Patches of Fog
Time Warner Cable is now Spectrum Cable, and in the weeks ahead you should be seeing faster internet speeds, improved customer service, and other benefits.
But some customers are asking why their bill is already going up, just days after the switchover.
It turns out it may be their Viacom channels raising their bill, such as Nickelodeon, which kids love for SpongeBob SquarePants.
Why Are Bills Suddenly Higher?
Sheila Topmiller is one of four viewers who contacted 9 on Your Side about a sudden January cable rate hike.
The Northern Kentucky woman depends on her cable TV, as she takes care of 3 grandkids in her home, and PBS and Nick programming helps entertain one child while she is busy teaching another.
But she wonders if she can still afford her full cable package, after receiving her first bill from the new Charter/Spectrum Cable.
"'It went up from $152 to $180," she said, " which is a $28 rate hike in one month," she said.
So why is her new Spectrum bill almost $30 higher, for the exact same service and programming she had before?
Topmiller called, and learned that her Time Warner promo package had expired, and that Spectrum no longer negotiates lower promo deals for existing customers.
"They said you are not eligible for for the super low rate, because it is for new customers only," she said.
Spectrum Explains New Rate Plans
Spectrum tells us you should not see any change in your bill until your current Time Warner promotional deal expires.
That could be this fall, that could be this summer, or unfortunately that could be this month, which is what happened here.
Spectrum spokesman Michael Pedelty told us last week your rates could go down because internet modems are no longer extra.
"It's actually less money when you factor in there is no modem fee," he said. "No data caps, no contract to sign, no modem fees."
In addition, he says, tiers have been greatly simplified, into just three different bundles. Some customers will see their rates drop as as result.
The problem, though, is that many Viacom-owned channels, which recently raised rates charged of cable providers, are only on Spectrum's highest tier, called its "Gold Package."
Those channels requiring you to purchase the highest tier (channels which used to be part of Time Warner's cheaper Standard tier) include:
Some of those channels have sub-channels that you will still find on the more basic plans. But Sheila Topmiller says "you have to subscribe all the way to the highest plan to get Nickelodeon."
Still want Sponge Bob Square Pants? You will have to pay more for a tier that includes HBO and Starz, which leaves Topmiller and many others wondering if they will keep those channels, or cut back and say goodbye to Bikini Bottom forever.
As always, don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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