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November 4, 2016

Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable)

Over the last week I've had my first go-round with Spectrum, which has taken over Time Warner Cable, and it is not good. I've been paying about $80/month to Time Warner for internet service only, 30 Mbps download, 5 Mbps upload. I've been getting mailers from Spectrum that seem to say they are offering internet at 100 Mbps for only $30/month. But if you read the fine print you'll see that's only if bundled with other services that I don't want.

So I called Spectrum a week ago, Friday, October 28 to inquire. The deal I was given then was a bundle of only phone and internet, for a total of about $60, and the internet would be 100 Mbps. But they had to give me a new modem to handle the phone. The sales person said the 100 Mbps would be available within about 10 minutes (!) and the modem would be shipped FedEx and arrive Monday or Tuesday.

An hour later my internet was NOT 100 Mbps (using Speakeasy speed test), so I called sales again. Got a different person who said my order was "incomplete," and it wouldn't be complete until I got that new modem. He said that even though the modem I have now could handle 100 Mbps, they would not upgrade me until I received the new modem. It was not a hardware limitation, but solely a policy decision by Spectrum not to give me what I want immediately, even though they could do it. Further, this sales person told me that when I received the modem via FedEx I didn't have to do anything. My speed would simply jump up to 100 Mbps. I wouldn't have to call Spectrum or even install the new modem. The mere receipt of it would, of course, FedEx would update its tracking and Spectrum would see that I had it and that would trigger whatever needed to happen.

This seemed weird and unbelievable, but it satisfied me, because I didn't want phone service at all. My intent was to never take the new modem out of the box, get my 100 Mbps internet for only $60 for a year, and then when the special offer ended in a year I'd figure out what to do then.

On Monday, I got a call from Spectrum saying I needed to listen to instructions about my upcoming new phone service. What that is, is the explanation of how 911 works and how 911 may not have the location of my phone for a few days, and that if I moved I needed to update my info so 911 would be updated. No problem. Except I had listened to those instructions on Friday as part of the first sales call. I told this caller that, and she said there was no record of it. I told her if she needed to play some recording for me, then go ahead and play it. She played a recording, but it wasn't about 911. Sounded more like a sales offer. Then it ended. So I hung up.

By Wednesday I still had not gotten the modem and my speed checks showed my 30 Mbps had had actually fallen to less than 10 Mbps (sometimes less than 5!), so I called tech support. They could not find anything wrong, so they scheduled a tech visit for Friday, November 4 (today, as I write this). While I had the tech on the phone I asked him about the modem and he told me it would be delivered later on Wednesday.

The modem was never delivered.

On Thursday my service was back up to 30 Mbps and that seemed stable throughout the day, so late in the day I called Spectrum to cancel Friday's tech appointment. The technician I got on the phone, though, only wanted to talk about a service appointment he saw that had been scheduled for the same day I was calling, Thursday, from 10 AM to 7 PM! But that service call had been cancelled. Also, my entire order from last Friday had been cancelled. And he couldn't find any tech appointment for me on Friday! So, everything I had called Spectrum about over the last week had just disappeared.

So the tech on the phone offered to re-send the modem, but I asked if I could just go pick it up at the local office, so he set it up that way.

Today, Friday, I went over the Spectrum office on Palm Drive whereupon I was told by the service person that the ONLY way I could get 100 Mbps was to pay $99/month plus a $199 activation fee! So I told her to forget the modem and came home empty handed.

I called Spectrum sales again and asked what kind of deal I could get on internet. I was told I could only get a bundle of TV, phone and internet, for a total of $90, which is more than I'm paying for internet now, so I didn't want that. All I really want is faster service for the same or less money. I asked the sales person if there were any other options for getting internet service and he said no! No? We went back and forth on that for a bit, until he acknowledged that I could get 50 Mbps if I pay $110/month. So that was the end of that deal.

I'm sticking with my 30 Mbps at $80/month. Let me know how your experiences with Spectrum go.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Technology | permalink | November 4, 2016 at 01:39 PM

Comments

I called Spectrum again. The service rep had me hook up by ethernet cable, did something to my modem and the speed went up to about 48 Mbps. She told me I was signed for only 50 Mbps. I told her I had been told 60 Mbps. Then she confirmed that they offer only 100 and 200 Mbps (so what was with the 50?).

I tested again (still ethernet) and the speed was well above 100! Upload speed was about 12 Mbps (they advertise 10 Mbps).

I tested several more times and it was consistently above 100. But disconnecting the ethernet and going back to wi-fi, my speed drops back to about 37 Mbps.

So I'm calling it a success for now. I'll at least save about $20/month.

Posted by: Ron at Nov 22, 2016 9:49:35 PM

I just want to let you know the obvious: after I installed their modem, there was no difference. My speed has not gone up to 60 Mbps.

