Playing Catch-22 with Time Warner

When all those million dollars worth of ads and billboards claimed the change from Comcast to Time Warner "will be that easy," I should have known it wouldn’t be.

The day they switched us from Comcast internet to the new "hassle-free" Road Runner service I found no internet at all, so I spent almost two hours holding before getting someone on the line who could work me through the multiple clicks to have it functioning again. Articles appeared vouching for the fact that I was only one of thousands who had been affected. So in my own naive way, I thought they would reassess their next set of changes.

Last week I received an expensive multi-color pamphlet in the mail proclaiming the changes in cable television services coming in mid December. On Tuesday I read through the entire packet and decided to beat the rush. I reached for the phone and looked through the pamphlet again for a number. Ten pages of smiling faces, but no phone numbers. Okay. So I went to the file for an old bill, found the number and after five minutes of innumerable recorded messages informing me how their menu had changed and what web address to use if I wanted things I didn’t want, I finally got a live person on the other end of the line.

"I am calling in response to the change in cable service, but my first question is that the new channel line up I received says it is for Hollywood Westchester and I am in West LA."

"Oh, it just says that."

"Well, is it the new line up for me?"

"If you are in West Covina…"

"No, West Los Angeles…"

"Or if you are in Pomona…"

"Never mind. Before I go to the new packages, I want to change from my regular cable boxes to the Digital recorders."

"Oh. We are out of those."

"You’re kidding."

"No, we had them but we are out now."

"Do you know when you will have more?"

"No, but I could put you on a waiting list."

"So you will call me when you get them in?"

"No, you have to call us."

"Then why am I going on a waiting list?"

"So when they do come in we won’t give them to someone else."

"But what if I don’t call in again?"

"Then we might have to give them to someone else."

"So I guess I will wait til then to change the packages and just wait and see what happens when the channels change in December."

"Oh, you don’t really have to change packages until May…."


By now I was so totally bemused, I just thanked her for her time and hung up. As I was writing this up, I thought maybe she was just misinformed so I called again and got another operator. He said they were indeed out of digital recorders, but he wasn’t sure when packages needed to be changed. So to be responsible and verify everything, I asked to speak to a supervisor.

"Sure, but there isn’t really one available right now. But I can take a message and one will call you back in twenty four hours."

That was forty eight hours ago.

It will be that easy…


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