I haven't wanted to say anything because I'm really not the type to complain, as you can tell from the positive message of my blog/website. But Time Warner ruined my holidays and continues to haunt me. The company does not deserve to be a phone company (you probably didn't even know they WERE a phone company) and I just have to spread the word.
I'll give you the whole sad history. What the hell, if you're not interested you can click away. But don't. It's cathartic to write about it, but it will be even more cathartic if I can actually succeed in raising awareness about how much Time Warner sucks. If I can prevent even one formerly uninformed consumer from making the switch to TW for phone service, then this blog will not be in vain. If I convince them to forgo TW internet service and cable too, well, that's just a bonus.
I know that USUALLY there's nothing more boring than hearing other people's issues with their utility companies ("I had to stay home from work to let in the cable guy because they would only commit to coming between 9:00 and 5:00, and then he came at 4:55.") The only thing worse is the blow by blow on how bad the traffic was when they were late to pick you up after your surgery/coach-class flight/piercing.
We've all suffered mistreatment at the hands of those we depend on to keep our houses functioning. But what I have gone through with Time Warner for the past four months is a whole new level of hell.
Here's what happened. A few years back I responded to an offer from Comcast, our ISP, to switch to their new phone service. It was cheaper than whatever our branch of AT&T was calling itself back then, and I like to be on the cutting edge of technology (that's why I had the same Nextel phone for five years). I made the switch. And I loved it. Except for the one time when a squirrel ate through the cable, it was flawless.
Then TW bought my Comcast service area. They screwed up the transition of our internet service so spectacularly in October 2006 that I'm convinced it actually moved up my husband's and my date of separation by at least a month. The level of incompetence was beyond anything described on an anti-TW chat forum. (Based on my conversations with other TW customers, I'm sure there must be such things; if not I might have to start one.)
For some reason, the phone service didn't morph at the same time as the internet service. Everything was fine, until one day I received a postcard from TW telling me to schedule an appointment to swap out a box, which sounded misleadingly innocuous. It had to be done by a certain date, or I would be without phone service.
By this time, my husband had moved out and I was reevaluating the extremely high costs of every utility. Did we really need so many phone lines? TV channels? Chargers plugged in? I spoke to a TW representative who convinced me to dump DirecTV, which I must point out was the most wonderful and dependable TV service I have ever known. But I would save so much by combining phone, cable and internet under TW that I couldn't resist. The combination was called, suspiciously enough, the "All the Best" plan. Don't you wish someone "all the best" when they are going into the hospital?
To summarize, the plan would give me all three services for $160 a month. Heck, that's what I had been paying for DirecTV alone! (That fabulous service doesn't come without a hefty price tag.) I signed up. I wish life came with an "Undo" button.
I won't get into how much TW Cable sucks. Suffice it to say that it's on every level. But this is about their phone service and I am determined to stay focused.
As soon as they swapped out the phone box, everything started to go wrong. I had two and three guys here for six and eight hours at a time, multiple times a week, week after week. Every new guy who came told me that every previous guy had been a moron. But I wasn't to worry--this new guy assured me he had the answers. Except that things just got worse and worse. I had no intercom, which meant I had no doorbell and also couldn't buzz my son in his room to tell him to stop playing Rock Band. I had no fax machine. Lines 1 and 2 were consistently reversed. I was down to three working extensions out of 11, and they were all upstairs. And then I had no service at all.
Keep in mind that this took place from October through January. Right around Christmas, I was living the Amish life. In addition to the endless phone problems, my refrigerator died, my pool thermostat went out, and five light bulbs burned out in a single week. There is a serious feng shui shift going on since my husband moved out. I think the house is adjusting to the sudden absence of 10 tons of crap that had been here for 15 years. Ultimately the house will realize it can relax into its new status as a calm and clutter-free haven, but right now it seems to be working hard to re-create the chaos that I thought had moved on in October.
But I digress. Damn, I was really trying to stay on topic. I bought a replacement phone system on eBay since one or more of the TW technicians literally killed my previously functioning system. I hired a former phone company employee, Leon, who now works as a consultant undoing the messes that TW (and, to be fair, others) are making. It took him about 12 hours over the course of a couple of weeks to repair the TW-inflicted damage. The eBay system didn't work and had to be returned, which meant an unwanted trip to the post office and a loss of shipping costs in two directions. Leon took the old system home and rewired it. Methodically and impressively, he resurrected a dead system and brought my house alive again. By the way, if you're in Southern California and suffering as I have been, give him a call at 800-834-8748. He charged me a very reasonable $600 and if it takes me the rest of my life I will get TW to reimburse me.
I can see this is too far gone to make a long story short, but I will try to cut to the chase. I got my first TW bill. It was more than $400. Not only had they charged me $125 for installation (!), but that $160 monthly fee turned out to be more than $250 before taxes due to two pages of previously unmentioned add-on charges. Not only am I not saving money, I am paying more for worse service AND supporting an evil empire.
As if I didn't have enough to do, I now need to make the switch to AT&T for phone and internet and DirecTV for satellite and DVR service. All this will entail more appointments and probably a lot of grief. But I won't complain a bit. I will be TW-free and another step closer to that haven my house and I so crave.
Just say no to Time Warner. Spread the word.