Senate To Probe DSTV Over Price Hike,Abuse Of Subscribers Rights
The Senate said it will investigate Multichoice Nigeria, a subsidiary of South African-based Multichoice Africa, owners of DSTV over alleged unwholesome practices, unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquets, which have led to growing public complaints and petitions.
Adopting a two-prayer motion moved by Senator Isah Misau (APC Bauchi Central) titled “Concern on Unwholesome Practices by Multichoice Nigeria,” (DSTV), the Senate directed the Committees on Information and Trade and Investment to investigate and consider summoning the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
The Senate also mandated the Committee on Information to organise a public hearing for all stakeholders including relevant civil societies to foster a way forward.
“we must play our role to ensure that we protect Nigerians and ensure that the best global practices are what is happening in our own country so I would want the committees as directed to look into the matter particularly to ensure that the CPC played the role they should play in ensuring that the rights of Nigerians are always protected.”Senate President said.
He therefore asked the committees to report back within four weeks.
According to Misau in the past few years, DSTV has constantly been caught in one litigation after another from aggrieved subscribers, who were dissatisfied with the programming service and unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquets.
He explained that the motion is of public interest as football loving Nigerians follow the English Premier League (EPL) on DSTV with the company enjoying the monopoly of broadcast in the country.
The lawmaker explained that the complaints include arbitrary increase in the subscription charges, refusal to adopt the pay as you use model applicable in other climes where Multichoice operates, amongst others.
Misau,said ” it is imperative to intervene with a view to addressing the perceived high handedness of the pay TV company.Supporting the motion,
Deputy Senate Leader, Ibn Na’Allah said the significance of the motion is to bring to fore that the monopoly being enjoyed by DSTV does not help any growing economy in any country.
“People must not be allowed to take what is not due to them irrespective of where they operate, people must operate within the laws of the country and Nigerians must be protected on the way and manner people operate their business in this country.
Last year October, the Consumer Protection Council had accused the Digital Satellite Television (DStv) of obstructing an ongoing investigation into the operations of the company, based on alleged infringement on consumer rights,the investigation ended with Nigerians not getting the desired result.
In a statement in October 2015,the CPC said it commenced investigative sittings into the operations of Multichoice Nigeria, the franchise owners of DStv on Friday, July 31, 2015 due to a barrage of consumer complaints alleging wide-range abuse of subscribers’ rights.
According to the statement these complaints include poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation, wrongful disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions, decoder swap irregularities and poor redress mechanism .