The Consumers Protection Council says it has set up a special channel to check Multichoice Nigeria Limited as more customers allege the DSTV owner is implementing new tariffs despite a court restriction.
Days after a Federal High in Abuja restrained Multichoice Nigeria Limited from going ahead with its recent decision to hike subscription rates for DSTV and GoTV, customers have reported difficulties in renewing their subscriptions with the old rates.
Early last month, MultiChoice Nigeria announced its decision to review upwards the monthly subscription rates for its cable television systems, DSTV and GoTV, with effect from August 1.
According to the company, under the new price regime, the Premium package subscribers would have to pay about 7.5 per cent more (about N15,800) from about N14,700 every month.
Besides, their Compact Plus customers were to pay N10,650, from N9,900; Compact bouquets N6,800, from N6,300, while the Family package was increased from N3,800 to N4,000, with Access from N1,900 to N2,000.
However, last Monday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja issued an order restraining Multichoice Nigeria or any of its agents or representatives from going ahead with the increment till further notice.
The order was sequel to an application filed on behalf of the Nigerian government by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in case No. FHC/ABJ/CS/894.
The application was facilitated by the director general of the CPC, Babatunde Irukera, who led other concerned Nigerians to appear in court for the case.
Other applicants who signed a nine-paragraph statement of claim they jointly signed included Abimbola Ojenike, Eme David-Ojugo, Moray Adebayo, Teniola Medupin and Florence Abebe.
In his order, Justice Dimgba said the interim injunction restrained Multichoice Nigeria or its agents and representatives from continuing the implementation of any increase in subscription rates or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Also, the court restrained DSTV from further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which interferes with or has effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice.
However, a statement by the CPC on Thursday said since the restraining order on Monday, Mutichoice Nigeria customers have been finding it difficult to renew their subscriptions based on the rate that prevailed prior to the take-off of the price review on August 1.
The statement signed by the CPC DG and sent to PREMIUM TIMES said the Council received several petitions from the affected customers about their experiences.
“The Council is informing the public that it is a violation of the order of the court for Multichoice to require consumers to pay, or to receive any new rate for their service, from consumers.
“For clarity, the current, valid and prevailing rate for DStv and GOtv services are the rates that were effective as at July 31, 2018,” the statement said.
Consequently, the Council said it has set up a special channel for subscribers to lodge their complaints detailing their difficult experiences over the issues.
“In view of the continuing and increasing complaints that consumers are unsuccessful in renewing subscription in compliance with the order of the court, even after service of the order upon Multichoice, the Council is setting up a special channel for receiving complaints for this purpose.
“As such, any consumer who has, or is experiencing this challenge should please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating relevant information, including smart card number, name, telephone number, date and time of failed attempt to pay, supporting same with relevant evidence such as a screenshot or document (where necessary),” the statement said.
On Monday, when PREMIUM TIMES contacted Multichoice Nigeria for its official reaction, its spokesperson, Carole Oghuma, said the company was unable to give any reaction, as it was not aware of any court order.
“We are aware of media reports regarding an alleged court order to halt DStv subscription price changes.
“MultiChoice Nigeria would like to state that we have no knowledge of a court order of this nature and therefore, cannot comment further at this time,” Ms Oghuma said.
When our reporter contacted Ms Oghuma again on Friday for the company’s reaction on the issue, including the reported inability customers to renew their subscriptions, she still did not have any response.
“We only received the court document yesterday (Thursday), and are reviewing it. I’ll get back to you later today,” she said in a short text message.