Open Letter to Time-Warner Execs
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- I am sending the following letter to everyone in the Time-Warner Corporate management that I can find. I have lost hope that they will help me, but at least some might actually hear of my problem. The local office has done nothing to help.
Aug. 7, 2008
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am sending this letter to many within your organization in hopes of finding someone who actually cares about customer service. Is it in bad form to write to one so far up the chain-of-command, as you are? Customer service is not a matter of concern among the local Time-Warner representatives. By that I mean, the service technicians who visit people in their homes, the reps. who work the phone lines or the staff and management of the local Time-Warner offices. I would hope that by the time someone reaches your stature, they would have learned to care. Sorry if I sound bitter.
This letter will constitute my 7th attempt to resolve my current problem. I have to state that I have been a very satisfied customer, for many years, until now. I also have come to realize that longevity within your customer-base gives me no standing with you. I suppose it is easy to simply let dissatisfied customer leave, and seek new ones, than to resolve problems when they arise.
On Thursday, July 31st, a technician came to my new apartment, to transfer my service. He worked on the installation in our livingroom for a good while. Eventually he said he did not think the outlet was connected in that room. So he would 'test' the equipment in a back bedroom. After ascertaining that there was an active outlet back there, he stated that the outlet in the livingroom would have to be connected. At this point he said he was going to the office at the apartment complex where we live and speak to the maintenance personnel. He also stated that he would be met thereby someone directly associated with Time-Warner, since he was contractor-labor. Before he left he asked me to sign the work-order.
Up to now I had no reason to doubt his integrity and signed the work-order. I did not stop to think that I was actually signing off on the transfer of service. This is a point of concern to me, because I was not thinking in terms of whether or not Time-Warner or it's representatives were trustworthy. I have reached that point in my thought-processes now due to circumstances, but at that time I was still naive and believed what I was told.
A few minutes after he left, he called back and said, âA Time-Warner Specialist will return tomorrow with the maintenance crew, to make that connection in the livingroom." This is as near a quote as I am able to render. I am certain of the words "Time-Warner Specialist" and "maintenance crew". The implication was that personnel representing the apartment complex would also be on-hand for a combined effort.
I can't tell you how pleased my wife and I were. The fact that I would have to take off work on Friday, Aug. 1st, mattered little to me at that time. I still had plenty to do in getting the new apartment right, and it would be worth it to have the television connected. This is a 52 inch, flat-screen TV, worth $3000 which rests on a new $1700 entertainment center. It is the focal-point of our livingroom.
I called my boss and managed to take off yet another day. On Friday, I waited for that specialist and crew. The time-window given was 12-noon to 8pm. At around 4pm I began to worry because I felt that the apartment personnel would probably leave around 6pm at the latest. So I called the local number for service, 210-244-0500. The man that answered did some checking and reported that there was no work-order pending, and no comments on my account regarding an additional visit. He asked if I had not ordered a single connection, and did I not receive such? I answered yes, to both questions. So he offered to start a new work-order.
I explained to him as slowly and carefully as I could the exact nature of the situation. ...that I had been told a specialist was coming, that a crew from the apartments would be working with them, that they would arrive between 12-noon and 8pmâ¦
He was completely disinterested in my little tale and just wanted to get that work-order written. He kept repeating, "I am following procedure". After quite a while and a lot of back and forth between us, I let him go. I told him I would visit the local office and work out the problem with them.
As soon as I got off the phone, I paid a visit to the apartment complex office. There I spoke to Mandy who was also on duty the day before. One of the maintenance crew, Jesse, was there as well. I asked them if the Time-Warner technician had stopped by the day before. They said he had not. It seems as though when he called back with the wonderful good news of the Time-Warner Specialist and work-crew coming on Friday he was probably already well on his way to his next stop. What is particularly insidious about his conduct, apart from even the blatant lying, was that his lie would cost me a dayâs wage. He could have told me the truth just as easily, and we could have both moved on by now. Instead, as a representative of Time-Warner, sub-contractor status not-withstanding, he lied to one of your customers. Does it make any difference to you?
No doubt he has moved on but my wife and I are still staring at our partially assembled entertainment center wondering when this situation will be resolved and we can finish it out. (It is quite large and parts can only be assembled after the equipment is installed.)
So, I left the manager's office and drove to the local Time-Warner office at IH 10 West and Callaghan Rd. Once there I spoke to a nice young lady at the window. I asked if I could speak to a manager about a certain situation which I did not feel she could resolve. Crystal explained that the supervisor was out on vacation and would be unavailable for some days. I did my best to explain the situation to her. She listened and left me for a time, I believe stating that she would try to reach the technician. She went back and forth from the window to the back explaining that she was 'still trying'. At one point the customer service rep at the window next to mine, told a customer that she had just spoken to the supervisor.
When Crystal came back once again, I mentioned this, and said that I would still very much like to speak to the supervisor as well. She seemed a little non-plussed and told me that the supervisor had only just stepped in for a moment, from her vacation. I suggested that we could meet...
When the supervisor did come from the back room she also seemed a little put out. No doubt she was anxious to get back to her vacation. She asked what the problem was, and I asked if I needed to start over from the beginning. At that point she made it known that she was aware of the problem and I should call the supervisor of the technician that came to my house. I know the technician only as #9274-8. He was not wearing a name-tag, and I can't recall the name of the company on his uniform shirt. I do remember the large bronze-colored, hexagonal-patterned earrings he was wearing.
Anyway, I told her I did not see any reason for me to call that man, the technician's supervisor, since he and I have no working relationship, no contract for services of any kind. Furthermore, Time-Warner is the one who receives my monthly payment, and Time-Warner is the one I had arranged to have my service transferred with. To date, this work has not been done. Up to now, none of my efforts to resolve the issue have met with success. Not only has Time-Warner not met their commitment to provide the service for which I am paying, but I have been billed 39.99 for the transfer. This comes as a double surprise to me because not only has the service not been provided, but there was no mention at any point in time, of a charge for the transfer. Time-Warner has already received payment fot the services which have not been provided.
I don't want to get side-tracked on the transfer charge- if that is standard operating procedure for you, I won't fight it. But it would be best in the future to make folks aware of that charge before performing the job. And only charge for it, if the work has been done.
Just FYI, the supervisor in your local office also told me that the technician is denying ever stating that a Time-Warner Specialist and work-crew would come to my apartment, and that it was up to me (or someone) to get that livingroom outlet working. At this point the supervisor (the one in the office) also stated that if I wanted to re-schedule the visit, she could do that for me, but if the outlet wasn't working they would not complete the job.
So what do I do now? Is there anyone within the Time-Warner organization who has any interest in my situation? I am painfully aware that my little business means nothing to you, who are 2nd largest cable television provider in the U.S. It will not make any measurable difference to you if I stay or go, as a customer. It only comes down to whether anyone up there, where you are, has integrity and cares about doing the right thing. Every word in this letter is as true as I can possibly make it, according to my best recollections. However, I left a lot out, in order to keep this letter short.... There is also the matter of my other email-attempts to resolve this issue. I'll let that go.
My wife was present during the technician's visit, and although she did not hear the phone conversation wherein the technician stated that the Time-Warner Specialist was coming, she was aware of him leaving our apartment, to speak to the maintenance staff (which he did not do), and she heard me discussing plans to be home on Friday, for that return-visit.
Please intervene for us. My home telephone number is xxx-555-1234, and at work it is xxx-555-5678. I am at work from 7:30 am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. My email address is TimeWarnerCust@Other.com, although I would prefer a phone call, or even a face-to-face if that were possible.