Why I am with Tata Sky …

So, I have had a Tata Sky connection for 2 years now.
I have signed up with their Annual Mega pack – which I pay annually for their entire plethora of channels.

The reason why I signed up with the Annual Mega pack (though it is on the higher side) is:

  1. They promise that any new channel they add – will be added to my account for free in that year.
  2. There is no service fee charged for any technician visit.

Recently, Tata Sky announced the launch of a new HD channel – Star World Premier – which broadcasts the latest seasons of the most popular shows from the US.

So, when I surfed to the channel, I got a message asking me to pay Rs. 60 per month to be able to watch it.

I called up their customer service number to complain – but the agent told me that the Annual Mega pack was not eligible for this channel. In frustration, I sent out the following email to their nodal officer for Maharashtra [01]:

Dear madam / sir,

I would formally like to give in writing – my complaint regarding non availability of the StarPremiere HD Channel to Annual Mega Pack subscribers free of cost as promised during the enrollment period.

My account number is: XXXX

I have been an annual Mega Pack HD Subscriber for the last 2 years and also have multiple connections for multiple households (mine and my parents).

When I purchased the expensive Mega Pack for Rs. 6,500, I was assured that any new channels added to Tata Sky (except Topper) will automatically be made available to me free of charge.

However, today – Sep 27, 2013 at 8:40pm when I spoke to the Tata Sky representative over phone, I was informed that I would still have to pay for the Star Premiere HD channel.

I find this extremely unethical and something not expected of a Tata Enterprise.

I am completely fine with the charges of my subscription being revised from next year – but this year – as per the agreement, we should have the channel added to our subscription free of cost.

Awaiting your reply on the same.

Thank you.

Regards,
Saurabh Jain

I received this reply the next morning:

Dear Mr.Jain,

Greetings from Tata Sky!

This is with reference to your email dated 27th September addressed to our Nodal Office, expressing your concern over the Star World HD premiere not being part of Mega pack.

We understand and appreciate your concern. However, please allow us to explain the reason.

Firstly, may i take this opportunity to inform you that Star World Premiere HD is the first channel launched under the category of Tata Sky Specials . This is a first in the industry as well as for Tata Sky customers. With this Channel, you will be able to watch the latest bigger shows at the same time as American Subscribers. As a premium special service, it is the only channel that has 26 new and returning shows. We do plan to add more premium services like this in the near future.

Furthermore, our Annual subscription proposition had recently been revised. Our valued subscribers were accordingly informed that going forward this subscription package will EXCLUDE any Specials . In other words, Premium Special channels like Star World HD premiere will require a separate subscription. This was applicable to all the renewals post February 2013.

At the time of your renewal on 19/02/2013, you would have received the communication from us. I am reproducing the relevant clause here for your reference which is also updated on our website (www.tatasky.com):

** Any new SD channel (non Special ) introduced on Tata Sky will be available as part of your Mega Pack

** Mega packs doesn t include specials* w.e.f 1st Feb 2013

May I also take this opportunity to reiterate that this never- before Special is available to you at a very special Annual price of only Rs.500 pa( Just Rs.60 pm ).

We hope you will enjoy our Specials and look forward to the renewal of your Tata Sky subscription.

Assuring the best of our services at all times,

Warm Regards,
Nodal Officer

On reading this, I checked their terms of service – and they had indeed updated it. However, I sent the following reply the next day:

Dear Madam / Sir,
Thank you for replying quickly. I appreciate your response.
Thank you for also pointing me to the change in clauses.
However, there are two things which really scare me as a subscriber:
1. You will agree with me when I say that Tata Sky has the least number of HD channels out of all satellite channel services in India. I have waited two years and no new HD channel has been added. On the other hand, you have killed channels like BBC entertainment without giving any prior notice.
2. When you decide to add a new HD channel, what is keeping you from adding it as a special?
I feel that paying the high mega pack is a complete waste and I honestly feel a little foolish now.
Thus, I feel – that like every other major corporation in the country, you are screwing over your most loyal subscribers. (pardon my French)
Next year, when my account comes up for renewal, I’ll be thinking on these issues and really wonder if I need a cable subscription at all.
I anyways pay $14 per month for a Netflix and Hulu subscription for entertainment on demand and any other missing TV shows are easily available via other means.
While I appreciate you having a conversation with me, I am hurt of being mistreated on a technicality.
You have lost yourselves a loyal fan.
I hope you forward this email to the management committee in charge of making decisions on inclusion and exclusion of channels – so that they may have my feedback.
Sincerely,
Saurabh Jain

This was sent on a Sunday.
Today (Thursday), I received a phone call from them which was something like this:

Dear sir,

We generally don’t do this – but as an exception, we would like to offer you the Start World Premier channel free of cost for the remainder of this year’s subscription.

Thank you.

I came home, turned on the TV and it was active.

Faith restored [02][03].

