Helen of Marlowe's Blog

Looking for Time-Warner Service

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on June 9, 2014

Sometimes I think I would vote for any politician, even a teaparty regressive, if they promise to pass a law requiring all businesses to have real people answering telephones.  It would help the economy, provide more jobs, and probably get votes from all except corporate persons.

   My Time Warner cable service has been spotty for years.

   Our internet connection is dropped at least once most days, several times some days. Sometimes for a couple of minutes, sometimes for a half hour or more.

   Years ago – 15 years? – we discovered one problem, after countless tech support people came out to the house and found nothing wrong. Seems when the service was installed, someone mismatched the connectors. So that it was building heat, getting too hot, cutting off, cooling down, getting too hot again …

   That went on for almost a year before one of the technicians discovered it. After that, I wrote a letter to Time-Warner telling them I want six months refund because it took them at least that long to discover that their incorrect installation was causing the constant outages. A woman responded with much sympathy saying they’d give me a one-month credit, but it never happened. Wish I could find that letter, but looking for it seems as pointless as calling their service number.

   And we continued to have outages, so they came out and dug a new cable. Not sure why. That was maybe five years ago. We still have outages.

   So occasionally I actually try to call the customer service number, but I never get to a real person and I don’t get to tech support.

   On Saturday, I thought I’d watch Michelle Obama speak at Maya Angelou’s funeral. Caught a few minutes of it, then the cable went out for about 25 minutes.

   This morning, I thought I would be clever, and instead of punching the number that I want technical support, I punched that I want to buy new services. I thought, yeah, they’ll have that one staffed. And I was right. A pleasant real-live human answered immediately. I told her that I don’t really want to buy new service, I just want to reach technical support, and asked if she can connect me to tech support. She said she can give me a number to call. I asked, can you give me a phone number that someone will answer? Well, no. She gave me the number I’ve been using. Said that’s all she can do.

   So here’s how it goes.

   After pressing one for English, I go through recursive steps of asking what I want. Do you hate speaking to a robot as much as I do? I keep repeating that I want to talk to technical service. The robot says, we are not showing any outages in your area. And then the robot thanks me and assures me that I’m important, and that their mission is to provide good services, and then disconnects.

   AT&T is available here, but I’m told by people who know more than I do that DSL is much slower than cable.  At least in USA — not in Europe.  Also, it’s a nuisance to have to change our email addresses.

   The AT&T web page tells me their highest speed is “Up to 6.0 Mbps” That’s pretty slow, even if we ignore the problem that “up to” could mean three.

   I’m pretty sure Time-Warner has a monopoly in my city. You want cable, you get it from Time-Warner.  So I’ll go back to watching the bird feeder in the back yard, or maybe the one in the front.  Always reliable entertainment there.

   Now, if I can find a snail-mail address to corporate offices, I’ll print this blog and mail it to Time-Warner.

   At least it will add fifty cents to the USPS revenue.

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6 Responses

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  1. Jim Wheeler said, on June 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I totally sympathize, Helen. We had AT&T for some years but the DSL was indeed slow, sluggish even, and their service was just as bad then as what you describe now. I have an abiding hatred (yes, it’s not too strong a word) for AT&T from that experience. The reason for their attitude, I submit, is not enough competition.

    We have a pretty good situation right now, getting land-line telephone (no long distance charges in the U.S.) and internet from CableOne. It has been fast and reliable, but pricy at $83/month it seems to me. We get our TV (kitchen and living room) from Dish Network, 250 channels (of which we watch a dozen or so, including AMC, TCM, FX and of course, local networks) at $85/month. The satellite service comes with a DVR, which I am now hooked on because I can skip commercials.

    Dish advertises internet service as well, but I don’t know how fast it is. You might check into that – it couldn’t be any worse. It has been fairly reliable – I’ve gone through two receiver/DVR’s in about 10 years. The satellite connection will fail during heavy (but not light) rainstorms.

    I see Dish promotions in my mail, still, and I see they have some pretty good deals, including on the “Hopper” DVR which is touted as skipping ads automatically, if you want.

    Good luck!

    • helenofmarlowe said, on June 9, 2014 at 11:45 pm

      Jim I think you’re right about the competition factor.
      And your regard for AT&T is probably similar to my regard fort TW. Google does not show any CableOne service here in northwest NC.so I think we’re stuck for at least another half year. I believe WFU (we’re an easy walk from campus) is bringing fiber optics to the area by early 2015.

  2. Robert A. Vella said, on June 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    This is a poignant example of how destructive business monopolies are to society. Innovation is stifled because there is no market competition. Broad-based economic growth is restrained because technological advancement is subordinated to corporate profits. Knowledge is sequestered because the free-flow of information is constricted by tightly controlled infrastructures.

    Monopolies exist in virtually all our major industries. Wall Street dominates finance. Big Oil & Coal have a death-grip on energy. Monsanto et al have taken over agriculture. This is a very dangerous situation because it is innately unsustainable. The unrelenting pursuit of greed and power will eventually destabilize human civilization through increasingly extreme social stratification. It is a mathematical certainty if current trends continue.

    The immediate problem is CORPORATISM, or the merger of state and corporate power at the highest levels facilitated through finance. Therefore, getting the corrupting influence of money out of our political system is imperative.

    • helenofmarlowe said, on June 9, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      Monopolies — you got that right! And it’s going to get worse I’m afraid– internet neutrality debates with the FCC and all that. And your last sentence — I agree, but how? And it’s hard to believe that a future supreme court will be better than this one.

      • Robert A. Vella said, on June 10, 2014 at 2:08 am

        The Progressive Movement led by Theodore Roosevelt put an end to the Gilded Age. Another Roosevelt a generation later picked up the pieces of the Roaring Twenties and ushered in the greatest expansion of middle class prosperity in American history. If we did it before, we can do it again. The only thing stopping us is a lack of solidarity. But, that will occur automatically if the current stratification of society continues.

  3. Martha Kennedy said, on June 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    ATT UVerse has been rather good in addressing my problems and great at finding good promotional deals. The fiber optic cable seems stable.

    Sent from my iPad

    >


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