Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time Lost in Time Warner

After many biting months in Nautica, I wandered into a new Customer Service Circle of Hell known as Time Warner. Einstein taught us that time is relative, but in Time Warner, time is especially relative. That is why "Time" is in the name. It is not unusual for 36 months to pass in as few as 12 months! Accordingly, people age very quickly. Nobody knows what "Warner" means in the native language, but many believe it refers to an unusually powerful God capable of dominating huge swaths of densely-populated land without competition or anti-trust prosecution.

What follows is a near-verbatim transcript with the third person I spoke to in Time Warner.

Me: I’ve spoken to two customer service representatives, and nobody has been able to explain this to me, so I’m asking you: can you explain, logically, how I have a 36 month price-lock that raises its price after 12 months?

TW: Well, that’s just the way it works. It starts off at $99 and then it goes up.

Me: So what’s being locked in for 36 months?

TW: Your rate.

Me: My rate was $99. Now it’s $119.

TW: The price is locked for 12 months.

Me: The price is locked for 36 months. It’s a 36 month price-lock.

TW: Well, if you read the fine print.

Me: I read the fine print, and nothing adequately explains this. That’s why I’m calling. Please, can you explain what’s being locked in for 36 months?

TW: The price is locked in... for 12 months.

Me: Don’t use the words "12 months."

TW: Service is locked in for 36 months?

Me: I don’t have a 36 month service-lock. I have a 36 month price-lock. What is being locked in for 36 months?

TW: (Silence.)

Me: Do you understand where I’m coming from?

TW: Yes. Yes, I do.

Me: When I signed up for Time Warner a year ago, I spoke to a man who explained the 36 month price-lock, but he never mentioned the price going up after 12 months. Do you have his name or any sort of identification number?

TW: I don’t have his name.

Me: Do you have anything? Because I have an active memory of this conversation, and what I’m hearing is you have nothing.

TW: All I have is a number that doesn’t tell me who he is, or even where he works.

Me: Put yourself in my shoes. Would you be frustrated right now? Would you not feel great about Time Warner?

TW: I can upgrade you on Internet speed. I can give you our Road Runner Service.

Me: I have your Road Runner Service.

TW: I do see that you have our Road Runner Service.

Me: So there’s no way you can lower the price to honor the 36 month price-lock? You’re the third person I’ve spoken to already.

TW: No.

Me: What if I cancel my contract?

TW: That will be $150. Actually, let me check. No, that will only be $120.

Me: And if I open a new account?

TW: That will be $140.

Me: Can you give me anything?

TW: I can give you our Showtime package. It brings your value up to $190.

Me: Just add the Showtime, and I’ll stop bothering you about this.

TW: It is my job to assure you get the best customer service.


  1. It's interesting that Showtime is located on channel 666. Maybe not interesting, maybe frighteningly obvious.

  2. I would've held out for Skinemax as well...