Pay-TV users want shorter contracts and easier exit plans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 January, 2009, 12:00am

Many pay-TV users want shorter contracts and simpler ways to terminate them, a Consumer Council survey shows.

The survey of 3,003 people, conducted in September and October, included users of Cable TV, Hong Kong Broadband Network's bbTV, Now TV and TVB Pay Vision. Respondents, on average, put their satisfaction level at about three out of five.

Many users said they had been required to sign service contracts of 18 to 24 months. More than a third, or 35.7 per cent, said they thought those periods were too long.

Ron Hui Shu-yuen, the council's vice-chairman of publicity and community relations, said there was a growing tendency to bind consumers to longer contracts even though many customers wanted contracts of about 12 months.

About 660 respondents said they had tried to terminate a pay-TV contract; almost 60 per cent of them found the process inconvenient, with complicated procedures and long waiting periods.

They were also dissatisfied with operators' hotline services for similar reasons.

In 2007, the Consumer Council received 5,232 complaints about pay-TV services. That dropped to 1,498 cases last year: 554 of them were about service quality, 592 were about price disputes and 202 about being misled by sales staff. While the number of complaints had dropped last year, Professor Hui said operators needed to redouble efforts to gain consumer trust.