Clients opt out clauses to be offered over channel changes
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The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) through the Director General heading the Office for Consumer Affairs has published its final decisions with respect to separate investigations into the removal of two televisions channels, Living and Comedy Central, by the service providers GO plc and Melita plc from their respective channel line-ups.
The decisions were arrived at after a number of meetings with representatives of both companies.
DG (Consumer Affairs) has separately ordered both companies to amend their respective Television Service Terms and Conditions, according to the law. The amendments include the introduction of clauses providing:
• a clear reference to changes in the channel line-up in any package exceeding 15% (effecting a minimum of 5 channels) during one (1) calendar year;
• the above-mentioned changes entitle the consumer to be notified by the respective service providers about the said changes by means of a 30 days notice during which the consumer is entitled to opt out of the contract without penalty or expense;
• the amendments to the contract and the above-mentioned one (1) calendar year start with immediate effect.
Both TV service providers are expected to inform their respective clients of these changes. Consumers who avail themselves of the opt-out-clause can ask for a refund should they qualify for it.
The investigation was initiated in February by the then Consumer and Competition Department (now MCCAA), and was requested by Parliamentary Secretary for Consumers and Competition Chris Said, in line with consumer protection legislation that aims at ensuring the right balance between the rights and obligations of the contracting parties in a consumer contract.