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DMA | Jun 20, 2021

DigiPlay customers in Dominica up in arms over unannounced rate increase

/ Our Today

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Customers of DigicelPlay are up in arms over a recent rate increase from the company, which many say came with no prior notice.

Speaking to Dominica News Online (DNO), the irate customers say the increase came without warning. The irate customers say they only realised the increase upon arriving at the Digicel retail store to pay their bills.

Having gone to the store, the irate customers say they were all individually informed of an EC$10.00 increase to their bundled service while customers with broadband service only, were told of a five-dollar hike.

Disgruntled customers sharing their experiences

One customer, Eileen Prosper, reported that, “after staying in the line for over 30 minutes on Tuesday, to pay the bill, I was informed that I did not have the sufficient amount and that the service had been increased by $10. I asked the young lady why and she said it’s because of an upgrade to the service”.

According to the Digicel customer of three years, neither she nor her daughter, whose name the bill is listed under, received any prior notice of this increase. She is calling on the company to be more transparent when such action is taken in the future.

Prosper lamented that no prior announcement was made by the company, leading to her being even more frustrated with the sudden increase.

According to her, “my radio is on 24/7, from Monday to Friday. Digicel has a programme on the radio; you mean to tell me they could not have made the announcement before? This is absolutely unfair that we, the customers, were only informed after the fact”.

“You can’t just decide to increase the bill and say it’s due to an upgrade and not give me the option of choosing if I want to upgrade my service or not.”

DigicelPLay Customer

Several other customers who spoke to DNO have also raised similar concerns. In another case a male customer, Mr Sablon, declared that he was only informed of the increase when he went to pay his bill.

Given this state of affairs, the likelihood of him disconnecting his services within the next 30 days is inevitable. He told DNO, “it’s unfair what these companies are doing to us. You can’t just decide to increase the bill and say it’s due to an upgrade and not give me the option of choosing if I want to upgrade my service or not. They said they were done within the month, but, to be honest, since I’ve gotten the service, within the past 30 days, it’s the worst that it has ever been”.
Sablon contended that, “while ten or five dollars may not seem like much to them, things are hard in this country and everywhere we turn one company or another is raising our bill. So I will certainly be disconnecting the service and looking for something more economical”.

DNO tried to get an explanation for the rate hike from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digicel Dominica, Nikima Royer Jno Baptiste, but her only comment at the time was, “I am contemplating putting out a statement”.

However, the online media company spoke to another senior employee who confirmed the rate increase.

DigiPlay offers response to the rate hike

The employee who spoke to DNO on condition of anonymity, cited improvement to the service as the cause and noted this was done in other regional markets.

“So, for our local customers, we’ve increased our internet speed tremendously. So those who had 10 they’ve been upgraded to 20 Mbps, those who had 20 now moved to 40 and those who enjoyed 50 can now enjoy 70 Mbps,” the Digicel employee stated.

DNO was sent a notice from the company’s website https://www.digicelgroup.com which confirmed the news accompanied by an increase in broadband speeds and the migration of customers to the new plans.

“Over the past year, our Digicel Team has been working around the clock to support our customers’ rapidly changing needs as they moved to work-from-home and homeschooling. As you can imagine, customers now require even more reliable and powerful internet, with a wider range of entertainment products that complement their new digital lifestyles,” the notice stated.

It went on to highlight, “as we continue our improvements, it has become necessary to make some adjustments to our existing rates to meet the increased costs that come with providing these enhancements”.

On the company’s website, the lowest subscription bundle for local customers now starts at EC$125 and the highest priced at $210 inclusive.

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