Problems Signing up for Time Warner Road Runner Service
One Part of Time Warner Doesn't Know What the Other is Doing
It seems to me that Time warner is so compartmentalized that one part
of the company has absolutely no idea what another part of the company
is doing. This results in extemely bad customer service, as customers
may need to communicate with different parts of the company for
something as simple as having service installed, and what is told to
them by one part of the company does not always agree with what other
parts of the company say.
To make matters worse, many of the people one might speak with are not
actually employees of Time Warner. If you ask them who they work for
they say Time Waner, but then if you ask them who issues their
paychecks they will admit that they work for a contractor. In fact,
it seems that if you order service through certain special offers, you
are interacting with the "Time Warner National Call Center" which is
not actually Time Warner, but subcontracted to another organization.
Here is the problem: We bought a house in Erie, PA, and called Time
Warner to have Road Runner high speed internet installed. After
signing up we were intstructed to contact "Time Warner" at a
designated phone number to schedule an installation apointement. This
number was for the Time Warner National Call Center (this is what I
got them to tell me on the phone, though they just identify themself
as Time Warner and if you first ask them if they are Time Warner they
say yes, presumably because that is what Time Warner wants them to say
- it appears that this function has been subcontracted to them by Time
When we speak to the call center they tell us that they can not
schedule an appointement because service is already active at that
address. The previous owners had cable TV, but
not internet, but according to the previous owners they had already
requested service disconnection, and I had seen a Time Warner Truck
just up the street on moving day, so I am presuming service had
already been disconnected. I am also guessing that this fact had
simply not yet been entered into the database used by their "National
Call Center", because the disconnection was likely handled by their
Of course the call center employees belive that what is in their
database is absolute truth, so the conversation goes approximately like this:
- Me: The previous owners had cable, but it has already been disconnected.
Can you confirm whether the service is at least scheduled to be disconnected?
- CallCenter: We can not tell you about the previous service, because of privacy concerns.
- Me: Then I am telling you as the owner of the property to disconnect the other service, and schedule an apointment so I can get service?
- CallCenter: We can not do that, the party who has service must be the one to call.
- Me: They claim that they have already had their service disconnected, can you confirm that that service is in the name of (I gave them the name of the previous onwner).
- CallCenter: We can not disclose that information for privacy reasons (It really is good to see that they are so quick to emphasise their
commitement to privacy, given that they seem to repeatedly give my
phone numer to third parties who call me wanting me to sign up for
Time Warners cable service - which I cancelled about 6 months ago in disgust.
All this despite my repeated requests that they and their third parties
stop calling me to sell me a service that I clearly do not want from
- Me: Can you tell me when I can call in and schedule an appointment for service?
- CallCenter: We can not tell you that because of customer privacy?
- Me: If I were to call back on Saturday, would you be able to schedule an apointment for me?
- CallCenter: Yes.
- Finally on Saturday, they were able to schedule a connection apointment for the following Friday.
Any reasonable company that likes to think of themselves as a utility
has a way of dealing with moves. The power company did not have to
disconnect power and make me wait a week for service when we moved in.
They simply noted that the meter needed to be read on moving day.
Same thing for the gas company and water. But Time Warner doesn't
seem capable of getting this straight, instead they need to send
someone out to disconnect the old service, and then they seem to need
to wait a couple days for their database to reflect this change,
before they are even capable of scheduling an apointment for service
for the new owner - and since they have such a backlog that they can't
schedule apointments for almost a week after one is requested, we were
left without being able to get service for 9 days.
In addition to the problem with scheduling service, I made a few other
observations about the signup/scheduling process that shows problems
caused by lack of intergation of the different service functions and
how this presents a muddled view of Time Warner to their customers.
When I first called to schedule an apointement, the person who
answered the phone, took my address, and then gave me a list of a
couple of cities and asked which one I was closer to. The address I
had given her was in Erie PA, and presumably they need to know which
city I was closer to (from among one in Ohio, and others in PA) to
determine which Time Warner office serves the address.
This is ridiculous: They should be able to type in my address and know
which office needs to schedule the apointment. I told them it was
silly, but if they wanted me to I would go to mapquest, calculate the
distance and tell them which is closest (which isn't really what they
wanted to know anyway, but how am I as a customer, supposed to know
which one serves Erie PA, that should be all internal to Time Warner).
It was upon being asked this question that I started to ask them
questions, such as am I really talking to Time Warner, and who signs
their paychecks, and when I found out that Time Warner contracts them
to manage their National Call Center.
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