More fun with Sky

I’ve just checked my bank account and found that Sky have charged me extra money this month. I phoned to find out why, and the customer service representative told me that they hadn’t been getting a call-back signal from both boxes. Regular readers of (I know there aren’t many) may remember that this was an issue that was supposedly sorted out a month ago.

I informed the representative that I hoped the call was being recorded for training purposes, because then new staff could get an idea of what an absolute shambles this company is. Their equipment isn’t doing what’s it’s supposed to, so they charge me money… and I have to battle to prove I’m in the right and get a refund. She said that the viewing cards had been swapped between the two boxes, and suggested that the engineer had been into my daughter’s bedroom and done just that. Yeah, and while he was there he went through her chest of drawers and tried on her gymnastics leotard. Of course he bloody didn’t. What is the matter with these people?

I also asked about the terms of my contract and the implications of me cancelling everything. She said she was sorry I felt like this (and she also asked me to stop shouting). Being their customer is such hard work, and I pay them for my misfortune. If Sky really want to prove they’re sorry, they should sort themselves out. James Murdoch, you should be reading this and you should be ashamed.

Choddo and G have both suggested I convert to Sky HD. Pay Sky more money? My next transaction with them is more likely to be along the lines of standing in their foyer, ripping up the contracts, and then inviting the customer service staff to watch me ram both Sky boxes up the customer service manager’s backside.

Thank you, I feel better now, but tomorrow I have to call them back to resolve the issue (which will no doubt involve some more shouting).

Oh, one other thing… I e-mailed James Murdoch. It would be nice to believe that he’ll read the e-mail and take an action to improve things. But I also believe that one day I’ll win the lottery.

Update: I called Sky again. They said that the charge had been levied on April 27th just before the engineer’s visit, and they could now confirm that they could provide a refund as both boxes are accepting a call back. So (a) why didn’t they tell me that last night, and (b) did they intend to refund the money (based on the fact that I was in the right), or do they only provide a refund when you notice a mistake and kick up a fuss?

The lady on the end of the phone said “all I can do is apologise”. Never a truer word spoken, because they do little else.


  1. Um. Dont know how to break this to you. I used to work for Sky – just when they opened up their customer billing/call center in Livingston. Horrible place – for instance, I got called in from my daughters emergency surgery.

    And the same people are still in charge..

    Chances of anying positive happening ? I guess Nil.

    —* Bill

  2. I do wonder that myself, frequently. The fact is that, when it’s working and when Sky aren’t attempting to interfere with my serene karma, Sky Plus is a great thing to have and use.

  3. Sorry Daz, but Sky aren’t alone in providing the sort of customer service that you would expect from a Taliban womens refuge.
    We are lumbered with Brighthouse Networks in Florida. They aren’t quite as bad as Sky… but they run them a close second.
    This past weekend, our high speed internet connection suddenly died. I tried restarting the box several times to no avail. So I dialled them up and whilst I was on the line waiting for customer service, it suddenly reconnected itself. I thought I’d have a word anyway as I’d already been hanging on 20 minutes and had nothing better to do than shout at some poor sod in customer service. At minute 28, it died again. At minute 32 it came back. At minute 36 I got customer service. I explained what had happened and the moron on the other end of the line explained that it may be because of the rain!!! What rain. It hasn’t rained here in days and the cables are buried. Oh… it’s raining in Tampa he said. ( 35 miles away )
    So he offered to send out a technician. The soonest he could offer was Wednesday between 11 and 2. Not good enough I said. I use my computer for work and need it fixed by Monday lunchtime. So Wednesday it was then. The guy turned up late… twiddled around outside… never came to the door… called me on his cell phone saying he had fixed the problem as was gone… “like a rat out of an aquaeduct”

    Looks like I joined your club.


    PS. Just got an automated customer service call. Bet they now wish there wasn’t a voice recorder section on the end to let them have my thoughts personally..

  4. Mr Adams

    I am aghast. I shall berate my staff unrelentingly and ensure they get called in from any personal emergency for the foreseeable future. And Choddo was talking about using clever cabling (Gareth uses it too) to get an RGB picture from your Sky box rather than just ropey RF, nothing to do with SkyHD. But you really should get HD because it’s got a lovely footy picture on your shiny new plasma & LCD. That’ll be tenner please.


  5. As a Freesat from Sky customer, I was offered 3 months free Skyworld and £50 M&S vouchers. Now it’s the M&S vouchers that interested me (or more to the point, Mrs Me).

    They set me up within minutes and all the channels were available (not that I’ve watched anything yet!) and then a couple of days later I get notification that my first payment is coming out this month? What? I thought it was free?

    So I called up, got their overseas call centre and spoke to someone who was about as much use as achocolate teapot -AND he didn’t know what Marks & Spencer was (shame on him).

    So, I called back again today, spoke to someone who (a)understood me and (b)understood English and it’s apparently all been sorted out.

    Shame I spent the best part of an hour in total at their rip-off call rates trying to get this sorted.

    And the chances of me paying for Sky after this? Nill. I’ve got Freeview and my networked Tivo, thankyou very much.

  6. I wonder if this is a tactic of Sky’s… to charge you anyway, and then rely on the fact that, say, 5% of people might not realise or challenge them and then they keep the money.

    An update… I received a reply from the e-mail I sent to James Murdoch. Not from Mr Murdoch of course, but one of his minions. He apologised profusely, offered to sort things out, so I replied back saying it was sorted. I also asked if James Murdoch actually had seen the e-mail, since it was my intention not just to get my money back but also to let Mr Murdoch know how bad Sky’s customer service is. At least one of those two objectives was achieved.

