Polsat Box Go customers were disappointed on Tuesday, September 13. Right before the second leg of the UEFA Champions League, viewers complained that streaming has stopped working. As a result, they could not watch the performance of Robert Lewandowski, who came to Munich to play against Bayern with the new club (FC Barcelona) (he spent eight years there, scoring 344 goals). They missed the exciting match of two leading clubs with the participation of a Pole, so the anger is understood.
“Cash downloaded and I’m watching a black screen,” complained one of the fans on Twitter. Polsat replied laconically: “We are sorry for the inconvenience. We are verifying the situation.” Polsat Box Go customers also complained a few days earlier about failures during matches of the 1st football league (e.g. a match between ŁKS Łódź and Termalica Nieciecza).
Subscribers of Canal + Online also had problems, who wanted to watch the first round of the Champions League on Wednesday and Tuesday (September 6 and 7) in the application on the TV or computer and mobile devices. In the case of Canal +, the failure from a week ago is not the first recently. In early September, the company admitted that it was “seeing problems with the operation of Canal + online” and announced that it had forwarded the reports to the technical department. Earlier, on August 13, many fans could not watch Robert Lewandowski’s debut in Barcelona, because the Canal + application refused to obey (some customers could not even log in, and the registration did not work).
Canal +’s responses on social media were – to put it mildly – perfunctory, which additionally irritated subscribers. “It can happen to everyone, but your silence about the fact that people could not see LM is unacceptable. In France, at least they referred to it, because the servers also crashed there,” wrote one Twitter user.
“I bought this service to watch the Champions League. You are frivolous, first embrace the servers, and then advertise yourself on every possible platform and program. And I warn new potential customers, because Canal + Online cannot be watched” – wrote one of the users on Facebook.
Customers also complain strongly about Viaplay (Nordic Enterainment Group), who has had the right to show Bundesliga matches for over a year and already then there were serious problems with streaming fluency (eg a large failure made it difficult at the beginning of December 2021 to watch “der Klassiker”, i.e. the match between Borussia Dotrmund and Bayern Munich). From this season, Viaplay also has the right to show matches of the English Premier League, considered one of the strongest leagues in the world and enjoying great popularity in Poland. The broadcast of the first round of the 2022/2023 season, played at the beginning of August, ran with problems. Fans complained that the streaming is stuttering, the sound stops every now and then or even the broadcast is completely interrupted.
Viaplay users also complained about technical problems with broadcasts of German league matches. “You can barely see the ball, such poor quality.” “Worse than on illegal streams,” they wrote in social media. Customers complained about Viaplay to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
Years ago, technical problems also happened to other streaming platforms. For example, in the pandemic during the first lockdown, customer interest was so high that the servers failed. Even the biggest ones had problems, for example Netflix temporarily lowered the quality of the transmitted movies in order to be able to serve all subscribers.
Sports platforms also had problems. For example, Eleven Sports (since May 2018 it has been in the Polsat Sport group) had problems when it took over the broadcast rights of Formula 1 races, which attract large numbers of fans and there were temporary transmission disruptions. The problems did not last long, however, and streaming has been working without any major problems for some time. Eurosport has also improved a lot and for several years failures in its application have been very rare.
Sports streaming platforms on the defensive
– First of all, we apologize for any temporary inconvenience while using the website, which may have occurred for some users. All applications will be verified and considered individually as soon as possible – says Olga Zomer, spokesman for Cyfrowy Polsat.
Canal + admits that on Tuesday, September 6, late in the evening, there were problems with access to the Canal + online service caused by very high traffic on the servers (which prevented subscribers from watching Champions League matches). – However, failures on this scale do not occur frequently. In this particular case, problems occurred on our side, global servers failed, for which we apologize the most, because we know how important for users is high quality broadcasting at live events. We are constantly working to improve our website and eliminate such situations – says Piotr Kaniowski, spokesman for Canal +.
Responding to frustrated customers, Viaplaya employees pointed out that watching the broadcast requires a “stable internet connection” and that streaming may not be performed properly on all devices. Canal + also draws attention to the hardware and bandwidth on the client’s side. However, it was probably not their problem for most of the timebecause other transmissions at other times – less popular – were played without problems. The problems only started with very crowded broadcasts, which indicates the blame lies with the streaming applications.
– Interruptions or problems with the reception of broadcasts are sometimes caused by user hardware problems, outdated application or weaker connection. There are many scenarios of this type, so our priority is to verify where the problem occurred. Customers can submit comments or complaints to us, e.g. using the contact form after logging in to canalplus.com, in the “My Account” tab. We do not leave questions unanswered – claims Kaniowski.
The Viaplaya press office in the post communicated to us asks any subscriber who has experienced any problems to always contact customer service directly. “The reasons for the occurrence of problems with access to the platform vary and depend on specific casesTherefore, each application is considered individually, and customers can always count on the support of our technical department “- declares Viaplay. However, the platforms we interviewed do not specify what compensation subscribers can expect.
Viaplay explains that it broadcasts several hundred sporting events live every month and argues that the vast majority of these are problems. “Problems can arise in different situations, but we are constantly investing in our systems, technology and quality development. We are currently also opening technology hubs in Europe that bring together the best specialists in their fields. We want to offer our customers the best streaming in all markets in which we operate. Viaplay, which is why we are also making long-term investments in Poland “- says the company.
Customers complain to UOKiK. So far mainly on Viaplay
The communication department of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection informed the editors of Business Insider Polska that about 40 complaints about Viaplay have been received so far. “Consumers indicated technical problems (interruptions in access to the service, transmission buffering, image clipping) preventing them from accessing the service and viewing the content for which they paid in real time. They also complained that complaints submitted in such a situation were rejected or the company offered they have an unsatisfactory discount in the subscription fee for the next month, the press office of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) reported.
In the case of Viaplay, the President of UOKiK initiated explanatory proceedings aimed at preliminary analysis of whether there are grounds for accusing the company of violating collective consumer interests. Much fewer complaints were filed with UOKiK regarding problems with broadcasting sports events on Canal + Online. So far, one consumer complaint has been filed.
UOKiK advises that if the trader fails to comply with the contract, consumers may file complaints. They should indicate any irregularities in them and demand from the company, e.g. an adequate reduction or refund of the price. In the event of a dispute with an entrepreneur, the consumer may use free legal assistance, e.g. a consumer ombudsman in his city or poviat.
The President of UOKiK may react in the event of suspected infringement of collective consumer interests in two ways: he may apply to the entrepreneur by the so-called soft call for clarification and change of practice or initiate an investigation i charge him. If they prove to be true, violations of collective consumer interests may be punished with a penalty of up to 10%. annual turnover.
Author: Maciej Rudke, journalist at Business Insider Polska