Update (October 25th, 2016): Time Warner Cable has been acquired by Charter as of May 18th, 2016. All Time Warner Cable services will soon be marketed under Charters’ ‘Spectrum’ brand and many customers have already begun to receive bills with the ‘Spectrum’ logo instead of ‘Time Warner Cable’. However this should not affect our guide below on how to cancel Time Warner Cable service.

Trying to cancel your Time Warner Cable service? Now you can, without the hold times and tedious red tape. Whether you’re cancelling Time Warner Cable or Spectrum, here is a quick 5 step guide to getting it done easily.

1. Speak to Retention

Cancel Time Warner Cable Retention
The first step is to ensure you’re speaking to the correct department.

First, call Time Warner’s retention department. You can reach them by calling their customer service number, 1-800-892-2253. You’ll have to go through a robot menu to get where you want to go. Navigate through the menu until you’re given the option to cancel your service. Select that option and you should be connected with the retention department.

(The robo-menus are a bit lengthy and tedious but it should only take a few minutes. Avoid other departments like billing or technical support, those will often send you to an overseas call center that won’t be able to help you. For a map of the phone tree, or to have someone else wait on hold for you, try using GetHuman.)

Now that you’ve selected the correct option, cancelling service, you should be connected with a human being. Double check you’re in the right place by asking if they’re part of the retention department. If they aren’t a retention agent, ask them to transfer your call to the retention department for you, and ask them to do a ‘warm’ transfer. With a warm transfer, the original agent will sit on the line and make sure you’re directed to the right place. Conversely, a ‘cold’ transfer means they’ll hang up and let the system do it, which has a good chance of hanging up on you or sending you to the wrong department. If you’ve made it to this point, you’re well on your way to being able to successfully cancel Time Warner Cable. So what’s next?

2. Prepare Your Excuse

Moving and Cancelling Time Warner Cable
The easiest method to cancel Time Warner Cable without hassle is to say it’s because you’re moving.

Tell the agent that you’re moving to an area away from Time Warner Cable. As we mentioned in our How to Cancel Comcast post, a leaked Comcast employee manual accidentally laid out the best ways to cancel service. While Time Warner Cable is a different company, these reasons are effectively the same across all cable providers. Here are the scenarios that a Comcast (or in this case, Time Warner Cable) agent will allow you to cancel without trying to ‘save’ you from canceling (i.e. make it difficult for you to cancel).

Save Attempt is Not Applicable in the Following Scenarios

  1. Customer is moving in with an existing Time Warner Cable customer.
  2. Customer is moving to a non-Time Warner Cable area. (an area where Time Warner Cable is not offered)
  3. Account holder is deceased / incapacitated.
  4. Temporary / seasonal disconnect and Seasonal Suspend Plan is not available in their area.
  5. Natural disaster.
  6. Customer doesn’t know what address they’re moving to.

As we mentioned in our previous post, many of these can’t be used by a regular customer. Obviously it’s difficult to pretend you’re dead, saying you’re moving in with somebody else will just make them ask you more questions, and Time Warner may think it odd if you insist you’ve been hit by a hurricane in Nebraska. However, the most sure-fire method is to say you’re moving to a non-Time Warner Cable area. That’s the ‘secret’ to easily cancelling Time Warner Cable.

Personally, I recommend saying you’re moving out of the country (as Time Warner Cable doesn’t offer service in any other countries). You can name another city, state, or zip code, but you have to make sure that Time Warner doesn’t actually offer service there, which might be a bit tricky.
Don’t get caught in the trap of explaining why you’re actually cancelling your Time Warner Cable service. They’ll say anything to get you to stay, and that will just extend the conversation. They’ll try sending out a technician or give you a one time credit or any number of other tricks they have to stop you from cancelling. But none of these will help you with your ultimate goal: cancelling your Time Warner Cable service.

3. Stay Firm and Be Friendly

Be Friendly When Cancelling Time Warner Cable
The Golden Rule of Cancelling: The way you treat the rep when cancelling will be exactly how they treat you.

Time Warner Cable do whatever they can to stop you from cancelling. They might give you a slightly better price, or tell you they’ll move service to your new address, they might even throw in Showtime or faster internet and a phone line. Worst of all, they’ll try to get you to sign a contract, agreeing to keep their service for another year or two! Resist! Be friendly, but let them know you’re only trying to cancel service and you don’t want or need help with anything else.

The Time Warner Cable rep you’re talking to is very important in this process. If they make a ‘mistake’, your service might not get cancelled at all, or, they might cancel it immediately (even though you still need it for a few days). However, in our experience, the nicer you are, the fewer ‘mistakes’ happen. Be nice and your service will (likely) be cancelled on the day that you want, with everything neatly tied up in a bow.  

4. How to Return Time Warner Cable Equipment
(without getting unreturned equipment fees)

Returning Time Warner Cable Remote Equipment
Always be careful when returning Time Warner Cable equipment.

One of the most important parts of cancelling service with Time Warner Cable is returning the Time Warner Cable equipment. If you don’t return something, Time Warner Cable will put it on a bill or send it to collections. As we mentioned in our Comcast article, cable companies would much rather charge you than have that old remote back.

While you’re on the phone with Time Warner, ask them to tell you what equipment that you’ll need to return to them. Write down the serial numbers they have on file. If you listened to us, you probably already bought your own modem but beware. One of all cable companies’ favorite tricks is to have unreturned equipment on the account.
There are two methods to get that equipment back to Time Warner Cable. First, in a prepaid box or second, at a Time Warner Cable store (you can find one here). Take photos of all the equipment, (and make sure those serial numbers match with the ones they told you on the phone). You can’t have too much evidence. You probably won’t need it but if you do, you’ll thank yourself for having taken the time collecting it. If you’re using a prepaid box, photograph the equipment in the box. If you’re returning to a Time Warner Cable store, take a picture of the equipment on the counter. Get a receipt and take a photo of the receipt. There’s a non-zero chance that something gets lost or Time Warner doensn’t scan it in correctly. They’ll assume it’s your fault and the best way to contest it is evidence. Get them to send you emails about the cancellation or have someone at the Time Warner Cable store give you their ID number. The more evidence you have, the better. Once this is all done, you’ve just got one step left: confirmation.

5. Call back to confirm the cancellation

cancelling time warner cable call

The most useful thing you can do after you’ve cancelled Time Warner Cable? Make sure you cancelled Time Warner Cable.

You’re 90% of the way there! The last step (and most important step) of cancelling Time Warner Cable service is confirming that you’ve actually cancelled the service correctly. After you’ve finished the first four steps, call Time Warner Cable back and ask them to confirm that everything is taken care of on the account. To be especially careful, ask them about three things: (1) if there is an outstanding balance on the account (2) if there is any unreturned equipment (3) if service is cancelled fully. Make sure that all of the answers match up with what you expect. If they don’t, have the agent on the phone fix the issue and then do step 5 one more time.

You Cancelled Time Warner Cable!

You cancelled Time Warner Cable!
Congratulations on cancelling Time Warner Cable!

You’ve done it! Congratulations! This guide may seem a bit like overkill, but if you complete all these steps, it’ll get the job done! To recap: Speak with retention, tell them you’re moving out of the country, be friendly, give them back any equipment you rented from them, and confirm everything. If you want someone else to do this for you, you can always have BillFixers help! Either way, once this is off your plate it’ll be one less thing to worry about!

Julian Kurland is one of the Co-Founders of BillFixers.