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Cable Wars

I continue to battle with Time-Warner Cable on the matter of my mother's cable TV service. A day or two after she passed away in early October, I phoned up to have it turned off. Within another day or two, her cable feed ceased but the billing did not. They continued to debit her credit card for a month or two until I noticed and called up and said…well, pretty much what you'd expect me to say. In response, I was told I did not have the power to cancel her cable TV service. I had the power to cancel her other utilities. I had the power to cancel her bank accounts and move all her assets into mine. I even had the power to sell her house, which I think we're doing this weekend. But turn off her HBO? Nope. I would have to fax or bring in a copy of her Death Certificate, they said.

I said I had not yet received her Death Certificate. They said they would have to keep billing her until I got it and brought it in but they once they had proof, they would terminate service and refund whatever had been paid since her passing. I pointed out they had already terminated service; that we were being billed for a service we no longer received. They told me no, the cable was still active. Since there's no longer a TV in that home, it wouldn't be easy for me to go back and check but at the time I took the TV out, the cable was not functioning like a good cable should.

I canceled her credit card (something I had to do anyway) so they could no longer bill her phantom cable service to it. They began sending her larger and larger bills with attached threats, the main threat being that they would turn off her cable TV and there would be a substantial penalty for later reinstating it. Still, I need to get this cleared up. When I finally obtained Death Certificates, I carried a copy over to a Time-Warner office where I got a lot of blank stares and employees wondering why I was handing them something like that. I explained and a nice-but-bewildered lady behind the counter went off to ask a supervisor to supervise her handling of this crazy person who had for some reason brought in information about his dead mother. The supervisor came over, looked at the account info on a computer, then asked me if I was there to make a payment.

I told her no, I wasn't. She warned me that I was in danger of having my cable TV turned off. I told her it wasn't mine and they'd already done that, then I explained all about the Death Certificate. She said no, service was still on at that address…and her evidence of that seemed to be that I was still receiving bills for it. Finally, she called someone somewhere and discovered I knew what I was talking about — admittedly a rarity in my life but oddly undeniable in this case. They accepted the paper and said they'd forward it to the appropriate department which could cancel the billing and issue a refund.

Apparently, they did forward it to that person but when I got another bill yesterday and called up about it, I was told that that person was on vacation and would act on it shortly. Being "on vacation" is not an excuse for you not paying your bill but it is an excuse for them not issuing a refund.

Somehow, I doubt this will be cleared up soon. I've decided it's not at all about shutting off my mother's cable service. I've decided it's a plot by the Time-Warner Corporation to get even with me for conning DC Comics into publishing Fanboy.