Aston condemns Canal+ ‘lies’

Digital pay-TV technology specialist Aston has issued a hard-hitting condemnation of pay-TV operator Canal+’s behaviour, accusing it of “lies, misleading statements and deceptions” in relation to its response to a court decision ordering the reversal of the termination of the Canal Ready label contract linking the two companies.

According to Aston, Canal+ recently sent some of its subscribers a letter indicating that from January 21, 2015, they could use the Canal+ LE CUBE set-top box to receive the channel Canal+SPORT.

“Canal+ failed to state in this letter that subscribers are still able to and are free to continue to receive this channel using Canal READY-certified HD decoders which are available for sale,” says Aston, who suggest this “omission” has even been directed at stand-alone card subscribers in HD, who are not affected at all by the changes planned by Canal+. “These subscribers received a message on their Canal READY label HD decoder indicating that soon they would no longer be able to receive their channels with their decoder,” it advised.

Using capitals to emphasise the point, Aston says: “THESE LIES, MISLEADING STATEMENTS AND DECEPTIONS ARE REPEATED TO SUBSCRIBERS WHO SUBSEQUENTLY CONTACT THE Canal+ CALL CENTER!”

According to Aston, this is an example of how an Aston client, with a TNTSAT Canal READY SIMBA HD Twin, who received one of these letters, ended up changing his stand-alone card subscription to a subscription including the rental of Canal+’s LE CUBE decoder. “This was despite there being no impediment to the customer continuing to receive Canal+SPORT with his Canal READY labelled SIMBA HD Twin,” claims Aston.

“The result for this subscriber: unnecessary additional costs, no longer being able to watch the channels previously received by his second satellite dish as well as a decrease in the dual tuner functionality, as the Canal+LE CUBE set-top box only receives ASTRA satellite channels,” suggests Aston.

“Another customer, this time with a TNTSAT Canal READY SIMBA HD Premium, received Canal+’s above mentioned message directly on his HD decoder. The advice of the forthcoming incompatibility of his decoder with the Canal+ satellite channels was confirmed to him by the Canal+ call centre, which immediately invited to be get a Canal+LE CUBE decoder,” reports Aston.

Aston claims these examples illustrate how Canal+’s anti-competitive practice may harm the interests of consumers and how Canal+, by contacting stand-alone card subscribers and, at best giving them limited and biased information, and at worst by deliberately lying, has “clearly” created a competitive distortion by encouraging customers from its subscriber base to needlessly rent a Canal+LE CUBE decoder.

Aston says that faced with these transgressions by Canal+, it intends to take action and invites consumers and distribution networks to do the same and to initiate all actions necessary to defend their interests.

“Aston will do its part to stop these schemes and has already brought the matter to the attention of the Competition Authority. Aston will also mobilise consumer groups and the Media, especially those focused on consumer rights,” it confirms.

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