Mr Paine left to sort out his own devices

Basil Paine got quite upset with MultiChoice when last year, just before he was leaving for overseas, he noted he was paying R1 688 for DStv.

When he phoned customer services the agent told him that he had recently installed two decoders and he was now paying for four.

Although the Fish Hoek resident said while the installer was at his house, he told MultiChoice he was replacing the two old decoders with two new ones, MultiChoice wasn’t interested in Mr Paine’s problem.

“Multichoice told me they checked their recording and could not find one from the technician verifying this. In my 2016 diary I made a note of what the technician told MultiChoice and still they disputed this,” said Mr Paine who spoke to the call centre several times to no avail.

“I have had two decoders and have been paying for four decoders and for a service they did not provide. Their attitude is not helpful at all. In reality they have taken R844 each month for a year which is more than my monthly pension. I feel strongly they should compensate me,” Mr Paine said.

MultiChoice reacted speedily to Mr Paine’s complaint. As usual MultiChoice issued a trite apology “for the less than ideal experience when he was trying to resolve this issue with us”.

“When Mr Paine upgraded his installation in 2016, the installer who activated the new devices should have notified the call centre agent to cancel the old devices.

“We’ve been in contact with Mr Paine to apologise for this error and we’ve taken this matter up with the installer concerned. We also informed Mr Paine that, as a gesture of goodwill, we will give him a full refund for the additional fees.

“Mr Paine was happy with this outcome and he’s opted to keep the funds as credit on his account for an annual subscription, which also means that he’ll get the 12th month on us,” MultiChoice said.

Mr Paine said he was happy with the outcome and confirmed that MultiChoice gave him a year’s subscription to DStv, instead of his money back.

“We take our responsibility towards our customers’ funds very seriously and we’d like to encourage them to immediately let us know if there are any irregularities on their bills,” MultiChoice said.

Well, Arthur Wienburg, city businessman and Rondeboch resident, would disagree with MultiChoice’s sentiments (“Too much drama for DStv customer”, February 8/9).

Mr Wienburg had a long-running and often heated battle of words with MultiChoice when their call centre agents couldn’t explain to him why their billing system was in such a bad state; why they took money from his bank account without his permission; why, when he paid more than was necessary for his subscription, did he battle to get a refund.

Mr Wienburg also threatened MultiChoice with legal action but it was like water off a duck’s back.

The matter was escalated to where the buck is supposed to stop – the desk of Mark Rayner, chief executive officer, who explained what happened in some detail.

Mr Rayner apologised and said it was not “the service ethic that we espouse and I am highly embarrassed by your experience”.

“It’s quite clear there have been several service failures on your account (going back to 2015), which led to the deduction of your annual subscription fee from your bank account, even though you had paid cash. We had already sent the debit order deduction file to the bank, usually three working days in advance of the payment due date.

“Another issue that caused problems on your account was the fact that when we had migrated our billing system in July 2015, we changed how holiday accounts were managed. Our customers had to pay a full month’s subscription up front and then pay for the time they watched,” Mr Rayner said.

However, customers were unhappy with the new system so it changed and the viewing time was added to their monthly bill.

It’s a long and complicated explanation of what went wrong with Mr Wienburg’s MultiChoice bill.

But he was incorrectly charged for additional days at his holiday home because his instructions were not executed.

MultiChoice did a reconciliation of his billing and found that the charges for DStv at Mr Wienburg’s holiday home were incorrect.

As a result they gave him a refund of R1 338.97.

“Allow me to apologise for all that you have had to endure. I would like to assure you that we’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again. I am grateful that you brought this to my attention and am sorry the escalation to proper resolution took longer than it should have.”

Although Mr Wienburg was somewhat mollified when he got the refund, he wasn’t satisfied with the responses he received.

MultiChoice said Mr Wienburg was “not satisfied with our response”.

“We believe we have addressed all his issues and have now advised him that we consider the matter closed. We also don’t agree with many of his allegations. We don’t believe that any further correspondence with him on this matter will result in a constructive resolution,” MultiChoice said.