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Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sky TV-Is this harassment

Chapter One

Back in June 2007 i received the following offer from Sky TV.

r MrJ xxxxxxx
g xxxxxxxxxx
i Newton Stewart

Dear Mr xxxxx, June 2007
Pay once. Watch digital TV forever
We wanted to tell you how easy it is to switch to digital TV. It's also great value. For a one-off payment of only £75,
you will be able to access over 200 free digital TV channels, including your BBC and ITV favourites.
The equipment is yours to keep forever. Our expert engineer will install everything you need to go digital, and
will then give you a personal demonstration to make sure you're happy. On top of all that, you can choose any 2 of
Sky TV's 6 entertainment mixes for 6 months.
Discover the things you love on Sky TV
Whatever you enjoy watching, you're sure to find it with the great number of quality channels on Sky TV. That's
quite a claim - but if you look more closely, you'll see a wealth of special interest programmes covering almost
every imaginable topic. From gardening to fishing, biographies to cutting-edge current affairs, travel to interior
design, there's something to suit all tastes. Here's a taster of some of the great programmes available across our
6 entertainment mixes:
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on LIVINGtv
Eye of the Leopard on Nat Geo Wild
Katharine Hepburn on The Biography Channel
The Re-Inventors on UKTV Documentary
Dali Night on Sky Arts

Get over 200 digital TV channels, plus the option to subscribe to Sky TV after 6 months
At the end of 6 months, you can continue to enjoy the great quality Sky TV channels from just £15 a month. Or you
can cancel Sky TV and still enjoy over 200 free digital channels, including your BBC and ITV favourites, with nothing
more to pay. For more information about this great package, call 08703 335 401 by 14 June.

Yours sincerely,

John Orriss
Customer Communications Director
Pay once watch forever
Includes all the Sky equipment and installation you need to go digital.
Enjoy over 200 free digital TV channels PLUS 6 months' Sky TV.

For more information call 08703 335 401
•cf telephone line required. After the end of your 6-month warranty, costs may be payable for service calls or repairs to your digital satellite equipment.
Lines are open 8.45am - 8.45pm, 7 days a week. Please have your bank details ready.
Calls cost up to 8p per minute for BT customers. Calls from other providers may vary.
Sky Subscribers Services Ltd • PO Box 43 • Livingston • West Lothian EH54 7DD
Registered No. 2340150 (England) • Grant Way • Isleworth • Middlesex TW7 5QD • VAT Registered No. 440 6274

A few years ago i had problems with cancelling my then Sky Contract and was pursued by a debt collection agency that went under the name of Oxford Servicing.I had doubts about accepting this offer,but thought perhaps they aren't the aggresive ogres they once were and went ahead.

Sky Installed and everything ok.
One months notice posted off in November.Everythings fine.

Chapter Two
Whats this come through the letter box?

Mr xxxxxxxxx
416 /O

Date: November 2007
Account Number: xxxxxxxxxxx
Dear Mr xxxxxxxx
We've heard from your bank that you've cancelled your Direct Debit instruction. You might have done this because
you want to cancel your Sky subscription, but cancelling your Direct Debit doesn't mean you have cancelled all your
Sky services.
By cancelling your Direct Debit we can't automatically process your payment when it becomes due. Instead we'll
send you an invoice showing what's owed on your account. This will include an invoice charge of £4.00. That charge
will be added every month that you pay by invoice rather than Direct Debit.
To ensure your Sky services stay active and to avoid paying the extra monthly invoice charges, you need to get in
touch with us quickly to set up new Direct Debit details.
This can be done easily by calling us on 08702 430 835. Lines are open from 7am to llpm everyday. Alternatively,
you could complete the enclosed Direct Debit instruction and return it in the envelope provided. Remember, it takes
up to 5 working days for your new payment instruction to be processed so make sure you send it in time.
You can also ring the number above to:
• Change your billing date to one that suits you better
• Make a payment by credit or debit card with immediate effect
• Get help with any other payment and account questions
Don't forget, if we don't receive new Direct Debit instructions you will have to pay the extra monthly invoice charge.
So please get in touch as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely
Denise Allan
Head of Operational Finance
Sky Subscribers Service;, Ltd • PO Box 43 • Livingston • West Lothian EH54 7DD 3123
Registered No. 23^0150 (England) • Grant '.^av • Islewoith • Middlesex !W7 SOD • VAT registered No. '|'|0 627^ 67

A telephone call to Sky to ask what they are up to.
After fifteen minutes on the telephone i was assured my subscription would be cancelled,everything was in order.

