Nigerian Govt Issues Final Order To MultiChoice Nigeria Demanding Changes
The Nigerian government's Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has issued a "final order" to MultiChoice Nigeria demanding that the pay-TV operator adheres to a new list of demands such as a "24-hour call centres, seven days a week.
The Commission also ordered that the pay-TV giant allows GOtv and DStv subscribers to switch off their pay-TV subscription for a minimum of 3 times per year for at least 45 days per year.
This comes after the Nigerian courts found against the Consumer Protection Council who had tried to prevent MultiChoice Nigeria from increasing DStv and GOtv subscription fees and wanted the right to dictate to MultiChoice Nigeria as a private company what prices it could and could not charge.
Sources from MultiChoice said that the FCCPC seems uninformed about how traditional pay-TV works and that letting DStv subscribers switch off their subscriptions and not pay for at least 45 days per year each would dramatically increase the price for all DStv and GOtv subscribers.
The court granted interim injunctive relief preventing MultiChoice from proceeding with the conduct that the Commission had alleged to constitute bad faith.
MultiChoice reportedly failed to obey the injunctive order of the court, preferring to instead challenge the validity of the order and the powers of the court. The court order was appealed in Nigeria's Court of Appeal.
In its "final order", the FCCPC orders that MultiChoice is subjected to prevailing regulatory and telecommunications industry constraints and practices, open toll-free technical and customer service helplines and also that the company operates fully-resourced call centres that open 24 hours, and seven days a week, including on public holidays.
MultiChoice has in addition been ordered to create multiple social media platforms where subscribers can upload proof of payment when their service is not restored immediately after making payment.
According to the Commission, the pay-TV operator must also ensure that all DStv subscribers receive free access to local free-to-air TV channels and must carry out regular customer surveys about changes made.
The FCCPC has warned MultiChoice that it will be under the Commission's monitoring for 12 months of this order and will provide prior notice of proposed modifications of the terms and conditions of service that are stipulated in this order.
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