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Update #2: An Even Better Deal from Time Warner Cable: $80 Triple Play

Phillip Dampier February 1, 2011 Competition, Consumer News, Editorial & Site News, Time Warner Cable 19 Comments

Haggling for a better deal from your telecommunications provider is beginning to resemble buying a car.

Less than a day after writing up our experiences with the Customer Retention Department of Time Warner Cable, there have been new developments.

Because our account was configured for a disconnect, a Time Warner retention specialist called us, this time from Albany, N.Y.  His role — to win us back as a Time Warner customer.  His office formerly called customers who turned in their equipment and canceled service, but now that the company is losing more cable-TV customers than it adds, they are now trying to stop disconnects at all costs.

Incredibly, this high-level office was authorized to provide deals even Time Warner’s regional office could not touch.

The best deal we could negotiate with the Buffalo office included the company’s triple play package, Road Runner Turbo, one DVR box and one digital set top box for $132 a month.

That was until we received a call this morning with an offer that blew that out of the water — $79.95 a month for the company’s triple-play package including a year of free DVR service. Putting the two packages together to compare pricing, Albany’s Time Warner office was willing offer that same package for $106.90, plus tax.

That’s a difference of $25 a month.

That’s quite a difference.

But then, on cue, Time Warner proved our earlier point about confusing and conflicting information being thrown at customers.

Minutes after agreeing to that offer, which would have cut some additional red tape from the earlier deal, we were called back and told the deal fell apart, at least temporarily.

It seems customers who agree to an earlier offer end up locking themselves out from something even better.  Because we worked with another retention specialist who partially entered an order into the system, and despite the fact the company called us with something better, they reneged on the better offer.

“I can’t even begin the order,” we were told.  “As long as a pending order is in place, there is nothing we can do.”

We found it odd the company would call us with an offer we couldn’t get.  We were then told that office is authorized to make offers to customers who:

  • downgrade to one service;
  • have a pending disconnect order;
  • actually disconnect service.

We asked if we pulled out of our earlier retention deal, would we then be qualified to proceed with his?  He repeated the three conditions and said he’d love to offer us something but until one of those conditions were in place, he could not.

Hint. Hint.

It’s remarkable Time Warner would offer customers one deal they insist was the best available price, only to have another employee cut $25 off the top without breaking a sweat.  It’s quickly reminding me of my last car buying experience — always a major headache.  So many tricks, traps, and games.

We’ll be bringing this whole matter up with the company shortly.

In the meantime, we’re going to modify our advice to customers searching for a better deal.  Call and schedule a disconnect or downgrade of your service two weeks out, tell the agent you are not prepared to discuss a retention deal, and then wait for them to call you a few days later.  Ours originated from the Time Warner Sales Center at 1-877-726-0712, for those who check caller ID.

Ask about the triple play $79 offer that includes a year of free DVR service.

Oh, and about the free “DVR service.”  We learned Time Warner no longer considers the “service” the same as the “box.”  This word salad means customers pay about $8 and change for the DVR hardware, but get the “service” that let’s you record shows on the equipment for free — a $3 value.

We told you it was confusing.

[Updated: 1:02pm ET — We just spoke with Time Warner Cable, who apologized for the confusion over pricing and the follow-up retention call we received.  Time Warner Cable will honor any offers made by any of their agents, so with the assistance of a supervisor, we were able to take advantage of this offer after all.  They even threw in free Turbo service for a year, free Showtime, and gave us a “whole house DVR” at a special rate, bringing the total out of the door price to around $116 a month, including all equipment.  When Road Runner Extreme (30/5Mbps) service arrives, that will run an additional $10 per month.  The entire ordeal netted us almost $60 a month in savings, more if we didn’t upgrade to the “whole house DVR.”]

Currently there are 19 comments on this Article:

  1. 4nntt says:

    This happened to me a few days ago as well. I only have RoadRunner as a service from Time Warner, but called to cancel even that as I’m tired of paying a 50% premium because I don’t have cable TV.

    The next day a retention specialist called me back, asked if the issue was purely price, and offered me RoadRunner service for $34 a month for the next year.

