How I Became Sky TV’s Customer Complaints Centre

December 15, 2008

Why Don’t Companies Like Sky TV Deal With Customer Complaints Efficiently?

Can you imagine receiving heaps of emails, regarding some sucky company, just because they don’t deal with complaints efficiently? That’s what happened to me, after I wrote about Sky TV’s rip off service, back in March: Sky TV - Bad Customer Service Or Theft.

It sucks to receive dozens of Sky TV complaints each week, from unhappy Sky TV customers and not have time to reply to them all. But it must suck even more to own a business that doesn’t give a toss about it’s customers.

If You’re A Bad Company Like Sky TV - The Internet Talks About You

The Internet talks and if consumer complaints aren’t dealt with efficiently, it keeps talking. And it’s not like getting bad newspaper press, which is often dumped in a wastepaper basket and forgotten about a few days later. If the stories are true - they stay there and there’s bugger all you can do to remove them. And worse still - sometimes they spread through social media, faster than a plague of locusts.

This is a good thing for individual customers. In the past, big businesses got away with ignoring customer complaints. But now consumers can reach thousands of people online quickly, which is great, because if large companies rip them off, plenty of people get to know about it and they can vote with their feet.

An Update On My Sky TV Complaint

Many of you, in the same situation have emailed me, asking for an update on my Sky TV complaint and asking what you should do. I didn’t get a refund yet, but here’s what happened so far:

1) After writing to Sky TV customer complaints centre, they sent a brief letter back saying they weren’t paying me the money back, even though they took double what they were supposed to, from my account for over 18 months. They gave no reason or explanation for refusing to refund me.

2) I eventually got to speak to someone “human”, after calling Sky TV several times. They said Sky often cheats folk in this way and the best thing to do is write to your bank and ask them to claim the Direct Debit payments back.

3) I spoke to the bank, after closing the account and they said they’d chase it up. About 3 months later, I received a cheque for around the amount Sky TV owe me and there was a blank compliment slip with it, so I assumed the money was from Sky TV. But recently, I discovered that the money came from elsewhere.

4) I have now written to my bank to ask them to claim back the money, from Sky TV, on my behalf.

6) If Sky TV fail to refund my money through the bank, I’m going to contact my MP, explain that many people are being ripped off by Sky TV and ask what can be done. If you would like me to send your complaint along to him, when I send mine, please email me at cath at with “Sky TV Complaint” in the subject heading.

If this fails, those of us who want to get our money back, may be able to join together in taking Sky TV to court. Or alternatively, we could pass the info onto traditional media journalists, to see if they could help us get a refund from Sky TV.

Have you ever blogged about being ripped off, or treated badly by a big company? Would you be tempted to use social media to warn others against them, or to help get your money back?

Related Reading

Sky TV - Bad Customer Service Or Theft?
What Are People Saying About Your Business Online
Don’t DaVinci Your Customers
Why Customer Complaints Are Good For Your Business
9 Steps To Business Failure

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17 Responses to “How I Became Sky TV’s Customer Complaints Centre”

  1. Kelvin Kao on December 15th, 2008 10:55 am

    Once I wrote a rant about an online service and very soon after they left a comment and said the problem has been resolved. I was a bit surprised that they did that, and how fast they did that. I wonder if it’d be that way too if I wrote them directly to begin with, but this showed that the company has some kind of alert set up, and was carefully monitoring their online reputation. After that I became a happy user of the service.

    Kelvin Kao’s last blog post..A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa

  2. John on December 15th, 2008 11:30 am

    Sounds like it might be worth forwarding these details to watchdog too.

    John’s last blog post..Effective 1:2:1 Meetings

  3. cathlawson on December 15th, 2008 12:23 pm

    Hi Kelvin - it is great that they did that. And I can understand why you are happy to use their service. A lot of companies have systems set up to monitor what is being said about them online. But some just don’t seem to care at all.

    I have read strings of complaints about large companies, such as British Gas and they just seem to ignore them.

    Hi John - that is a good idea. I’ll look them up and try that - thanks.

  4. RT Cunningham on December 15th, 2008 1:54 pm

    I had an issue with a hosting company (twice) that failed to do what they were supposed to do and they happened to have a community forum where you could post testimonials.

    After one ticket went unanswered for hours and after being shut off for hours for CPU limits (and resolving it within 5 minutes after I received the initial message), each time I posted to that public forum the head honcho responded and took care of the problems.

    It should never go that far. I ended up switching to another hosting service when I upgraded instead of upgrading with them.

    RT Cunningham’s last blog post..ConnectContent Blog Launch

  5. Al at 7P on December 15th, 2008 1:56 pm

    This is a great lesson to all other companies that your reputation is one of the most important assets you have in the information age.

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..533,000 Is Too Much

  6. Kathy - Beyond Niche Marketing on December 15th, 2008 2:13 pm

    This post clearly illustrates what every business owner MUST know about Web 2.0.

    Your customers are talking - it used to be that customers were talking and you couldn’t know what they were saying. Now, not only can you know what they’re saying - but so can everyone else who is considering doing business with you!

