Customers of DTH networks have been flooding social media, particularly Twitter, with messages of frustration as the implementation of the new TRAI rules on channel pricing hits its third day today.
Among the DTH providers transitioning customers are Airtel Digital, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Videocon D2h and Sun Direct.
Many customers are complaining of being migrated to irrelevant packs which are different from their selection, while others have been put on low-end or free-to-air packs, despite having given their choice package days in advance.
Making matters worse, some of the DTH players have even gone incommunicado or impossible to reach, with the ‘speak to our customer care representative’ option removed from helpline menus.
“I had given a specific plan a week ago. But I’ve been put on some other plan without the channels that I need,” complained Sudarsha N, a customer from Thrissur, Kerala.
She said she has the request number of the DTH service — operated by a Delhi-based DTH player that was among the ‘laggards’ in terms of implementing the new TRAI tariff scheme.
“So I tried to call them, but to my horror, they have removed the menu of talking to an actual human being. Now, all you get are pre-recorded messages,” she adds.
“I can’t see channel[s] since three day[s],” complained Nikunj Chaudhari on Twitter. “I have complained about three time[s] but they can’t solve problem. Worst service..”
Other customers of the above DTH provider can be seen on complaining on Twitter about being disconnected by customer service professionals, being subjected to rude behavior etc, which seems to at least indicate that they did not face the problem of not being able to talk to a human being.
A customer of another DTH player — among the quickest to implement the new solution — also had a similar complaint.
“My selected channel list does not contain any channel from Zee network. They have switched me to their own pack with all Zee network channels. None of my selected channels are in new pack as per TRAI,” said Shekhar Agrawal on Twitter.
“Not being able to see my channel due to TRAI rule. When ever i call my.. customer care, they say call back after 4 hours which i am being listening from 1st February. Such a disappointment… If my problem doesn’t get solved today i will change to another operator,” complained a user named Saroj Das.
This particular DTH network had the highest number of complaints on Twitter by far, outdoing all its peers comfortably.
Exasperated consumers can be seen giving ‘final warnings’ to this operator before taking it to consumer court for cutting off their signals. The TRAI too has been tagged in hundreds of such messages over the last two days.
Yet another customer, this time with market leader Tata Sky, said he was able to reach a customer service representative. “I called customer care and asked why my new TRAI pack has not been activated. The customer care person said I am yet to make a request,” he said.
This customer promptly made request using Tata Sky’s channel selector software on its website and was able to immediately activate the new TRAI package.
Going by the evidence, Tata Sky, despite also being a laggard in terms of announcing its new channels and packs, has been able to roll-out the new system relatively smoothly. In our tests, Tata Sky’s website remains responsive and customers able to change their packages quickly.
However, when changing packs, customers have to make sure that their new pack contains all the ‘locked in’ channels and packs that they are already subscribed to.
In other words, if they try to design a new pack which does not contain a ‘locked in’ pack from their previous selection, then their update process fails and they have to start from scratch again.
There are not many complaints on Twitter from Sun Direct customers.
However, D2h seems to have their own fair share of irate customers, going by the evidence on Twitter. D2h customer care can be seen requesting customers to send their channel selection by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: Many users have reported finding success by simply resubmitting their list. See the following story for details.