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Happy New Year Rate Increase from Time Warner Cable: The $49.99 Service Call is Here

Phillip Dampier December 27, 2011 Consumer News, Internet Overcharging, TWC (see Charter) No Comments

Time Warner Cable customers in southern California face substantial rate increases in 2012, including a budget-busting $49.99 service call fee to install increasingly expensive cable service.

The bad news is arriving in customer bills this month, with substantial price hikes for cable television —  including a 27.4% increase for the package that only includes local broadcast channels.  Time Warner Cable blames increasing programming costs for the rate increases, which are several times higher than the official rate of inflation — 3.5%.  Most customers with bundled television, telephone, and Internet service will see a smaller increase on the magnitude of a few dollars, but for those picking and choosing only a few items from Time Warner’s menu, the price tag for individual services will be higher.

The largest rate increase comes when the cable company sends a truck to a home or business.  Time Warner was charging $32.99, but will now charge $49.99 — a 51.5% increase.  The cable company has also been pushing its home networking Wi-Fi option, and will now charge $69.99 to install it, up from $49.99.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Jim Gordon tells the Los Angeles Times not everyone will pay those prices.  Certain promotions may lower those rates, or waive them altogether.  But the company offered little explanation to justify such a major price hike.

One of the cable company’s competitors, DirecTV, scoffed at Time Warner’s rate increase, noting the satellite company only raised prices an average of 4% earlier this year, and anticipates a similar increase in 2012.

The effect of the latest round of rate hikes is likely to drive even more customers to cancel or cut back on cable services.  An increasing number are dropping cable television service altogether, relying on broadband for video entertainment.  The cable industry’s response to cord-cutting has been a combination of increased online viewing options for cable-TV customers and usage caps and overlimit fees on broadband that either discourage online viewing or attempts to profit from it.  Time Warner Cable executives said as recently as December they plan to eventually introduce “usage based billing” of Internet service “the right way rather than quickly.”

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  • Required: It's hard to believe people who just need entry level internet access are willing to pay $65/mo for that, alone. No wonder so many customers are fleei...
  • FredH: I keep hearing that (about trying to eliminate the 7 year no-data-cap requirement) and wonder how it's even possible. I hope the NYS AG will get invo...
  • John: It might be a problem with a person with disablities tries to pay and they charge them....
  • John: Well, time for everyone to start paying them by snail mail, then....
  • Mike D.: And for those who are planning to "cut the cord" after a promotion expires, be aware that Charter is lobbying the new administration and FCC chairman ...
  • Dylan: Huh, that's interesting regarding that Spectrum only saves 3/10 of its customers. Maybe there is something going on. And regarding my own promotion -...
  • Phillip Dampier: You were not on a promotion before which is why you got one this time. One year from now when your bill spikes and you call and complain, they will te...
  • Dylan: It's not that hard to get new customer pricing from Spectrum. I used to be a TWC customer paying $65/mo for 50 Mbps down internet. Once Spectrum came...
  • NM: Phillip, You may be interested in today's online story in Syracuse.com about what Spectrum's customers in CNY think about the merged company: http://...
  • Jim J: Dial tone is dial tone....
  • Julia: Even in life after TWC, if customer complaints remain the same or if a customer service rep claimed to have fixed a problem, but really didn't, you ca...
  • DPNY: As soon as Spectrum took over, my bill went up (a couple of dollars, but still)! I pay almost $250 a month as it is now for the package! I can think...

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