by Rene Villaroman/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed a civil law enforcement action against Time Warner Cable Inc. alleging that following the company’s 2006 take-over of almost all cable services in the Los Angeles area, it engaged in deceptive business practices and false advertising. This made LA customers suffer months of cable television and Internet outages, substandard technical and customer service and improper price increases. This was announced on Thursday, June 5, by Cindy J. Shin, Communications Deputy of the Office of L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
“We’re bringing this civil law enforcement action against Time Warner Cable because the company has broken multiple laws, and harmed countless Los Angeles consumers,” said Delgadillo. “Time Warner Cable must be held accountable for illegally deceiving and ripping off its subscribers.”
The complaint also alleges that Time Warner Cable engaged in fraudulent acts and business practices resulting in customers paying more for cable television services than they were led to believe; experiencing successive service outages; spending hours on the telephone before reaching a customer service representative or sometimes never being able to reach a customer service representative at all; having their livelihoods affected by Internet outages and poor Internet service; and being billed for substandard service or services they had cancelled all together.
The complaint was filed by the City Attorney’s Special Litigation Branch, outlines false and misleading misrepresentations made by Time Warner Cable beginning in and around the time of the acquisition of Adelphia Communications and an asset-swapping deal with Comcast Cable in Southern California in August 2006. They include guaranteeing customers prices would not go up, when in fact, the company shifted certain channels previously offered as part of a basic television subscriptions that required an additional monthly payment. Time Warner also guaranteed no interruption in service, yet experienced tremendous outages, as evidenced by an almost 75 per cent increase in calls by customers complaining about cable television outages.
The complaint also details how Time Warner Cable customer service routinely failed to comply with the City of L.A. Subscriber Service Standards which regulate customer service for cable television corporations, including maximum 30-second wait time for cable television customer service representatives over the phone. Following the acquisition, Time Warner Cable customers were also subjected to lengthy wait times to speak with customer service representatives, encountered unknowledgeable and rude representatives and were often unable to report poor cable television or Internet service or outages, according to complaints received by the City.
The City’s Subscriber Service Standards also require cable companies to make repairs within 24 hours of notification. In fact, according to customer complaints, Time Warner technicians also consistently arrived late or failed to show up to fix outages and other problems with cable and Internet service.