I thought i'd better back this up with a further letter highlighting my annoyance at their inability to stick to the contract.

Chapter Three
This morning i received the following letter.

Mr xxxxxxxxxxxxx
416 /O

Account Number: xxxxxxxxxxx
Dear Mr xxxxxxx
Date: 13th December 2007

We are writing to tell you that you have breached the terms of your Sky Digital contract by not making all your
payments to Sky within your 12 month minimum term. Unless you address this quickly we will have to apply an extra
charge of £120.00 to your Sky account. This charge is calculated like this:
The difference between what you paid for your standard installation and our full standard installation charge.
You must call us immediately to rejoin Sky and avoid paying this extra charge.
If you do this, we won't make the above charge, but you will still have to pay anything you currently owe us and
remain as a paying Sky customer for the rest of your 12 month minimum term.
Rejoining Sky is quick and simp Ie to do. Call us on 08702430 835 and we'll arrange for your Sky service to be restored
as soon as we've received any payments due to us.
Paying is easy too. Just call the same number to pay by credit or debit card, or to set up a new Direct Debit instruction.
Remember, it takes up to 5 working days for your new payment instruction to be processed so make sure you send
it in time. We can also help you if you'd like to change your package or your payment date. Lines are open from 7am
to llpm everyday.
Unfortunately, if we don't hear from you within the next 1A days the charges set out above will be added directly to
your Sky account. What's more, if you do not pay the full amount owed on your account we will refer your debt to a
collection agency_This coyjd affect your cred_[tJ>tatusjind ultimatelyJead to legal action being brought again st_ypu.
That's something we would definitely rather avoid, so please get in touch with us soon.
If you've settled your account or rejoined in the last few days, then sorry for writing to you and please ignore this
Yours sincerely
^..lUyC. ^olv^
Denise Allan
Head of Operational Finance
Sky Subscribers Services Ltd • PO Box 43 • Livingston • West Lothian EH54 7DD
Customer Service T 08702 W W W • Republic of Ireland T 0818 719 819
Registered Charity No: 1012369
Sky's charity partner 200'* - 2007
Registered No. 2340150 (Em
ant Way • ,slei
Another telephone call to Sky Customer Services.
Usually the calls to Sky Customer Services are to a call centre in Scotland.Today i had the distinct impression this was to a call centre in India.This call lasted ten minutes.I was advised to ignore this letter and that everything was in order.

Am i being overly optimistic that the matter is now closed.


  1. Sounds like the nonsense we went through trying to leave AOL.

  2. Hi Shelley,I just think some of these companies are too big and heavy handed tactics are part of the reason.Some little old lady being leaned on in this way would have paid up by now.They have no ethics.

  3. Two years after I thought we'd wrapped everything up with AOL, we got a letter from a collection agency saying that we were in arrears for 3 months of membership fees. Happily, I'd saved the name of the person I'd spoken to at AOL, so I scrawled that on the bill and sent it back. I THINK it's settled, but I have this nagging feeling that there's a smudge on our credit record somewhere, which otherwise is stellar.

    To err is human, to really foul things up takes a computer.

    Btw, I found you through Youtube and your lovely Dumfries Snow video. It looks a lot like Western Massachusetts, especially now that we've been socked with 20 inches of snow!

  4. they do use heavy handed tactics but i reckon what's going on is that different departments dealing with different aspects of people's contracts, one department may be aware that you've cancelled and yet another one says it's time to print off a nasty letter.

    i reckon you should always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to if possible and threaten them with negative publicity too!

    that said i also think that it should be ok now.

  5. Thanks for your comments Shelley and Sez.I hope i hear no more from them,but with Sky nothing is simple.I also thought about remembering the name of the call centre operatives name,but when he said Jack in a Mumbai accent,chances are he's Dave to the next caller.
    Boston's a great city.
    And i reckon i know you Sez.

  6. I received this nice email from Sky today.Wish they were always this polite.Not complaining though,it felt good.

    Dear James,
    Thank you for your email regarding your Sky account.
    I can confirm that your account has now been cancelled and no further payments are due on the account.
    We are sorry to have lost a valued customer and would like to thank you for your past custom. Should you wish to resume viewing our channels at any time, please contact Customer Service on 08702 40 40 40 and they will be happy to reinstate your account.


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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