WOW! Cable Service Problem Resolved, Official Says

A bandwidth issue caused outages that frustrated residents in Berkley, Huntington Woods and surrounding areas, the company's Michigan general manager says; impacted customers must call to request a credit, he adds.

Instead of looking forward to watching the Bowl Championship Series finale on Monday night, Berkley Patch reader John Hawkes was worried ongoing problems with his WOW! cable service would prevent him from seeing Alabama take on Notre Dame in the national championship football game.

"I have tried watching college bowl games on ESPN three times in the past week including last night, and they were totally unwatchable," he wrote Monday on the Huntington Woods-Berkley Patch Facebook page. "When it happened again last night, I scanned through all of the channels. Found about one third of them with this problem. Sometimes the HD feed worked well, but the standard program channel was jumbled. Very inconsistent and unacceptable! If I can't watch the National Championship game in HD tonight, I will NOT be a happy camper!

[Is your WOW! cable service working properly? Leave a comment!]

Hawkes and other residents in Berkley, Huntington Woods and surrounding areas have reported problems with their WOW! cable service during the first week of January; however, a WOW! official said Monday the issue has been resolved.

Robert DiNardo, vice president and general manager for the WOW! Michigan region, said Monday afternoon that problems causing video service issues on three recent dates were resolved as of 10 p.m. Sunday.

DiNardo said a bandwidth issue caused pixelation/tiling on some channels on Jan. 1, Jan. 2 and Jan. 6.

"On some of the channels, those little boxes would scatter across the screen and break up the picture," he said. "It was a bandwidth issue on our network, so we had part of our network that was overloaded and it wouldn't allow those video streams to go through."

The outage affected many customers in the area on those select dates, however some residents wrote on Facebook that they've had cable service issues for months.

In response to a question on Huntington Woods-Berkley Patch's Facebook page, dozens of people responded with many reporting anywhere from minimal TV interruptions to significant problems with their video service.

DiNardo said he is not aware of any other ongoing problems and that cable problems also can be due to faulty equipment or other reasons. He encouraged residents who still are having issues to contact WOW! at 1-866-496-9669.

"If they're still having that they need to call for a service call because the general problem that we had identified this week has been fixed," DiNardo said.

Residents also expressed frustrations over extended hold times to reach a customer service agent.

"In a case like yesterday where we have in effect two outages, that drives a lot of calls into our call center which can increase hold times," he said.

As far as customers who said they had trouble reaching an agent during the past few months, this could be related to a billing conversion that took place in late October, DiNardo said.

"We've been working to get more agents on the phone to reduce those hold times, which have gotten better over the last three weeks," he said.

The company recognizes the frustration some customers felt during the January outages – many who reported missing favorite TV shows like The Biggest Loser or Downton Abbey.

"It was pretty much 8 p.m. to 10 p.m, prime TV watching," DiNardo said.

WOW! isn't planning to issue automatic credits to customers but he said residents can call to discuss the problems they've had.

"We don't do that kind of thing because we don't know who was affected," he said. "If people feel that they would like to look into it they can call us."

He also encouraged customers to check their Video On Demand service, or the network's website, to see if the shows they missed are available to view.

In Dearborn on Sunday, after one of the company's local lines was cut.

DiNardo said that problem was resolved by 6 p.m. Sunday and is not related to the video problem that was resolved as of 10 p.m. Sunday, but it did contribute to increased hold times.

WOW! also issued this statement:

Part of our technical system became overloaded last week – that caused intermittent bandwidth problems on about half of our television signals. Our engineers have redistributed the bandwidth load and the problem is now fixed.
When the TV signal acts up, more customers call in to see what’s going on. Just like with any business, extra traffic can overload our phone lines.  So in addition to having problems with their TV viewing, many customers got busy signals when they called in.  We know how frustrating that is – that’s not how we like to do business at WOW!
We take customer service very seriously at WOW! – everyone at this company is absolutely dedicated to making sure that every customer has a great experience with us, every time.  So we’re embarrassed that we let our customers down.  We apologize for the problems we’ve caused, and want to assure you that we’re taking the necessary steps to make sure they don’t happen again.

Lianne Mathie January 08, 2013 at 01:41 PM
I'm glad I saw this, I thought I was losing my mind.
Martin Kohn January 08, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Good luck calling WOW. Latest wait time in the voicemail dungeon is 20 minutes. A Comcast salesman was in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. He should come back; he'll be Comcast's salesperson of the year.
Lianne Mathie January 08, 2013 at 07:00 PM
I called after I saw it, 30 minutes and they knocked my bill down. It was worth the wait. I just drank my morning coffee. At least there wasn't bad hold music or recordered messages while waiting. The customer service was very helpful.
Leslie Ellis January 08, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Thanks for the update, Lianne! Good to know they're being responsive to customers who experienced the problems.
John Hawkes January 08, 2013 at 11:18 PM
I had about a 20 minute wait this morning before I talked to someone. They gave me a "credit" on my bill for the three nights I couldn't watch the games that I wanted to watch. No, I haven't seen the movie "Amelie," Leslie. Sounds like I wasn't the only one "sabotaged" by WOW!


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