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DStv in Fresh Trouble as Consumer Protection Rejects Its Call For Discontinuation of Probe

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – Multichoice Nigeria Limited, a pay-media company which owns the Digital Satellite Television (DStv) brand, has indicated its unpreparedness to continue with the investigation of the activities of the brand by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), occasioned by complaints alleging consumer rights violations.

However, a statement by the Head Media and Pubic Affairs, Abiodun Obimuyiwa on Wednesday said that, the Council, in its response to the pay-television firm’s letter, declared that “we are unable to grant such a long postponement having regard to the fact that you were constructively put on notice to produce these documents at the last hearing on the 31st July 2015.

“The investigation, which began on Friday, July 31, 2015, was attended by a DStv four-man team that responded to questions from the Council’s investigating Panel and was adjourned for the DStv team to provide more documents.

“However, Multichoice in a letter received on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 by CPC gave an indication of its un-preparedness while requesting for a six-week extension for the continuation of the on-going investigation.

“The pay-television firm, in its letter, acknowledged the Council’s request for additional information, claiming that “in view of the extensive information and documents required by the Council and the short notice of the summons, we are constrained to request for a postponement of the date for the meeting”.

“Multichoice, therefore, asked for a six-week extension so as to, according to the letter, enable it “satisfactorily respond to the request for additional information”.

“But CPC, while declining the request, countered the short notice claim of Multichoice, asserting that its representatives at the first sitting of the investigation were constructively put on notice on the request for the additional information and documents.

The Council, in its response to the pay-television firm’s letter, declared that “we are unable to grant such a long postponement having regard to the fact that you were constructively put on notice to produce these documents at the last hearing on the 31
st July 2015.

“In the interest of justice, however, Council has considered and directed that you be granted a postponement for two weeks to Tuesday, the 10
th day of September 2015. You are advised to attend as proceedings will continue without fail on the said date”, CPC added.

The Council had, in a notice of commencement of investigation served recently on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, disclosed that it would commence investigation into the activities of DStv because it has been inundated with a barrage of consumer complaints, alleging wide-range abuse of subscribers’ rights.

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

According to the notice, the consumer complaints against DStv 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 services”.

It disclosed in the notice that “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 actualize the full purpose for which they purchased or subscribed to the service”.

The investigation began on Friday, July 31, 2015 and a delegation of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Specific Sector Regulator attended as an observer.

 

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