DStv installer accreditation not a sham: MultiChoice

Information received from a well-placed source suggests that DStv installers are able to game MultiChoice’s quality assurance process for accredited installers, but the pay-TV operator says it isn’t possible.

Installers accredited with MultiChoice undergo three quality assurances every year, but according to our source, companies get to choose which of their installations are inspected.

MultiChoice disputed this, saying that their technicians randomly select customers from the installer’s database.

Asked to elaborate on its accreditation process, MultiChoice said that there are 1,200 accredited installers across South Africa that comply with the following criteria:

  • A minimum of 30 DStv installations successfully completed;
  • Installers must use recommended equipment on all DStv installations purchased from MultiChoice recommended suppliers; and
  • An installer must be a company which, among other things, operates from business premises, has a VAT registration number, and does DStv installation full-time.

MultiChoice said that installers benefit from accreditation through access to training and continual product updates. Accredited installers are also the vendor of choice on referrals and recommendations, MultiChoice said.

It was pointed out to MyBroadband that the “installer finder” tool on the care.dstv.com website doesn’t necessarily return a list of the closest installers, however.

A search for “Waterkloof” returned TV & Video Doctor in Lyttelton, Centurion, and Aerial Excellence based in Garsfontein/Menlyn in the top 4 results. Aerial Excellence was listed once for three different suburbs in the Waterkloof area.

Similarly, a search for “Lyttelton” seemed to suggest that TV & Video Doctor Lyttelton is duplicated 5 times under different suburbs. Searching “Aerial Excellence – Pretoria” yields a list of 40 results for the same installer.

DStv installer finder Lyttelton search in April 2012
DStv installer finder Lyttelton search in April 2012

Multichoice said that to ensure fairness to all accredited installers, they rotate recommendations of installers in a given area. Searching for the same area multiple times revealed that results seem to be randomised each time.

In addition to the online tool, customers can SMS 33936 with their postal code and MultiChoice will respond with an SMS that lists 3 accredited installers near that postal code.

Another potential area of concern is the accreditation of companies rather than individuals. What if a company gets accredited based on the work of an experienced technician that leaves the installer and is replaced by a rookie?

“We are in the process of instituting individual accreditations linked to the accredited company,” MultiChoice said. “However, we are dealing with a very complex product and need to ensure we send the best trained installers to our customers. When an installer leaves a company, they still need to be accredited to ensure they meet all our criteria on an individual basis.”

MultiChoice said that they strongly advise customers to only use accredited installers to ensure the quality of workmanship.

According to MultiChoice, the benefits of using an accredited installer are:

  • Adherence to MultiChoice’s high standard of workmanship and code of conduct;
  • Comprehensive installation experience on the various MultiChoice decoders;
  • MultiChoice participation in problem resolution.

“[We] have also introduced ‘recommended prices’ for installers so customers are not ‘overcharged’ for a service,” MultiChoice said. “The benefit is that the customer can now be assured that the price you are paying is a pricing system recommended by Multichoice.”

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DStv installer accreditation not a sham: MultiChoice