Consumer protection agency issues final order to Multichoice on tariffs reviewJune 13, 2019
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has issued a final order to MultiChoice Nigeria Limited for showing alleged
bad faith in enforcing a mutual agreement on tariffs review and other services.
In July 2018, MultiChoice Nigeria announced the upward review of the monthly subscription rates for its cable television systems, DSTV and GoTV, with effect from August 1, 2018.
The company said under the new price regime, the Premium package subscribers would pay 7.5 per cent more (N15,800) from N14,700 every month.
The Compact Plus customers were to pay N10,650, from N9,900; Compact bouquets N6,800, from N6,300, and Family package would increase from N3,800 to N4,000, with Access from N1,900 to N2,000.
But the Consumer Protection agency had kicked against the review and ordered DSTV to immediately reverse the decision.
Despite the order, however, DSTV went ahead with the review.
CPC went to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to seek an order restraining Multichoice Nigeria or any of its agents or representatives from going ahead with the increment till further notice.
The application was filed on behalf of the Nigerian government in case No. FHC/ABJ/CS/894.
On August 20, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba granted the application for an interim order prohibiting any increase by Multichoice Nigeria in its DStv or GOtv subscription rates.
In his order, Mr Dimgba restrained Multichoice Nigeria or its agents and representatives from “continuing the implementation of any increase in subscription rates or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
The court also restrained DSTV from “further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which interferes with or has effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing
investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice”.
Justice Dimgba equally rejected an August 24, 2018, appeal by Multichoice Nigeria against the application.
When the appeal was made, the CPC explained that the order stopping implementation of the new tariffs will subsist till the appeal has been heard and ruling given by the court.
The implication was that the subscription tariffs for Dstv and Gotv ought not to have been increased.
However, in defiance of the court order, DSTV has since August last year been implementing the increased tariffs.
The FCCPC accused MultiChoice Nigeria of acting in bad faith by preempting the agency after a broad investigation, and a proposed mutually agreed Consent Order.
The Commission said the order addressed broad consumer protection and service responsiveness/quality issues which were the subject of incessant complaints from consumers.
The CPC said a key mutual understanding in the Consent Order was that no material terms of the Subscription Agreement between MultiChoice and its subscribers will change…