Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Three months after launch Disney+ South Africa customers are now cancelling on the streaming service over ongoing technical bugs and lack of support.

by Thinus Ferreira      
Three months since Disney+ launched in South Africa on 18 May Disney+ and MultiChoice are losing frustrated subscribers of the Mouse House's new video streaming service who have signed up but are cancelling on Disney+ SA over a litany of unresolved and new technical bugs, including getting nothing but bot-responses to problems and an apparent lack of proper customer technical support from the Disney Hotstar team in India.

Disney+ SA subscribers who are fed-up and cancelling their Disney+ payments say they are frustrated about a string of ongoing technical problems and new ones cropping up, which have been interrupting and negatively impacting their viewing experience through the Disney+ video streaming app over the past three months - as well as The Walt Disney Company Africa's silence about it.

Disney+ SA finally launched in South Africa on 18 May as the first sub-Saharan country to get Disney+ but instead of the much better American version, the South Africa version of Disney+ is the one built, developed and run by India's Disney Hotstar which is also supposed to fix technical problems and bugs. 

Disney+ is also available through MultiChoice's DStv Explora Ultra decoder but with this functionality too, Disney+ SA subscribers and DStv subscribers have also been voicing frustration about various problems and issues which they say led them to cancel as customers.

On the Google Play Store, Disney+ SA has the lowest score of international streaming services available in South Africa compared to BritBox SA, Netflix SA, Amazon Prime Video and even Showmax from Android users with a shocking 2.6-rating, while on the Apple App Store iOS users also give Disney+SA getting a 2.1-rating there - here also the lowest score compared to the other available streaming services. 

While Disney+ subscribers say they love the content, the app review section is an unending string of complaints from angry and frustrated Disney+ SA customers about the technical problems that they say damage their viewing and using experience.

They say that that the Disney+ SA app freezes, that they are cancelling because the user experience is very bad, that the platform is poorly built and with one saying it's "one of the crappiest apps I've ever seen".

TVwithThinus called the listed 010 500 2239 customer support call centre line for Disney+ SA several times during a week in August and several times got a "your call cannot be completed due to a temporary error" voice message.

For Disney+ provided through DStv, MultiChoice in a media query was asked the questions from frustrated subscribers and for comment - for instance why Disney+ had been capped at a 720p resolution through the DStv Explora Ultra and what technical problems and issues have so far been fixed and getting attention.

A MultiChoice spokesperson told TVwithThinus that "We make every effort to mitigate issues as quickly as possible to ensure the best possible service is given to our customers. We work tirelessly with our partners to navigate this new terrain and are certain that our hard work will pay off to bring the customer the best viewing experience".

The Walt Disney Company Africa, based in Johannesburg, was also asked for comment and multiple questions about a range of issues, including whether Disney South Africa is unhappy with Disney Hotstar's technical app performance, including subscribers complaining about not getting any answers and only bot-responses and stock phrases without any resolution or fixing of problems.

Jared Stokes, Disney Africa senior manager for PR and communications told TVwithThinus the company has no official comment, and declined to provide on-the-record answers to any of the questions.

A former customer who even sent video of Disney+ problems to DStv's customer support team, said he has now given up after not getting proper help and has cancelled his subscription.

"As a result of having had nothing more than unresolved issues, being treated as being incompetent by DStv call centre peeps and a lack of any responses from Disney+, I have since cancelled my Disney+ subscription," he said.

"Disney+ said to use the bot - what a useless, unhelpful tool that is," he said, noting that "there are no options on this useless self-help bot for issues with the Disney+ app and DStv decoder, so no clue why they would suggest this as an option in the first place. DStv people are also not geared/trained to handle Disney+ app issues."

Christine Service, senior vice president and general manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa, asked in an interview in the week during which Disney+ launched in South Africa if subscribers with problems, complaints and issues would be helped, said "absolutely, we have a place for people to go and it's on the platform, it's help.disneyplus.com".

"There you can either deal with any queries through a chat, you can ask from a callback from our call centre, or if you're accessing it from a mobile phone you can click straight through and connect and have a voice-chat with the call centre as well".

"We've worked hard to make sure that that's a seamless and easy experience for people."