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.

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.
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].

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.

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.

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.

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.