@DSTV's self-disservice options and fuzzy charges

Wow, today has been a frustrating DSTV day. I woke up to discover that my service had been suspended. It took me a little digging on the DSTV self-service site to discover that I owed about R141 which I paid right away using the online payment function on the site. The site didn’t reflect the payment even though I received email confirmation of that. The error message also didn’t clear. I tried calling the call centre this morning after a number of failed attempts to use the self-service part of the site to resolve the issue only to be told that the call centre’s systems were offline. I was asked to call back a little later.

In the meantime I tweeted something about the difficulties I was encountering and received a reply from the DSTV Twitter account suggesting I get in touch with them:

DSTV tweet

The intention was there but since DSTV isn’t following me I couldn’t send them my smartcard details by direct message (that is not something to send over public Twitter) so I opted for calling the call centre again. It took me two tries to get through and after being on hold for a little bit I got through to a call centre agent who first asked me for my ID number to access my account. I gave him that information and he informed me that the payment I made this morning was just to clear arrears and there was a further payment due. This was curious because when I encountered a message on the site before calling that I owed more money and clicked on the link to pay, I loaded a dialogue which reflected a R0 balance due.

That said, I hadn’t made my regular payment this month so it appears I skipped one somewhere along the line so I asked the call centre agent what I owed and he spouted a couple figures and then spent a couple minutes working out what I owe. Why the site couldn’t simply inform me what the various amounts were and charge me for the full amount is beyond me. Apparently that is technology not yet available to DSTV and it falls to a cal centre agent to work it all out on a calculator for me on the phone.

The call centre guy then asked me for the following information to verify I am who I purported to be:

  • email address;
  • physical address;
  • mobile number;
  • home number.

I refused to give him more than my email address and home address and asked why I should give him that information given that I had confirmed my details were accurate on my profile on the site and he clearly had that information on his system. Besides, between my ID number, confirmation of the transaction this morning, my email address and home address he had enough information to verify my identity. He insisted that the Customer Protection Act required that he collect this information. I informed him that the Consumer Protection Act does not require him to collect all this data and, if anything, it gives me the right to decide what to pass along to him. He tried to insist and I refused.

I then went back to the site to make the further payment and the online payment system refused my ad hoc payment (it still brought up a R0 balance due) so I just made my EFT payment as usual. I now have to call back and get them to reconnect the service. So far this self-service option is a dud. The system couldn’t give me the correct amount due, an opportunity to make an online payment of the whole amount and an easy way to reactivate my service using the online tools intended for this purpose but which don’t actually seem to work. That is a good hour or so I’ll never get back. Thanks DSTV, its been a real slice!

Update: I just called the call centre again and got through to a call centre agent who was somewhat more efficient. She also had to calculate how much I owed and concluded that I owed another R15 on top of what I have just paid but that would carry across to my next account. My service is apparently being reconnected.

I have pretty much lost a substantial chunk of my afternoon bouncing between the DSTV site and its call centre trying to reactivate my service. Thankfully I don’t need to interact with DSTV all that much but when I do, its a productivity killer.






  1. David Greenway avatar

    This is why IPTV will be the death of these fools… lets hope that their offering (that they have in the works) for a triple play of broadband, VoD and terrestrial TV isn;t the only one coming into the market in RSA

    1. pauljacobson avatar

      It did occur to me that my R660 per month subscription can buy a lot of iTunes vouchers!

  2. Richard Schroder avatar

    My personal pet hate with them is that I’m unable to unsubscribe from their newsletters – there’s an unsubscribe link, which takes you to the self-disservice center… and nowhere is there any functionality to unsubscribe.

    Gave up on trying to call the call center!

    1. pauljacobson avatar

      Self-service when it comes to newsletters is Gmail’s spam filter!

  3. MHlongwane avatar

    Am having one of those frustrating moments with DSTV this morning. I logged on to care.dstv.com > My Account > Account Balance > PAY NOW (and paid whatever was due).

    Currently my Account shows that I have a credit balance, but trying to reconnect via (Connect and Disconnect Services) it tells me that I have “… Outstanding balance due”. It then takes me back to the Payments page, clicking “Once-off Payment” displays a credit balance.
    I’m not even gonna bother trying to call them because the last time I did I spent over 40min on 3-5 calls (some dropped, holding for well over 10min just to speak to a consultant, then you get sent from pillar to post, let alone all those annoying verification questions they ask you.) Why cant the system JUST WORK?

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