21st December, 2010
Last month, DStv, a pay television company, announced that Nigerians could now buy a complete DStv system (decoder + smartcard + dish + installation) forÂ just N9,000. Most consumers who hitherto could not afford the companyâ€™s cheapest package were ecstatic with the news as it afforded them the opportunity ofÂ the cable television experience.
With the offer, new subscribers to DSTV could get the complete system at only N9,000. This price includes a DSTV decoder, dish and smart card. SubscribersÂ will have to pay for subscription for their selected DSTV bouquet separately.
Immediately after the announcement, Nigerian across the country rushed to DSTV designated sale points. The queue was long as people struggled to buy theÂ decoders. At first, it was sold for N9,000, but gradually the high demand prompted some dealers to push the price to N10,000.
From N10,000 the price moved to N12,000 but Nigerians keep buying. Three weeks after the promo was announced, the few people who managed to get the DStvÂ decoder now pay over N16,000.
Consumer’s Advocate investigation across Lagos revealed that DStv dealers has devised a clever means of hoarding the decoder and selling it at exorbitantÂ prices to interested buyers from the backdoor while people on queue are told the decoder is out of supply.
According to our findings, most dealers who had anticipated the rush due to the price slash, bought the decoders in large quantity but refused to sell themÂ until it became scarce.
Our findings also revealed that Multichoice, the parent company of DStv has also ran out of stockÂ and has ordered for new ones.
A source at the company told our reporter that the company has been worried about the hoarding of its product and recently conducted an unscheduled visit toÂ some dealers to ascertain and curtail the trend.
Although the source said no dealer was apprehended or disciplined, the company believed that its dealers are behind the scarcity.
A worried consumer, Emeka Ejiofor who spoke to our reporter lamented the ordeal he has undergone just to be able to buy the decoder for N15,000.
â€œI have been to a DStv office on the mainland twice now in the last two weeks and I was told that the product was not available. Just yesterday when I gotÂ there, a man who works in the office told me that he can get me one if I pay him N15,000. To my surprise, when I gave him N15,000, he immediately producedÂ one for me and said if I get him more people, he will give me a commission on each one sold.â€
Another consumer who could not get the decoder said: â€œIt is so surprising that after the claim that DStv package is N9,000, the product has been so scarce.Â Iâ€™ve been to many dealers but they are all lamenting that at Multichoice office they are not giving them product unless they bribe their way to get just aÂ few unitsâ€
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