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Rights abuse: CPC orders MultiChoice to compensate consumers

The Consumer Protection Council said on Sunday that it had concluded investigations into allegations of violation of consumer rights by Multi-Choice Nigeria Ltd in the provision of its Digital Satellite Broadcast Television service.

Following the conclusion of the investigation,  the council ordered the company to compensate its consumers for violation of their rights.

Some of the compensation are suspension of service when consumers are away; release of free-to-air channels, even when subscription expires; compensation across board to consumers for lost viewing time, introduction of local toll free lines; and reasonable equitable spread of popular sports channels, among others.

The council in a statement issued on Sunday also required the company to present written assurances in line with Section 10 of the Council’s enabling law that it will not engage in any conduct which is detrimental to the interest of consumers.

In the same vein, the company would for 18 months from the date of the order, subject its processes to the Council’s inspection to ensure compliance with the directives contained in the orders.

It said that all the orders, which have already been served on MultiChoice, are effective, not later than 90 days from their receipt.

The statement reads in part, “During the course of the investigation, the Council observed that the company’s billing system, whereby ‘billing is not contemporaneous with the provision of service’ was not in the best interest of consumers and therefore ordered MultiChoice to install a billing system that ensures billing starts with the provision of service.

“The pay-television company was also ordered to within 90 days provide across board compensation to its subscribers, considering the fact that many of them have over time lost legitimate and paid viewing time by its conduct of not restoring service contemporaneously after payment as well as other instances of disruptions.

“Similarly, 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 seven to 14 days and not more than twice in a year with a 72-hour notice to MultiChoice.”

Commenting, the Council’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, expressed optimism that compliance with these reforms would bring about a new dawn for Nigerian consumers.

She said henceforth , consumers would begin to enjoy value for money in their engagement with the company.

Atoki reiterated the Council’s commitment towards sanitising the nation’s market-place for the benefit of consumers.

She assured that no stone would be left un-turned to ensure it is no longer business as usual adding that shoddy service delivery would soon become a thing of the past in the country.

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