Star TV is being investigated by the telecommunications watchdog following customers' claims that they were tricked into buying thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The station is accused of misleading viewers into buying expensive decoders and satellite dishes to receive a range of television channels - most of which were axed two months ago. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta) said yesterday several people had complained about the change to programming. It is investigating whether Star breached the Advertising Code or telecommunications laws when inviting customers to buy the equipment. The South China Morning Post revealed in May that Star was axing seven of the eight channels that about 1,000 families had been receiving. They included movies, sport and a channel of British programmes, leaving only Star World. Star subscribers initially were given about a week's notice of the change; an outcry followed and the service was extended for about three weeks but now has been discontinued. Furious viewers say Star World - which features shows such as the Bold and the Beautiful and the Oprah Winfrey Show - is usually not worth watching. They say it is certainly not worth the thousands they spent only two years ago on set-top decoders and satellite dishes to receive the service. Star insists the eight-channel service was only ever a trial and all that was guaranteed was the provision of Star World. Consumers say they were never told this and most would happily pay for the full service to be continued. Star has agreed to buy back decoders for $3,500, but many viewers were still unhappy, saying installation of all their Star equipment - bought just two years ago - had cost $15,000 or more. Star TV spokesman Benson Chao Wai-keung yesterday said it would be inappropriate to address the claims against the station while Ofta's investigation was ongoing. 'We have submitted all relevant documentation to Ofta. If they request any more information, we will be happy to co-operate,' he said. Mr Chao said that since the offer to buy back viewers' decoders was made in May, 270 customers had returned their boxes to Star. 'That's almost 20 per cent of all affected viewers, so it's pretty good,' he said. 'The rest of them I think are opting to stay with Star World, and my feeling is they can use the satellite dish to receive other services from other providers,' Mr Chao said. Just over 1,000 of Star's 450,000 subscribers were affected by the change, mostly those living in low-rise buildings who had a different delivery system to the other viewers.