The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Nigeria is on a mission to sanitise the country’s market-place for consumer benefits, ridding it of low quality service delivery, and ensuring that consumers get value for their money. In an investigation conducted to this end, the CPC found foremost South African based pay-media company, Multichoice guilty of several allegations lodged by subscribers including a grossly unfair, unjust and one-sided, Service Level Agreement and the Terms and Conditions of Subscription, and violations of consumer rights.
Following this discovery, the CPC has given Multichoice Nigeria a number of directives by which they must comply within a period of three months, including an order to expunge, re-draft and submit their current Service Level Agreement and the Terms and Conditions of Subscription to the Council. Here are 9 other reforms to be made by the Digital Satellite Television (DSTv) provider in order to bring about a new dawn for Nigerian consumers, as stated by Mrs. Dupe Atoki, Director General of the CPC.
Billing system reform
MultiChoice has been ordered to install a billing system that ensures billing starts with the provision of service. According to Mrs Atoki, “During the course of our investigations, the Council observed that the company’s billing system was not in the best interest of consumers whereby billing is not contemporaneous with the provision of service.”
The CPC ordered Multichoice to provide across the board compensation to its subscribers within 90 days as many have lost legitimate and paid viewing time due to the company’s behaviour of not restoring service just as payment is made, and also for other instances of disruptions.
Suspend services when subscribers are away from home
The pay-media company was also directed to adopt a “technology that supports suspension of service when subscribers are away for a limited period of time and otherwise unable to enjoy their service. However, a request for suspension of service must be for a period of 7 to 14 days, and can only be done twice in a year with a 72-hour notice to MultiChoice. The CPC has given the company 6 months to adopt the technology and create such policy.
Ensure a fair spread of popular (sport) channels across bouquets
Although MultiChoice offers several bouquets which according to them, suits the various tastes and pockets of their customers, there is no fair spread of popular channels, particularly sport channels, across these bouquets with popular channels being concentrated in just two bouquets – DSTv Premium, and DSTv Extra. Regarding this, the Council ordered Multichoice to ensure “a reasonably equitable spread of popular sport channels across all available bouquets” within 90 days. The firm was also directed to keep local and free-to-air channels open for subscribers at the expiration of their subscription.
Maintain local toll-free lines
For swift and easy access to the company in the event of complaints and enquiries by subscribers, MultiChoice has been asked to maintain local toll-free telephone access lines for its call centres, and also ensure that these call centres operate for longer hours during public holidays and weekends.
Develop customer care manual
MultiChoice is to develop a customer care manual which will contain processes “to address customer complaints in an accurate, friendly, timely, efficient, courteous and honest manner”, stated the Director General of the CPC.
Formulate a compensation policy
DSTv was further directed to formulate a written compensation policy which must entail a procedure for repaying subscribers for any inconvenience suffered as a result of the company’s negligence.
Provide subscribers with list of accredited dealers and installers
The council also directed the pay-media company to create a list of all its accredited dealers and installers with the and have that list given to its customers at the point of subscription. The list should also be made available on its website and other information channels.
DSTv must also ensure that these accredited dealers and installers own a certified means of identification issued by the company which the subscribers must be educated about. And in instances where subscribers experience a loss of signal on account of a faulty or unprofessional installation by these agents, the company must offer reasonable and adequate compensation.
Subject its processes to CPC’s inspection
Finally, the council instructed DSTv to present written assurances that it will not engage in conducts that are detrimental to the interest of consumers, while subjecting it to 18 months of constant inspection to ensure compliance with all the directives contained in the orders.