New pay-TV rules: Contract penalty may be removed

New pay-TV rules: Contract penalty may be removed

Pay-TV subscribers may soon be able to cancel their contracts without early termination charges if their service provider increases subscription fees, removes channels or removes material content within a channel.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) yesterday launched a public consultation on three key proposals to enhance consumer protection measures under the Media Market Conduct Code.

MDA proposes to allow pay-TV subscribers to exit their contracts without a penalty early "if unilateral changes by the retailers are detrimental to subscribers".

To prevent abuse, MDA is also proposing that consumers are only allowed to exit without early termination charges no later than 30 days from the date of change.

But if consumers had received a free laptop or tablet as part of their pay-TV subscription, they might have to pay early termination charges for the equipment subject to certain conditions.

Retailers will also no longer be able to force subscribers to upgrade their non pay-TV services, such as broadband or phone service contracts, to make changes to their pay-TV services.

Retailers, however, will be able to offer the upgrades as options for consumers to consider.

MDA's third proposed change aims to raise awareness of important terms and conditions of service, by requiring retailers to highlight certain terms to consumers before the contract is signed.

CONSUMER'S CONSENT

The MDA is also proposing that retailers get the consumer's consent to continue with a trial or complimentary service before they can start charging.

The public consultation closes on Oct 22 at 5pm. Interested parties may e-mail their feedback to policy_consultations@mda.gov.sg.

MDA will also be conducting focus group discussions as part of the public consultation, and members of the public can share their feedback in person.

For details, visit www.mda.gov.sg.


This article was first published on Sep 25, 2014.
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