Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Time-Warner cable: "We're stupid and we don't have any reasons for it."

I got fed up with not being able to access Time-Warner hotspots, which we're supposed to have access to as part of being a Time-Warner cable Internet customer.  I wind up dealing with this when there's a hotspot where I happen to be, and it breaks the iPhone's Internet connectivity.  The iPhone will automatically connect to an "open" Wi-Fi network, and then sit there stupidly even though you can't get data through it; it's supposed to fall back to cellular, but it doesn't.  Longstanding iPhone bug.

So instead of manually deactivating Wi-Fi all the time, I figured I'd enter my credentials on the TWC log-in page and be done with it.  But this page demands that you log in with an E-mail address (we all know by now how stupid that is).  Even worse is that the E-mail address it wants is the auto-generated one that's associated with your account internally at Time-Warner, in the form of "".  How the hell would I know what that is?  And of course there's no way to find out what it is AT THE HOTSPOT, because you inexplicably can't gain access to your account.

You can't even use the password-reset option, because...

If only we could follow that instruction.

And when you come home, you can't use the hotspot help because you're not accessing it through a hotspot.  RETARDED.  So I tried to contact TWC about this, but their "contact us" link goes to a 404. This is an Internet access provider:

So I had to resort to the online chat.  Here's the illuminating transcript of my chat with a Time-Warner rep (this was my third chat session after being escalated, after two phone calls and three E-mails and probably an hour and a half).

Rodney:    Hello! Thank you for choosing Road Runner Internet Technical Chat Support. My name is Rodney, I will help you.
Rodney:    How are you doing today?

ME:    I am a bit tired of dealing with TWC.

Rodney:    I am sorry to know that.
Rodney:    We really apologize for the inconvenience.

ME:    Well, let's get it resolved.
ME:    First off, your "contact us" link is broken, and has been broken for some time.  How does this go unaddressed?

Rodney:    We are aware of it and our engineers are working on it to fix this issue.

ME:    Second, I have repeatedly tried to use TWC wi-fi hotspots, and I m asked for credentials that I had no way of knowing.
ME:    The log-in page demands the auto-generated E-mail address that is associated with my account, but gives you no way to find out what it is.

What you see when you try to use a Time-Warner hotspot.

Rodney:    I will provide you with the necessary information.
Rodney:    In order to access TWC Wi-FI you need to use Primary Road Runner email address and the password.

ME:    I have the information now.  Not yesterday when I was in a seminar and needed Web access.
ME:    I have never seen this E-mail address before, and I do not use it to access my account.  Why on earth do I need to use it at a hotspot?

Rodney:    I understand your concern, in order to access TWC Hotspot you need to use Road Runner email address and the passwords. This is for TWC customers only.

ME:    Why can't I use the same credentials I use to access my account at home?

Rodney:    Here is the reason:  you need to use Primary Email address and the Password to access TWC Hotspots.

ME:    You're simply repeating the problem.  WHY?  I NEVER use (or even knew) that E-mail address, and yet every month I can log into TWC and pay my bill, change services, and see my personal info.
ME:    I have a log-in ID with Time-Warner cable, and yet I can't use this to log into its hotspots.  WHY?

Rodney:    We can't use it. We can't use My-Servics account login information to access TWC Hotspots. It won't work. Only Road Runner email address and the password works with TWC Hotspot.

ME:    WHY?

Rodney:    We do not have any reasons for it. TWC Hotspots are designed in such a way that, users can only login with there Road Runner email address and the password. It is a default thing. We can't change it.

ME:    But users have no way of knowing WHAT that E-mail address is.  It's auto-generated by Time-Warner.  The hotspot page gives you no way to find out what it is.  This is asinine.

Rodney:    I will provide you with the Road Runner email address and the password

ME:    That doesn't help people AFTER THE FACT, now does it?  I'm not at the hotspot anymore.  I couldn't access it.
ME:    And then when you come home, the TWC hotspot page says you can't access it from home.

Rodney:    We can only access TWC Hotspots when you are outside the home and near to the TWC Hotspot. We can't access it from home.
Rodney:    I will report your feedback to our higher levels and make sure they will look into it.

ME:    OK. Thanks.

And this was after an even dumber E-mail exchange.  Here was my initial support inquiry and TW's follow-up:

Question: I have repeatedly set up a TWC Wi-Fi user ID. It doesn't work.

Your online help chat DOESN'T WORK. Your "support" link on the TWCWiFi log-in page goes BACK TO THE LOG-IN PAGE.

And if I go home to try to get support from my Time-Warner cable connection, I'm told I can't get support for TWCWiFi through my regular connection. So how am I supposed to use TWC hotspots? I'm tired of this month after month.

Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable, Road Runner email Support.

I will assist you with the information.
To login to wifi hot spot, follow the steps:-

1. Use your device's wireless connection finder to locate TWCWiFi (SSID) hotspots nearby. Consult our Coverage Map if the TWCWiFi does not appear.
2. Connect to TWCWifi and a sign-in page will appear.
3. Enter your Road Runner email address and password.
4. Agree to the terms of service.
5. Click on Sign In.

Yep: When I told Time-Warner I couldn't log into a hotspot, they told me to log into a hotspot.