    Kathy - Beyond Niche Marketing’s last blog post..By: Kevin

  7. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work on December 15th, 2008 2:34 pm

    No, I have never blogged about being ripped off. I would have to be very determined like you are to follow through. At some point I would probably determine that it was not in my best interests “energy-wise” to continue. But I do understand and admire your persistence.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Pump Up Your Personal Power

  8. cathlawson on December 15th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Hi RT - I see what you mean. It’s good that they had a public forum to help ensure that complaints were made to them, rather than elsewhere. But it would have been nice if they could have dealt with your complaint the proper way.

    Hi Al - that is so true. I think some of these larger companies are still naive to the fact that so many people are reading about their bad practices.

    Hi Kathy - exactly. And knowing what they’re saying and ignoring it is one of the worst things you can do.

    Hi Tom - To me it’s well worth it as they overcharged me by about £1000. And it’s also the principle of the matter. It’s not just me they’re ripping off. It could have been some little old lady, who was relying on that money to pay her heating bills.

    Energy-wise though - I know what you mean. Mind you it’s really handy having a business blog, as you don’t have to go out and find an audience.

    When we do have to waste time chasing these companies up, I think they should be made to pay extra for your time wasted though.

  9. Graham Strong on December 15th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Wow Cath, that’s quite a bit.

    I always get pitches from cable companies, etc. that I deal with offering me direct withdrawal. I always had a vague feeling that although convenient, it sort of takes away the control from me. Now I see why that is not a good thing!

    Good luck with Sky — this really does go above and beyond “customer service” and borders the realm of “fraud”. Perhaps filing an official complaint with the police would help?


    Graham Strong’s last blog post..John Lennon

  10. Kim Woodbridge on December 15th, 2008 5:37 pm

    I was going to ask if Sky had any competition but then went and read the earlier article to discover they are basically a monopoly. I’ve never had anything like that happen with a company - usually when something like that happens they correct it right away. Wow.

    Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..Twitter Holiday Contest - Win a Free 2.7 Upgrade

  11. Vered - MomGrind on December 15th, 2008 6:27 pm

    I never used my blog, or social media, to deal with a big company, but I believe both are appropriate tools as long as you stick with proven facts (to protect yourself legally).

    This an amazing story. I can’t believe they treat their customers so badly.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..Ageism Is The Last Acceptable Form Of Discrimination

  12. cathlawson on December 15th, 2008 9:42 pm

    Hi Graham - it may be worth doing that. I wish we could get cable here - until we can Sky has the monopoly. If we’re able to get Virgin TV here before we emigrate, I’m switching.

    Hi Kim - they certainly do - I hate monopolies, they get away with murder - that’s why I’m going to write to my MP if I don’t get a refund.

    In America - you seem to get much better treatment - folk just won’t put up with the crap we seem to tolerate here. Another reason why I can’t wait to emigrate.

    Hi Vered - I’m with you re: the legal protection. I think I’ll be fine tho. They told me that since the account was in my husband’s name - it would be best to just open another account and they wouldn’t cancel the direct debit on the other.

    I wanted an upgraded service anyway - so I went along with it. Then, when I discovered they hadn’t stopped taking money for the old account, I called them. They promised to stop taking the money and also to give me a refund on what they’d taken. But they didn’t do either.

    Since they are refusing to refund the money - it seems a lot like theft to me. Judging from the emails I get - they do this to a lot of people.

  13. Davina on December 15th, 2008 11:20 pm

    Hi Cath. How frustrating for you! A news segment runs every evening here called Olsen On Your Side. The link is too long to include, but if you Google Olsen On Your Side you will find it quite easily. I know you are in the UK, but you never, know… this man might have some advice for you or know who else you could talk to. Here is an excerpt from the website…

    “Chris Olsen investigates consumer issues that matter most to you: everything from product recommendations to recall information and scam warnings. Chris brings the most up-to-date, accurate information to you each day and helps viewers to protect themselves, their families, and their wallets.”

    Davina’s last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  14. Marelisa on December 15th, 2008 11:29 pm

    Hi Cath: “Keep your customers happy” should be every company’s motto. What a frustrating ordeal! With the internet more and more power is being put into the hands of the consumer. I read somewhere that if someone is happy with a product or service they’ll tell 3 people; if they’re unhappy they’ll tell 10 people. And once the reputation goes, it’s really hard to get it back.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Productivity and Foie Gras

  15. cathlawson on December 17th, 2008 4:27 am

    Thanks Davina - I might just get in touch with him. He may be able to point me in the right direction.

    Hi Marelisa - that is so true. This company can’t have the monopoly forever. And when they lose it, they’ll regret treating their customers badly.

  16. wilhb81 on December 19th, 2008 8:19 am

    Cath, this is really s**k and sorry for your loss here! :(
    wilhb81’s last blog post..Business one-liners 32

  17. Fred on December 23rd, 2008 5:04 pm

    I haven’t experienced blogging about poor customer service yet, but I’m glad that at least nowadays, that’s an option. I never liked the idea that companies might try to get away with something wrong, thinking that the customer might not complain anyway, and even if the customer were to complain, that would just be one person or family, easily ignored and consigned to obscurity eventually.

    Now, since just about anyone can set up a blog, there’s another option. And with image and uploading services all around, and quite easy to use, the ability of a customer to complain and present evidence backing him or her up, online is that much stronger.

    I do hope more of these large companies will sit up and take notice. Quite a number of them do things that are really not defensible at all.

    Fred’s last blog post..Television - House

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