1 Time Warner Cable's Really Obnoxious 'Business Decision' | The Billfold

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.


14 Comments / Post A Comment

iffie (#1,911)

I think Comcast charges me $7/month. It is so annoying!

oiseau (#1,830)

@iffie Me too. I need to buy a modem.

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

In some areas Time Warner Cable is your only option for internet (and other services) because it takes a lot of work for a cable company to put in all the required wiring and whatnot.

If you get one of their approved DOCSIS 3.0 modems, the price may be more than $60 (the one I got was around $120; think the modem was a very recent upgrade).

Megs (#644)

I have their phone service because — and I kid you not — the bundled package of phone/internet/cable was less expensive than internet/cable. We don’t even own a landline phone.

I’m pretty sure it’s still less expensive with the $4 monthly fee, too.

iffie (#1,911)

@Megs YES! This happened to me with Comcast. If I got rid of the bundle then they were going to raise the price of my internet so high that it made no sense to cancel. It’s a game, I tell you! A big expensive game.

AnnieNilsson (#406)

Holy smokes, this makes me so freakin mad. If At&t tries to pull that shit here I’ll…I’ll Tweet at them!!

Megano! (#124)

I’m pretty sure the modem rental here in Canada is way more than $4 (but pretty much everything in telecomm in Canada is really expensive b/c the market is monopolized by like three companies), and with Rogers if I wanted to buy the modem it would have cost like, $200 or something? (It was majorly marked up). So now I have an indie provider, paid $80 for the modem, and also get 30o gigs of data (versus 90 gigs max with Rogers).

patiolanterns (#2,234)

@Megano! I’m not sure who’s worse, Rogers or Bell, but I’ve declared Bell my archnemesis for life and them seem to have taken this challenge to make my life difficult very seriously, and they are doing quite well at it. What is the name of your indie provider? Are they available in Ontario?

Ampersanda (#2,399)

After Comcast upped the rental fee to 7 dollars from 5 dollars, I decided it was time to stop renting theirs and buy my own. I bought one from Best Buy for about a hundred dollars and made my money back after a little more than a year.

Now I have a modem I can always use and don’t have to give Comcast any more money than they already try to wring out of me.

It was worth it.

pretzels! (#853)

oh man, this is a hot topic in my household.
We decided not to buy a modem because we currently have the recommended $60 modem through Time Warner and it is a piece of crap, we’ve had three already replaced by Time Warner for free. If you buy the recommended one then you don’t get that option. If you upgrade to the $100 version, it would take 25 months to start getting your money back in savings. I don’t know enough about the longevity of modems but I imagine after two years I would need a new one? anyone know?

Ampersanda (#2,399)

@pretzels! Modems can definitely last longer than 2 years. I’d say minimum 4-5. I’ve had mine for 3 so far and have not experienced any problems.

cliuless (#36)

Ugh, Time Warner is the only cable option for my house and I’ve only ever heard terrible things about them which is why I stick with my inferior Verizon DSL. I mean, not terrible, but there is a sometimes noticeable speed dip if multiple people are using the connection and someone is downloading.

pearl (#153)

Note: there’s also something in their contracts that say that you cannot sue on the behalf of others, i.e. a class action suit and it’s binding arbitration only or something. So sayeth Consumerist, at least.

ThatJenn (#916)

I was going to look up how much my cable company charges me, if anything, for my modem, and realized I haven’t gotten a bill in over a year. I pay the same amount via bill pay through my bank and they never shut off the internet, so I guess I’m paying the right amount, but that’s kind of disturbing to realize.

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