Aloha! Sorry for the hiatus as I was pretty busy last week as I need to get my literature review done before mid of this month. Since today is my day of rest, I’m going to write something about ASTRO. My ‘consumption experience’ with ASTRO – the famous Malaysian Satellite Pay TV, HD, PVR & IPTV service provider. Get ready to read my negative ‘consumption experience’ in which it has been part of my current research.
What They Say About Themselves
Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad is a leading content and consumer group in Malaysia and Southeast Asia with a focus on the pillars of watch, listen, read and shop. With a customer base of 4.7 million residential customers or approximately 66% penetration of Malaysian TV households, Astro offers 183 TV channels, including 53 HD channels, delivered via Direct-To-Home satellite TV, IPTV and OTT platforms. Astro provides HD, 3D, PVR, VOD and IPTV services through Astro B.yond and Astro on the Go. Fulfilling its promise to bridge the digital divide for all of Malaysia, Astro introduced NJOI as an entry-level DTH satellite TV service and is the country’s first non-subscription based satellite TV, offering 29 TV and 20 radio channels. Astro Radio includes Malaysia’s highest rated stations across key languages and is available on both terrestrial and digital channels, reaching approximately 12.8 million weekly listeners. Its digital arm is involved in digital publishing, applications and platforms as well as publication of entertainment and lifestyle magazines locally.
Astro holds the distinction of the ‘Gold’ award in the Media and Entertainment category at the Putra Brand Awards for 5 consecutive years from 2010 to 2014, including the ‘Brand of the Year’ award in 2012 and the ‘Brand Icon’ award in 2013.
Astro’s CSR projects have been recognised by the International Business Awards (IBAs) for the third consecutive year. Astro was named the winner of a Silver Stevie Award in the 2014 IBAs for the Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (Asia, Australia and New Zealand) category for the ‘Astro Kasih Hostel and EkoVillage’ project. In 2013 and 2012, Astro’s ‘Beautiful Malaysia: Longest Underwater Clean Up’ project and ‘Astro Kasih Hostel’ project were awarded with a Silver Stevie® Award respectively.
These awards are in recognition of Astro’s efforts to exemplify innovation, quality and strong corporate responsibilities
My Consumption Experience
I started my subscription with ASTRO family package (with HD and 1 Korean channel) back in May 2014 with a payment of MYR 79.50/month. Yes, it was under my name (if you’re thinking it was under my hubby’s name. LOL!). I figured out that the price was increasing in December 2014, and that was MYR 84.80/month. I didn’t get the notice of their price hike, anyway. I just paid the bills but keep noting down of their price hike.
After several discussions with Mr. Hubby, and analysing the cost-benefits of having ASTRO. I’ve decided to terminate my subscription with ASTRO on June 2015. Their contract is to have you subscribed with them for ONE (1) year, or you will have to pay the penalty for breaching the contract. You will need to give them a notice of ONE (1) month earlier prior termination, or they will bill your the monthly fee. So, me and Mr. Hubby went to ASTRO office in KK Times Square to get all things done. We also had to return some of the items as requested by ASTRO. My relationship with ASTRO officially ends in 30 June 2015.
I didn’t have to worry about the price escalation after that because we have UNIFI installed at home, and we subscribe to UNIFI TV package, too! Anyway, we received a call from a so-called ASTRO staff who informed us that we have been selected as one of the winners to enjoy FREE ASTRO package for 5 months. Mr. Hubby did ask the staff whether we will be billed or not. And the staff said, “No. You will get a 120 channels with HD for free. You will never be charged a cent.” Everybody would be happy to have things for FREE. A week later, I received an unofficial letter from ASTRO. Why I said it’s ‘unofficial’? It’s because the letter doesn’t bear any ASTRO logo, or even their business address. It was like a ‘love letter’.
I received an email from ASTRO later that month that I had a due to be paid. I was taken aback because as far as I could remember was I paid my bills. I asked Mr. Hubby about the letter again. I was furious as hell because I was tricked (and cheated). I wrote an email to WeCare@ASTRO, and even tweet to ASTRO Online. Although the amount is quite small, but the notion of being tricked was beyond everything else.
Let’s get back to the bill. The adjusted amount as per last statement prior termination was a negative. In other words, I have an extra prepaid balance in their account (which they should refund me but they did not). ASTRO charged me a ‘small’ amount but imagine how much they could get with this kind of marketing gimmick. This is indeed a plausible lie. Verisimilitude. There’s no such thing as free in ASTRO. You will still need to pay the amount unless you have the written statement which is clear and undeniable.
So, I wrote another email to WeCare@ASTRO that I would not hesitate to lodge a report to Tribunal for Consumer Claims (TCCM) if I still need to pay the due. I was expecting them to reply my e-mail but they only contacted Mr. Hubby (I supplied his contact number when registering with ASTRO) to verify the case in which I need not to pay. In other words, the bill is waived.
Unconvinced. I checked my ASTRO account, and I feel relieved to see that my bill has been adjusted to MYR 0. Adjustment made but the thing that I learnt was never to accept any offers made via phone calls, or using unofficial letter. It’s a good thing to keep the bills in a folder even though you are no longer subscribed to the service as the online database will never have all the payments you have made.
I will no longer subscribe to ASTRO even when they offer a great deal of package. I’d rather stick with my UNIFI or would probably subscribe to other TV cable providers in the near future. Enough is enough. Call me a b*tch, I would rather defend my rights as a consumer than get myself be swallowed by paying those fees of which I have been lured into their marketing gimmick.
This post is not intended to boycott ASTRO but it’s important for you to check your monthly bills, and keep yourself updated. It’s your decision to keep your subscription with ASTRO. However, one should always be aware of what you’re debiting out from your accounts. Be wise.