Print 61 comment(s) - last by GlassHouse69.. on Jun 10 at 12:49 AM

City officials are fed up

“Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ripped off,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, referring to a complaint against Time Warner Cable regarding the quality of its service that the company provided since its installment as Southern California’s No. 1 cable provider two years ago.

“Time Warner must be held accountable for its promises.”

According to the soon-to-be-filed complaint, the City of Los Angeles says Time Warner made false and misleading statements to subscribers regarding its quality of service, violating state laws and the terms of the franchise agreement it worked out with the city. Subscribers spend time waiting in agonizingly long hold queues, the city says, and Time Warner’s technicians subjected subscribers to excessive repair work delays. Parts of the agreement mandated that Time Warner customer service representatives answer subscribers’ calls “within 30 seconds,” and repair service interruptions within 24 hours of notification.

The city says it will file its suit in a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Time Warner Cable provided no immediate comment.

Officials in the city of Costa Mesa, California – less than an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles’ – are mulling similar plans in light of Los Angeles’ announcement.

“I requested a copy of the city of Los Angeles’ filing so that I can assess if we need to pursue action of our own,” said Costa Mesa City Attorney Kimberley Hall Barlow.

Los Angeles officials say that Time Warner could pay “tens of millions of dollars” in fines if courts rule against it.

Time Warner Cable is the exclusive cable provider for a number of Southern California markets, including the aforementioned Costa Mesa. While there exists competition in Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable remains the dominant provider after it acquired the bankrupted Adelphia Communications with fellow provider Comcast in 2006, and arranged for a complex franchise switch that allowed the two to dominate separate markets.

The Los Angeles Times notes that the Adelphia transition was difficult due to a need to upgrade and merge with Adelphia’s aging infrastructure, affecting nearly 500,000 subscribers.

Los Angeles’ lawsuit specifically focuses on service issues starting during fall 2006 and ending in spring of 2007, citing advertising literature that gave subscribers the impression that pricing would remain the same. One brochure promised customers that Time Warner would fix service interruptions “fast,” when instead technicians would consistently show up for appointments late.

In the end, however, the city is angry with Time Warner’s lousy service overall. The company’s cable and internet service “was so intermittent and inferior in quality that it was not much better than no service at all,” says the suit.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes recently announced plans to jettison Time Warner Cable, spinning it off into an independent company in order to raise Time Warner’s sagging stock price. The company is also experimenting with a metered internet service model, opening test markets with a 40 GB cap in Texas.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Fnoob on 6/6/2008 7:27:07 PM , Rating: 0
Errr, shatty service doesn't have to be paid for. It's optional. Opt out.

Or litigate, why not! Our gov't today actually had 48 senators actually vote to approve a spending bill that included ~$230 BILLION to help assist wildlife adjust to the effects of global warming. Granted, that is the insane, soon to be majority mindset, of our legislative branch (it will pass sometime after Nov). Surely in LA of all places (OJ?), our judicial branch will prove to throw some gas on the insanity by giving people money for paying for something that they don't like. Personally, I'm going to move there and then sue McDonald's because they make me buy those damn McNuggets I hate so much.


RE: Litigation?
By bodar on 6/6/2008 8:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
Time Warner Cable is the exclusive cable provider for a number of Southern California markets, including the aforementioned Costa Mesa.

And if neither DSL or FiOS are in their area? Yay, dialup! I thought it was 2008, not 1998. Your McDonald's analogy is worthless, since you can easily take your business to a competing fast-food place.

RE: Litigation?
By Fnoob on 6/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Litigation?
By bodar on 6/7/2008 6:13:25 AM , Rating: 5
Try reading the article next time. The customers aren't suing, the local government that TWC signed a contract with is. Guess what you do when someone doesn't hold up their end of a contract? You sue them.

Providers, in many cases, literally bought the "right" to be the only game in town. They signed a franchise agreement that says they agree to give a certain level of service, and in exchange, they got exclusive rights to that area, so that they could recoup the cost of implementing broadband more quickly. They need to either provide that level of service at a reasonable price or GTFO, simple as that.

RE: Litigation?
By jeff834 on 6/7/2008 6:44:09 PM , Rating: 1
The people weren't forced to pay for cable this is a factual statement. HOWEVER, they DID pay for this service and did NOT get what they paid for. Even if this was a lawsuit by Time Warner customers they might have a case on breach of contract. It is in fact a lawsuit by the city of LA and my bet is TW seriously breached their contract and will lose. And on a side note, even if they were just incompetent failing to hold up your side of a bargain is still breach of contract. This isn't a question of whether or not people are entitled to broadband it's a question of whether or not one party held up their side of a legal contract by providing what was paid for.

Your argument is that if you pay for something someone else doesn't think is necessary and you get screwed you're out of luck. That is just plain retarded.

To use your ridiculous analogy: What if you bought a double quarter pounder from McDs and there was only one patty? Would you not bring it back and ask for a replacement? Fact is people don't get what they ordered rather frequently in fast food and the place in question be it McDs, BK, Wendys, etc will happily replace your item for you. Now try going into a TW location and asking for the hours upon hours of service they failed to provide you and see how fast they laugh you out the door.

RE: Litigation?
By Fnoob on 6/6/2008 9:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
Admittedly it is sad but true - US broadband sucks large eggs compared to other, less WWF influenced countries.

RE: Litigation?
By mmc4587 on 6/7/2008 12:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
true dat

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
Related Articles

Most Popular ArticlesTop 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki