Digital broadcast service (DStv) has published a statement outlining how its new billing system works, following complaints by customers that they were being overcharged on their monthly bills.
Multichoice chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Rayner said this week in an interview that the company implemented a new system in an effort to simplify account payments for a range of services.
He said that customers now have the flexibility of being able to add services including a BoxOffice movie rental, or upgrade their package during the month, only paying on the following payment date.
However, during the implementation process, some price lock customers were charged twice. Price lock enables customers to avoid annual increases by signing up for either a 12 or 24 month contract.
Rayner apologised to those subscribers affected by the changes.
Why did you get billed for a different amount this month?
“Following the changes, there was a once-off adjustment to bring all your services together and align the payment dates,” DStv said in a statement.
“The different amount this month also caters for the updates to price lock – previously, the hardware portion of your price lock instalment was billed in arrears, now it is billed in advance.”
DStv said this change will have no impact on the overall cost or duration of the price lock contract – which remains at the price customers signed up for.
“From next month, your single monthly payment will cover all your services,” it said.
“The amount may vary slightly month to month based on the number of BoxOffice movies rented, any additional services you added to your account or even any amounts due based on you upgrading your package.”
DStv said that the mix of advanced billing (for subscription) and arrears billing (for hardware) created a number of customer complaints and queries, resulting in confusion around the bill.
“Although we did an announcement at the time we updated our billing system, we did not communicate directly with our price lock customers about how this would impact them,” it said.
“We could have done a better job of that – and are making sure we do that with each customer now.”
It added that a small number of price lock customers on the R899 contract were billed the incorrect price for their price lock contract this month.
“We know who these customers are and are rectifying these accounts right now,” it said.
“A credit will show on the customer’s account – confirming the correction. This happened despite rigorous testing on moving those accounts from the old billing model to the new one.”
Why did MultiChoice change its billing?
The launch of additional services over the years has created complexity in the billing system, making it difficult for customers to understand, DStv said.
“There were different payment dates for different services, which led to inconsistent information on how much to pay (because of the different dates) and a need to pay multiple times a month.”
DStv said it has consolidated all services on a customer’s account – resulting in easier billing – and with only one payment required each month.
“Customers now also have the flexibility of being able to add services (like BoxOffice “rentals) or upgrade their package during the month, and only pay for those changes on their next payment date.”
DStv said that the improvements made to billing apply to all its residential customers.