The Director-General, CPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, said this in Abuja while reacting to the hike in subscription rate by Multichoice.
In July, MultiChoice Nigeria announced new monthly subscription rates for the DSTV Premium package from N14,700 to N15,800 (about 7.5 per cent); Compact Plus from N9,900 to N10,650; Compact bouquet from N6,300 to N6,800; Family from N3,800 to N4,000, and Access from N1,900 to N2,000.
The new rates took effect from August 1.
But reacting to the development, the CPC boss said Multichoice’s decision to increase the rate was done in “bad faith”, adding that this “undermined both the council and its regulatory process.”
Irukera said Multichoice’s failure to reconsider its decision, or honour its expressed and negotiated commitment made it impracticable in the absence of the judicial process to sufficiently protect consumers and accomplish the vital provisions of the Proposed Mutual Joint Consent Order.
He said, “Over a period of time, during which mutual concerns and reservations were addressed, the council and MultiChoice agreed and adopted a Proposed Mutual Joint Consent Order.
“The terms and obligations included an unopposed and undisputed requirement and understanding that Multichoice will not change, revise or modify any material term or conditions of service(s) for a period of 24 months.
“Multichoice never expressed any concerns or dissatisfaction with this clause of the Consent Order that required Multichoice to maintain status quo on its terms and conditions, which naturally include pricing for the 24-month period during which the company would have been under the council’s supervision.”
Irukera said, “Having agreed to the negotiated consent order, parties were planning on a date for the execution of same. There were repeated postponements of the execution date in part at the instance, and for the convenience of Multichoice executives.
“However, while waiting for, and when execution was imminent, Multichoice surreptitiously, without consultation, notice, courtesy information or deference to the council, and in violation of the spirit of collaboration and the finalised draft Proposed Mutual Joint Consent Order, by text messages to consumers, announced an increase in prices which materially changed a term of its service.”
He said with the interim injunction granted by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, it was a violation of the order of a court for Multichoice to require consumers to pay, or to receive any new rate for their services.
“For clarity, the current, valid and prevailing rates for the DStv and GOtv services are the rates that were effective as of July 31, 2018,” he added.”