One of the problems facing cable television providers is increasing competition. For years, cable TV companies like Time Warner pretty much had a monopoly on the areas that they served. Then in the early 90s, along came competition in the form of satellite television companies like Primestar satellite (later bought out by DIRECTV) and of course Dish Network. Then about five years ago, Time Warner began facing off against new competition in the form of the local phone company. Both AT&T with their U-verse service and Verizon with FiOS are now options in many Time Warner service areas. With competitive pressures mounting, a new option is available to many called the Time Warner Price Lock guarantee.
The Price Lock Guarantee, or PLG for short you can order a Time Warner package and know at that time what your monthly price will be for the next two years. This can actually be a better deal then some of the satellite TV deals out there, as their current offers give you a discounted rate for one year, then your rates go up to the regular price during the second year of your contract. By that time, there is usually a price increase as well that you will then see on your bill.
The Time Warner price lock program does of course have pros and cons to consider. Like any satellite or cable TV deal it is a good idea to know all of the terms and conditions up front, which often have to be found in the fine print. So what are some of the good and bad things with this Time Warner deal?
First, the good. The main selling point for the customer is of course the lower price offered. Time Warner wants to keep you as a customer for as long as possible, so they are willing to take less with the deal as long as they know you will be staying with them for at least two years. Most of the Time Warner triple play deals give you a discount of around $52 a month as part of the PLG. So as a customer you will save around $620 a year by agreeing to the terms of the program.
Now, the bad. The TWC price lock program requires a two year commitment from the subscriber. This is a change for many who have become accustomed to coming and going as they please with cable television companies. But with more people becoming comfortable with contract agreements, Time Warner is taking advantage of the trend by signing people up. If you do agree to the contract, you will face an early termination fee of up to $150 if you either remove portions of the bundle or request to downgrade to a lower priced package. There is a 60 day trial period, so if for some reason you change your mind be sure to call Time Warner customer service and you can opt out. You can still get a promotional discount if you are a new customer, though it probably won’t be as good and it will only last for one year instead of two.
If you do opt for the PLG from Time Warner digital cable, be sure to keep an eye out for the automatic renewal notice that will come 30 to 60 days before the end of your current two year contract. This notice will spell out if your rate will be hiked for the next two years, giving you the chance to either opt out of the program or switch to satellite TV if that is what you think is best.
Another thing to remember is that only the price is guaranteed, not the programming. So if Time Warner gets involved in some sort of programming dispute with a content provider, they have the option of removing networks from your channel lineup without giving you any additional compensation in return.
So is the Time Warner price lock program right for you? It may be, depending on the communication services you need and the price you are willing to pay. Competitive offers from pay television providers insure that customers can build the package right for their needs, and at a price they can afford.