Starhub’s EPL Service Disruption: Here’s All You Need To Know About Compensations, Complaints & Fines
If this was you when you were watching the English Premier League (EPL) broadcast over the weekend, you’re at the right place.
Football fans in Singapore have experienced a major service disruption by StarHub which caused broadcast lags, low-quality pictures and audio, and freezes on screens since the EPL’s opening match.
On top of just broadcasting issues, users also experienced issues with logging in or linking their subscriptions to their devices, just like my boss did and…
Their customer service wasn’t…. that great (maybe because it’s a bot?).
We certainly cannot turn the time back, so what’s left for consumers who’ve paid the fees but couldn’t enjoy the games?
After all, this is NOT the first time such an incident has happened.
If you’re feeling the wrath, you’re not alone.
To help all those who’ve been affected, we’ve looked into past compensations to consumers, how Telcos were held accountable for such incidents and a possible solution for you.
Read on to find out!
TL;DR: Past Compensations to Consumers During Telco Service Disruptions & What To Expect for Future Incidents
Click here to jump:
- Past broadcast incidents by Telcos
- Past compensations for consumers
- Can this issue be taken to CASE?
Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised legal and consumer advice. Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before reaching out to any Telcos and authorities involved.
Past Broadcasting Incidents by Singtel, Starhub & M1
Before 2022, the past EPL broadcasting rights were owned by Singtel for 12 years and from this year, StarHub won the rights to broadcast the games for the next six years.
But, this is not the first time a broadcasting issue has happened during the games.
In fact, StarHub’s rival Singtel, have had multiple such incidents.
In 2013, 115,000 subscribers were affected when Singtel’s MioTV service outage caused disruptions during the final matches of the 2011/2012 Premier League season.
The company was fined $180,000 for this incident. It was later penalised again in 2013 and 2015 for the disruptions that affected 26,000 and 11,000 subscribers, at $220,000 and $90,000 respectively.
During the same year, StarHub was also fined $50,000 as 170,000 subscribers met a complete loss in signal or its TV channels.
And, most recently, StarHub and M1 were fined $610,000 in total for service disruptions during the Circuit Breaker.
Past Compensations by Telcos for Consumers
Just like how travel insurance usually compensates passengers for flight delays and cancellations, you might be expecting the Telcos to do something.
This is a summary of what the Big Three Telcos have done for service disruptions over the years:
|Singtel Service Disruptions|
|2013||Provided broadband customers with a 3-month free speed boost, 1-month free viewing for all channels, or free local calls for home telephone lines|
|StarHub Service Disruptions|
|2015||Those affected received free viewing of more than 170 channels for one month. Digital Voice customers have gotten a one-month subscription waiver, while broadband users were given a $10 supermarket voucher|
|2020||One-time 20% rebate on affected customers' Home Broadband monthly fee, which was equivalent to six days of free home WiFi service|
|M1 Service Disruptions|
|2013||Three days of free local mobile calls, SMS, MMS and data services over the Chinese New Year holidays in 2013. Prepaid customers have gotten a $1 bonus for every top-up of $17 and above next month|
|2020||One-week rebate to users who experienced service outages|
For Singtel, past compensation was in the form of free usage of selected services, while StarHub’s version was on subscription rebates, waivers and free viewing of channels.
For the uninitiated, the StarHub broadcasting plan is called Premier+ and costs $39.90 for non-StarHub subscribers, and $24.99 per month for current subscribers.
While it’s not clear if StarHub intends to compensate the affected customers this time, based on past records, if they were to do it, it might be in the form of rebates or waivers of certain services.
Just a personal take here.
If I were an affected customer, I would prefer if any compensation could come in the form of subscription rebates and waivers from now till the end of the EPL season.
While I have missed the critical openings and moments of my favourite teams, the opportunity cost of jumping onto a cross carriage pack is a higher cost per month and time needed to change plans.
Similarly, there are 380 Premier League games and EPL typically runs from August to May, hence the runway is still long for any forms of service recovery.
Of course, this sentiment was also shared by affected users.
I wouldn’t want to miss out on any games any further, and providing a rebate or subscription waiver would be the most practical.
Can Consumers Lodge An Official Complaint?
While the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has slapped several fines on Telcos due to service disruptions, many users felt that the infrastructure was an issue, to begin with.
For the Starhub disruption, some were wondering if a case can be put up against the company.
Well, if you’re wondering, turns out, yes, as consumers, it’s possible to lodge a complaint besides airing your frustrations online.
The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) is a non-profit organisation that will assist aggrieved consumers to obtain redress, and in some cases, compensation through negotiation and/or mediation.
It handles consumer-to-business disputes over consumer goods and services and if the matter with the retailer remains unresolved.
By becoming a member, CASE’s Customer Relations Officer will correspond with the respective retailer on your behalf to work towards a resolution.
However, if you’re not a member, you will have to deliver the CASE-drafted letter to the retailer yourself, and there’ll be no follow-ups by CASE on the dispute. Also, you will need to pay a $10.70 administrative fee.
You can refer to the table below for CASE’s membership and administrative charges:
|Types of membership||Amount (GST inclusive)|
|Ordinary/Single||$26.75 per annum|
|Associate (Family*)||$32.10 per annum|
|Associate (Student**)||$8.55 per annum|
|* Eligible to family members of a consumer who sign up as an Ordinary member first
** Students must be above 12 years of age
|Range of claims||Administrative fees (GST inclusive)|
|$5,000 to $10,000||$21.40|
|$10,001 to $20,000||$53.50|
|Above $20,000 - every $10,000 or part thereof||$53.50|
While it’s not known whether there were any complaints made to CASE as of 8 Aug 2022, suffice to say, StarHub should already be working on a recovery plan before it starts losing customers.
- Are Listed Football Clubs Worth Investing In?
- 40% of Former Premier League Players go Bankrupt After Retirement: Here Are the Personal Finance Lessons to Takeaway
- UEFA Euro 2020 Final: How Much Will The Winners Get?
- What is the Cheapest Way to Watch UEFA Euro 2020 in Singapore?
- Premier League Prize Money: How Much Will Your Favourite Team Pocket This Season?