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Time Warner Cable Sued Over Modem Rental Fee
Two New Lawsuits Take Aim at $4 Fee
by Karl Bode 06:55PM Tuesday Nov 13 2012 Tipped by bbeesley See Profile
Time Warner Cable is facing two new lawsuits for their recent decision to impose a $4 cable modem rental fee on their customers. The lawsuits, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey and the Supreme Court of New York, insist that Time Warner Cable violated their own terms of service by not giving customers better advanced warning about the new fees. The lawsuits also allege that Time Warner Cable failed to adequately inform users that certain services, like the company's digital voice services, wouldn't work with a rented modem.

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"It's a massive hi-tech consumer fraud accomplished by low-tech methods," attorney Steven L. Wittels said in a statement said in a prepared statement to the press. "Send customers confusing notice of the fee in a junk mail postcard they’ll throw in the garbage, sock them with a $500 million dollar a year rate hike, then announce on your website that customer satisfaction is your #1 priority. That’s some way to deliver satisfaction."

The company announced the modem to significant criticism last month month, then added insult to injury by failing to adequately support users looking to buy their own modems, who often found themselves facing long hold times and lines in order to get their new modems connected. Time Warner Cable then stumbled painfully on the PR front, when asked to justify the price hike on the company's already pricey service.

Whether these lawsuits gain any traction remains unclear, as Time Warner Cable is one of dozens of ISPs to now include language in their TOS banning class actions, instead forcing subscribers with complaints to participate in binding arbitration, where a company hired by the ISP rules in the ISPs' favor more often than not.

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ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC

2 recommendations

Got a 1 day notice

Card showed up on 10/31. Bill came due on 11/1.

Though, I did already know about it thanks to BBR.

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Got a 1 day notice

I received no notice at all. I am setup for their automatic billing, and had I not seen the posts here, wouldn't have known about the new fee until I saw the increased charge on my debit card.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Re: Got a 1 day notice

They will issue you a one-month credit for the non-notice.
flycuban

join:2005-04-25
Homestead, FL

1 recommendation

Thats one bad side of auto-bill....They can charge you whatever, you won't see it, and is a pain in the ass to get them to refund anything once they have your money on their side... Many people don't even look at their bills to see exactly what they are being charged...

compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·HughesNet Satell..
·ooma
·Virgin Mobile Br..
·Charter

Re: Got a 1 day notice

LESSON LEARNED > > > Never pay any bills with auto-bill.

said by flycuban:

Thats one bad side of auto-bill....They can charge you whatever, you won't see it, and is a pain in the ass to get them to refund anything once they have your money on their side... Many people don't even look at their bills to see exactly what they are being charged...


Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Got a 1 day notice

said by compuguybna:

LESSON LEARNED > > > Never pay any bills with auto-bill.

said by flycuban:

Thats one bad side of auto-bill....They can charge you whatever, you won't see it, and is a pain in the ass to get them to refund anything once they have your money on their side... Many people don't even look at their bills to see exactly what they are being charged...

Here in Austin, if you are an internet only TW customer, auto-pay is mandatory.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Got a 1 day notice

The Midwest is as well now if you don't want to pay for them to ship your modem/install fees. Which account from anywhere from $19.99 and on up to the first bill.

dalion

@rr.com
not true, i am in austin and use only internet with twc

Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Re: Got a 1 day notice

said by dalion :

not true, i am in austin and use only internet with twc

And you are able to manually pay your bill each month?

jimk
Premium
join:2006-04-15
Raleigh, NC
I received the notice by mail about a week after the new charge appeared on my bill. Of course, I already knew about it from this site and several others.

kontos
xyzzy

join:2001-10-04
West Henrietta, NY

Re: Got a 1 day notice

Me Too!
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

1 recommendation

Support

TWC Mid-Ohio/Midwest has notified their customers (when activating new modems or even calling to ask about support) that you will not receive the same level of support that you do with a rented modem. You are told that you are provided the same level of support as if you were using your own router and would not remove it when in need of support. They do a very brief troubleshooting session and then that is it if they can see your modem. Mid-Ohio/Mid-West also informs their customers that they reserve to charge a $50 truck roll fee (which has been in place since Columbus/Central Ohio merged with WOH to create Mid-Ohio) if the problem is found to be on your end and not theirs. Most of this is buried in the terms of service and AUPs. Also TWC and RoadRunner operate from TWO different policies for both. RR has their own and then TWC has their own. the RoadRunner policy also states they have an invisible cap and can enforce it without TWC as RR is the ISP.

jimk
Premium
join:2006-04-15
Raleigh, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit

Re: Support

Did you hear this from Tier 3 support? If so, I would be surprised. Tier 3 support normally have the tools and the skills to actually diagnose issues rather than just reboot the modem and schedule a tech visit if that doesn't work.

