x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Ministry calls foul on Al Jazeera TV cost

Football fans who paid more than the recommended price for World Cup viewing cards are being urged to report the seller.

Abid Butt with Techno Sat in Abu Dhabi helps customers hoping to connect to Al Jazeera's World Cup service yesterday.
Abid Butt with Techno Sat in Abu Dhabi helps customers hoping to connect to Al Jazeera's World Cup service yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Football fans who have paid more than the recommended price for World Cup viewing cards are being urged to keep their receipts and report the seller to the Ministry of Economy. Complaints from consumers that some distributors had raised the cost of Al Jazeera Sport viewing cards needed to view the package of World Cup broadcasts have forced the ministry to launch an investigation.

Consumer protection officials from the ministry yesterday asked the satellite broadcaster to publish adverts in newspapers reminding customers of the official cost of the card to avoid price gouging. Under the official pricing, individual customers, depending on their existing cable package, pay between Dh300 and Dh600 to obtain Al Jazeera's World Cup channels. Businesses that planned to show the games to the public were charged between Dh3,000 and Dh5,000.

The ministry is also keen to prevent coffee shops and cafeterias from increasing the price of food and beverages during the tournament, said Hashim al Nuaimi, the director of the consumer protection department. Consumers can register any complaints higher food and beverage prices by calling the ministry's hotline at 600522225. Al Jazeera's coverage of the World Cup has not been without controversy. The opening two days of the tournament were interrupted by glitches the satellite broadcaster blamed on hackers. On Saturday, the match between Argentina and Nigeria blacked out for minutes at a time, disappeared entirely from one channel and experienced pixellation and distortion. The previous day, the broadcast suffered disruptions for the majority of the first half of the tournament's opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico.


tarnold@thenational.ae