Their modem is incredibly large and lightweight. It's mostly air. I wonder if they make it big so that clumsy American hands can repair it.

BTW, they don't charge extra for modem rental...which of course really means that every customer is paying for a modem whether they use their own or Spectrum's.

Posted by: Ron at Nov 22, 2016 9:23:00 PM

On November 14 the salesperson said my 60 Mbps would kick in on the 16th, but of course it did not. It still hasn't today, so I called Spectrum technical assistance.

After looking at my record the customer service rep said my order had been cancelled! Exactly the same thing that had happened before!

She went through many gyrations to try to get me set up again. She said I would have to get one of their modems for this, but then some systems issue prevented her from setting up the order for a modem, so she had to bounce me over to someone in sales.

He did manage to get me set up, and he actually gave me a phone number for my new service, which seemed significant. No one had done that before.

The promise now is that as soon as I get that modem hooked up, all will be fine.

Posted by: Ron at Nov 22, 2016 10:46:52 AM

So, update, I had $39/month 30mbps from TWC, I updated and then tried to downgrade and well nope, once you trade in your old system there's no go back, so I am stuck with the higher priced spectrum service. It does, however, come with the same stellar customer support that all TWC consumers are used to having.

Posted by: Craig at Nov 22, 2016 9:09:29 AM

Here it is now November 14 and Spectrum has called me out of the blue to make me an offer: $59.98 for internet and phone. Exactly the same as the fictional offer I got two weeks ago, but this time she didn't promise 100 Mbps, but only 60, which is still twice what I theoretically get (but which Spectrum has been having trouble delivering recently).

It will be interesting to see how the game plays out this time!

Posted by: Ron at Nov 14, 2016 12:42:03 PM

TWC and now Spectrum are running the same game. Every time I call them I feel like ‘ve just been f-cked. I do have to say their telephone support people/sales people do a great job, they explain everything around and around and by the end you just agree to get off the phone. It’s a mind-f-ck.
I have had the internet from TWC sense I have been in DHS. TWC kept sending me these up-grade and get $300 bucks. Fine print: you must be coming from another service provider. So that was a lie, then with spectrum, they have the upgrade for $30, but it’s $30 in addition to the original price. Then the upgrade with a bundle, and it must come with a tv box. (By the way, the boxes are all used, all refurbished and old, seem sh-tty to be forced to rent a used box, really, what have those boxes scene!) it’s a mess, for me I am going to have the tv box till end of November, then go back to the 30mpbs and be happy with it, no need to change up the speed is good.
I understand a little bit about this whole system, while I was waiting to replace the dead box that they sent to me. . . I overheard two older ladies talking about their internet and phone bills. There were paying for internet, Wi-Fi, router, telephone and it was just over $100/month. There were being taking advantage of, but I didn’t know what to say to tell them to correct their situation.
Spectrum is bad, Frontier is coming to DHS, but they want to lock up service with a 2-year agreement. What kind of crazy is that, 2 years? Who knows what the world will be like in 2 year, maybe google will come to DHS with the 1g service!

Posted by: Craug at Nov 7, 2016 8:54:15 AM

Hi Ron,
Ours was different, maybe a little better...

We finally decided to say bye-bye to Frontier, after our DSL was up and down four times a day for a week, and they couldn't seem to 'fix' it. We called Spectrum, and at the time (about a month ago) they had a special for internet only for about $35 at 100Mbs. They had to send a tech out to install it, though.

Their guy came out, but we didn't get WiFi, as we have a couple of wireless routers around here. He was here for a while, and we were all set up.

A few days later, Frontier started messing up our PHONE service, too! We decided to move that over to Spectrum as well.

Another tech comes out, moves our phone line from the DSL modem to their modem, we check everything, and we are back in service, now on Spectrum.

Another week goes by, and we get that big storm last week. I go to my computer, and I can't get on to anything. Neither can Pam. Support works with me (I do know a LITTLE about networks!) and we can't get the system to recognize our wireless router any more. We decide to bite the bullet, and have them turn the Wifi on. I move Pamela, the TVs and settop boxes to the new Wifi, and every thing looks much nicer!

(somewhere in here, we had another service call where they replaced our modem. May have been during the phone service appointment...)

We also had fun with billing. When we added the phone service, they CANCELED the special rate we had for the internet service, without telling us! Pam got to enjoy a three hour call getting THAT cleared up!

Finally, this week I suddenly found that I couldn't get on the internet again. Pamela could, though! Working through the support line, I finally found that the port on the modem I was using was bad!!!! I moved it, and I am now functioning normally!

Wonder what NEXT week will bring!

Posted by: CharlieE at Nov 4, 2016 3:54:44 PM

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