Satellite TV in SA: DSTV

Ah, so it seems that the service that you expect from Sky TV in the UK can be a pretty similar experience here in SA.  We don’t have a dish for terrestrial TV, so it is DSTV or no channels at all.  Whilst there are competitors in the UK, DSTV monopolise the market here.  For the first few weeks we didn’t really need any TV as we were so busy during the day, and then come the evening we were exhausted and it was so cold we were going to bed at 9!

So I booted up DSTV’s web page to see what it is all about.  Well, it’s not cheap!  There are lots of different options, but I’m used to having the full Sky package so assumed we would have the same here.  Not at over R500 (£40) a month just for tv we won’t!  Sky costs that much with all the channels and internet too!  The next package down is R249 (£20) a month so we decided to go for that.  There are a few channels I wanted that do not come with this package, but this should encourage us to get out of the house more.

So I leave our details for them to call us back within 48 hours.  72 hours later we get a call asking us if we would like them to pass our details to their installation guys who will call us within 48 hours.  72 hours after that we get a call from the installation team saying that they can come the next morning.  The guy couldn’t understand me spelling 5th or fifth so I had no confidence that they would even turn up.  I wait in all morning the next day and they arrive at 14.00, only to tell me that they forgot the decoder and could only bring it the following morning.  Time to count to 10 whilst taking deep breaths.  The next morning they don’t show at the time that they are meant to, but just before I am due to leave to meet a friend, they rock up with the decoder.  Awesome, does that mean I have TV now?  Oh no, you have to go to the DSTV office in Randburg to start your subscription as you are foreign and they want a copy of your passport.  WHAT?  ARGH!

Midas chilling in front of the tv in London.

I drive the 20 minutes or so to the office, which was actually very easy to find.  It’s a very swish, modern office and there are 50 windows with people sitting at waiting to help you.  This is definitely better than Sky!  Various people have their decoder with them as they are obviously experiencing issues.  I take a number, and I’m seen within 5 minutes.  I hand over my subscription form that the installation guys have completed, only to find out that not only is this the wrong form, but also that they signed me up for the expensive package too.  Luckily the lady was extremely helpful and rectified everything.   It was pain free and I was actually allowed to register in my name, even though everything up until now has had to be in Rob’s name.  I feel slightly like I exist again!  Just remember to take proof of address (e.g. your lease) and proof of id (passport if not South African) should you find yourself in the same situation.

I was in and out of the office in 25 minutes, but I still had to drive there and back so am a little unamused that I hadn’t been told about the trip in the first phone call.  I rushed home and watched some of the worst TV programmes ever made.  And loved it.

The tv shows on offer for the channels that we have are truly terrible, which is great as it means that we really don’t watch much TV at all, but it is good to have it there just in case.

Now, 3 weeks later I get an email saying we are sorry that you no longer want to pay by monthly debit.  Er, yes I do.  I email back to say that I haven’t cancelled at all and the only response that I get is that we have no record of your monthly debit order, and to set one up I need to go back to the Randburg office.  Grrrrr.  Looks like I need to set a monthly reminder to pay until I find myself in the vicinity again.  Bum.


7 thoughts on “Satellite TV in SA: DSTV

  1. I’m always surprised when I hear the comment “only in Africa” or “welcome to Africa” said in a tone that implies that it’s a little backward. Or that this is the only place with poor service (have you been to India?)
    Yes, in the UK my Sky was installed within 24 hours without a glitch. When I had to sort out admin at some government department there was always someone explaining to me exactly what I need and what to do.
    But over here service is poor, people don’t stand on the right on escalators and when you go to Home affairs you have to figure things out yourself.
    And I find the less straight and narrow refreshing! This is more of a DIY country, I’d say!
    So yes, welcome to Africa!

    • Hi, It’s not the only place with poor service, but it is the only place that myself and Bing have lived with bad service. I can assure you that the comment is made in affectionate tones as we do love this place, and the service standard is certainly teaching us one of those heavenly virtues – patience. That’s not a bad thing in my eyes!

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