I am due to move house in the next few weeks with a split completion date. This means moving out of my current house and then not moving into my new house for several weeks. Due to this I’ve been trying to cancel my existing Sky+ HD, telephone and broadband package (£55 pcm) originally with the intention of re-setting up an account with Sky at my new property once I’ve moved in, a few weeks from now. Simple right? Wrong.
My problems with Sky all began back in January when the person buying my house made a request to take over our phone line as he was due to move in “shortly”. This resulted in a “cease request” being made to Sky to discontinue our current contract.
I’d only actually accepted his offer for my property a week or so earlier and at the time we were months away from exchange of contracts, let alone completion so it was a strange phone call for him to have made so early in the process.
Sky altering my account without my instruction / agreement
The first I learned of this cease request was when I received a letter from Sky informing me that they were going to be cutting off my TV, broadband and phone line within a matter of days! My first thoughts of course were why on earth were they taking instruction on my account from a 3rd party, especially without consulting with me!?
Sky should never have acted on the instruction of a 3rd party in relation to the contract that they hold with me. They admitted that this cease request should never have been put through, but claimed it was a problem with Ofcom(??) and was beyond their control.
Two lengthy phone calls later they promised that this cease request was all sorted and we weren’t going to be cut off. Between this call and the 6th March the line wasn’t cut off and our contract remained in place so we (wrongly) assumed all was well and the problem had been sorted.
As we expected to be moving out around the start of April, as per Sky’s terms and conditions we submitted our official 30 days notice of cancellation to the Sky team through their website.
Following the cancellation request through the website we received an email stating that some security details were missing and that Sky would call to confirm this information:
With no call from Sky and wanting a quick response Sarah took to Twitter to provoke some sort of response / interest in our cancellation request from the team.
View the conversation here – https://twitter.com/WhatSarahSays88/status/441958847385989120
The only support given by the Twitter team was to phone the cancellations department… despite them informing us that they would give us a call.
With no call received from the Sky support team, my partner again took to Twitter to see if that might get a response – we were wrong:
Not only do the twitter account team ask us to visit a link which they didn’t tweet to us, they then proceed to ask us what the link is that we said was missing from their tweet! The conversation went back and forth with no resolution. Their twitter team need some training…
In the morning of the 13th an email came through from Sky stating that they had tried to call on 2 separate occasions:
Having received this email and with no missed calls or voicemails on either the house line or mobile phones on the account we called in to the Sky cancellations team to find out what was going on. The guy on the call didn’t know how to deal with the problem which had been caused by the cease request (which we hadn’t raised) and had been actioned by Sky.
After an ambush of what only be described as desperate sales bullshit, he was able to cancel the TV but was clueless about how to cancel the broadband. Therefore he arranged a call back to us for 10:10am on the Friday (14th).
This phone call was never received.
We phoned the cancellations department and spoke to a guy called Chris to find out what’s going on with the cancellation as we never received our call. This guy was spectacularly useless and unhelpful. He literally didn’t seem to have a clue about anything to do with the account, our situation or Sky. He offered no apology for anything that had gone wrong so far, or the failed call back that was promised.
He put us on hold for about 25 minutes, before coming back to us stating that he’d had to raise a request with the IT department at Sky to remove a block on the phone line which had been caused by the cease request. He then said that this would take up to 48 hours, and that we would need to ring back on Friday. We asked for them to phone, however was told that the team don’t actually make outbound calls(!) so we would need to ring in again.
He then informed us that it would take up to 14 days after the block was removed for them to cancel the phone line. We were unhappy with this, as we were likely to be moving out within 2 weeks time, and didn’t really want to leave an active phone line and broadband service which our house buyer could rack up a big bill that we would be liable for. Again, Chris was extremely unhelpful and said that there was no alternative.
Making a complaint
Naturally the frustration with the entire cancellations process led to us wanting to speak to a senior manager or the complaints department so on the call to Chris we requested both of these options. The response given however was that we couldn’t speak to his manager as they would only give us the same response as he had already done. Despite arguing that this was beside the point and we wanted to elevate our complaint, he continued to refuse to put us through.
The next step therefore was requesting to speak directly to the complaints department. On this point Chris stated that there wasn’t a complaints department who we could speak to and that any complaints would need to put in writing. This was an interesting point considering that the Sky website states on their “how to make a complaint page“,
As we had the Sky website open, we challenged him on this point and quoted the Sky website at him, however he was adament that there was no one available to help.
28th March – Call 1
48 hours has passed and so we called Sky cancellations back to follow up on the phone call from the 26th. After re-explaining the entire situation to the woman in the call centre she said, and I quote, “I just need to speak to my manager, are you OK to hold?” After a reluctant yes, we were subsequently put on hold for 30 minutes. Seriously? A quick conversation with a manager results in placing me on hold for over half an hour.
Once the phone call (on hold) reaches the 35 minutes mark the line goes dead and they cut us off!!
28th March – Call 2
After being cut off we called Sky’s cancellations team straight back and spoke to a guy caled Brian. Again we had to explain the entire situation to him and let him know that we’ve just been cut off having been placed on hold for over half an hour. What happens next? You guessed it… we’re placed me on hold whilst he goes to speak to his manager, though on this occassion he assures us that we won’t be cut off this time.
Brian finally returned to the call and stated that the cancellation request hadn’t been put through. He also confirmed that everything would be cut off from the 6th and that we wouldn’t need to take any further action… I am doubtful that this will happen due to the catalogue of errors, misleading statements and lies so far so I will probably call back to check next week that it’s all going ahead.
In fairness to Brian, he was probably the most helpful person I have spoken to at Sky and was polite and apologetic for the first time. Mind you, the bar had been set extremely low by his other so called ‘customer service’ colleagues.
Despite being told that everything would be cut off from the 6th April, the email which was then received confirms that everything will be cancelled from… the 8th April:
My Sky cancellation experience is not an isolated incident
It looks like I’m not the first nor am I going to be the last person to cancel my Sky contract and end up an endless trail of phone calls and unhelpful cancellations team representatives. For example, take a look here and here, and here, perhaps here or here.
Sky have a customer service values page on their website which states how much time they invest in their customer service and staff training however based on my experience with them this is clearly nothing more than corporate nonsense:
I would strongly recommend that unless you like making endless phone calls, being put on hold for endless hours of your life (being cut off), and talking to mostly completely incompetent morons, please sign up with Virgin Media or another provider as Sky just aren’t worth the hassle. It’s a shame as their TV, phone and broadband service has been very good over the last 3 years we’ve been signed up, but they have let themselves down big time over and over again with their customer services.
It should have been a warning sign to me when we first moved in to our house and they didn’t turn up to install the dish as arranged (after I’d taken a whole day off work). It hasn’t improved in the following three years, apparantly.