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Living Off the Grid

Earlier this year my wife and I came to the realization that the 1,200 square foot dwelling that we have called home for the past 5 years was getting smaller.  She kept on me, asking if I was ready to move and sell our house, nearly every day.  Then the perfect opportunity presented itself to us.  We would sell our 2008 model brick home and move into a 1913 model, converted school house.  Obviously this was a no brainer for us and we lept in with both feet.

I will address the move, selling the home, fixing up the home etc in some detail in the near future, but this entry is not about all that.  For the past month living in this house we have had no cable, internet, or even decent cell phone data speeds.  This includes losing a beloved Samsung plasma TV and Samsung Galaxy S2 in separate mishaps.  All of these absent modern amenities are in addition to getting our water from a well.  These changes are drastic enough without making mention the washer and dryer sitting lonely in the kids’ room waiting for proper wiring in order to fulfill their life purpose.

My wife has been into the “crunchy” lifestyle for a while now, but unlike many of these posers she actually embraced the lifestyle.  No city water? Check.  Clothesline?  Check.  Free Range Chickens?  Check.  Cloth Diapers?  Check.  Really, when you break it down that way it just seems like all these other girls use “being crunchy” as an excuse to grow out their armpit hair, the one lifestyle modification my wife did not adopt.

It is truly amazing the extent to which we, as a society, have grown so dependent on the internet.  With my internet absent and my main computer on the fritz, I constantly felt like I was forgetting some payment.  I was also unable to commit any time to crapping out any new blog content.


Moving and Time Warner Cable Customer Service

On the Time Warner Cable website they advocate the ease of which they will assist someone in the middle of a move.  Certainly a move is already a very stressful time for a family.  Upon reading the information I was excited and thrilled that I would be in the Time Warner Cable service area.  The packages offered were more expensive than I was currently paying for cable and internet, but I was also getting faster internet, more HD channels, another HD DVR and free HBO, Showtime and Cinemax for a year.  Ultimately this made the few extra dollars I was paying worth it because I’m all about getting more value for my money.

I could not sign up for services online because the website prompted me to call to order.  I called the number and immediately was put in contact with someon about service.  I talked to the customer service sales operator and she was absolutely fantastic to work with on the phone.  I had been unable to see the specifics of packages online so she talked me through all the charges and fees involved.  I was a bit discouraged to see that there was an installation fee (even though the website says “FREE Professional Installation”).  The initial installation fee remained, but she did tell me that she was able to waive the Wi-fi setup fee (although I can set up my own wi-fi, I’ll let someone else do it if it’s free).  She said that my address had previously had service and that it would be no problem installing.  She scheduled a technician to come by 2 days later at 8am on Saturday.  All of the representatives are friendly enough, but their power to resolve an issue is minimal

Appointment #1

At 7:45am on Saturday morning I get a call from Justin my local TWC installer.  Not only is he very polite, but he is actually early for my appointment window.  When I arrive at the house he is already outside inspecting the cable and making calls.  He came in and informed me that he could not install the cable because they needed to run another cable line from the main line to my house.  I told him that my cousin had lived there before and told us that the cable and internet was great and never gave them any problems.  He said that the old cable did not guarantee problems, but that they liked to get the job done right so needed to run a better strand of cable.  I was fine with that and actually appreciate that a company would go out of their way to give a better quality of service.  I chatted with him pleasantly for a few more minutes and then he left.  He let us know that the cable repair would be at my house on Tuesday at 8 am (Monday was not available due to Memorial Day Holiday).

Appointment #2

On Tuesday morning my wife took off work and waited around the house for the cable company.  Once the technician arrived it was the same kind of technician that was dispatched to our home.  He stated the same thing as the previous installer that they needed to run a different line, but it would be no problem. My wife asked if there were any problems and he said, “Oh no, it’s an easy run that won’t take any time once our guys get out here”.  This gentleman was also extremely nice in dealing with us.  He called his supervisor to let her know that they had dispatched the wrong crew and my wife overheard her conversation.  She was extremely rude to both the installer and us as new customers.  She stated, “You’re gonna have to tell her to be patient and that even if it takes a couple weeks for us to get to it she can deal with it.”  The installer was very apologetic, but assured us that they had served the house before, all of our neighbors had service and that they would fix it soon.

Talking to Customer Service

After my wife heard the supervisor’s response she called Time Warner Cable.  The person on the phone was very nice and promised that someone would come by our house by the end of the day.  Nobody ever showed up, but we were given a 5/29/2013 between 2 – 4 PM appointment time.  The best part of all was that they said that they would waive all installation fees.  While installation fees were advertised as free from the beginning and only amounted to about $20 it was still really nice to have them waived.

Appointment #3

On 5/29/13 my wife took off work to be available for the 2-4 PM appointment time.  In the morning my wife received a voicemail saying, “We have talked to field techs in your area and they have told us that your area is unserviceable, you can call us back to check when service expands to your area”.  At this point we were absolutely livid.  Even though this address had Time Warner Cable a few months ago and neighbors miles away in both directions have Time Warner we are suddenly unable to have service?  Both technicians that actually visited my house said that connecting us would be no problem at all, but suddenly the people on the phone who have never heard of my street are telling me that we are not in the service area.

Calling Customer Service for an Explanation of Cancellation

I called Time Warner to inquire about the appointment cancellation and they let me know that in the computer we were listed as unserviceable.  I let them know that there must be some mistake because everyone on my road has Time Warner Cable and both installers that actually surveyed my property told me that there was no issue and we would have cable in no time.  The customer service representative was very pleasant, but ultimately a representative is only as effective as the power they are given to satisfy the customers.  There were no actual notes on our account and the representative actually looked up our neighbors addresses to verify that they do service the area.  She was unable to assist me, but left a note with a supervisor to get back with me later.

Customer Service Calls to Check Satisfaction

Even while we were fuming about the lack of results from Time Warner Cable we received a call from TWC.  The representative said, “We would like to check on your satisfaction with your recent Time Warner Cable installation”.  I told him the story from above and he then began to tell me that his computer said that my area was not in the Time Warner Service Area.  I then told him addresses of neighbors with TWC and he said that they were not in the coverage area.  The ultimate ridiculous assertion was when I gave my parents’ address (They live less than a half mile away) and he said that they do not have TWC service either.  I told him that I know for a fact that they do because I watch their TV and use their internet quite often (I am composing this from their TWC internet currently).  He advised me to go to my local “Time Warner Cable Store”, when I told him there was no such place in my area he pointed out that their was an office nearly an hour away.  Hopefully, Time Warner will look into rectifying this horrible customer service situation for me in the very near future.

Supervisor Leaves a Voicemail

We received a Voicemail from a supervisor today stating that our account was labeled as unserviceable because they would have to put an extension on our line and that it would cost $544 to install.  They also would not be able to do the work until they checked with the power company first.  My frustration has peaked and still not subsided.  First off why not tell us that in the first place and be straightforward with us about the whole situation.  Ultimately if it’s a matter of $544 to attain a customer that will spend thousands of dollars and make a happy customer they should do it.  If they had asked me about it to begin with I would have been willing to pay the fee.  It’s funny that after they offer to waive installation fees we are labeled as unserviceable and then told it is because it will cost $544 to drop a new extension.  We have lost over $544 in productivity waiting for Time Warner to connect a service we are paying to receive.

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