Current Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 11:11:17 -0400
A new Time Warner Cable cable modem fee is sparking outrage among some of its customers.
The company’s internet customers are now paying $3.95 a month to rent their router from the company.
Until November, the router was provided for free.
“That’s almost $48 a year, which is essentially two bar tabs,” said UNC junior David Wilkinson, who is a Time Warner Cable customer.
Time Warner Cable already charges a fee to rent set top boxes for cable TV.
Keith Poston, Time Warner Cable’s Eastern North Carolina director of communications, said the fee applies to most Internet customers, and 500,000 customers in the Triangle area have been affected by it.
He said there are a few exempted customers who either have a price-lock guarantee or are SignatureHome customers, who buy premium TV, phone and Internet packages.
He said the increasing costs of servicing and upgrading modems caused the company to decide to charge a fee.
“We want to be able to provide the best services to our customers,” Poston said. “This fee will allow us to continue to provide the best service to our customers.”
Poston said other providers already charge fees for cable modems.
“We mailed out postcards in advance so they knew it was coming and sent a website link giving customers options to purchase a modem on their own,” Poston said.
But UNC junior Bradley Kirby, a Time Warner Cable customer, said he received no postcard or other form of notification about the fee.Kirby lives on Old Pittsboro Street in Chapel Hill and bought his own modem to avoid paying the fee.
But he said the company installed its modem anyway and charged him the fee.
Poston said if customers use the Time Warner Cable modem, it will be replaced and upgraded if there is ever a problem. The company will not do the same for customers who buy their own modem.
Several class action lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey and New York against the company for implementing the fee.
Kirby said he will not attempt to fight the fee because he is frustrated by Time Warner Cable’s customer service.
He said dealing with Time Warner Cable has been the worst experience he has ever had with any company.
“I don’t even feel like fighting it at this point,” Kirby said.
He said when he first became a customer, the company charged him more than three times as much as was advertised for cable and internet.
“I spent 10 hours on the phone with Time Warner customer service just to get the price down to any reasonable level,” Kirby said.He said he would switch providers, but Time Warner Cable has a monopoly on high speed internet in the area.
“It’s unfair any time you’re charging someone without notifying them and offering explicit alternatives but that’s how they make their money,” Kirby said.
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