Notes:
01:
I am not generally the one to channel surf on my TV and I’d hardly miss the Premier channel – but I decided to take it up with them as a matter of principle.

02:
Many people will argue that I should have gotten the channel in the first place itself.
I would agree that Tata Sky is within rights – as I must have ticked that checkbox accepting Terms & Conditions while renewing my subscription online. I will also agree – that had this been the US, they would have given me the channel free after the first email / call to the customer rep. However, this is not the US – and it is heartening to see that my email was forwarded and action taken.

03:
A tip of the hat to two people – my dad and Mayank Tripathi for actively influencing me to shoot emails to companies with issues. I have written hundreds of emails and more often than not – have been pleasantly surprised by the response.

Update:
Sai shared the following in the comments: http://www.scribd.com/doc/175044246/Tata-Sky-sued-for-misleading-subscribers-Amount-could-be-1650-Crores

Though I like Tata Sky and feel that they are better than the likes of DishTv and reliance, I still think they deserve this. They had done this once with BBC entertainment and we were very disappointed.

14 Comments

  1. Nopes. If he had, I wouldn’t have to write the email and this blog post in the first place :)
    You should try it with Videocon – and if it doesn’t work, you know where to switch to :)

    Reply
  2. Its a big pain but folllowing up with them.
    I had such experiences with Airtel, they eventually do it but its a persistence test.

    Best way is to take cheapest pack and then add whats needed.

    Reply
  3. I am also not satisfied with pricing of tata sky(both hd & sd channels). hd channels are too expensive in tata sky. tata sky should provide hd channels as a seperate pack like airtel does. In rs 175 watch all 17 hd channels on their platform.also there are hd packs based on genre(english entertainment,hindi movies etc). I wish tata sky also had same type of packages. tata sky is really bad as far as packages are concerned.tata sky is forcing hd channels on consumers. i have dhamaal mix pack(by default i will have to see hd version of good for nothing hindi channels ,even if i do not want to see)

    In airtel pay (cheapest base pack price+175) & one will gets 17 hd channels.

    In tata sky (worst & expensive dth) pay(cheapest base pack price+hd access fee 100+60 for specials in hd) & one gets only 7-8 hd channels.

    people often boast about best hardware quality of tata sky. what is the use of best hardware when they have least number of hd channels? tata sky added sony six during ipl & later removed it. soon i will get rid of tata sky. will move to airtel or d2h.
    whats ur opinion regarding airtel & d2h?

    Reply
    • Hi Tushar,
      Unfortunately I do not have any experience with Airtel. I only have used DishTV in the past and their customer service sucked! Thats one good thing about Tata Sky.

      I’ll probably just kill all my Cable subscription. We hardly watch random TV anyways.

      Reply
      • thanx for reply. there is nothing on tv which can be watched. indian shows are crap. foreign shows are too much censored i wonder what will be shown on star premiere hd.almost all of the shows have mature content. it is irritating to see shows with cuts & beeps(once watched an episode of dexter on star world).better completely switch to torrents.
        dump cable & dth

        Reply
        • Completely agreed with tushar. There is simply nothing worth watching on Cable anymore. Indian shows are dull and crap. This is the reason why I switched to A-la-carte despite the ridiculously high price of individual channels because having only 4 or 5 good channels is hell of a lot better than having 200 crap channels.

          I dropped all English movie channels from my pack because of the censorship issue. Good shows are ruined by excessive editing from Indian censor board. So much prudishness! Its far better to download whatever I want to watch and see on TV using XBMC, completely uncensored, the way the director meant it to be viewed.

          Reply
          • Hi Anjan. Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree with you. I believe all entertainment should be on demand. Just download and watch whatever you are interested on XBMC. We primarily do that now on Tata Sky. All shows are just recorded. I agree the pricing is ridiculous and since the time I wrote this post, I have started hating their high handedness. And oh, the incessant censorship! I am mostly not renewing once my account expires in July sometime.

          • Well if it were upto me, I would have dropped cable long ago since I hardly watch 1 or 2 hours of TV a week. I have kept the connection alive just for the few regional channels my parents watch daily.

            I had to take some unnecessary channels which nobody watches even with A-la-carte just to make up the minimum subscription of Rs.165. Why is there a minimum subscription amount for A-la-carte anyway? Another way to cheat the customers of their hard earned money no doubt.

            In the west, there is a sizable chunk of population who have now joined the cord cutter group. I believe India will go the same way in future as On Demand entertainment picks up mass popularity.

  4. Tatasky are cheaters. They activated my Everywhere TV account without even asking me and deducted money from my account. Very bad Tatasky. I cannot trust your services :(

    Reply
  5. Hi,
    I have subscribed as a new user to Tata Sky, I subscribed the Mega HD pack for the whole year. Am i suppose to pat 1500 Rs. for the whole entire year as a part of HD acess fee.

    Reply

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