Tag Archives: Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable adds modem fee

Computer With automated bill pay, I pay less attention to my itemized bills. I make sure the debited amount is consistent, and I don’t actually look at the bill unless I notice a different charge. I recently noticed our Time Warner Cable bill increased slightly, so I looked and found a new fee for our cable modem.

The cable company began charging $3.95 for lease of its cable modem in November. Time Warner said customers were notified in October. I don’t remember seeing it. Perhaps it was on that bill I don’t read. I would have seen an insert because they always fall out of the bill advertising some product I don’t want. I even get emails from Time Warner advertising new products. Apparently, the notice wasn’t in any of those communications that I see. It slipped by in one I didn’t.

Cable Modem CUIf you’re not happy with the charge, you can buy your own modem from an approved list. They tend to range from $50-150 based on the model you buy.

A Time Warner spokesman said “Modem fees for company-provided modems are standard across the industry. We are one of the last providers to implement the practice and at a much lower rate than most. For instance, WOW charges $5 and up, while Cox charges $6.99.”

It’s another fee companies are passing on to customers. At least we have a way out of this fee. If you plan to keep TWC for awhile, it’s worth it to buy your own.  You’ll pay off the cheapest modem in a year, and the average priced modem of $100 in two years.

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App ends customer service hold times

There’s an app you need to try if you are tired of sitting on hold waiting for a customer service representative to talk to you. This app makes them wait on you. It’s called FastCustomer, and it advertises that it’s  “taking the ‘suck’ out of customer service.”

It sounds like a good idea, so I put it to the test. First, I called Sprint.  You simply type in Sprint, and the app finds the number for you. You tell the app to call the number, and a few minutes later your phone rings.

I answered, “This is Jenn,” and didn’t hear much of a response. I figured the customer service rep was confused. I said, “Is this Sprint?” Confused, she said, “Yes.” That’s when I filled the customer service rep in on the app. She laughed and said, “I wasn’t sure what happened. It told me the customer was holding and to press 1.” It worked and broke the ice with my customer service representative.

“This is x claims service. My name is Jeffrey,”the next company said.  This was my auto insurance company. I automatically got claims even though I needed policy services. Claims transferred me to policy services when I asked, and then came the dreaded automated message with prompts to hit 1 or 2. None of the options really fit what I needed, so I attempted as many ways as I could to just get an operator.  Finally, I got what I needed.

Then, I tried Time Warner Cable. The app told me they weren’t open for business. It was about 9 at night. That seemed odd, so I called the number I had for Time Warner NE Ohio and they were open.

Finally, I called the other insurance company I do business with, and the woman said, “Thank you for calling xx company,” when I answered the phone. She wasn’t phased by pressing one to talk to me. It’s about time! We have to wait on them. Now, customer service has to wait on us. Great app! Hopefully it will expand and include local and national businesses soon.

While the app focuses on national numbers, you need to know as a consumer that sometimes there are better local numbers as in the case of Time Warner. If it’s a utility or company a lot of people in your region call, the app makers say let them know and they’ll add the number to their list.

Although the app transferred me to the wrong department for one insurance company, it was easier than looking up the number to call myself.  The company adds new businesses all the time and currently  has 1600 companies listed.  It’s currently in beta form for the Android Phone, and also available for the iPhone.

I was very impressed with the app and will definitely use it the next time I need to call customer service.

FCC study finds broadband delivers close to advertised speeds

Ever wonder if you’re getting the advertised speed for internet access? Lots of words have been added to the marketplace, but does turbo really mean anything? According to the Federal Communications Commission, a study found almost all the Internet Service Providers delivered 90% or above  the advertised speed even during peak hours.

More than three hundred Ohio homes participated in the volunteer study that revealed far better results than a study in 2009. According to Consumer Reports, the 2009 study found actual speeds were closer to 50% of advertised speeds.

“Today’s report suggests that in some cases consumers may be getting the advertised speed they paid for. That’s good – but this is just a first step. ISPs need to provide this information to consumers in a way that we can all understand. And the FCC needs to help ensure that happens. We urge the FCC to do a similar study on wireless broadband service,” Parul Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union said.

I won’t get into many details of the study, because, frankly the information was complicated. The details don’t really matter anyway. You’re not getting ripped off. So, happy surfing!

Make free international calls

Globe

Image via Wikipedia

Whether you have family members in Japan that you want to check on after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, or you are traveling out of the country for spring break, there are ways to call out of the country for free.

Freephone2phone allows you to call internationally for ten minutes for free. You dial a local access number, and then the number for the business or person you are trying to reach outside the United States. Freephone2phone also works for calls within the U.S. if you don’t have a cell phone and pay for long distance.

You have to listen to one or two ads. They are short, and definitely worth it to make the free call.  Plus, you have to call a landline for most countries. You can only call a cell phone in the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Thailand.

I used the service recently to call Mexico, and it worked great. I was transferred within the resort and the call continued. I listed to ads for DirecTV, and Sylvan Learning Center.  They were quick, and well worth the free call.

Also, Time Warner Cable is offering free calls to Japan through April 15th if you have residential or business class digital phone service.  Any calls placed on March 11th will be retroactively credited.  To take advantage of the program, you don’t have to make any changes to your account. Any direct call to Japan will be free.  If you place your call through an operator or directory assistance you will be charged the normal fees.

AT&T is also offering free international calls from landline and postpaid wireless numbers in the United States and Puerto Rico if the call is to Japan. U.S. wireless customers can also send free text messages.  The free service will last through March 31st.

Residential customers will have to call AT&T when they get their bill to get the earthquake credit.  The credit will only be for up to 60  minutes of direct dialing to Japan.

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