CPC Probes DSTV Activities in Nigeria

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Dupe Atoki

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Digital Satellite Television, DStv, is being investigated in Nigeria by the Consumer Protection Council for allegedly violating consumer rights

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jul 6, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Consumer Protection Council, CPC, is investigating the operations of the Digital Satellite Television, DStv, based on the complaints of alleged consumer rights violations. The council, in a notice of commencement of investigation signed by Dupe Atoki, its director general, and served on MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the parent company of DStv, disclosed that it had been inundated with a barrage of consumer complaints, alleging wide-range abuse of subscribers’ rights.

The consumer regulatory agency asserted that despite its earlier interventions in form of meetings with the satellite company, telephone and written correspondences with a view to ensuring that it addressed the issues and developed quality standards to safeguard the interest of consumers, complaints have been pouring in unabated against the company.

In the notice of investigation, the CPC said these complaints allege that the DStv service did not conform with international best practice and was 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.

CPC pointed out that the consumer complaints against DStv include poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation while subscription is on; wrongful abrupt disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions; monthly subscriptions lasting less than 30 days; and poor redress mechanism and customer services. Others are advertisements on customer care lines at the expense of consumers; poor implementation of decoder swap policy; and implementing price increase for subscriptions without recourse to payments made before due date of increase.

The council disclosed that its investigation would involve receiving relevant evidence and documents from complainants, MultiChoice, satellite broadcast experts and any pertinent witness including relevant sector regulators. The company is expected to prepare a written response or position to the issues or allegations contained in its notice of investigation as well as to provide some other relevant documents and information needed to absolve it of the allegations.

The council’s action is in line with the focus and commitment of its current administration to engage in sectoral interventions to address the myriad of problems facing Nigerian consumers with a view to getting a saner market-place in the country.

Responding, MultiChoice Nigeria, promoters of DStv, promised to cooperate with the CPC in probing the alleged consumer rights violations by the company. The company said in a statement that it recognised the role of the CPC as the body established by law to ensure the respect of consumer rights and welcomed its intervention, adding that it was willing to cooperate fully with it in the planned investigation.

Caroline Oghuma, public relations manager, MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “We welcome any inquiry into our operations and we assure the CPC of our full cooperation at every step of the inquiry. We are in total support of any inquiry that will lead to improvement in our services to our subscribers and we hope that the outcome will deliver improved services to Nigerians. As a company that puts a premium on our relationship with subscribers, we will embrace any intervention that will lead to a better customer experience.”

MultiChoice had always cooperated with government agencies on initiatives that could improve the quality of services to the consumers and would always be sensitive to genuine subscriber complaints, Oghuma added.

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