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Spectrum customers get big surprises in their monthly bills

Spectrum: Redefining what a cable company can be

CLEVELAND -- When Spectrum took over Time Warner Cable, there were a lot of concerns.

Not only about service, but about prices.

And now many customers will tell you their worries have come true, at least when it comes to costs.

It started last summer when Spectrum announced everyone would need to get digital converters, which would add $5 to their bill.

Now, as the promotional rates many had with Time Warner are expiring, customer’s bills have jumped.

Their commercials say: "Spectrum. Redefining what a cable company can be," but some say the cable company is just the same old story -- especially when they see their bills and get sticker shock.

"I was really upset. I've been paying that price for over a year, two years and then it goes up without any warning to us," says Amanda McDaniel who is now paying an extra $400 a year.

While rising cable rates are nothing new. You know the story, it's to upgrade technology.

The story Spectrum customers say they're getting now, is the promotional rates they had with Time Warner have expired and Spectrum has new rates.

"That's one month of a car payment. That’s how I look at it," says McDaniel.

When she called to get a new plan, she says Spectrum told her their new plan would be even higher.

And she's not the only one. When we started researching this story we got e-mails from people, some who said their bills went up $36 a month.

One said his jumped from $160 to $360, and some customers just have to suck it up.

"AT&T, they do service my area but we don't have very good signals," according to McDaniel.

Consumer Attorney Patrick Perotti from Dworken & Bernstein says, "You shouldn't pay anything more than anyone else is paying for that month.”

And he adds, there is recourse for some customers.

He suggests Googling "best deals for Spectrum cable" where you’ll find independent sites, which list different pricing options. Perotti suggests calling them and telling them you want those same deals. If they say no, tell them you’re going to cancel your service.

“They'll try to negotiate with you a little more. And if you stick to it, nine times out of 10 they'll send you to the Retention Department. That department specifically tries to get people to stay customers by eventually giving them the best deal available."

He claims if the company knows you have other options, you're in the viewer’s seat if you will.

“If you have multiple cable services, multiple phone companies, or multiple gas companies they all know that. So they know that if you say I'm leaving, you mean it."

Spectrum responded to our story with a statement, which said in part their prices are competitive, and while all of their customers will receive bills with the Spectrum name, not all are in Spectrum packages.

They encourage customers to ask about Spectrum packages, which may be different from their old ones.

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