Category Archives: Roadrunner

Another Hour Lost Forever To Time-Warner Milwaukee

Got stuck on the phone with Time-Warner Milwaukee again tonight, attempting to make some sense out of the short stack of Time-Warner bills we’ve received just prior to and since our move/transfer of service. “Laura” helped with correcting a couple of errors on the 4-pack of bills we had sitting here that made no sense.

One of the bills we received (dated May 30th, two days after our new-home install) had a due date of June 3rd. We received it…June 3rd. Really? Seems like a sure-fire way to score another $5 late fee…

We had an install charge for our new hookup at the new house we were told we wouldn’t have, both by the Southridge retail rep when we inquired about service transfer procedures and by the actual installer after he completed the installation at our new home. We also had a weird credit for three dollars and change that made no sense, from our former residence/account, as well as a late fee we pre-paid (expecting our payment would end up a day or so late) that didn’t seem to be debited or credited anywhere on any of the later bills.

I tried to do the math, and failed. And so did Laura, despite her best efforts. The bills made no sense; we could not calculate the same amount due as listed on the bill or as listed in Time-Warner’s system. I literally stared at that stack of bills off and on for over two weeks; if Excel was a living, breathing thing, I would have made it cry.

So much for those Time-Warner commercials touting “easy billing”. Why list an install charge as “Double Play Video HSD” when “Installation Fee” is much more…readable and clear? Obfuscation with hopes people will simply gloss over such items, maybe?

Time-Warner Bill Easy? No Way.

Anyway, Laura eventually waved her helpful hand over it all and made the appropriate corrections, for which we’re grateful. She then asked me some other questions about my time as a Time-Warner customer, which of course got me talking… After describing our recent cable-burying situation (since she asked), she took it upon herself to credit our current bill further, which we also appreciate.

I went on–since she seemed genuinely interested–telling her all about the reboot-related issues we’ve had over the last year and a half or so, and how we’ve never gotten anywhere with any of it. She attempts to find out whom I can talk to, apparently instant-messages someone, then informs me she’s been told she has to run things through her chain of command. She eventually connects me with her “Solutions Team Lead”, “Patty”, who reminded me a lot why I find it so incredibly hard to even bother talking to anyone at Time-Warner anymore.

I really should have stopped Laura as soon as she offered to get someone for me.

I attempt to explain all of this historical reboot-fiasco stuff to Patty, which is increasingly difficult for me to do anymore. She notes we were just given a $90 credit this evening…which, on its face, is true. But it isn’t at all for the reboot issue; it’s for the recent line-burying fiasco and other credits for billing errors as explained earlier.

She then tells me she might be able to offer me $5 per month for the Turbo Roadrunner add-on instead of the $9.95 per month we’re paying now, for the next 12 months.

I tell her another approximately $60 as compensation for a year and a half of paid-for-but-never-worked service, and all the BS that went along with it, isn’t really going to cut it. We’re out at least a year’s worth of Roadrunner, at Turbo pricing, that we paid for but really never received. Nevermind all the other hassles of logging reboots/sweating/calling/holding/cursing/crying, lost wages, inconveniences of nonworking Internet-related services like Tivo guide-data updates, service-pack and critical OS/security updates, online gaming, podcasts, streaming audio/video… and on and on.

During all of this, she’s apologizing, which of course we’ve gotten a lot. I think she honestly believes she’s being fair, but I don’t know that she’s really grasping the full extent of our past situation. She’s attempting to explain away things like how a cable line could spend 15 months on our old lawn, for instance, but none of it makes sense when you think about it: sure, line burials are queued and we have to wait our turn, and yes, weather can be a factor, but the line laid across our back yard through the entire spring, summer, and fall of 2007. No queue is that long.

She attempts to reassure me that everyone at Time-Warner tries to help (so very untrue in our experience), and she seemed unable to fathom that we’ve ever had no-show, no-response problems, or that we’ve ever dealt with reps or techs who chose to pass the buck back our way rather than own up to an issue and honestly try to fix it.

In the end, I tell her that even a year’s worth of free Roadrunner service at this point is insufficient. She tells me she lacks the ability to do anything about that; I’m asking for too much money, apparently. I explain I’ve not even received a proper apology from anyone that might also have the power to not just hang up the phone with me, but also pick it right back up and get the right people moving to actually fix things.

What does she finally give me? The name and phone number of her boss, “Matt”, whom I’m supposed to call myself and explain all of this all over again. That was apparently the best she could do. I can’t fathom there not being some sort of specialty department or contact person with Time-Warner’s corporate offices that deals with the “hard” customer problems. If there is, she either isn’t aware or wasn’t inclined to share.

And so, once again, Time-Warner puts the ball back in my court. I’m always left being the one doing the followup. Why?

I swear the Time-Warner system is all about wearing customers down to the point of surrender.

So I told her to pass on this website’s address to Matt, and that he should read up on the history of our reboot issues, at which point he can then contact us. We’re not chasing anyone at Time-Warner around anymore, as it’s still never gotten us anywhere.

Our expectations are low, as always. Time-Warner, surprise us.

