Court fines MultiChoice Nigeria, orders free month for subscribers

Nigeria’s Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) has fined MultiChoice Nigeria, the local arm of Africa’s biggest pay-TV company, 150 million naira ($107,142.86) for contempt of court. 

The company must also offer its subscribers one month of free service.

This decision stems from a price hike controversy. 

In May, MultiChoice, which operates DStv and GOtv services in Nigeria, raised subscription rates by about 25%, sparking complaints. 

Subscriber Festus Onifade filed a lawsuit in April, arguing the eight-day notice for the increase was inadequate.

The situation escalated when MultiChoice defied a previous CCPT order to halt the price hike. 

The tribunal had initially restrained the company from raising prices on April 29th. 

Despite challenging the court’s jurisdiction, MultiChoice proceeded with the increase.

Friday’s ruling by the CCPT, led by Justice Thomas Okosu, underscores its authority over consumer rights cases. 

The hefty fine serves as a punishment for MultiChoice’s disregard for the court order.

MultiChoice has not yet responded to requests for comment, and it remains unclear if they will appeal the decision. 

This development highlights the ongoing tension between pay-TV companies and consumers in Nigeria, particularly regarding price hikes and customer rights.

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