  2. Ian says:

    A few weeks ago I called to cancel due to price (cancelled cable but kept Roadrunner) and they let me go through with it. All I had to do was return my equipment to complete the cancellation. I took my box to the local TWC Office and it was done. I auto-payed my bill, so it has been perfectly on time for 8 years+. I never got any offer of a lower price, nor did I get a call back……wonder what the difference was?

    Also, I applaud the author for the “$116 a month, including all equipment” deal with the turbo and everything – but it is still a lot of money with a lot of services most people don’t want or need. If you still pay the same or a bit less but they throw in every premium channel, superspeed internet, and 10 DVRs for free and you don’t watch many channels and only use the web for Netflix and some browsing – it’s not much of a deal.

  3. Earl Cooley III says:

    My TWC situation is complicated by a mandatory standard cable deal linked to my lease agreement. Not sure what, if anything, can be done with that.

  4. Navil says:

    I called to cancel the cable portion of my account today for the 19th, as my bill is paid up to that time. The rep also told me I just had to bring my cable box into an office the day I want to cancel. Is that their way of calling your bluff?

    She did try to get me to go up to a triple play package (which was for $4 more than I pay now).

    Don’t know if I can expect a retention call or not.

    I said I was going with OTA. I’ll give it a day and see what happens.

    I was also told that RR would go to $54/mo, but the December price sheet says it is $45.99. Hmmm.

    • That was a mild retention effort. Are you going to be a broadband only customer? If so, I’d grab six months of Earthlink for $30 a month if your ultimate goal is broadband only.

      The 19th gives you plenty of time to deal if you want the triple play. Exactly where are you located (city/state).

      Those in upstate New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts who are scheduled for downgrades to a single service, scheduled a disconnect, or have left Time Warner can call the Time Warner Sales office in Albany at 1-877-726-0712. I don’t know if those outside of the region can get referred to another office serving their area or not.

      Tell whoever answers you missed their original call about your downgraded/disconnected cable service. That should prompt a pitch. If you want the triple play, guide them that way and say the offer you were given locally was too expensive. Ask about the deal your friend got for $79 that includes a triple play package and free DVR service for a year. You can add on extras from them — maybe at a discount or not.

      If I can find other regional retention offices, I’ll share the phone numbers (or others can include them here).

      If you want them to call you, call the company back and tell them you want to schedule a total disconnect of all services on the 19th. If you don’t get a call from someone in five days or less, you still have plenty of time to call back and rescind the request.

  5. Navil says:

    Hi Phil,

    I am in the western Rochester ‘burbs. I am not interested in triple play as I have a low cost VoIP I have used for a number of years and am happy with.

    I am trying to cut cost, but keep certain services. Considering everything from getting a better TWC price, to satellite TV and cutting the chord entirely for TV and going OTA.

    I will probably give the 877 number a try if I don’t hear anything and see if there is an offer there that reduces cost but doesn’t have me give up the pieces of the service I use.

    Thanks!

    • It sounds like you are looking for a broadband and cable TV package only. I found the retention deals for just these two services worse than the triple play, but I never pressed the rep in Albany for info on double-play pricing. I’d ask. If the triple play is still cheaper, just install it, grab a new phone number from TWC, and just ignore it for a year.

      Broadband only deals were $29.99 for six months with Earthlink (identical performance to RR except no PowerBoost) or Road Runner Standard for $34.95 a month for a year — perhaps with Turbo thrown in for free.

      Let me know what you find out.

  6. laura says:

    Any chance of getting this in san diego, ca? The triple play + total home dvr is only offered at $179! I have att uverse now, no landline service, and my rate just jumped to $180! There’s got to be some promo out there better than this.

    • That is an outrageous price. I don’t have a San Diego retention office number, but since you would be a new customer, one of the resellers will deliver a better price than that. Google “Time Warner deals” for a selection. I just played with one by pricing access to a home on Escobar Drive in 92124 and see the triple play at $124.85 for 12 months with no “long term contract.” There is also a $125 mail in rebate. DVR service is free for three months.

      Part of their terms for the rebate:

      The $125 rebate is only valid with the purchase of any new Time Warner Cable triple play bundled residential services purchased on or after 02/01/2011. New residential service customers are defined as customers who have not had any Time Warner Cable triple play bundled residential services during the previous 120 days. Offer expires 02/28/2011

      If you don’t want the landline service, I see a Double Play (tv/broadband) for $84.90 for 12 months with same DVR offer with $75 mail in rebate.

      I am loathe to hand out free advertising to a reseller, so if you can’t find this offer after Googling (it was one of the top results), use our contact form and drop me an e-mail and I’ll send the URL. If you can avoid signing a term contract, do it, because it gives you leverage to walk away to something better whenever you want.

  7. laura says:

    I think I know the double play offer you’re referencing. I have to admit, I am dreading the switch back to twc. Their dvr equipment and internet is slow on it’s best day and awful every second after that. But we only need to keep it for a few months before we can switch back to at&t for another promo rate! Unless you know of some negotiating tips I can use on att. I have heard they won’t drop rates to keep customers.

  8. WRCFanatic says:

    I live in the TWC San Diego area and they are quite expensive. Boxes are like $8.99 and DVR’s are $20.48 if you add the DVR fee. I’m still on my 2 year contract and I’m not sure whether or not I will switch to another provider. I might not get a good deal since, I have a nice TWC package with all premiums 2 DVR’s, 2 STB’s, and HD VIP tier.

    Satellite is another option and they are giving some good deals for new customers.

    • Navil says:

      It seems that going to satellite is the best way to cut costs without loosing functionality. In fact, it seems I can get much increased functionality for much less money, due to new customer incentives. The downside is the commitment required – 24 months.

    • WRCFanatic says:

      On the new San Diego HDTV forum a few PLG customers are getting rate increases. My bill went up a few dollars due to STB rental fee increases. Does the PLG protect against that or not? I was wondering if it does. I too am against the UBB nonsense that providers are offering and I too want real Net Neutrality, not the bill that the FCC passed.

  9. Henrietta says:

    I completely disagree, uverse tv is much cheaper and a better alternative than cable or satellite. I have been a uverse subscriber now for almost six months and I can tell you first hand that it is much cheaper than charter cable.

    If people’s complaint is solely based on price increases,. then that is not a substantiated complaint due to that fact that pricing on Uverse or any other entertainment provider is based on bundled deals. In another words if you opt to get tv, internet and phone service then you will be eligible to recieve more discounts.

    A great tip for new susbscribers only at this time uverse service is offering various cash back promotions of up to $150-$400. I found it by going to a coupon site and searching. Just Google att uverse coupons or go to any coupon site such as slick deals, couponmountain or RicksCouponPicks Uverse Deals and promotions

  10. Adam says:

    ENOUGH with this website this truly why america is going down… This is a very Good example of scam artists just trying to screw over another company. Thse deals are for ppl who truly need help in this eonomic depression. this website and Mr Philip are a prime example of why Our country is in this situation…JOB LOSS. with ppl taking advantage of the system TWC has in place costs time warner Loses money and cuts are made usually on the employee side. So Go ahead Keep this up and you will Keep putting ppl out of jobs. YOU ARE NOT HURTING CORPORATE your HURTING THE EMPLOYEE.

    Adam

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      I actually think it is the other way around. You are the problem. By giving corporations total control over everything. Corporations cannot exist without customers, how do you think Dish Network and Direct TV have been in business so long by giving their customers deals and free equipment?

      Look – you may bow to your corporate overlords, but other people do not. Some people are on a tight budget, so what they do is ask for a deal. The alternative, may be to cut service from the companies that will nto work woth you, and that company actually loses MORE in the long run. They understand that, and that is why they deal.

      And despite these “deals” TWC and others continue to make alot of money and GROW.

  11. mac says:

    I’m in the Florence/Darlington SC area. I spoke with someone in the retention dept. and they helped lower my bill from 138. to 127. for a year with the digital pkg.
    Thanks a lot!!!!

  12. sgt says:

    They offer the $79.99 pkg…and then add $10.99 for ‘box’ and an additional $15.99 for the modem. You MUST take both…so, in reality, the $79.99 doesn’t exist. The TRUE price without the FALSE ADVERTISING is a minimum of $106.97 plus tax…

    I can vomit!!! Manipulations such as these used to be illegal. I guess greed is running things these days. There’s lots of money floating around what with all the drug dealing that goes on, but what about little old great-grandmas like myself who can’t begin to afford it and eat at the same time???

    Well…the days of caring are over folks… This is the season of lying, cheating, stealing, killing and whatever else one can get away with. Seems we’ve returned to something pre-civilization…

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