TataSky…restrictive trade practices

I found this link on a friend’s blog and would like to share it with everyone. It is a well-researched, well-written post by Manu Sharma, which exposes the restrictive trade practices indulged in by TataSky, for their set-top box service.

I t have found that the Tata Indicom (VSNL) internet service is terrible but didn’t think that these bad practices extended to other areas too. As Manu says, now I don’t even want to buy Tata Salt!


Most of us do not read the fine print when we sign up for a service. This post shows us why, beyond the immediate viewer experience, the consumer must do so.

Here is the link:

TataSky dish TV service issues

One must be aware of one’s rights as a consumer, and know when these rights are being violated.

12 Comments so far

  1. Nisho (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

    Great find! I was actually thinking of getting a TataSky connection soon but I’ve changed my mind after this article. Thanks :-)

    Does anyone know how good DishTv is?

  2. Shashank (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

    That person must be working in Dish TV.
    You can point out thousands of points if you think negatively.
    Even i agree that there are -ve points in TataSky but still it is the best STH provider at present.
    And Remember:No body is perfect in this world!

  3. Ravi (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    Hi Deepa,
    If you read the conditions that comes with flight tickets, you’d run the distance! Every service has its conditions and its left to those availing it to accept it or not. I have TATA Sky at home and have not had any problems. Of course, I knew that I was paying for the STB and NOT the dish. I have never been targetted by online or offline advertisers. I don’t care if they know my fav. channels…in fact, I WANT them to know coz down the line, I’d want to pay ONLY for those channels. I think a big hullabullo is being made by Manu – would he care to review the DISH TV service too, please?

  4. Ramkumar (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    Hi Deepa,

    Not sure if I agree with your friend’s comments and observations. ‘coz I guarantee you that Dish will have the same policies.

    In fact, I’m not sure why he was expecting that he will “own” the dish. His comments about the policies of the Sat providers in the US is also not correct. In the US, as he mentioned you don’t pay for dish/equipment but you get to keep the dish *only* after a year of sticking to the service. Think about it – afterall the Sat companies are spending considerable amount of money to give you the equipment (dish) and to come over and install it.

    Regarding them collecting your “viewing habits”. I don’t think TataSky has to resort to selling your viewing habits to others so that they can Spam you. They can make much more money by projecting the audience base they have to the advertisors and make TONS of money on that.

    Anyway – I’m a happy Tata Sky user and have not had issues and have nothing to do with Tata Sky otherwise. The quality of the broadcast is very good, and the service is very very good.

    I prefer them a zillion times over Cable ‘coz cable simply sucks.


  5. Ramkumar (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

    Hi Deepa,

    On a different note – I completely agree with your point that the consumers have to be vigilant and more importantly more vocal.

    Thanks to blogs – the consumers do have a mechanism by which they can voice their opinions and thoughts.


  6. Chitra (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

    I agree with most of the comments here. Anything in small print is always like that; you will never want to use any of the services. We have Tata Sky and couldn’t be happier. We are fairly new customers, and it so happened that a structure was erected in front of our dish almost overnight. The service guy was there the next day when we called him, and he said it would cost us 300/- to move the dish. I asked to talk to his boss, and when I did, the boss waived the entire service fee. Now, I have enough and more reasons to recommend Tata Sky quite highly to any of my friends. In fact, I plan to blog about it.

    As for storing all of our viewing information, well what does Google do for a living? Showing “relevant ads” when you search. Amongst other things, the history of your searches is also a parameter that decides “what interests you”. They also have a “bot” that reads all your emails, replies etc. – to show relevant ads. They have made a business of targeted ads, and I don’t see the harm – as far as my privacy is not compromised. Or to take another example, take Amazon’s recommendations – where they collect information on what people searched for or looked at. Tata Sky or any digital provider can do it, and it actually helps people because they don’t have to see ads that don’t matter to them. This is the digital era, we just have to get used to targeted ads.

    Agree with Ramkumar; Manu’s understanding of how satellite TV service works in the US is not correct. We had Sat for many years in the US. Tata Sky is very comparable with the service there.

    And he actually recommends Cable TV?!! The cable service in this area is so bad, that anything could only be better than that. I can’t even begin to write about why the cable service is bad.

  7. Manu Sharma (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

    Folks, I can assure you that I do not work for Dish. I only subscribed for Tata Sky and not Dish TV so how can I do a comparison without knowing anything about the service? At no point do I say that Dish is any better so I don’t understand this reaction.

    This is also not about legal conditions / small print that come with high risk services like flying – it is about the way the plan is structured. By design it’s made to exploit.

    The issue here is a little different that serving targeted ads like Google. We are talking about this info being sold to companies which may not be advertising with Tata Sky. This isn’t about Tata Sky serving “contextual ads” based on content we are watching but them building my profile based on all my habits and selling it to anyone who’s interested.

    Advertisers are always interested in reaching people with extra money. Tata Sky knows how frequently you order movies thru showcase and that is valuable info. Other than this, the channels might be interested in gleaning all sorts of info from this. For example, they can find out whether while watching a particular show you sit through it or leave it in the middle. At what point did you leave it and things like that.

    All this is valuable info and Tata Sky can profit from it without giving me back any incentive. See, it’s about my rights. It may freak out some people and to others it may not matter at all. The point is *I* should be allowed to decide whether they can do this or not AND if they are doing it then I should be given incentive in terms of discounts etc.

    Btw, I only recommend sticking with cable until DTH issues are resolved and there’s more competition / regulation in the market. Also because cablewalas are behaving themselves now. At least where I live they are.

  8. Ramkumar (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

    Hi Manu,

    Check this out. This is about the recent deal between Echostar & Google. Pretty much touches every point that you spoke about.



  9. Manu Sharma (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

    Thanks for the pointer, Ram!

    Also want to mention that I just updated my entry with a cost comparison between Cable TV and Tata Sky. Turns out, if you use multiple TVs in your home, you could end up paying as much as THREE TIMES as a Tata Sky subscriber over just a five-yr period.


  10. Chitra (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

    Manu, was cost a matter of concern in the discussion? I don’t know. But, it is true that we have to pay different prices for different service types. Price is also the reason why we get all the added benefits with a digital set-up.

  11. Manu Sharma (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 12:19 am

    Chitra, in your previous comment above, the Cable TV recommendation was ridiculed. So I explained that I only recommend it for the time being and also realised, in the process, what a big difference it makes in terms of cost.

    Cost is certainly part of the picture. It’s the whole value proposition Vs. cost & compromises on the other side. I have demonstrated that the large number of compromises needed are certainly not worth the few benefits of the service. Added to that picture now are the additional cost disadvantage of going for Tata Sky. I don’t see how can anyone, after understanding the compromises alone, still see benefits in a Tata Sky subscription.

  12. John Thomas (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

    Hi Manu Sharma,

    Thank you Manu for taking pain to explain all these I feel it helpfull. Infact i was thinking to subscribe it but rethink after reading this.


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