Any time I come across such developments, I smile—because this is what Africa ought to be like; take those enjoying monopoly and enforcing any sort of unfair pricing systems to the court.
Sadly, this didn’t happen in Ghana and I wouldn’t dare say we do not have the balls to take such things on—but we surely need to learn how to make good use of our courts and embrace class actions against those corporate giants whose motives are simply; to make huge profits irrespective of the consumer consequence.
All around the world, especially in the United States and UK, ordinary citizens put their interests and worries together to sue big companies such as Google, Tesco, Walmart, Nortel Networks, AOL Time Warner, and the others in class actions all the time—a clear indication that there is might in collective citizenry power even if mounted against the richest companies.
All across Africa, MultiChoice/DSTV continues with their regular price increase—while content does not significantly increase, cost does for subscribers who just endure the hardship.
The company’s plan to introduce its new increased price has been halted in Nigeria, albeit temporal, it serves the fact that, subscribers can actually challenge these companies enjoying monopoly in Africa—which has somewhat turned into exploitation.
Following the annual price increase across Africa which subscribers in all the countries have really not challenged, perhaps, except to moan about it, two Nigerian subscibers-Adebayo Osasuyi and Oluyinka Oyeniji have taken MultiChoice/DSTV to court—literally challenging the ‘insensitive’ price upsurge.
The annual price increases which affected almost every country saw a 20% price surge in Nigeria which means that, locally prices increased by at least US$1 for the entry level bouquets and up to US$5 for the premium package, reports Techzim.
In the Lagos class action, the Nigeria Federal Court has placed an injunction on the MultiChoice/DSTV Nigeria, preventing the company from enforcing the new increased prices until it returns to the case on April 16.
As I mentioned earlier on, the injunction on the price increase is temporal but it clearly establishes that, something can be done via class action in our courts against unilateral variation of prices by companies such as MultiChoice/DSTV.
It’s worth noting that, even if the High Court in Nigeria finds the price increase unfair and strikes it down or request a reduction, in principle this would only affect Nigeria subscribers—and those in Ghana and other parts of Africa would have to go and fight their own battles.
Let’s begin to take some of the actions and omissions of these giant companies we deal with on—ECG for instance should have by now been overwhelmed with multiple class actions.