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Page 20 Industry Page 20 Industry Controversies, gains of DSTv probe by CPC By Francis Arinze Iloani Recently, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) announced that…

Page 20 Industry

Page 20 Industry

Controversies, gains of DSTv probe by CPC

By Francis Arinze Iloani

Recently, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) announced that it had “substantiated” allegations of abuses of consumer rights brought before the Council against MultiChoice Nigeria, the owner of the Digital Satellite Broadcast Television (DStv).

The federal government had in August last year begun investigating the operations of the DStv based on complaints of alleged consumer rights violations.

The Director General of the CPC, Mrs Dupe Atoki, had during the sitting of the investigative panel disclosed the alleged infringements as poor quality of service, incessant disruption of service without compensation while subscription ran, wrongful abrupt disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions, monthly subscriptions lasting less than 30 days to poor redress mechanism.

A major concern of Nigerians was the monthly subscription imposed by the DSTv as against the “pay-as-you-watch” model obtainable in South Africa and most countries across the world.

With unstable power supply and long hours away from home due to work schedules, some Nigerians believe the monthly subscription is a rip-off.

After several months of sitting, the council revealed that the case Nigerians have against MultiChoice Nigeria held water as it substantiated allegations of violation of consumers’ rights.

Consequently, the CPC ordered the company to pay compensation across board to its subscribers for lost viewing time within 90 days.

However, the order has raised another controversy as the Council failed to state the nature of the compensation and if the compensation is in a monetary form, the Council failed to state the amount to be paid to subscribers.

In addition, the order failed to take into account who should estimate the lost viewing time and how it should be calculated.

The Council also directed the DSTv to start suspension of service when consumers are away, allow free-to-air channels even when subscription expires, introduce local toll free lines and reasonable equitable spread of popular sports channels.

By this order, the Council failed to advance the need of Nigerians, which has been the abolition of monthly subscription in favour of “pay-as-you-watch” model.

“A statement from the Council read, “the company was also directed by CPC to within 180 days adopt a technology that supports suspension of service when subscribers are otherwise unable to enjoy their service on account of being away for a limited period of time, provided such a request for suspension of service is done for a period of between 7 to 14 days and not more than twice in a year with a 72-hour notice to MultiChoice.”

Speaking to the Daily Trust, a Civil Servant, James Adakole, said the council should have directed DSTv to adopt a technology that automatically stops the subscription from running once the decoder is switched off.

“Saying the subscription can only be suspended only twice a year means these people are not serious. Do they suspend subscription only two time in a year in South Africa? This is not a rocket science,” Adakole lamented.

He chided the CPC for directing that subscribers must give a two-day notice to MultiChoice before subscription can be suspended.

“I can be called upon for an emergency assignment outside Abuja at night and by morning I am on transit to the duty post. How do you expect me to write to MultiChoice for my subscription to be suspended?”

Meanwhile, part of CPC’s findings was that DSTv’s billing system has not been “contemporaneous with the provision of service” and has not been in the best interest of consumers.

The CPC then ordered MultiChoice to install a billing system that ensures billing starts with the provision of service.

However, it seems like the indictment of DSTv is gradually yielding positive fruit for Nigerians as MultiChoice Nigeria on Tuesday announced it had slashed prices of its bouquets and introduced two new sport channels on the DStv Compact Bouquet.

Announcing the slash in price, the MultiChoice’s Managing Director, Mr. John Ugbe, disclosed that “the Explora, dish kit with one month Compact subscription initially sold at N71,000, has been reduced by more than 50 per cent to N30,000. The DStv Zapper decoder, dish kit plus 1 month Compact subscription will now be sold at N12,500 as against the previous price of N18,500.”

Ugbe said the decision to provide the new sport channels at no extra cost and the reduction in prices of its bouquets are in consideration of current economic realities in the country and the need to prioritise the concerns of its subscribers.

“One of MultiChoice’s key priorities is to put our subscribers’ needs at the heart of everything we do and since these have been tough economic times for everyone, we realised that our subscribers could use some good news,” he said.

SON seized, destroyed N10bn worth of counterfeit products- Odumodu

By Francis Arinze Iloani

The former Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Joseph Odumodu, has revealed that the Organisation under his watch seized and destroyed over N10bn worth of counterfeit products.

At a handover ceremony held in Abuja, the out-gone DG said the organisation had reduced the influx of substandard products into the country from 85 per cent to 30 per cent while he was at the helm of the organisation’s affairs.

‘’Chasing containers, raiding warehouses and companies to look for substandard products expose us to dangers and threats to personal safety and property but we continued to do that in order to maintain standard,” he said.

He disclosed that as at last month, his organisation has in excess of N3.3 billion in its account as a result of his growing the internally generated revenue (IGR) from N1.5 billion in 2012 to N6.4 billion in 2015.

‘’We met an organisation that was indeed in dire need of salvaging and activation for proper positioning to enable it deliver on its mandate of making Nigeria’s landscape free from life endangering products,’’ he said.

Odumodu handed over to Paul Angya as the acting Director-General of the organization with a charge for the new boss to raise the bar.

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