Multichoice Hikes DSTV Subscription Fee To N21k, Cites Inflation
Multichoice Hikes DSTV Subscription Fee To N21k, Cites Inflation

Multichoice, DSTV Directors Risk Jail Term, Firm Fined, Amid Price Hike Lawsuit

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Directors of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited risk jail term over contempt of court, after raising subscription price for its payment cable tv packages for DSTV and GOTV against trinunal’s order.

Legal practitioner, Festus Onifade, on behalf of himself and the Nigerian consumers, had filed a motion at the Competition and Consumer Protection (CCP) tribunal sitting in Abuja, against MultiChoice hiking its prices scheduled for April 2022.

On March 30, the tribunal ordered MultiChoice to maintain status quo by granting an ex parte motion, which prevents DSTV and GOTV from increasing their prices, however, the company went ahead to hike the cost of its subscription.

MultiChoice counsel, Jamiu Agoro, defended the company, stating that before the tribunal made the order, the firm had configured its devices to automatically hike subscription rate.

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In his argument, Onifade said that the directors of MultiChoice must appear before the court to give reasons why they shouldn’t be sentenced in prison for the price hike, which is against the tribunal’s order.

He told the tribunal, the directors need to “show cause why they should not be committed to prison for willful disobedience of the order of this honourable tribunal granted on March 30 2022.

As well as “to show cause why MultiChoice should not be made to pay 10% of its annual turnover for contravention or failure to, comply with an interim order of this honourable tribunal.”

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What you need to know

Agoro told the tribunal that there’s need to resolve the jurisdiction of the tribunal before going ahead to sit on other matters, stating that the price hike case should have been tendered before the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

He explained that the FCCPC act mandates the commission to be the first to hear such matter, and when neither party is satisfied with the FCCPC decision, then they can approach the court.

But Onifade had stated that the FCCPC refused to act since he filed the case with the tribunal in May 2020, when MultiChoice increased its tariff. He said matters like recycled contents and pay-as-you-use were tabled before FCCPC.

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According to Onifade, when the FCCPC refuses to act, then the tribunal is expected to hear the case.

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