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Consumers lament as DStv defies court order, continues with new tariff

By Adeyemi Adepetun and Oluwatosin Areo
10 September 2018   |   4:16 am
Consumers of Digital Satellite television (DStv) in Nigeria, owned by South African multinational company- Multichoice, are angry over their inability...

Consumers of Digital Satellite television (DStv) in Nigeria, owned by South African multinational company- Multichoice, are angry over their inability to pay the old tariffs on the different bouquets, as ordered by the court.

Currently, despite the August 20 court order, which stopped Multichoice from increasing the tariff, consumers have been made to pay the new tariffs.

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on August 20, restrained Multichoice Nigeria Limited from increasing the subscription tariff- 19 days after commencement.

The order by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, was a result of an application filed before the court by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on behalf of the Federal Government.

The court restated that its order of August 20 “still subsists and in force”, adding that CPC knows what to do if an opposing party in a suit flouts a valid order of court. Justice Dimgba warned the defendant against taking any step that would over-reach the court.

Relating his experience, Prof. Tony Afejuku of the University of Benin, said something urgent must be done by the Nigerian authority on the matter.

“My subscription to DStv was about to expire and not to be cut off, I went to my bank, but they couldn’t log in because I pay for Explora service at N16, 900. I was forced to pay extra N1, 100, which increased the money to N18, 000.

“Something needs to be done urgently. This is simply exploitation! I am aware that the case is in court and the court told them not to increase tariff. The pronouncement subsists, though there were claims that they have appealed, but an appeal is no judgement, until the judgement of the high court is set aside, the order restraining them from increasing tariffs subsists. Multichoice cannot be too clever by half,” he said.

Another subscriber, Miss Uche Abah, a premium bouquet subscriber, also wanted Multichoice to maintain the old tariff pending when the supposed appeal would be heard.

Abah said she found it difficult to pay additional N1, 100 on the bouquet, “not even in this economy that is not smiling. I have decided I may jettison their service and go for their competitors. I don’t think they can do that in South Africa. They have failed to introduce ‘Pay as You Watch’”.

But Adeleke Ajibosho claimed that he is not bothered about the increment. “I just paid the N6, 800 to watch my favourite sport channels. The increase did not change my interest in anyway because the DStv is unique for Sport Channels.”

When the DStv Spokesperson in Nigeria, Caroline Oghuma, was contacted, she told The Guardian that she cannot comment on the matter, “because the issue is in court.”

Investigations showed that the South African PayTV firm has about 11 million subscribers in 50 African states, with Nigeria having about four million of them as at last year.

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