Superintendents of Manhattan condominium buildings have long enjoyed special treatment from Time Warner Cable, in a quid pro quo agreement where the supers get free or discounted cable in exchange for full co-operation with the cable company. But in recent years, Time Warner has moved to put these tacit agreements on paper, and has even asked superintendents to spy on residents.
Tom Hogan, the longtime superintendent of 77 Park Avenue, had enjoyed a big discount on his cable bill for over a decade, and knew that he was expected to give repair crews access when necessary, call the company when disputes arose and perform many other mundane tasks. But a few months ago, he received his first contract from Time Warner in writing.
The agreement asked him to spy on condo owners and ensure that no one was stealing cable, he told the New York Times. It also demanded that he allow Time Warner employees into the building to promote new products.
“I looked at this and I thought, ‘This looks like double dipping,’” Hogan told the Times. He refused to sign the contract, and his cable was promptly cut off.
Ziggy Chau, a spokesperson for Time Warner Cable, told the newspaper that the arrangement was commonplace in the industry and served to benefit the customer.
“The people in these programs, they’re not going to do it for free. We’re building a good relationship,” Chau said.
But William Rusch, the condo board president at 77 Park Avenue, said that the agreement was “blurring the line of responsibility. You’re an employee of 77 Park Avenue Condominium, yet you’re being asked to do all these things for another entity,” Rusch told the Times. [NYT] – Hiten Samtani