Sticking it to Time Warner Cable

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 18, 2012, 12:24 PM | comments: 0

Time Warner Cable announced last month that they were going to start charging people four bucks to lease their cable modems. I was surprised when we moved that they weren't charging, but find it no less lame that they want to charge for it at all.

When we moved to Snoqualmie, I bought a Motorola modem that supported DOCSIS 3.0, knowing that Comcast had some really Comcastic speed available, and they had modem fees that were not a good deal. When we moved back to Brunswick, the moron contractor (with ample butt crack showing) that came to install the TWC modem insisted that I couldn't use mine. I knew he was wrong, but whatever, I figured if they weren't charging for it I'd just roll with it.

(I would also mention that I reached near flip-out status over the incompetence of the first guy who tried to hook up a modem, because he had the wrong kind and also insisted he couldn't use mine. Then he blew me off the second time, and I got into a swearing fit on the phone with the fucktards in customer service who wouldn't send out someone because they said I wasn't here when their installer called.)

In any case, my modem isn't on their "approved" list, as it's a SB6120 instead of the SB6121. A little research showed they're the same thing with the same specs, just cosmetically different. Whatever. It's a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, which is what they need to talk to. I know just enough about the technology to be dangerous.

So I hook up my modem and give them a call. The woman starts by trying to light up the modem, then asks about the model and mentions that it's not on the approved list, but she'll try anyway. At this point, she calls someone else who says it's not going to happen. Mind you, at this point the modem is successfully talking to them, they just won't provision a connection.

I call her out, and very calmly explain that the difference between my modem and the approved model is mostly cosmetic, and there's no technical reason for it not to work. I then indicate that there are three options. One, you don't charge me the $4 a month to use their modem. Two, you forward me to someone who can turn on the modem. Three, do nothing and I'll file a complaint with their franchising authority, which in this case is the State of Ohio, knowing that it triggers a whole bunch of phone calls and panic. I was surprisingly polite despite being angry that I have to jump through hoops.

She chose the second option, which pushed me to someone in a "local office," presumably somewhere in Northeast Ohio. This guy pushed a software update to the modem, lit it up, and in less than five minutes we were done. No hassle or excuses, he just did the work.

Instead of it taking five minutes, it took 40 minutes. That's 40 minutes of my life that I'll never get back because cable companies absolutely suck at customer service.


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