CPC begins fresh probe on DStv next month

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DStv-logo-3DA new plan by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to institute a fresh investigation into the alleged complaints by Nigerians on the operations of DStv in Nigeria will start in August, New Telegraph has learnt. Head, CPC, Lagos, Mr. Tam Tamunokobia, confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone interview. He said that the Council was currently gathering documents to begin an investigation into the activities of DStv bothering on decoder swap with customers and sundry alleged irregularities in its operations. Tamunokobia said: “We are opening a fresh investigation totally different from what the court has delivered judgment on in favour of DStv, especially regarding the tariff hike by the pay-TV company.”

He explained that the head office of CPC in Abuja was handling the new probe of the company billed to commence ‘very soon.’ The court had recently given a ruling in favour of DStv regarding the issue of alleged increase in subscription fee for its services. DStv is the subsidiary of Multichoice Nigeria, a South Africa-based Multichoice Africa, which has emerged as a dominant player in the Nigerian satellite television market. In the past few years, DStv had faced one legal battle after another from aggrieved subscribers, who were dissatisfied  with the programming services and unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquets. The CPC, in a notice of its plan to commence fresh investigation signed by its Director- General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, and served on MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, said that consumers, who alleged wide-range abuse of their rights, had inundated it with a barrage of complaints.

The CPC also stated that despite its earlier interventions in form of meetings, telephone and written correspondences with the company to resolve the issues and develop quality standards to safeguard the interest of consumers, complaints had been pouring in unabated against the company. “These complaints in effect allege that the DStv service does not conform with international best practice and is specifically designed to exploit Nigerian consumers who have suffered loss by not being able to fully enjoy or receive the benefit or actualise the full purpose for which they purchased or subscribed to the service. “The complaints include poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation, while subscription is current; wrongful abrupt disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions; monthly subscriptions lasting less than 30 days and poor redress mechanism and customer service,” CPC added. Others, according to CPC, are advertisements on customer care lines at the expense of consumers; poor implementation of decoder swap policy and effecting price increase for subscriptions despite payment before due date of increase.”

The council said that its investigation would involve receiving relevant evidence and documents from complainants, MultiChoice, satellite broadcast experts and witnesses, as well as relevant sector regulators. MultiChoice Nigeria is expected to prepare a written response on the allegations contained in the notice of investigation, as well as provide other relevant documents and information that may be necessary. Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Multi- Choice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, had stated that the company continues to be a responsibile corporate citizen in Nigeria and in other countries of operations, having invested over N1.5 billion in the development and acquisition of contents in the last 10 years.

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