Hello Internet! I thought I would share with you my recent letter to Glenn Britt, the head of Time Warner Cable, after his company totally effed-up and lost me as a customer of TWC. As mentioned in the letter, the event that sparked this abandonment happened literally just hours after Google Fiber was announce to be coming to my home, Austin, Texas. The level of stupidity and incompetence is mind-boggling. Enjoy!
Glenn A. Britt
Chairman, President and CEO
Time Warner Cable
60 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10023
Dear Mr. Britt,
I am writing to you today in an effort to express my opinion of Time Warner Cable and to share some thoughts with you on larger concerns for your industry. Granted, I am not a Fortune 500 CEO, nor am I an expert on telecommunications. I am merely a customer of TWC and may be considered as representative of the average user of the services offered by your company.
This letter is a document that I have waited to draft until I have become sufficiently calm and collected to relate my most recent experience with TWC in a manner that I hope will resonate with you. I took the time to read your online bio and was particularly struck by the line “Mr. Britt also has focused on creating a customer service-oriented organization.” I am interested to see what that really means to you after you have received this letter.
On the afternoon of Thursday the 11th of April, I received a phone call from Time Warner Cable with an offer to “upgrade” my services. I can’t say that I was too surprised to have received this call, especially as it was timed just a few hours after Google announced it would be extending Google Fiber services to Austin, Texas, where I live. I was offered by the friendly, if not head-cold suffering, TWC employee on the other line an improved internet connection (and free modem upgrade), digital phone service, and a continuation of my current cable plan (regular cable, plus two premium channels). The deal was sweetened by the promise of two additional premium channels, all at the same monthly cost I have been paying for the last year or so.
As a savvy consumer, of course I was interested in upgrading my internet service and receiving two more premium channels at no additional cost. With this wonderful new upgrade plan in place, I happily scheduled for a TWC technician to visit my home the following day in order to switch out my modem and complete the upgrade. I was rather happy that evening, as was my husband when I told him the good news about our TWC upgrades.
Fast forward to Friday when a very nice TWC technician came to my home, quickly switched out my modem, and gave me my new digital phone number. (On a side note, I do not care about digital phone, and told the TWC reps as much. I have yet to actually meet anyone who does care about digital phone service, but TWC seems obstinate in recognizing the uselessness of that product, so that’s your problem.) He left within an hour, and once I had the opportunity to test out my new upgraded services a few hours had past. First of all, I was surprised that my standard cable service registered a message saying I was not authorized to receive cable. A mistake easy to fix, I assumed, so I called TWC Customer Service to rectify the situation. After a few calls between myself and TWC, we were able to restore standard cable, but I quickly noticed something was wrong. First off, I did not have access to Showtime (my other premium channel being HBO) as I had just the night before. In fact, I still only had two premium channels (HBO and Cinemax), not the four I had been promised just a day earlier.
I alerted the TWC customer service rep of this error on the phone, and she quickly tried to help me. During her investigation, however, she discovered that I had in fact not been upgraded to the new cable service with four premium channels, but rather just the internet upgrade, digital phone, and standard cable with just HBO and Cinemax. The rep then went on to inform me that if I wanted the package I had been expecting in the upgrade that I would end up paying substantially more on my cable bill. By substantially more, I mean about $40 - $50 more per month.
This information came as quite a surprise to me. I asked immediately (and cordially, I might add) to speak with someone who could help resolve this issue. I was transferred to an extremely friendly TWC representative named Anita. Anita spent the next hour trying to at least restore my previous premium channels (back to HBO and Showtime, not HBO and Cinemax) and see what could be done to my bill to reflect something more along the lines of what I was promised by TWC just a day before. She could not help me receive the package I had offered the day before, just the restoration of my cable service and two premium channels, plus internet, and the worthless digital phone. I thanked her for her help, hung up the phone, and resolved to contact you, Mr. Britt, personally, to express my frustration at what had occurred.
Mr. Britt, up until April 11th, I was pretty satisfied with my TWC experience. This appears not to be a universal sentiment if word of mouth and comments online can be believed. Those dissatisfied customers are much easier to believe after my last TWC experience, and I can honestly say that I’ve joined their ranks. The ridiculous bait-and-switch scheme I suffered through last week proves to me that TWC does not care about my satisfaction, therefore you will not be surprised by my desire to unplug from cable altogether.
You do realize that this is a threat to your industry, if not, then I image the “Return to Time Warner” ad campaign would not need to exist. I am just so surprised how quickly TWC chose to demonstrate its utter incompetence to me, a loyal Austin-area customer, on the heels of the Google Fiber announcement. In a year’s time I will be able access the internet at speeds 100 times faster than I currently do, not to mention standard cable, HBO GO, etc., and for a whole lot less than I can with Time Warner Cable. In the meantime, I can access everything I want to watch through other internet providers and substantially cheaper services like Apple TV, Roku, Netflix, and the like. Oh, and I can do all this without the damnable digital phone.
My experience is lamentably not unique. Mr. Britt, your company will not survive with service and behavior such as what I have experienced. I have chosen not only to share this letter with you directly, but also to make this letter available to others online who may find my sad TWC experience helpful in making their entertainment and internet choices. Poor service and inferior products do not make a company strong. It seems that Time Warner Cable has chosen this foolish business strategy and must therefore suffer the consequences.
I hope for the sake of all of those really and truly nice people who work for TWC that you will choose course-correction and competiveness over nasty tricks on faithful customers. I suppose only time will tell, but I won’t be with Time Warner Cable to wait and find out.
A newly-former TWC customer