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Charter/Spectrum Arrives in Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region, Big Rate Hikes Sure to Follow

Phillip Dampier March 14, 2017 BH (See Charter), Charter Spectrum, Consumer News, TWC (see Charter), Video 9 Comments

The last remaining parts of the country formerly served by Time Warner Cable are rebranding as Charter/Spectrum today, with the introduction of new service plans in upstate New York, western Massachusetts, Maine, and parts of the Carolinas.

“Redefining what a cable company can be,” as Charter Communications promotes to its customers, is a tall order for a cable company that is often loathed by its customers. Our readers have reached out to us all day to suggest, at least so far, Spectrum is the same old cable company, just with a new name.

“If I switch away from my Time Warner Cable plan to adopt a Spectrum plan, my bill will increase $40 a month,” complained Rochester, N.Y. resident June Patterson. “Even the customer service person I talked to said it would be crazy for me to switch plans.”

A customer in Albany, N.Y., reported their bill would increase by $30 a month. Another in Silver Creek, N.Y., claimed a $40 rate rise by switching to a Charter/Spectrum plan.

“I pay $92.06 now for Starter TV and Ultimate Internet in the Ithaca area,” shared another customer on DSL Reports. “After going through two operators, the second one is telling me my price will go up to $125.”

That’s a rate increase of $32.94 a month — $395.28 more a year.

Customers are encountering new plans for television service, but many areas only receive one advertised broadband speed option: 60Mbps. In fact, most areas can also buy 100Mbps service, but it’s very expensive at around $100 a month with a $200 setup fee. Customers have to call to change plans to get either speed. Some customers in former Time Warner Cable Maxx areas have better luck getting the setup fee waived than those living in areas Time Warner Cable never had a chance to upgrade.

In Idaho, The Spokesman Review’s D.F. Oliveria reports Charter/Spectrum is even worse than what Time Warner Cable offered before:

Our new internet service provider, Spectrum (Charter Communications), the company that “merged” with Time Warner’s local cable, has come under increasing fire lately. Many consumers have been calling me about poor customer service, very slow and/or inconsistent internet speeds, higher monthly prices and no printed material available to consumers regarding offerings.

“Since the merger, my bill went up $20 a month and speeds have slowed significantly,” shared ‘Nic’ in northern Idaho. “It’s ridiculous.”

WFTS in Tampa reports former Bright House customers can expect steep rate increases from Charter/Spectrum. (3:21)

In former Bright House territory in Florida, customers saw bills skyrocket by as much as $182 a month, resulting in monthly charges of an unprecedented $305 a month. Charter Communications refused to deal with the affected customers until WFTS-TV’s “Action News” consumer reporter Jackie Callaway intervened and finally got the company to admit the bills were too high by mistake:

Bright House customers Ivan and Linda Sordo say the rate hike hit without warning. The Sordo’s typical bill of $141 shot up to $305 overnight and without warning. And Lillian Rehrig’s normally $123 bill more than doubled to $305. Rehrig says calls to Spectrum got her a partial reduction but no real relief. Her next Spectrum statement came in $120 higher than her old Bright House bill.

What happened in these two cases turned out to be a billing error, an error Spectrum’s owner Charter Communications corrected after we started asking questions.

“When you started speaking with them is only when I got anyone to respond.”

It isn’t known how many other Tampa area customers were also overbilled or if Charter was working to identify and refund those who did not pursue a complaint with a local television newscast.

Charter Communications did tell WFTS-TV the majority of the one million former Bright House customers in the area now being served by Charter/Spectrum will face rate increases of $20-30 a month on average as their current package with Bright House expires. Those customers switching from a grandfathered Bright House or Time Warner Cable package will also automatically lose any promotion those packages were receiving.

In North Carolina, Time Warner Cable is gone and apparently so are some customers’ $300 rebate cards. Time Warner Cable had a long history of customer complaints about its rebate programs, but Charter Communications isn’t too interested in helping customers meet the terms of those rebates and intervene when something goes wrong.

A Steele Creek couple told WSOC-TV Time Warner rejected their rebate after they configured autopay on their Spectrum account with the help of a Charter customer service agent. Despite repeated assurances from customer service, the transition to autopay did not take effect quickly enough and they missed a payment, which canceled their rebate eligibility. Countless hours of negotiations with Charter’s customer service representatives got the couple nowhere. But the promise of bad publicity on the local evening news made the difference, and a $300 gift card was promptly mailed to them. Many other customers simply give up.

WSOC in Charlotte covers the case of the missing Time Warner Cable gift card. Customer service was no help. (1:54)

In Southern California, Spectrum is busy raising rates as well. Hannah Kuhn (76) of Simi Valley saw her bill jump $46 a month after Spectrum took over from Time Warner Cable last fall. Nobody would offer an explanation and in return for her complaints, they evidently shut the grandmother’s cable service off. Most Time Warner Cable customers are enrolled in some type of bundled service promotion. As those promotions expire, Spectrum raises rates to the regular price it intends to charge customers going forward, ending Time Warner Cable’s practice of lowering rates when customers complain.

