James writes:

Here is a letter I just mailed off. I hope it may be of some comfort to anyone who has tried to deal with the frustrations of Time Warner.

TO: Arnold Diaz, CBS2 NEWS, "Shame"
CC: Glenn A. Britt, President and CEO, Time Warner Cable
CC: Edward Adler, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications Time Warner Inc.

Dear 'Shame,'

You know what company needs to be shamed? Time Warner's cable internet business. Our cable modem has been out for nearly a month, with no hope of restoration in sight. The situation has left my wife in tears.

My wife and I are both writers. We rely on our cable modem to write and do research at home. My wife works from a home office. We are recently married (August 26), and so we also like to share our wedding photographs with friends and family. As my wife's brother and his family live in Spain, this is an especially sad state of affairs. We truly do rely on the cable modem to share images and stay close with him. Our videographer just today sent us a link to our wedding movie, but we can't even see this in the comfort of our own home. It's been this way for nearly a month because Time Warner is incapable of fixing our cable internet service--and it *is* for lack of trying.

Never have I encountered worse business practices this side of the Eastern Bloc.

The most frustrating part is Time Warner's endless timeframe. Once you get through on the telephone, which can take an hour, the people are friendly, but we've now gone through three service appointments (and probably 12 hours of waiting around--you know, "be at your apartment between the hours of 8am and 5pm"). On one occasion the repairman never made it to our apartment, and lied to dispatch that we weren't home to receive his telephone call. As we were waiting patiently by the telephone all day, this added insult to injury. Now through three additional visits, each repairman says the problem is the responsibility of some other Time Warner division, speaks of a cryptic 'plant' problem, and so off we go to the back of the line for another repair, another week.

In most businesses, if a repairman can't fix something one day, he or she comes back and fixes it the next. Not so with Time Warner.

Is there anything that can be done about this? My wife Dara and I are at our wit's end. If it weren't for my rabbit-ear antennae, we wouldn't even get CBS2.

I have taken the trouble of CCing two executives at Time Warner, who may not be aware that their company is not a public utility.

Best wishes,

And thanks,

James Panero and Dara Mandle

We await a response....

Dara writes:

...after waiting for weeks, this morning, Friday, September 29th, just before noon, our waiting ordeal ended. James emailed his letter to Time Warner executives and to Arnold Diaz of CBS's "Shame" series last night. This morning, James arrived at his office to two voice messages, one at 9:05am, the other at 9:20am, from Dana Stein, TW's Tech Operations Manager, and from David Rodriguez, a head plant guy. At 10:15am, a tech guy showed up at James' office, and was redirected to our home. At 11am, three TW reps, David Rodriguez, Ron Inse, a plant foreman, and Albert, a tech guy, arrived at our apartment to get the job done.

And get the job done they did. The problem was two-fold. An amplifier needed to be removed and wires in the neighborhood needed to be checked. David, Ron, and Albert could not have been nicer or more professional. I wish I could say the same about Time Warner.

First, the tech guy they originally sent us, two weeks ago, told us the problem was not in our apartment, which it clearly was. Second, TW's structure and mode of operations are weak and ineffective. As nice as David, Ron, and Albert were, it would be nicer if TW were more proactive in PREVENTING fires rather than frantically putting them out once they've raged for weeks. And their practice of calling the fire department only after prodding by clever and provocative emails by a professional writer is highly questionable.

Yes, a professional writer. Of an extremely high quality, in my unbiased opinion. James' move was brilliant and attests to his ingenuity but also to the power of the written word. My grandmother, a bright, savvy businesswoman, always urged me to write letters. In this day and age when so few people bother, I'm here to tell you: Grandma was right and my husband is a genius.