Friday, October 16, 2015

MultiChoice Nigeria's head office raided; computers, DStv information seized by Consumer Protection Council as conflict escalates between pay-TV provider, consumer agency.

The head office of MultiChoice Nigeria in Lagos was raided on Thursday afternoon by Nigeria's Consumer Protection Council (CPC) which seized laptop computers and other information while MultiChoice protested that it's not willing to hand over DStv subscribers' personal information.

So far there been no statement or official word yet from MultiChoice Africa on the raid of its headquarters in Nigeria with the CPC saying MultiChoice has been obstructing its investigation.

The CPC says the investigation which started at the end of July, follows a "barrage of consumer complaints alleging wide-range abuse of DStv subscribers' rights".

The CPC says complaints from subscribers to MultiChoice's services range from poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation, wrongful disconnection, DStv decoder swap irregularities, poor redress mechanisms, and poor customer service from MultiChoice.

The conflict has been steadily building between the satellite pay-TV provider and the consumer protection agency since the beginning of this year when MultiChoice announced a hefty DStv price hike which led to subscriber confusion, court interdicts and a court case which MultiChoice won.

Nigeria's ThisDay newspaper reports that MultiChoice Nigeria's headquarters got raided on Thursday afternoon, with CPC officials armed with a court warrant, taking computers and other documents while Nigerian police and journalists looked on.

It follows after a meeting set for Tuesday between the CPC and MultiChoice Nigeria didn't take place with MultiChoice Nigeria's managing director John Ugbe who earlier told the CPC that MultiChoice can't hand over DStv subscribers' personal information, citing customer confidentiality.

Nigeria's CPC says the "enforcement exercise" led by the council's director of legal services, Emmanuel Ataguba, was carried out to ensure that ongoing investigations into complaints of alleged DStv subscribers' rights abuses reaches a desirable conclusion.

According to Nigeria's Daily Post newspaper, the CPC says MultiChoice Nigeria kept delaying meeting with the CPC.

According to the CPC, MultiChoice Nigeria on 25 August asked for yet another extension of 6 weeks. The CPC declined the 6 week request and told MultiChoice Nigeria it would get another two weeks until 10 September.

"The aforementioned action of Multichoice Nigeria has left the CPC with no other option than to do everything within the law to ensure that consumers are saved the agony of an endless wait for the conclusion of the ongoing investigation," says the CPC.

According to Nigeria's Daily Sun the meeting on 10 September was cancelled again when MultiChoice Nigeria requested to have legal representation present at the meeting.

Nigeria's Premium Times reports that the CPC investigating panel got tired of MultiChoice Nigeria's "abrupt adjournments and disruptions".