So last night we brought in the mail, and lo, a letter from Time-Warner Milwaukee. Not just any letter, though, of course… it’s a past-due notice. Grrrrreat!
We didn’t pay last month’s bill. What are we paying for? Broken Internet service? No way. So about a week after that bill was due, an automated, computerized phonebot called here and left a robotic message telling us to call them back about our account.
If a human being can’t be bothered to call us (a loooong-running theme with Time-Warner), then screw it.
And remember, too, Time-Warner, that you still owe us about a year’s worth of refund for non-working Internet service at this point (and still counting).
So another bill is due now as of a few days ago (around April 4th, iirc), so that’s two payments now that are ‘late’. But hey, for Time-Warner, it’s not an opportunity to call us and see what’s up–like reasonable humans would–but instead blindly slap another $5 late fee on our account and threaten to “interrupt our service” with disconnection if we don’t hand over their unearned and undeserved money.
And interrupt our service? That’s a joke, right? They do this already–often dozens of times an hour!
So yeah, we probably owe them for the cable-TV-service portion of our bill, at the very least… but at the same time, as mentioned, they still owe us for last year when we had this problem before and no one ever actually fixed it. Net money due: us, not them.
It’s unbelievably ironic, isn’t it?
So now we get to drive over to their local office and try to wrap the customer-service person’s head around this entire saga, ideally without blowing up in any of their faces since it’s not the fault of any specific CS rep, but the entire generalized Time-Warner System itself. And without confusing the crap out of them, too, because we’ve been through this now for so long that it makes sense to us, but it’s so involved and hard to explain everything that’s already been done and tried…that they might not get it.
We already predict lots of apologies, maybe an offering of a month’s Roadrunner credit for our “inconvenience”, but probably not much more (see the “they might not get it” mention just above).
They’ll then want to schedule someone to come out to our house, forcing us to be available for a four-hour window of utter uselessness, only to have some slacker tech come out, hit speedtest.wi.rr.com and tell us everything “looks good” and that it has to be bad house wiring, our Tivos, or Vonage is screwing things up (“You should really sign up for Time-Warner’s Digital Phone!”).
They may also end up blaming sunspots or ghosts or whatever. Anything to avoid work.
We’ve been there and done that, a lot already. None of these tech visits have ever solved ANYTHING, all were HUGE WASTES OF TIME.
They have done one thing, though; they’ve helped confirm that the problem, whatever it is, isn’t anywhere on this side of the pole behind our house.
We just want the service fixed, and for someone to apologize and credit us accordingly at this point. This is really only about the principle of the thing; customer service and getting answers shouldn’t be this hard. Companies should not be so oblivious and/or indifferent about their customers’ experiences, wants, wishes, and concerns.
Time-Warner enjoys a major monopolistic advantage in most of its service areas, serving so many customers that maybe it just doesn’t matter to them if they can’t please everyone all the time, and that, hey, if they lose one customer this week, they’ll get another one a day or a week later. We think it’s an entirely unacceptable way of thinking about service and treating one’s customers.
Their own past-due letter threatening disconnection is a great example of their indifference, in fact. Ignoring our service issues for a second, at no point has any human being called us to ask us about payment, if we were having trouble, etc. Slapping another fine on us, threatening us with disconnection, loss of our phone number (if we happened to be Time-Warner Digital Phone customers, which we’re thankfully not), and reconnection fees if we want to enjoy their service in the future… all comes at the consumer from an entirely wrong direction.
The mentality seems to be: “Pay up now or we’ll cut you off, because we don’t really need you as a customer, we don’t actually want you as a customer, and we’re certainly not interested in managing and maintaining any relationship other than taking your money, doing as little for you and giving as little to you as possible, and making it as difficult as possible for you to get and keep the level of service you should be getting when there’s any sort of real problem.”
Time-Warner Milwaukee is constantly running ads bragging about having won numerous awards for excellent customer service. Based on our experiences the last year and a half, it’s completely unclear how they’d even rate consideration, let alone any actual award(s). The wait times on calls are terrible. CS reps are often very apologetic and friendly but otherwise clueless and therefore useless. Next-tier support isn’t much better, promising monitoring and callbacks and never delivering on those promises. On-site technicians aren’t any better, either.
Someone has to be in charge of all of this mess, but who?
A year and a half later, we still have no idea.
And in Time-Warner World, that, too, is apparently the customer’s fault.