DSTV Fees Hike: Will Consumers Match Threats With Action? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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DSTV Fees Hike: Will Consumers Match Threats With Action?

Posted: May 25, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Judith Eshemitan Lagos

In March, MultiChoice Nigeria, operators of Digital Satellite Television, popular called DSTV announced its intention to increase its tariff by 20 per cent, with effect from April 1, 2015.

Dupe Atoki, DG, Consumer Protection Council

Dupe Atoki, DG, Consumer Protection Council

The announcement, however, generated flurry of complaints from many subscribers, threatening to boycott the service.

The South African firm had in a statement then, explained that the subscription price hike on all DStv bouquets was necessitated by increasing satellite, channels and operational costs.

According to the firm, the said increment was not only in Nigeria, but also in every country where MultiChoice has its operations.

The eventual increase despite a court order, asking the company to maintain status quo, spurred reactions and complaints from Nigerian subscribers, with threats to boycott DSTV services, except the company reverts to its old rate.

One of such threats was from Taofik Salaudeen, a Lagos based engineer and a premium subscriber, who said that, due to the lack of competition and monopolistic tendencies of the company, it takes decisions without regard to its subscribers, and therefore urged other subscribers to join him in boycotting DSTV services.

Another subscriber, Ayo Sogunro had on twitter, a social media platform, twitted: “I can’t boycott water, I can’t boycott air, I can’t even boycott Nigeria, but I can boycott DSTV. You know how you hated it when bus drivers increase prices almost by 100% when it is raining? That is what DSTV is doing.

“As a Nigerian citizen living in Nigeria, you deserve to be treated with respect by all foreign companies operating here,” Sogunro added.

Many like Salaudeen and Sogunro, had also verged their displeasure via other social media, used the hash tag sign saying “#BoycottDSTV#”, also requesting to others to let the message trend.

Surprisingly, despite series of complaints from many subscribers in Nigeria, the brand has carried on in the arrogance of most business monopolies. Nigerians are also not helping matters as their threats are not met with action, with DSTV still enjoying massive patronage.

Daily Independent’s check on some DSTV outlets last week, revealed that many consumers have not lived up to their threats, as they continue to pay the new tariff to the company.

Some of the outlets visited to inquire about the increment and how it affects subscription rate, showed that nothing has changed; and the impulsive threats at the early stage of the announcement of increment was yet to reflect in the their patronage.

At the MultiChoice outlet in Okota, a suburb of Lagos, the sales attendant disclosed that though it was expected that a fall in patronage would accompany the threats of consumers, rather the reverse happens to be the case.

According to attendant who does not want her name in print, subscribers come in grudgingly with complaints, yet still end up paying the new rate.

Not even a court order suspending the hike in subscription fee, which the South African firm blatantly disobeyed, had made subscribers match their threats with actions.

It will be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had ordered MultiChoice from its arbitrary monthly increase of the DSTV subscription fees, following two cases filed by some of the subscribers, Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, against it.

Justice C.J. Aneke granted an interim order against a subscription increase for DSTV in Nigeria, ordering MultiChoice not to implement its new rate.

When contacted about not halting the increment after a court had ordered that the increment be suspended pending the determination of the suit, the Public Relations Manager at MultiChoice Nigeria, Ms. Caroline Oghuma, refused to comment.

According to her, since the case is in court, it will be subjudice for parties involved to comment on the case.

The puzzle, is why have Nigerian subscribers conceded to gullibility and cowardice by not marching their words with necessary actions, thereby proving to this foreign Satellite TV company that Nigerians do not have sufficient local alternatives, when in actual fact, they do.