Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MultiChoice and StarTimes could be dragged to court over pay-TV operators' continued inability to give subscribers what they pay for.

MultiChoice and StarTimes in Kenya face possible court action over allegations from consumer protection organisations that the pay-TV operators continue to "non-deliver" when it comes to GOtv and StarTimes subscribers having to pay for TV channels they're simply not getting.

MultiChoice runs the DStv and GOtv satellite and terrestrial pay-TV services; China's StarTimes is also the backer of South Africa's StarSat where subscribers have seen a continuing interruption of channel blackouts and bad video and sound quality since December 2013 when StarTimes took over.

In Kenya the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) is fed-up with terrible pay-TV subscription services from MultiChoice and StarTimes, saying that Kenyan pay-TV subscribers are simply not getting what they're forced to pay for.

The Supreme Court of Kenya ordered MultiChoice, StarTimes and two other pay-TV operators in Kenya to immediately cease broadcasting free-to-air (FTA) TV channels from Nation Media Group, Standard Media Group and Royal Media Services, since they do not have valid and proper retransmission contracts and permission to broadcast these channels.

"The disruption in the continued reception of these key channels creates heavy inconvenience to consumers who are not party to the dispute between the two broadcast signal retailers GOtv and StarTimes on one hand and the three media houses on the other," says Cofek in a statement.

"An apology, silent on resumption date by the broadcast retailers, is certainly not enough," says Cofek.

"Consumers prepay for the services under the oral and/or written contract of prerequisite FTA channels being part and parcel of all their offerings".

"Consumers must be compensated for the period the free-to-air TV channels have been off-air," says Cofek.

Cofek says it is considering a class action suit against MultiChoice's GOtv, China's StarTimes and the two other smaller operators.