Time Warner Cable’s Really Obnoxious ‘Business Decision’

Mr. Arana-Wolfe said he was considering starting a class-action lawsuit related to the modem fee. In the meantime, he said, he was researching other options for Internet and voice service, like Verizon’s.

I know it’s typical to complain about your cable/Internet provider, but count me among the many people who are annoyed that Time Warner Cable will be charging me $3.95 a month to rent their modem for Internet use. People who want to buy their own modem and return the cable company’s modem to avoid the fee can do so. But here’s a quirk provided by the Times: Time Warner subscribers who also have phone service with the provider need to hang on to the modem to keep their voice service running, even if they buy their own modem to avoid the fee—in this case, they won’t be charged the fee because you only have to pay it if you keep the modem for Internet service. Huh? Okay, rewind: Keep the cable company’s modem for Internet and phone service and you’ll pay a $4 rental fee. Keep the cable company’s modem for phone service, but buy your own modem for Internet service—and have two modems running at once—and you’ll avoid the $4 fee. Makes so much sense!

I don’t have a phone service with Time Warner (most people use their cell phones as their main service, right?), but I still want to avoid the obnoxious $4 monthly fee by buying a modem. Of course, as part of their genius plan to get customers to pay the $4 monthly fee, Time Warner makes the process incredibly taxing. Can I avoid a trip to the electronics store, and just buy my modem from Time Warner (which to me, would be the easiest way to do this)? Nope! (“No, at this time you cannot buy a modem directly from TWC.”) I can only buy approved modems from a list, which cost around $60. Once I buy the modem, I can’t just go home and connect it—I have to call the cable company and go through the process of getting it activated. Once it’s activated, I have to take TWC’s modem and return it to a TWC store.

This is a crazy amount of work I have to do to avoid a $4 monthly fee, but I am probably going to do it anyway, because there is no way I’m paying a $4 fee forever (or at least, for the foreseeable future). I mean, it’s not like I’m giving up the Internet any time soon.


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