Consumer Abuse Investigation: MultiChoice Complies With All Orders

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) recently patted MultiChoice Nigeria at the back for the company’s compliance with all its Orders given after the conclusion of its investigation into the activities of multinational’s Digital Satellite Television (DStv).

The Council also declared that its intervention into the activities of businesses through its sectoral investigation is to engender consumer confidence and to make genuine businesses more profitable.

The Council’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who made the disclosure at a press conference, jointly addressed by the Council and MultiChoice Nigeria in Lagos, asserted that Tuesday’s news conference, “is a clear indication that if businesses will play by the rules and render satisfactory services to consumers, they will be validated by the CPC”.

Mrs. Atoki, while describing the pay-television company’s compliance as ” a model” , emphasized that “the intervention of CPC in any business is not only to ensure consumer satisfaction by engendering value for money, but also has the long term effect of instilling consumer confidence in products and services and making genuine businesses more profitable”.

While commenting on the action on MultiChoice, she referred to a self-imposed maxim of “regulating without strangulating business”, submitting that “the investigation of MultiChoice Nigeria embodies the win-win outcome that this maxim represents, as it gives consumers value for money and henceforth, projects the services of MultiChoice Nigeria in a better light”.

On the compliance status of the Council’s Orders, she pointed out that the company, in line with CPC’s directive that billing must be contemporaneous with service provision, has introduced a new initiative of resending reconnection messages at five minutes interval to ensure that a subscriber is immediately reconnected whenever subscription payment is received by the company’s systems.

On CPC’s directive that MultiChoice should provide a window for subscribers wishing to suspend service to their decoders while away, she stated that the company, in line with the Order, launched the suspension of DStv accounts service for subscribers on May 12, 2016, thereby providing the opportunity for any subscriber wishing to suspend his/her account to do so for a fixed period of between 7-14 days twice yearly.

On the Order for compensation to subscribers across board, Mrs. Atoki asserted that the company had between 4th and 30th April 2016 run a campaign whereby it gave out 1000 Explora decoders to subscribers and as well gave all subscribers below the Premium Bouquet one week free access to premium bouquet channels from 14 to 21 April 2016.

The CPC boss also disclosed that for directives bordering on customer care infrastructure, such as the provision of local toll-free lines, change in call centre operating hours and the provision of a customer care manual, the pay-television organization has complied with all these.

According to her, MultiChoice from May 13, 2016, introduced four toll-free lines through the country’s four leading networks with multi-capacity facilities which are capable of taking 30 calls at a time; expanded its call centre operating hours from 9am – 6pm to 8am – 9pm on Saturdays and public holidays and 10am – 5pm on Sundays; while the company has developed and submitted a customer care manual to the Council.

On the free-to-air channels, she stated that the company has since May 9, 2016 made the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel available to subscribers, who do not have subsisting subscription.

On the Order, directing the company to reasonably spread out all its popular channels, she also stated that this had been done and in addition two new sports channels (Super Sports Channels 11 and 12) have been made available to its Compact Bouquet subscribers to have access to live English Premier League, La Liga and Euro matches.

Mrs. Atoki also disclosed that MultiChoice, in line with CPC’s Orders, had developed and submitted to the Council a compensation policy, which outlines the procedure for compensating its subscribers for loss suffered from its breach of subscription agreement as well as uploaded on its website the details of its dealers and accredited installers.

MultiChoice, she also disclosed, has also embedded in its compensation policy the provision of adequate compensation for subscribers, who experience loss of signal as a result of unprofessional installation.

The director general also pointed out that the company, in compliance with CPC’s Order, has revised the clauses identified by the Council as unfavourable to consumers in its terms of agreement with subscribers and made them, stating that in addition the company has formally assured CPC that it will not engage in any act or conduct that will be detrimental to the interest of DStv subscribers.

It will be recalled that CPC commenced investigative hearing into the operations of MultiChoice Nigeria, the franchise owners of DStv on Friday, July 31, 2015 following the Council’s receipt of myriads of consumer complaints, which include decoder swap irregularities, unsatisfactory customer service, incessant disruption of service without compensation, lack of timely information to consumers, wrongful disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions, increase in subscription rates, among others.

Press Release