Goodbye, Time Warner Cable: What Subscribers Should Know

time-warner-cable

Say goodbye to Time Warner, and hello to Charter.

Time Warner Cable, holder of the worst customer-service score in any industry, according to a 2015 survey, is being phased out, spokesperson Alex Dudley told Bloomberg on Wednesday. The much-maligned brand will be a victim of Charter Communications Inc.’s $55.1 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc., which closes this week. The deal was announced last year.

In the coming months, Charter will transition Time Warner Cable and Bright House to Spectrum, its own cable TV and broadcast services. It’ll take awhile, so customers won’t notice any changes right away. That said, Charter is acquiring about 16 million Time Warner Cable subscribers in markets like New York and Los Angeles, and about 2.5 million Bright House customers in states like Florida, Bloomberg reported.

Credit.com reached out to Time Warner Cable for comment on whether the change will affect automatic payments, but hadn’t heard back at press time.

As with any change to a service provider, it’s smart to keep track of payments throughout the transition to avoid being hit with late charges or, worse, missing a bill altogether, which can be reported to the credit bureaus and lower your credit score. You should also keep an eye on your mail for an important notifications about your plan.

Remember, if you ever switch cable providers, you should check your credit before shopping around. Many companies require credit checks and waive certain fees or offer better packages to those with good credit. You can see where you stand by viewing your two free credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com. If your score’s in bad shape, you may be able to fix it by disputing errors on your credit reports, paying down high credit card balances and limiting credit inquiries in the short-term.

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Image: Craig McCausland

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Can Canceling a Credit Card Stop Automatic Monthly Payments?

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Q. I canceled a credit card to stop a company from making auto-renewal charges I couldn’t get them to stop. I’ve heard that businesses can search for other credit cards in your name and charge that. Is that true?
— Debtor

A. Auto-renewal charges seem convenient, but when you want the charges to stop, some companies aren’t exactly responsive and helpful.

Canceling a card to avoid auto-renewals isn’t the answer. It may hurt your credit score, and the debt the company says you owe won’t simply vanish. (By regularly reviewing your credit, which you can do for free every month on Credit.com, you can see how active and closed accounts affect your credit scores.)

No business can simply charge a credit card – especially one having nothing to do with a debt – without the consent of a cardholder, said Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and author of “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.”

Levin summarizes what the business can and can’t do.

“If you have an existing credit relationship with a business they can run a credit check on you and learn about other credit card relationships you have and your payment patterns and debt load,” Levin said.

Or, they can sue you and if they win, they can get a judgment.

“They can move to enforce the judgment in a variety of ways against your assets (lien, etc.), or your wages (garnishment – states have specific requirements and processes) but they cannot simply find another credit card and charge it,” he said.

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Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund

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