January 7, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today sent a letter to Mediacom Communications Corp. expressing his concern for mid-Missouri subscribers caught in the dispute between the cable company and KOMU-TV. In the letter, Koster calls on Mediacom to fairly compensate consumers, including rebates for the time the NBC-affiliate is missing from the cable line-up.
Koster said while he is not taking sides in the dispute, he is concerned that consumers signed contracts with the cable provider and now are not getting what they had thought they were paying for.
"It is just plain wrong to think that you can drop one of the major networks, like NBC, and maintain that the contract between the provider and the consumer hasn't materially changed to the detriment of the consumer," Koster said.
Koster's letter asks Mediacom to confirm the substitute programming Mediacom is providing its customers, and that it will provide On-demand boxes to those without digital cable so they can receive the substitute programming. Further, the Attorney General asks Mediacom to evaluate their ability to provide pro-rata service credit to all mid-Missouri Mediacom subscribers based on the length of time the NBC affiliate is off-the-air for customers.
At the same time, the Attorney General cautions consumers before canceling with Mediacom to carefully review their commitment term. It may not be in consumers' best interest to cancel their service. Most Mediacom customers are not committed to a long-term contract with corresponding early terminations fees. If a consumer with month-to-month Mediacom service cancels, they will likely be forced to enter into a long-term contract with another carrier. If a consumer with a long-term Mediacom contract cancels, they will likely be charged a large early termination fee.
"Consumers may wish to cancel their service with Mediacom, but they should think carefully before doing so and make sure it is the right choice for them," Attorney General Koster said.
If, during the period of the black-out, a consumer wishes to watch local NBC news and weather, syndicated programming, or live NBC national programming, such as the upcoming weekend NFL football games, they should consider purchasing a digital antenna. If a consumer does not have a digital television, they will also need to purchase a digital converter.