Most customers with a popular bundled service package rate combining broadband, phone, and television could see their rates rise between $250-360 a year.

Former Time Warner Cable customers across the northeast and mid-Atlantic woke up this morning to incessant advertising like this promoting a “new day” for cable service, courtesy of Charter/Spectrum. (:60)

Currently there are 9 comments on this Article:

  1. Milan Gohil says:

    My Spectrum Internet Ultra 300Mbps plan went up to $90.28 after fees this month. Absolutely ridiculous! I contemplated downgrading to 100Mbps and was informed that my bill would only be reduced by $15 to $75.
    I previously had 100mbps service through TWC in Austin, TX for only $45 after fees. Highway robbery!
    The only competition in my area is AT&T’s U-verse which can’t compete with Spectrum’s speed and is priced similarly. Internet users in North America just can’t win!

  2. Nick says:

    Why does there have to be a rate hike?

    With TWC I was paying $90/mo for 30/5 speeds. I called up many times to try to get it lower with no success.

    Now I just switched to a new Spectrum plan of 300/20. 10x download and 4x upload speed increase and they gave it to me for $85/mo.

    So no, no rate hike here. Significantly more speed with slightly cheaper prices. Very pleased.

    • Hopefully you are not hit with the $200 upgrade fee. That price is definitely a promo, because the regular price will be around $105 if you are a broadband only customer and have had the latest rate hike reach your area.

      Also, you were being robbed for TWC 30/5 service. That is Extreme and could be had by practically anyone with an easy to get promo for $34.95 for 12 months of standard 15Mbps service plus $20 upgrade charge to get to Extreme. You’d have to have grabbed the standard speed promo first and then call right back and upgrade to Extreme ($20 more) to get a $54,95 price, not $90. Not everyone knew that.

  3. Adam Leite says:

    When they merged, the first thing I saw was a hike. TWC was always a better service and less expensive.

  4. john says:

    what will happen when my 34.99 15mbps promotion expires since spectrum merged how much will the price increase and will we be forced to change to spectrum soon?

  5. Reuben says:

    I’m internet only in Maine. I’ve been paying 79.99 a month for the last year for 50 x5 that tested at 67 x 7. After “switching I’m paying 64.99 for the same speed. I had to be very clear that I already have new hardware and then i had to talk to chat support to let them know I dont need to hve anything mailed to me. If I do receive hardware I’ll photograph it and then decide what to do.

    I think this will be good for folks on the higher tier and not so good for people on the lower tiers price wise.

  6. Mike says:

    Anyone know of I’m already a time warner internet only customer if I called would I be able to get the charter 60 Mbps for the 44.99 or will they charge retail rate? I also saw earthlink is offering the 60 Mbps tier for 44.99 as well so I’m assuming if charter wouldn’t let me get their rate I could just switch to earthlink?

  7. Genn says:

    I am a spectrum-charter/time warner customer in the Los Angeles/OC area, and I’ve endured the territorial swap between Comcast and Time Warner prior to the latest merger. I haven’t made any changes to my cable/internet service since 2012 (other than buying my own modem/router), which is probably the only thing that has kept my bill from seeing an astronomic jump – but it’s not for lack of Spectrum trying to change that. I was set up for auto-pay, which they messed up yet didn’t bother to try and contact me about. They sent no email notice (I’m also on paperless billing), no regular mail notice, and were probably hoping I wouldn’t be checking my credit card billing so they could force me off my current cable/internet services and onto one of theirs (with a hefty ‘reconnect’ fee no doubt). Frontier took over the landline service, which my gated community requires if we want to be able to open the front gate for guests – problems with their outside equipment meant my line spent the majority of 3 weeks down until I contacted the CPUC. I only resorted to that after their dumb ticket system kept pushing the repair date out. Unfortunately cable/internet isn’t under the CPUC jurisdiction.

    Back to Spectrum… when I’ve logged in to look at what packages they have available in my area, they seem to only have “new customer” posted. My internet with Time Warner was ‘extreme’ level, but that has lately slowed down. It’s like they’re trying to push people into making the switch to packages that are profitable for them and doing so in a dishonest secretive manner. I’m not about to make any changes if I can’t see what is offered in comparison on my own and take however long I need to decide – not in the short span of a phone call.

    A couple years ago there was a temporary shut down on my internet after a ‘sniffer’ was out on the property, but service restored once they got someone out to replace a damaged cable. Still wish someone had informed me before they shut off even if it was just a temporary thing. As much as I complained about Time Warner, I wish I still had them as my cable/internet provider.

  8. Sam says:

    Hello, I’m Thomas Rutledge CEO Of Charter Cable. My Shareholders in NYC-NJ are on strike. I’m made a whopping $98.5 million dollars. My Union IBEW 3 Shareholders want a fair contract. My Shareholders don’t want a lousy $78 dollar raise, they only want to keep their pension and healthcare. The union Shareholders want me to treat everyone with respect and my customers who pay my $98.5 million dollar salary. Sam told me i should have a heart and sit down like a businessman and work with the Union Shareholders and make Charter Spectrum a great company.

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