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 cathlawson.com 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

Sky TV: Bad Customer Service Or Theft?

March 18, 2008


Is Sky TV a genuine business, or are they just a bunch of thieves? If customers overpay you, you have no problem refunding the money right? If you didn’t you’d soon find yourself in a whole heap of trouble. Unless you’re Sky TV that is, then you’d just think you were entitled to keep the cash. In fact, you’d refuse point blank to give a refund. at least that is what they did to me and they owe me in the region of £1000 ($2000) for services I haven’t had.

As you probably already noticed, I like to bring up cases of bad customer service, to show you what not to do. However, I doubt any small business owner would get things quite this wrong. Big companies such as Sky TV, Vodaphone and Continental Airlines do things like this all the time though. I think they still haven’t grasped the fact they can’t treat customers like dirt anymore and that just one complaint, in the hands of a blogger can reach thousands of people in just a few hours.

So when does bad customer service cross the line and become blatant theft?

Sky TV Cancellation - I Have To Wonder if Suicide Is The Only Way?

I’ve had Sky TV for several years now. It was originally in my ex-husband’s name, but always went out of my bank account. When he left in September 2004, I asked them to switch the account into my name, but they said he’d need to write to them. There was no chance of that, so I kept it as it was.

But eventually I decided I’d like Sky Plus so I could have TV in two rooms instead of one. They had a large display in the centre of town, so I asked if they could arrange this. They said they could but it would be better to open a new account and close the old one. I did realise that they actually meant it was better for the salesperson, because they probably work on commission.
But I was a bit suspicious because:

a) They said the new account would have to be in my new husband’s name (we weren’t married then).

b) The salesperson said it would be a good idea to say I was moving to Germany when I closed the old account. I thought this odd as it wasn’t my account and we were getting a new one anyway. But, he said that Sky telesales people are really pushy.

I have to say that pushy isn’t the word. Suicide is probably your only way to cancel, but I’m guessing they’d still probably try to charge you. When I called to arrange for the installation of the new equipment, they said the old account would be automatically cancelled, once the new equipment was installed. But it wasn’t and despite several letters and phone calls, Sky TV kept charging me for the old account – until I’d paid in the region of £1000. And the worst thing is – they’ve refused to refund the money. They didn’t bother to reply to me in writing - they just told me when I called today that I wouldn’t be getting a refund.

Have I Paid For A Service – Or Is This Theft?

I think it is theft:

1. They physically removed the old service themselves, so I couldn’t possibly use it.

2. I have been paying for the new service, as well as the old one.

3. Neither account was even in my name – the payments just left my bank.

4. They have finally agreed that the old account is cancelled.

5. They don’t even bother to send me invoices for either account.

6. Their telephonist – Lauren ID No: 9LL45 (they won’t give surnames) said it was my fault I’d been overcharged as I didn’t cancel the Direct Debit. Surely not cancelling the Direct Debit doesn’t mean they can just keep the cash?

7. They won’t give me a telephone number or address to complain – just an email address.

8. They haven’t given me a reason for keeping my money, or even written to me to say they won’t refund me.

Why Do Big Companies Such As Sky TV Give Such Appalling Customer Service?

I think it comes down to a few things:

Complacency.

Rewarding sales people with more money to get new accounts, rather than keep old ones.

Greed.

Poorly trained customer service staff.

They aren’t regulated strictly enough: complaints to the Ombudsman can take months.

They think they can get away with it.

Monopolization - Sky TV have little competition.

What can we, as consumers do? We could vote with our feet, but companies like Sky TV have little competition. And of course, we can blog about them - but do they really care? After all, when you look many large companies up on Google there’s hundreds of consumer complaints and usually no response.

In his recent book, Meatball Sundae, Seth Godin claims that large companies can no longer afford to ignore the new way of marketing if they want to survive. And he points out the damage that bloggers and social media can do to businesses who behave badly.

I think Seth is right, but I wonder how long will it take companies like Sky TV to either change their ways, or become extinct. What do you think?

Further Reading

Refund Due On Cancelled Sky +

Continental Airlines Throw Toddler Off The Plane For Talking

Sky TV Demands Money From Someone Who Isn’t Even A Customer
Are Criminals Better Entrepreneurs?
You Tube Complaint About Sky TV - UK

Update:
We have called Sky TV back twice - firstly - we asked the guy on the phone if he would agree that they could not possibly provide a service when they had removed the equipment. And he agreed. But he said he had no record of any communication with us until 17th March this year (which is laughable considering the number of times we’ve called), so I’m not entitled to a refund. I asked him what the £45 per month charge was for, since I was not being provided with a service. He said it was for not cancelling my account.

We also spoke to the only decent person from Sky we’ve spoke to so far - although I’m guessing Sky won’t think so, because he helped us. He said that things like this happen a lot with Sky TV and if we call our bank, they can actually claim the money back for us. He did add that he was not supposed to tell us this - apparently Sky don’t like you to know you can claim your cash back if you’ve been overcharged.

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