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FCCPC gives DSTV final notice, orders company to allow customers to suspend subscriptions

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The Federal Consumer Protection Council, FCCPC, has ordered Mult-Choice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV to commence the suspension of subscriptions for its customers, at least four times in a year.

The FCCPC is its final order and notice obtained by Afripost.ng and signed by Tam Tamunokonbia, Director Legal Services, said the latest order follows the outcome of its investigation on the operations of the South African own company.

 

The council also advocated that better communication channels be opened between Multi-Choice and its customers, emphasizing the need for the company to allow customers to suspend subscriptions once every quarter of the year, totaling four suspensions in a year. 

Read the new order below:

 

IN THE MATTER OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE OF DOMINANCE BY MULTICHOICE NIGERIA LIMITED

 

TO: MULTICHOICE NIGERIA LIMITED

 

FINAL ORDER AND NOTICE OF THE COMMISSION

 

WHEREAS:

 

  1. On August 28, 2020, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Commission) issued a Notice of Commencement of Investigation (NCI) pursuant to Sections 157 and 158 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA), to MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) a subsidiary of MultiChoice Group (MCG). MCG operates video-entertainment subscriber platforms in Nigeria, through its subsidiary – MultiChoice Nigeria (MCN), as well as in South Africa and 49 other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, offering satellite, digital terrestrial television (DTT), over-the-top (OTT) and related video-entertainment services for a monthly subscription fee.

 

  1. The commencement of this investigation was prompted by complaints to the Commission regarding allegations of abuse of dominant position by MCN. The Commission, in its NCI, requested for relevant information relating to market share, product pricing, distribution network, sourcing and packaging of content for subscribers in Nigeria. MCN, via a letter dated October 6, 2020, responded to the Commission’s NCI. The Commission also sought relevant information from other sources, and thereafter analyzed the totality of information gathered.

 

  1. The Commission has prepared and delivered a detailed Investigative Report to MCN showing its findings with respect to the investigation.

 

THE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO ITS POWERS UNDER THE FCCPA, IN PARTICULAR BUT NOT LIMITED TO SECTIONS 157, 158, AND 159 (1) (A), NOW HEREBY ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:

 

That MultiChoice Nigeria Limited shall:

 

  1. For the purpose of ensuring that any material changes in key terms with respect to value propositions including, but not limited to cost or price, on account of its dominance, and to prevent consumers from being otherwise exploited, including by the conduct of other players in the market, MultiChoice shall introduce additional features prior to any proposed or contemplated changes in terms and conditions as identified in this Order to the extent that such change in price constitutes an increase in what consumers pay, regardless of any value addition. Such features should at a minimum include:

 

  1. A price lock option that allows subscribers to maintain the same subscription fee for a minimum period of one year subject to a contractual agreement that clearly specifies the applicable terms and conditions. MultiChoice Nigeria shall submit to the Commission a draft of this agreement within seven (7) days of receipt of this Order.

 

  1. A better value for money proposition for annual prepayment of subscription, including the ability to suspend subscription at least once every quarter of the year.

 

  1. Clear communication to each subscriber regarding all channels

 

available within their selected bouquet option. d. Any other value proposition MultiChoice considers appropriate and

 

applicable, subject to adequate engagement with the Commission.

 

  1. Provide completely toll-free customer service lines which are operational 24 hours daily, and through which consumers may receive support with respect to their use of the services offered by MultiChoice Nigeria. These lines must be toll-free across networks, not only within same networks as is presently the case. MultiChoice Nigeria must within the time stipulated in the Commission’s Order of February 4, 2022, provide the Commission with a workplan and timeline for the purpose of articulating, and addressing where possible and applicable, any constraints with respect to complying with, and operationalizing this specific Order.

 

  1. Advertise the existing toll-free customer service lines more frequently and more widely on channels available and under the control of MultiChoice on the DSTV and GOTV platforms. Such advertisement must run on each channel at least daily.

 

Increase the number of times all subscribers may suspend their subscription up to at least four (4) times annually.

  1. Submit to the Commission a compliance report demonstrating full compliance with the above orders within the time stipulated in the Commission’s Order of February 4, 2022.

 

TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that in addition to other remedies, a violation of an Order of the Commission attracts a fine/penalty of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only) under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Administrative Penalties) Regulations, 2020.

 

BY ORDER OF THE FEDERAL COMPETITION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMISSION

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