MDA rolls out new measures to protect pay-TV customers

MDA has finalised a set of recommendations meant to improve consumer protection against unfair pay-TV practices.
MDA has finalised a set of recommendations meant to improve consumer protection against unfair pay-TV practices.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Media Development Authority (MDA) announced on Wednesday (March 16) that it has finalised its recommended changes to the Media Market Conduct Code, which aims to improve consumer protection against unfair pay-TV practices.

These proposals, which are expected to take effect in April, will make it possible for consumers to cancel their contracts early without paying a penalty if the service provider increases subscription fees or removes important content within 30 days from the date of change.

The MDA will also require operators to give consumers the choice of shorter, 12-month contracts for pay-TV packages or bundles.

Another change will disallow operators from forcing subscribers to upgrade non pay-TV services, such as Internet broadband or phone service contracts, in order to make changes to pay-TV services.

These changes follow a public consultation held from September to November 2014 with pay-TV operators, content providers, consumer and industry associations, and members of the public.

Operators will be required to provide customers with a critical information summary which highlights important terms and conditions clearly and accurately.

They will need to provide customers with a written copy of the contract and the summary within 14 days of contracting.

Operators will also have to obtain consumers' consent to continue with any trial or complimentary service before they can start charging, as opposed to automatically charging them if they fail to opt out.