As far back as I can remember, Time Warner Cable has had big problems with customer service. But at least the company was responsive to questions about it from the media.

Until last year, TWC had a local spokesperson willing to give straight answers to legitimate questions. Those days seem to be gone.

The public voice of TWC is now based in Columbus, in the form of Mike Hogan, billed as “Public Relations Manager, Midwest.” The Midwest is a big area, and apparently he doesn’t worry much about Greater Akron.

On Dec. 11, I sent him a 291-word email about a problem I was experiencing with my Roadrunner email account at home. I contacted him only after learning that a TWC customer 35 miles from my house was experiencing precisely the same problem, indicating this was something that might be affecting thousands of customers.

Users were getting prompts that their passwords were incorrect, even though the passwords hadn’t been changed. When my situation finally was corrected, after fighting through customer service reps who had no clue what was going on, I suddenly was flooded with two copies of every email I had received in the previous 3½ months — including all the ones I had deleted.

Hogan’s response to my detailed inquiry was, “There were some problems, but the issue has been resolved.”

Period.

“Thanks for your response,” I wrote back, “ but you didn’t answer any of my questions. What was going on?”

His next email: “This was a regular system maintenance with the email, like all email providers perform from time to time.”

Huh?

“I have been using email for more than 15 years,” I responded, “and I’ve never seen an email provider perform ‘routine maintenance’ that locked people out [for an extended period without any warning and resulted in duplicate emails]. …

“Does TWC plan to continue this kind of ‘regular system maintenance?’ ”

His answer: “We had some problem with customers unable to receive Web email. … We performed maintenance to fix these problems, but that’s not necessarily why you were unable to retrieve your email. The system was down. I hope that helps.”

Well, no, Mike, that didn’t help. You dodged every question I asked and contradicted yourself.

When I emailed back that I had “never had less help from a corporate spokesperson in the 29 years I’ve been here,” he responded with a phone call, during which he promised to get a legitimate answer.

That was 10 weeks ago. Haven’t heard a word from him since.

From a personal standpoint, I don’t care if TWC never tells me anything, because I have more than enough to write about. But when TWC thumbs its nose at the Beacon Journal, it also is thumbing its nose at tens of thousands of readers who are TWC customers and in many cases would like to know why weird things are happening to a service they are paying a lot of money to receive.

Maybe we should be rooting for the Comcast takeover.

Hospitals MIA

Bob: In your open letter to Jane Bond [about changing the term “Community Learning Centers” back to “schools”], you might have also mentioned the disappearance of the word “hospital” from the local lexicon. For example, the correct designation would be: “Help! I’m bleeding to death! Somebody get me to the medical center!”

Al Segedy

Akron

Alan: Good point. We should definitely be referring to them as “paperwork centers.”

Lousy timing

A person driving through Medina on state Route 18 Monday night did a double take when encountering a longstanding sign across from Medina Hospital:

“MEDINA

“Home of A.I. Root

“Founder of the BEE INDUSTRIES

“1865”

He said he couldn’t tell whether the cause was rust, vandalism or dirt, but the bottom of the “B” in “Bee” was obscured, making the sign read “Pee Industries.”

This, he points out, was on the same night that all of the state legislators were “streaming” into Medina to hear the governor’s “State of the State” address.

Not even close

A notice sent to area news media from the treasurer of Akron Public Schools:

“The Akron Board of Education will have a board retreat at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 29, 2014 … .”

A retreat, indeed. The board has retreated two years. The next leap year is 2016.

Perhaps the first thing on the agenda should be calendar-making.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com.