Business

URCA fines Cable Bahamas for channel changes

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has fined Cable Bahamas Ltd. (CBL) for breaching certain conditions of its license and consumer regulations when it replaced eight REV television channels without giving customers the required advanced notice of the changes.

URCA therefore has determined that CBL must pay a fine equal to 1.25 percent of its total revenues from the Prime, Prime Extra and Prime Sports packages for the month of June 2019—when the channel changes were made—and compensate every customer directly impacted by the channel changes via a monetary bill credit.

“On June 14, 2019, CBL replaced eight television channels, namely USA, Freeform, TV Land, Sprout, Nicktoons, Hallmark, Independent Film Channel and the Tennis Channel, from its Rev TV line-up without giving customers the required advanced notice of the changes,” URCA said in a statement on its final determination, released on Friday.

“On September 13, 2019, URCA issued a preliminary determination and draft order to CBL, setting out URCA’s preliminary findings from its investigation into the replacement of the channels. CBL responded to the preliminary determination on October 10, 2019. The final determination summarizes CBL’s comments on the preliminary determination and URCA’s responses to CBL’s comments.”

URCA’s investigations found that CBL failed or refused to provide consumers with a minimum notice of one month before implementing the changes; CBL provided consumers with information that was not accurate or true; CBL failed or refused to publish all non-price terms and conditions for a service on its website; and CBL failed or refused to display on its website accurate, true and up-to-date information on all material aspects for subscribing to a service.

“Pursuant to the findings of URCA’s investigations, URCA has directed CBL to pay a fine equal to 1.25 percent of the total revenues from the Prime, Prime Extra and Prime Sports packages for the month of June 2019 no later than thirty calendar days from the issuance of its final determination on November 21, 2019; and compensate customers directly affected by the channel changes via a monetary bill credit in the amount and time frame specified by URCA below. The compensation amounts should apply to the accounts of all impacted subscribers no later than sixty calendar days from December 6, 2019,” URCA stated.

“Subscribers of Rev TV Prime shall receive a bill credit in the amount of $4.00 per subscriber. Subscribers of Rev TV Prime Extra shall receive a bill credit in the amount of $6.00 per subscriber. This will be in addition to credits applied for Prime and/or Prime Sports. Subscribers of Rev TV Prime Sports shall receive a bill credit in the amount of $2.00 per subscriber. This will be in addition to credits applied for Prime and/or Prime Extra.”

There was public outrage when Cable Bahamas changed its channel lineup, with a poll conducted at the time showing 52 percent of respondents believed the Hallmark Channel was important and should be brought back.

Cable Bahamas stated it changed the channel due to licensing restrictions.

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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