Center Ice Services pre-emted by MLB on Time Warner Cable
NHL Center Ice via Time Warner - Complaint
SYRACUSE/BUFFALO/NYC, NEW YORK -- I have been a Time Warner customer for almost one year. I have had every problem under the sun. could not get the weather channel for the 1st 3 weeks. DVR records nothing but black or a message that says this channel is unavailable at this time. Tuning to channels that just black out. I have also been recently charged $3.94 per month for a modem that was to be included in my package price. Apparently, this has begun a class action lawsuit against this deceitful communications company.
I also subscribe to NHL center ice. Not only do I experience the above issues with this service as well but Time Warner has found a new way to (in my opinion) rip people off. Services that are paid for in advance are not being delivered. I live in upstate NY. I am 6 hours form Buffalo, 8 or more hours from NYC, and my closest NHL team is 1.5 hours away in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. On Tuesday March 26 2013, Buffalo Sabers at Tampa Bay Lightning. Even if this game were in Buffalo, I would not drive 6 hours to see this game live. This game was in Tampa Florida over 1300 mile away from my home. The center Ice channel said this game was "required to be blacked out in my local market area." Maybe this part is true but I don't think that's how blackouts work.
All that week the NHL center ice channels were not working in the day. There were no game replays between 3/26 and 3/30/13. Replays are part of the agreement for center ice. Also missing was the Statistics channel for NHL (also part of the deal). Time Warner could not and would not offer an explanation to this. Then it got much worse.
On Saturday March 30th, Center Ice seemed to work OK until game time. The 10:30pm (eastern) game between the Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks was not on. Instead I got the same message that the game was "required to be blacked out in my local market area. This game was in San Jose California which is about 3000+ miles from me. If this required black out were the case I would not get any games. This game was not on the HD channel 1119 or the standard Def channel 1122. Both had this message. I called tech support and the tech said they are getting lots of calls about this and working to remedy this. This was at 11:23 pm on 3/30/13.
The next day I was looking for this games replay and could not find it. On the channel where the live game and replays were supposed to be I found the same message at 11am on 3/31/13 (required to be blacked out in my local market area." This was a replay of the previous nights game. Replay blacked out? But it gets worse.
Later that day, (Sun. 3/31/13 At 6pm.) I tried to watch the Los Angeles Kings at the Dallas Stars. Again, this game is thousands of miles from my market area. I got the same message regarding my "local market area". I called tech support. While waiting on hold, I checked for this game on the SD channel 1122 and it was on their in Standard Def. Why does the HD channel say "required to be blacked out". Is time Warner lying to customers and used blackout restrictions that don't apply to games. I spent over an hour on the line again. The tech was trying to find out why this was happening. He attributed it to the fact that Time Warner uses the same channels (1112 thru 1134) for both NHL center ice and MLB baseball. The tech went on to say that I am "probably going to run in to this issue a lot now that baseball is starting, especially on the HD channels."
Prepaid Hockey preempted by MLB is not what NHL center ice customers pay for. I believe the messages about "local market area" are false statements. These blackouts or not because of FCC or NHL Rules but due to Time Warner's Unwillingness or Technical inability to assign separate channels for Mlb and NHL. Direct TV does have separate channels. Is time Warner using FCC and NHL blackout rules to mask this problem that is obviously withing their system.
In My opinion this is not only blaming the FCC and/or NHL but an abuse of these blackout restrictions. It is also my opinion that this is another method time Warner uses to rip off unsuspecting Hockey consumers. All subscribers paid in advance for NHL center Ice and press releases about the agreements for this year state that it includes same day replays and that it runs from 1/19/13 to 4/27/13. Today is April first yet I have already had NHL games (both HD and sd) have been blocked or preempted by Mlb baseballs package. This morning I turned to the NHL channels and see that there is no hockey schedule as usually but the Mlb schedule is there instead. This caused me to form the opinion that Time Warner already got the Money from Hockey fans and now the need to get MLB subscribers money at the expense of the NHL subscribers. Many have paid for this and expect hockey until 4/27. To broadcast games on SD channels and black out the same game on HD under the guise of "Blackout restrictions" should be criminal (and it may be).
After the call to tech support yesterday, I requested to be transferred to cancellations department. As I explained my concerns about this, the representative tried to use these same lies to "make me go away". When the representative realized I has researched the accurate info and would not buy his explanations, it got quiet and then the representative hung up. I called back two more times to the same department and again was hung up on both times.
I a call last week regarding this issue, I was actually told (in a very snotty tone) is because of FCC rules. I believe that is false.
In my research I discovered that time Warner had or has a lawsuit against them regarding Illegal modem charges. I too have had these charges even though my agreement was to include this in the monthly fee.
Hopefully someone looks into this and files another class action suit against time Warner for this deceitful business practices regarding sports packages.
I have even contacted the Office of the President (on numerous occasions) where a representative there also lied to me and was extremely argumentative. I will not be going thru this for the full price of the package next year. I will most likely switch to Direct TV as there are no other cable providers available due to time warrens monopoly on my area. It is obvious to me Time Warner is not interested in fixing the issues. I will be taking this up thru other avenues as I have given time Warner a year and never had anything resolved.
Anyone else having these problems (and I am sure they are) can file a complaint a FCC.gov/complaints. There is also a similar complaint line for the federal trade commission. I would also encourage letters or other communique directly to the National Hockey League offices. They may be interested to know what time Warner is doing to hockey fans to accommodation Mlb. They may have issue with the way the product is being miss handled by Time Warner. Steven Wittels is the attorney the was involved in the other class action lawsuit against Time Warner. I wonder if he would be interested to look in to this. For others with this issue, Mr Wittels office is on Avenue of the Americas In NYC.