Dear Benjamin

Time Warner Cable tries to make a price hike sound like a discount in this jaw-dropping letter

June 29, 2014
June 29, 2014
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In a week when Aereo lost to established broadcasters in a Supreme Court battle, a letter from your cable provider about a hike in your monthly internet bill can feel like adding insult to injunction. But I almost have to salute whoever wrote this letter from Time Warner Cable, which I received last week:

Dear Benjamin,

We hope you’ve been enjoying your special monthly promotional rate. Currently, you pay a total of $44.98 per month, which includes your promotion and any additional services and equipment you’ve ordered. As this promotion is set to end soon, your next bill would reflect the current standard rate of $63.98 per month.

As a thank you for your continued business, we’d like to extend you another special offer on you services.

When your promotional rate comes to an end on July 7, 2014, you’ll keep enjoying the services you love for a total of $55.98* per month–that’s still a savings of $8.00 per month off the standard rate. You new monthly price includes a promotion that will expire on May 27, 2015.

No action is required—this great new rate will begin automatically with your next bill.

Thank you for being a valued Time Warner Cable Customer.

Sincerely,
Time Warner Cable

The rates in this letter are for internet service only, it should be noted.

Customers of Time Warner Cable in New York City might know the drill here. What you sometimes can do as a TWC customer is call the customer service line and haggle until you’re offered the same rate or a smaller increase. But then you’ve spent hours of your life on hold or asking for a manager. The only company that seems to have a customer service reputation more abysmal than TWC is the company that wants to buy it. No, seriously, Time Warner Cable and Comcast are apparently the worst.

Admittedly, Time Warner Cable is an easy target. But this letter is a perfect example of everything that feels inhuman about the cable industry, which increasingly seems to be on the opposite side of the consumer when it comes to policy and access. This letter reads like a piece of satire from Douglas Adams. But, sadly, it’s real.

You can listen to Ben’s podcast at Marketplace Tech or on iTunes. He’s @thebrockjohnson on Twitter.

Check out Glass for more on the future of TV.

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