What is–slowly–getting us somewhere, however, is Google and other search engines. Search results related to Time-Warner and Roadrunner problems are increasingly pointing back to this site, and more people are noticing.

Whatever it takes, right? How much attention to this comedy-of-errors debacle does Time-Warner Milwaukee really want? That ball is in their court.

Time-Warner Is Always Right, You Idiot

The Customer Is Always Wrong
Time Warner does it again!

But First, The Survey And The Burial

So, sometime day before yesterday our yard was surveyed so the bright-orange cable line that’s been lying across our yard and down the hill to the street-side cable hookup for the past three weeks can finally be buried. Three weeks was long enough, and I’ve gotten tired of mowing around the thing, so we think it’s great to see a little paint on the lawn.

But wait, it’s not great. They only surveyed outside our fence. Why? Fear of a dog in our back yard (we don’t have one)? They also didn’t bother knocking or ringing our obnoxiously-loud doorbell to ask, either, because we were home all day.

So who knows what’s going to happen. We decide to wait and see, since calling anyone at Time-Warner almost always leads to more confusion and delay. And yeah, we know that it’s not Time-Warner’s fault the survey wasn’t done properly, because they’re not the ones that do the surveys. But we also have years of experience interacting with them, and calling Time-Warner to ‘fix’ something is rarely straightforward or simple…as you’ll soon read (again).

A couple of guys showed up yesterday to bury the line. Contractors for Time-Warner. They look like a father-son duo, and they’re certainly nice enough to me. I tell them the area inside our fence hasn’t been surveyed for some reason, so I don’t know what they plan to do. The ‘father’ of the crew whips out his phone, talks to someone, hangs up, then tells me he’s called in a one-hour survey and that he’ll be back in a couple of hours to get the line finally buried.

My jaw nearly dropped. I’m actually astounded that someone related to Time-Warner in any fashion can actually pick up a phone and Make Things Happen, Right Awayâ„¢.

So they leave. Some time goes by. Eventually I’m back outside with our oldest son, and we notice fresh paint lines on our inside-fence lawn. Survey done. Wow, progress! A short while later, the ‘father-son’ team shows up again to finally bury the line. They knock on the door, let us know our cable-related services will be down while they disconnect the line to bury it properly. No problem, I say…go for it. So they get to it. We talk some more a bit later about watering the trench so the grass doesn’t turn brown, and hey, they seem like decent guys. I let them get back to work finishing up packing the trench, reconnecting the street-side connection, etc.

A short while later I hear them loading their trenching machine back onto its trailer. I hear their truck start, and away they go. I figured they might check back with me first about our service to make sure it was turned back on and working correctly, but they didn’t. Weird…

So I run down to my office to verify things are working. I take a look at the cable modem lights. No connection.

Uh-oh. I run back upstairs and flip on the television. No signal. Oh, crap

Would it have been that big of a deal after talking to me several times already to just check in that one last time and make sure everything was working again? In my opinion, verifying everything is working as it should is a must-do upon completion of any service one performs.

Cue Circus Music…

Now the fun begins. I decide to call Time-Warner Customer Service’s 800 number. If you’re a regular reader here, you already know my expectations at this point are very, very low…

Oh, wait, I can’t call Time-Warner because we use Vonage, which requires a broadband connection we no longer have. We’re in-between with cellphones right now, due to our recent move, so nothing to do there. My wife has just come home, however, and has her work cellphone, so I use that to call Time-Warner…even though that phone is a strictly-work-only device as mandated by her employer. Oh well, this is an emergency…

First call to the Time-Warner 800 number gets me “Demetrius”. I explain the situation to him. I tell him that the line-burying guys just left, mere minutes ago, and if someone could simply call them, they should be able to come right back and take care of things right away, as it’s obviously just something they messed up in the street-side box. He puts me on hold for a while. I was probably on the phone with him about 10 minutes, including hold time. He eventually tells me I should be getting a call from a local dispatcher in the next 15-20 minutes. I give him my wife’s work cellphone number as the only way to reach us, which he understands and notes in our account.

I ask what I should do if they don’t call (as this has happened to us more than once before), and he tells me to call back. Of COURSE that’s how it should be… Bzzzt.

About 20 minutes later, I get a call from a woman whose name I no longer recall (update: from her voicemails after this incident was finally resolved, her name is Toni). Total time of call was about 15 minutes, including hold time. I explain what’s happened, and how I’d like her to call the contractors and get them right back out to finish their job correctly, as they clearly didn’t.

Welcome To Hell.

And here is where things go the most wrong, death-spiraling into Time-Warner-knows-better-than-you hell. Again.

Toni insists the cable reconnection isn’t the job of the cable-burying crew; she tells me that all they do is bury the lines, and if there’s an issue with my connection, she’ll have to find a regular Time-Warner line technician to come out. She refuses to believe me when I tell her that the line-burying guys DO in fact unhook the cable line so they can bury it, and what this is isn’t a general failure of my cable connection, or anything requiring a technician, but a simple case of a crew that didn’t complete their regular work correctly and should be easily fixed by them, as it IS part of their job. She puts me on hold. She eventually comes back and tells me she’s having trouble finding someone to help me and she’ll call me back in 20 minutes. I say fine, and there I sit again, no closer to resolution than before.

