I am sure the saga will continue. I am sure I will get another bill, and I am sure I will have to call and speak to a customer service representative, slowly, using words of one or two syllables. I should mention that the call center is not overseas, and I am not speaking to a customer service representative who has a limited command of the English language. No, I am calling a call center in Cleveland, Ohio, speaking to an American customer service representative, who has a limited command of the English language. Maybe India would have been better. Then, at least, they would have had an excuse.
That is my story. I provide this to you as a public service. Please keep this in mind when you are lured by the siren song of high-speed internet. If you value your sanity, don’t.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
Feel free to comment, disagree, share and subscribe. Thank you for patronizing the Townehouse Phoenix.