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CPC says Multichoice obstructing DSTV probe, storms Lagos office

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The Consumer Protection Council has accused the Digital Satellite Television (DStv) of obstructing the ongoing investigation into the operations of the company, based on alleged infringement on consumer rights.

The CPC, in a statement on Thursday, said it had to storm the Lagos office of the pay-media outfit to carry out an enforcement exercise, in line with relevant sections of the council’s enabling law.

The CPC said 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 subscribers’ rights abuse reached a desirable conclusion.

The CPC, in line with one of its mandates to provide redress for consumer abuse, commenced investigations into the operations of DStv based on a barrage of complaints of alleged consumer rights violations against the company.

The CPC said it took the step in accordance with Section 15 of the organisation’s enabling law which empowers it to “open and examine whilst on the premises any container or package” which could help the course of its investigation as well as “examine any book, document or other records found on the premises” that may contain any information relevant to the enforcement of its Act.

“The CPC commenced investigative sittings into the operations of Multichoice Nigeria, the franchise owners of DStv on Friday, July 31, 2015. This followed a barrage of consumer complaints alleging wide-range abuse of subscribers’ rights. These include poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation, wrongful disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions, decoder swap irregularities and poor redress mechanism and customer service.

“The inaugural sitting provided a four-man DStv team the opportunity to respond to questions from the CPC investigating panel, and was adjourned for the DStv team to provide more documents. Since then, subsequent sittings of the CPC investigating panel have suffered abrupt adjournments and disruptions at the instance of Multichoice Nigeria.

“The disruptions started with a letter received on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, from Multichoice Nigeria acknowledging the CPC request for additional information and asked for a six-week extension for the continuation of the investigation, claiming that the notice of the summons was short.

“The CPC declined the six-week extension request, countering the short notice claim of Multichoice Nigeria, and insisting that its representatives at the first sitting of the investigation were constructively put on notice to produce additional documents. In the interest of justice, the CPC granted a postponement for two weeks to Thursday, September 10, 2015.

“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. This is more so that, as the CPC continues to contend with the numerous requests of Multichoice Nigeria, the consumer issues that necessitated this investigation have remained unresolved.”

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