Some customers not happy with fees carried over from WOW to Midco

A Midco sign is in place outside Riverfront Plaza, Tuesday evening, June 27, 2017, after workers removed WOW signs, at bottom, from the company's properties.

Some former WOW cable, phone and internet customers may be surprised to see charges for a WOW-provided service still appearing on their bills following the company’s purchase by Midco.

Lawrence resident Jesse Vogel said he previously signed up for WOW’s Service Protection Plan, which covered various wiring and equipment repairs for a charge of $5 per month. Midco doesn’t offer that service, but Vogel said he recently realized he was still being charged for it.

“That’s not right,” Vogel said. “You’re charging me for something that you don’t even offer and I don’t get a refund for my money.”

When contacted about the issue by the Journal-World, Midco spokeswoman Paige Pearson Meyer said via email that although Midco does not offer a service protection plan, it will waive some service charges for customers who have been paying Midco for the plan. Meyer said former WOW customers were transferred to Midco “with little to no changes to their services and bills in order to create the least disruption.”

Midco bought WOW’s Lawrence location and took over in June. As part of the conversion, Midco took on more than 30,000 cable, telephone and internet customers in Douglas, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties. Issues with the conversion caused service outages for many customers, which Midco officials said were primarily due to inconsistencies in the customer record database that testing did not identify.

The WOW Service Protection Plan covered the technician service fee as well as other repairs. Those included fixing network issues, service or wiring problems, and repairing or replacing equipment due to an “unintentional customer caused malfunction,” according to the WOW website.

When asked whether Midco will cover such repairs for customers paying for the plan, Meyer only said that Midco would not charge the $50 technician service fee to send out a truck. She said if customers paying for the plan were charged the service fee, Midco will be happy to correct it. She noted that the service fee is not charged to any customer if the call is due to a Midco service issue.

Vogel said he understands that there are going to be “some hiccups” in transferring from one company to the next, but he thinks customers should know they aren’t going to get the protection they signed up for.

“Us customers are out here paying $5 per month for something that we think is going to be there to use when it’s time to use it,” Vogel said. “Let’s say a year down the road, that’s a lot of money.”

Vogel said he was also told by a Midco customer service representative that he could not receive a refund for the monthly plan charges he paid to Midco. He said he thinks providing a refund to customers who have been paying for the plan is the right thing to do.

The Journal-World asked Meyer how many customers had a WOW Service Protection Plan carried over to Midco and if those customers are able to get a refund for payments since the changeover, but did not receive a direct response to these questions.

Instead, Meyer wrote: “We don’t disclose customer information. As with prior acquisitions, our goal is to win customers over with upgraded services, increased speeds and exceptional customer service.”