If you're dealing with someone that can't or won't help you, try asking for the case to be escalated, or hang up and call back.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Support

You do not talk to Tier 3 support unless you put a ticket in to actually speak with them. Also they can have all the tools they want, but in the end they could have done that with routers as well. But they refused.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
That is 100% baloney. If the modem is on the supported list (and even if it is not) you will receive the same service as the person that shells out $4/month for a device lease. The $4 is not a warranty or service contract, and there is a BIG difference--its a device lease. That is what that extra $7 they are concocting is for.

All level 1 does anyways is minimal troubleshooting, so lets not stop the presses.

In the 10 years I had TWC I ALWAYS owned my cable modem (remember when they were free with signup guys -- REALLY , and not once EVER did they not diagnose the issue. In fact the first thing they do is pull data from the CM. Every service call ended up being some hack contractor not running the cable from the tap properly and you know Buffalo winters kill anything with metal (thankfully I have fiber now).

Of course they reserve the right to charge $50 for a truck roll, and they find out your CM is the culprit, it doesn't mean they will. But the chances of that happening are SO slim. Most of the issues are signal and maybe device firmware, which if the CM is on the supported list, they can push from the comfort of their fingertip.

Now maybe your area is some commie CMA of TWC (through acquisition), but in WNY no such issues exist.

My point is buy the cable modem, save yourself from putting money under some executives bed, and sleep well at night. No boogeyman is coming.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: Support

That is not true for MidWest. The supported list only gives them the permission to update your bin file as needed an the firmware, techs will tell you this that work in the Midwest region.

Chances are in that 10 years you may have had Adelphia as well, that allowed their customers to purchase their own modems or pay a fee. TWC never charged their customers a fee until recently, which by the way is still $2.50 in the Midwest.

On another note- how would you know the practices of the MW area if you're from NY? You would not be under the same requirements as far as support unless its in the default AUP/TOS that TWC and RR use across the board.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Support

Not entirely true.

They ALWAYS charged a fee for the modem. It just use to be a part of the price and thus was hidden in there.

This is the EXACT same thing as a below the line fee. Take things that were originally included in your X price, create a new line item for them, make up a number in profits you want to increase, add that as the charge Y all while keeping the original price the same so now you have X price + Y surcharge.

Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

What can you buy with 4 bucks?

6 pack of beer?
A pack of smokes?
A meal at a fast food joint?
Maybe a gallon of gas or a little more?
A movie rental?

Yes, the fee sucks, but is it worth suing over, as the lawyers are the ones who win and TW will just raise rates to cover the damages and court fees. As well as to keep collecting the 4 dollars [only this time it will be hidden in the regular subscription price, instead of a separate charge]
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.

JigglyWiggly

join:2009-07-12
Pleasanton, CA

Re: What can you buy with 4 bucks?

??
With that mentality companies will just keep shitting on you.
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT
said by Snakeoil:

6 pack of beer?
A pack of smokes?
A meal at a fast food joint?
Maybe a gallon of gas or a little more?
A movie rental?

What can you buy with $48? Because that's how much you're paying a year to rent the modem from TWC.

Besides, the fee is $4 a month, now. When have you ever known a cable company not to raise rates? A couple years from now, it might be $5, then $6. Before you know it, people are being charged $10 a month for the modem.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

Re: What can you buy with 4 bucks?

said by Rekrul:

said by Snakeoil:

6 pack of beer?
A pack of smokes?
A meal at a fast food joint?
Maybe a gallon of gas or a little more?
A movie rental?

What can you buy with $48? Because that's how much you're paying a year to rent the modem from TWC.

Besides, the fee is $4 a month, now. When have you ever known a cable company not to raise rates? A couple years from now, it might be $5, then $6. Before you know it, people are being charged $10 a month for the modem.

$4 is actually one of the lower modem rental fees that I know of.
Most of them are some stupid number like $7 or $9!! Total freaking ripoff and I hope they get their a**es sued off, even if I'm not a one of their customers!
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/

AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

1 edit
said by Rekrul:

What can you buy with $48?

How much does a modem cost retail?
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--

unknvoip
RIP goose
Premium
join:2006-07-25
Rochester, NY
kudos:1

Re: What can you buy with 4 bucks?

$80-$130 depending on the model.

unknvoip
RIP goose
Premium
join:2006-07-25
Rochester, NY
kudos:1

Modem Fee added, balancing amount reduced from service fee

Got my bill for November. I'n on the $54.99 Standard plan. My $3.95 modem fee is listed, but my Standard tier is billed at $51.04 this month. Anyone else see this on their bill?

