Thursday, 15 December 2011


With Time Warner Cable's DVR (digital video recorder), your relationship with your television will never be the same!" So says the Time Warner website. I think what they meant to say was more like, "With Time Warner Cable's DVR, your relationship with Time Warner will never be the same!" The people at Time Warner Cable are lucky that I'm not the type to take my sawed-off shotgun to their headquarters and start a free-for-all...yet.

After completing our 8-Minute Abs, Arms and Stretches tonight, K. and I plopped down on the couch to catch Will & Grace. Suddenly, my DVR rebooted itself. When it took five minutes to turn itself back on, a sinking suspicion came over us.
We attempted to pull up the backlogged listing of programs that had been stored on the DVR since we moved into this apartment. It was all gone. Almost thirty hours of programming erased. Most of the menu features didn't work, either.

I picked up the phone, furious. The representative who answered, a young-sounding woman who answered the phone more cheerfully than she should have, tried to walk me through the manual rebooting process.

"Look," I said to her, "You and I both know that rebooting the DVR isn't going to accomplish a thing. So let's just skip that phase. You will see from my service record that I am now on my third DVR unit. Third. I have spent hours waiting at home or on line at Time Warner Cable to replace this. I have spent hours on hold with Time Warner Cable when I have called to phone in the problem. I am not spending any more of my time to fix this problem."

"I understand, sir." Her voice quivered ever so slightly.

"Let's make sure you do," I snapped, not allowing her the chance to give me other options first. "I am not going to go to Time Warner Cable to wait in line tomorrow. Nor am I going to believe you when you tell me that the next available service appointment isn't until next Thursday. I spend upwards of $120 a month on what are supposed to be Time Warner's premium services, between the DVR and my cable internet. And this is what I get in return. Three faulty units in barely five months, and endless run around. You will send a technician tomorrow, with a replacement box, at a time that is convenient for me."

"Yes, sir. Well, I'm not supposed to issue appointments until after the weekend, but...okay, I can get you in tomorrow between twelve and four."

"Good. Thank you for being the first person at Time Warner to actually listen to my needs and not simply do what is convenient for your company."

And that is that. I clearly got through to her, as she left me her name and direct exension for future issues. My only regret is that I didn't demand billing compensation, but that phone call will come once the technician has been here. A letter to Time Warner won't be far behind, either.

For the additional $6.95 per month, the DVR was simply an appealing and affordable alternative to TiVo. I'm starting to wish I had just forked over the cash and done it right in the first place, but that's just not an option for us right now. Stay away from Time Warner if you can, unless you want endless headaches.

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