Since Time Warner Cable yanked four channels from its Basic Cable lineup six weeks ago, the company has placated more than 3,000 upset customers in the state with discounts and other freebies.
The customers are peeved because Time Warner Cable pulled the channels -- Oxygen, SoapNet, ShopNBC and C-SPAN 2 -- but continued changing the same monthly subscription rate for Basic Cable.
The channels were moved to digital format on Sept. 30 and are available to digital subscribers, accounting for more than half the company's customers, said company spokesman Keith Poston.
The channels were moved to free up bandwidth for high definition channels. The cable giant realized it would upset customers and prepared the discount offers and free converter boxes.
"We want to keep the customers happy," Poston said. "Our agents and empowered to talk to customers about other promotions going on."
The boxes, which normally cost $7.34 a month, are being given away for free until August, saving customers more than $70.
Some customers have also negotiated discounts of $20 a month.
Time Warner doesn't publicize its policy on cutting monthly rates, and Poston said such matters are handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on customer needs.
Time Warner Cable has about 2.1 million customers in the Carolinas, including 830,000 in the region from Raleigh to the coast.
Time Warner Cable's willingness to negotiate is a sign of the economic times. The company attributed its nationwide loss of 155,000 basic cable subcribers in the last quarter to a weak economy. To retain budget-conscious customers, it began testing a stripped down cable package for $39.95 a month in its New York Market.
No word at this time if the stripped down service will ever be offered in North Carolina, but with customers defecting to pinch pennies, don't be surprised if the budget cable package makes its way here eventually.