So for the next HOUR, I’m walking around with my wife’s work cellphone in my hand, getting nothing done, waiting for them to call back. At the one-hour mark, I call THEM back at the 800 number again, as I’m thinking I’ve waited long enough. By this time, it’s almost 4 PM, and the day is getting away from all of us. I get another completely different person this time (Rosa?). Total time of call was around 20-25 minutes, going nowhere fast. Our call was peppered with severely long hold times several times as she conferred with people. At one point, Rosa tells me that I was called back and a voicemail was left for me. Umm, no. Apparently Toni–who correctly called my wife’s cellphone number the first time–called back on our regular home line…which is the Vonage line we can’t answer with our cable/broadband connection down. Way to go, Toni.

Our going-nowhere-fast, series-of-loooong-holds call with Rosa was actually cut short by Toni via call waiting, finally and correctly calling me back on my wife’s work phone. At this point, it was an hour and 20 mins since she told me it would be 20 minutes.

Toni’s actually rather snotty about everything. Says she talked to “technicians that installed the cable line” and they’d get a crew to come back out “today”. “Today”? Seriously? She tells me she “called me already about all this” (paraphrased), but makes no mention that she called the wrong number.  Fine, “today” it is, then. I’m clearly not going to get any better answer, so I guess I’m stuck waiting, once again not knowing if/when anything will happen.

About 45 minutes later, the original line-burying duo shows up to fix the line. Turns out when they redid the street-box cable connector, the stinger wasn’t left long enough. The line wasn’t buried quite properly at the enclosure, either. I get the impression the younger guy’s in training. The ‘father’ also tells me he saw me talking to the ‘son’ close to their completion of work, so he thought we’d had a conversation verifying everything was up and running OK… Oops.

And Finally…

Anyway, it’s all working again. The fix was simple, minor, and quickly and easily resolved…just as I expected and explained it would be.

It was down about five hours altogether for what should have been 15-30 mins, max. Not bad for Time-Warner, I suppose, but still ridiculously unacceptable.

And let’s be clear: we don’t have a problem with a single instance of a worker (in training or otherwise) screwing something up. These things happen. What we don’t like is the it’s-not-us, we-know-better-than-you attitude and the presumption of customer stupidity that emanates from Time-Warner’s Customer Service/Support. If they had called the line-burial guys back right away when I first called in, we likely would have been up and running again right away.

In the hour I spent doing nothing but waiting for a callback from Toni, I could have driven around our entire town and found a Time-Warner truck and technician on my own. Never mind the lost productivity (and earnings) from the downtime, which of course Time-Warner never feels is their responsibility even when the outage is their own damn fault.

It’s shocking and ironic that Time-Warner’s in the communication business, when they’re so incredibly poor at it.

All we’ve ever wanted is what we’re paying for to work. When it doesn’t work, we want competent and responsive service. Time-Warner proves time after time that these most-basic customer expectations are almost entirely unreasonable.

Prologue

We got a voicemail (during all the aforementioned downtime, go figure) from a Sam Olmsted (sic?), a manager with Time-Warner Business Class Services regarding this very blog. Someone with Time-Warner–somewhere–finally notices. I can’t shake the feeling, however, that it’s probably a sales call instead of real assistance. I half-expect to hear something like “With Biz Class service, you can get real QoS and guaranteed uptime!” I suppose I should call him anyway and see what he wants. Anything’s possible, right?

Two Months Later, Time-Warner Milwaukee Still Hasn’t Apologized

It’s now been TWO MONTHS since we not only voiced our concerns at the local Time-Warner office, but requested someone contact us about this issue.Waiting and Waiting…

They certainly know where we live. They know our phone number. They’ve been given a business card with additional contact information, a link to this very website, and to the Twitter account we’ve used to log disconnects and mini-blog about the situation.

And still, nothing. Not a peep.

The last time we paid our bill in person at the Southridge retail location, I asked the rep if she remembered me. She said she did. I told her that we still had no been contacted by anyone. She seemed surprised. She told me she would make sure someone knew so that it would be taken care of.

That was more than a month ago now…and still not a word from anyone.

Is it really this hard to do even the most basic customer service correctly, Time-Warner? Is taking responsibility too hard for you, Time-Warner? Apparently it is. It’s disgusting and pathetic.

So with that in mind, we are left with no choice but to start escalating this outside Time-Warner’s realm, if only for principle’s sake, because it’s unbelievably sad that such a major presence in Milwaukee can so openly and shoddily treat customers. How overwhelmed are you with the constant Time-Warner and Roadrunner branding around town, at sports events, on television, etc? You can’t escape it. They brag about their products, and they brag about their service. To us, their customer service claims of excellence seem like proposterous, impossible, bold-faced lies.

It’s time someone called them on it all. Openly. For all to see. Time-Warner, if you’ve got time and money to sponsor Summerfest, you’ve probably got a few resources to personally contact us and Finally Do The Right Thing(tm) and make this entire nightmare of the last year right, once and for all.