File image: IOL

Johannesburg - If you’re a DStv subscriber, check your latest statement to see if your recent debit was correct.

Thousands of furious customers around South Africa claim they have been overcharged for their subscriptions by amounts ranging from R20 to R1000.

But in a week when DStv has been lambasted by its customers for canning some of its most popular channels, MultiChoice spokesperson Benedict Maaga has denied it has been overcharging subscribers, but said its billing structure had changed.

“The launch of additional services over the years created complexity in our billing, making it more difficult for customers to understand their billing,” he said.

“There were different payment dates for different services, which led to inconsistent information on how much to pay and a need to pay multiple times a month.”

Subscriber Sharon Baran claimed she was charged an additional R150 by Multichoice for the month of September and had yet to receive a refund.

“I was overcharged by about R150 on September 1.

“I queried via email on September 6, and I was promised a refund,” said Baran on the DStv complaints board on the company’s website.

“After a reference number and six emails, my requests are now being ignored and I’m still awaiting my refund.

“It is illegal but DStv don’t seem to care, or reply to my emails.”

Belinda Tolmay claimed she had been overcharged by Multichoice for the past two months.

Tolmay signed up for the price lock premium deal last year, which was meant to cost her R749 a month.

However, for the past two months, she had been overcharged by the broadcaster. 

“I’m mad as can be. I want answers with regards to my debit order value on my contract, that changed without my permission!” she wrote.

“On September 4, a debit order was taken for R950.10. Nobody at customer service could explain why this amount has gone off. It was escalated four times and up to today, nobody has advised anything. I received an SMS recently saying that my debit order on October 4 was going to be R1074.10! I want answers.”

Thuli Motha, who also has a price lock DStv subscription, wrote how she too had been overcharged by Multichoice. “I’ve been on price lock since last year, but in September I was debited R1069 instead of R759.

“Even after the extra debit, they disconnected me twice. I have never missed a payment; it goes via debit order so there’s just no excuse to disconnect and overcharge. No one has come back to me. It’s such poor service. I have been a customer for almost seven years and this is just unacceptable.”

Multichoice, however, said the reason the amounts had changed this month was due to updates to price lock. 

“The different amount this month also caters for the updates to price lock,” said Maaga. 

Previously, the hardware portion of the price lock instalment was billed in arrears, now it was billed in advance, bringing it in line with how subscription was billed each month.

“We’d like to assure our customers that this change will have no impact on the overall cost of your price lock contract, which remains at the price you signed up for.”

Saturday Star