Pbufs

@rr.com

Re: Modem Fee added, balancing amount reduced from service fee

My guess is that they are avoiding rocking the boat for customers who pay the non-promotional rates. You can actually call them and try to negotiate for the Standard promotional rate of $29.99 a month for 12 months, at which point I suspect they will charge you $3.95 modem lease fee on top of that. It's easier to negotiate if you can find another cable modem provider with a promotion that you can switch to if they don't give you the promotional rate.

Twsux

@rr.com

Tw modem scam

I was told I would need to purchase my own modem to avoid Time Warner's stupid $4 monthly bs modem fee. I did just that. $50 bucks and several days of poor tech support and no Internet service later, I find out about this scam. Good job Time Warner - take advantage of your customers while charging your astronomical prices for poor service, poor equipment and lies! I want my $50 bucks! I think I hear FIOS calling....

Brainwaste

@rr.com

Re: Tw modem scam

Modem fee is just a TOTAL RIPOFF!! Fight the system!

Compcond

@rr.com

$3.95/mo modem rental fee

Pissed: yes.

On the other hand I bought a Motorola 6141 for $125 from Amazon, received it yesterday and it was up last night. MUCH better performance than the rented Cisco.

Don't know if I'm on a different VLAN with the DOCSIS 3 modem or what but the Cisco gave me 25Mb, then 12, then 18, then 6, then 22. Motorola is 20Mb. Always 20Mb.
mrbi8b0

join:2012-11-15
Raleigh, NC

2 edits

not unexpected

This should come as no surprise. TWC, like all MSOs are in business to make money; with rising costs of operations and the huge overhead that was taken-on by upgrading most (if not all) areas to DOCSIS-3 (both at the Head End and at the user end) that cost needs to be offset... by charging a modem lease fee. TWC has been discarding DOCSIS-1 and DOCSIS-2 modems at an astounding rate and is only purchasing new DOCSIS-3 modems.

TWC customers pay STB lease fees and now there is a modem lease fee; unlike STBs, modems can be purchased to have the lease fee waived.

Regarding any service issues, for Customer-Owned modems, TWC will ensure that the downstream/upstream RF signal going to the modem is good and usable, beyond that is a customer-owned issue, just like customer-owned routers (the lease fee pays for support of troubleshooting/replacing the leased modem as Home Networking fees pay for support of wireless networking).

Regarding what modems are supported, TWC's corporate website has a list of supported modems and will likely support that their customers can purchase the same modems that they lease-out.

Regarding TWC's Digital Home Phone VoIP service, there is no fee for the use of a TWC-provided eMTA, however, TWC does not support customer-owned eMTAs for the use of VoIP service (all VoIP customers will be provided with eMTA free of charge).

TWC is a business, not public service, not a charity; TWC is in business to make money. Cable, Internet and Phone are premium luxury services and therefore to any business providing them, a premium fee is due, just like your cell phone.

Voodooman

@rr.com

What can we do?

I don't think that the problem is so much about the $4 raise but more about how sneaky and unjust the rental fee is. Are we going to allow such conduct and how far are we willing to fight back?. I found out that new customers can get the same Standard service for only $29.99 for a whole year. Therefore, you could have them disconnect the service for 90 days and then reconnect it with the promotion price and keep doing that every year instead of paying $60 reg. rate. As for me, I decided to live with my unlimited t-mobile 4G network on my Galaxy S3 and with that my friends I hit 2 birds with one stone... teach the company a leason to respect customers and honor prices and save $60/month. Good luck to you all.

don456fff

@rr.com

phone and chat jammed

What a joke. I have phone through TWC and their FAQ states I will need another modem from them to continue my phone service. Chat and voice support is jammed with long waits.
Benji32

join:2012-11-28
Horseheads, NY

Re: phone and chat jammed

See my latest poist today
Benji32

join:2012-11-28
Horseheads, NY

confusion

Hi,Can someone help me out here.I currently have a 3 banger system,phone,internet,&TV via the Arris TM502G thingamabob.Is it,the Arris thing, going to be labeled the eMTA, or am I going to get a new one?If so, am I paying a lease fee for something I don't even have?
Benji32

join:2012-11-28
Horseheads, NY

Re: confusion

Gonna answer my own question with newly supported data.The "approved list" are all ethernet devices, NOT PHONE. I/you will continue to use the existing one for phone, you/I won't get a new one!Unless you're a "streaming,gamer" will it be economical to buy your own. I personally don't think so! I may be dead or have switched to Directv within 2 years .