Dissatisfied with the prevailing practices of TV service providers, human rights lawyer Barr. Maduabuchi Idam has taken a bold step towards ensuring fairness and transparency in the pay-per-view television industry. In a formal letter addressed to Multi-Choice and the Nigerian Broadcasting Services, Barr. Idam demanded that subscriptions be metered to read only during viewing, giving subscriber’s greater control over their payments.
Barr. Idam, expressed his concerns in a strongly-worded letter to Multi-Choice TV, the parent company of GOTV and DSTV. In the letter, he stated, “I am constrained to write this letter in protest against the practice of disconnecting my GOTV from service at the end of each subscription period, irrespective of whether I did or did not turn on my television during the subscription period.” The lawyer went on to highlight the intrusive nature of the current billing system, with GOTV agents constantly urging subscribers to renew their subscriptions, regardless of whether the service was utilized.
He emphasized that consumers have the right to understand how billing charges are determined, adding, “it is my right to be provided with details and particulars of your charges in order to avoid leaving me wondering whether I, as well as millions of other users in Nigeria, are being subjected to unfair and exploitative trade practices. More exploitative is the fact that DSTV, GOTV and all the digital satellite providers in Nigeria, do not indicate how they arrive at their billing, nor do they roll over subscriptions that were not in use. Hence, subjecting users, to arbitrary and unfair charges.”
In response to these concerns, Barr. Idam issued a 30-day Pre-Action Notice to Multi-Choice, the Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria, and the National Broadcasting Commission. He called for the immediate metering of GOTV and DSTV subscriptions to read only during consumer viewing, demanding transparency and fairness in billing practices. Furthermore, Barr. Idam urged the regulatory bodies to ensure that all other television service providers in Nigeria comply with this demand within the stipulated 30-day period. “Take notice that failure to comply with the demand herein made, I shall consequently apply to the Court for redress.”
He further indicated that should legal action become necessary, he would seek adequate damages for cheating, unfair, and exploitative trade practices, not only on his behalf but also for the countless users facing similar issues across Nigeria. This initiative by Barr. Maduabuchi Idam sheds light on the need for consumer rights protection in the Nigerian pay-per-view television industry.