Court Slams MultiChoice N150m Fine, Orders One Month Free Subscription For DSTV, GOTV Users

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The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal has ordered MultiChoice Nigeria to provide one month of free subscription for raising the prices of its DStv and GOtv services.

Additionally, the court imposed a N150 million fine on MultiChoice Nigeria for contesting the jurisdiction of an Abuja court that had previously restrained it from increasing its subscription prices.

The verdict, delivered on Friday, June 7, was handed down by a three-member panel led by Thomas Okosu. The court cited Section 39(2) of the FCCPC Act, which grants the tribunal jurisdiction throughout Nigeria over all profit-oriented commercial activities.

Okosu clarified that the tribunal’s jurisdiction covers all business activities within Nigeria, and he noted that there is no requirement for an aggrieved consumer seeking to enforce their rights to file a complaint with the President of Nigeria or the Price Control Board. He observed that the claimant had written to the FCCPC before filing the case.

“I conclude that this tribunal has the jurisdiction to preside over consumer rights in this case and resolve this issue against MultiChoice,” Okosu stated.

The tribunal also determined that the claimant’s lawsuit was not challenging the price hike itself but the illegality of MultiChoice’s eight-day notice to customers. It noted that MultiChoice had already disobeyed its interim orders and condemned the company’s action of raising DStv and GOtv prices.

The tribunal dismissed MultiChoice’s preliminary objection for disobeying interim orders and imposed an administrative penalty for failing to comply with the tribunal’s directives.

“The first defendant is hereby mandated to pay a N150 million penalty. MultiChoice is hereby ordered to give Nigerians one month of free subscription,” Okosu added.

Previously, the tribunal had restrained MultiChoice from increasing its subscription rates pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by Barrister Festus Onifade. Onifade had sued MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), accusing the PayTV company of unjustly increasing subscription fees without giving customers a one-month notice and seeking interim orders against the organization. (News Direct)

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