  7. More than likely. In fact, I thought that as soon as I signed up. Should have trusted my instincts. We’ll see if they bill me. (Just checked my online account and it’s showing a credit, so there’s something, I guess).

  8. thanks for the comments about the freesat offer Matt. i was rung at home by Sky last week and offered the 3months tv trial. like you matt on Freesat. i was then told about M+S vouchers too. seemed too good to be true, so gave my banking details. lets hope i dont get billed or have to go to the trouble telling them like you did. on the postcard i received– specifically says the 3months is free. No such thing as a free lunch they say though!!! I shall have to wait and see if they(sky) meant what thay said.

  9. Well, i did receive an account/bill saying i would be billed 0p next month. I rang Sky and was assured direct debits would only be taken from my account after the three month trial. I am currently receiving the World Package worth £43 a month from them. I now hope to receive the £50 Marks Spencer vouchers in due course (28 days) I also hope it will be as easy to cancel after 3 months as the promotion literature states! Here’s crossing all fingers!

  10. I too took up the £50 vouchers and 3 month trial and got charged on first month. After an hour on their call centre decided it was too much and cancelled it. Not sure if vouchers are on their way. I deserve them for the hazzle.

  11. Just got off the phone to Sky, still trying to work out with customer service like theirs why anybody still uses them, trying to sort a house move out with 2 months in a rental. still in my first 12 months (they told me that more than 20 times) I ALREADY KNOW THAT. has anybody got James Murdochs email so I can fill him in (if you Know what I mean)

  12. Once again Daz, not to be outdone by Sky, Brighthouse Networks of the good ole US of A have proved that crap customer service is not the sole domain of Mr.Murdoch’s shower.

    Friday morning, our very expensive broadband internet quit… and I mean quit. Just stopped working… nothing… nada… zip.
    So the usual 25 minute call to customer service ensued, going through at least 15 different options of what to do before I got to a real human being, and I use the term in the loosest sense of the word. This woman was miserable…. I guess this is what happens to people in an environment where all you have to do all day is listen to people yell at you.
    I got the usual stuff…. no they can’t come today, no they don’t work weekends.. it’ll have to be Monday.

    How am I posting this I hear you ask. Well even though we already have broadband in the house, the delightful people at Brighthouse wanted anther $40 for the kids room. Yes, you guessed my answer.
    So I got on to Verizon and for the princeley sum of 15 bucks a month, they give me a permanently live phone connection to the internet running at 100mbps and yes, you guessed it… it has never missed a beat.

    Isn’t technology wonderful !!!

  13. Matt you mentioned this so-called-offer for 3months viewing and £50 M&S vouchers, guess wot? same thing happened to me and they have charged me £43.50 even though it was meant to be free and the cheecky sod on the phone had said we wont take money from your account without asking as its illegal! I did have my doubts as I thought its too good to be true for them to give 3months and vouchers all for free! Anyway, when I rang to ask why they charged me, they said it is a genuine offer and that they need to send an internal email to the Freesat agents to put me on the offer and not subscription which is why they charged me…bloody idiots cant even do their job properly! Ive still yet to receive my vouchers and refund…wont hold my breath! I shall be ringing again tonite to see what the idots have got to say this time!

  14. Well regarding my messages above, ive not been charged by Sky for this 3months Freesat offer but ive not received the £50 of M/S vouchers yet and its now just over the 28days quoted. Why promise things if not to be fulfilled? Im holding my breath for this weeks post. Not too hard though. Will keep you posted. Anthony.

  15. DONT recommend anyone to sky. I’ve been waiting over 3 months for m&s vouchers and still nothing. Have contacted them loads of times, been told they’ve been sent, then told they haven’t but will be within 7 days. That was 2 months ago. 1 month ago was told they were out of stock but would send them as soon as back in. WHAT A BUNCH OF USELESS LYING SCAMMERS!

  16. Well to keep you posted, i received my Marks and Spencers £50 of vouchers this week. I was amazed. They sent them by registered post. Ais forgiven Sky. Thank you!

  17. Help…can someone give me a contact to complain about sky…James Murdochs email adress perhaps. How such an uncaring, and unproffesional organisation can have a monopoly has got to be fraudulent. No diect line to complain, take money for nothing, poor customer service, non-english speaking telephone operatives, expensive and time consuming non-eventful call handling system, rude and arogant operatives….they make me sick.

  18. I was rung up about the freesat free 3 months and £50 vouchers offer in June. So far, no vouchers despite hours on the phone over a 3 week period being given all the wrong deparments or just blatantly being put on hold in the hope I would go away. Today I find my free trial involved being charged £3.42 this week so gritting teeth I ring up only to be told “sorry it’s our mistake – we took it a month in advance” I would be apoplectic if I knew what it meant. They have the nerve to assume I would sign up for it after being conned………I mean the M and S vouchers were always very tempting but I somehow never truly believed I would ever see them and now I am even more sure. Grrrrrr bigtime.

  19. I read with Interest the comments about the “3 months free” & £50 M & S vouchers. We were charged straight away – twice. Each time I had to ring up & get them to refund the money – now 4 months in have still not received these M & S vouchers. Nobody I talk to within sky has any idea about these vouchers – they give you the “refer a friend” voucher number which is a different deal to the introductory offer we had.

    They actually called about 2 months ago after I faxed them complaining to say “we’re having to issue the vouchers manually so we don’t know when we’re going to be able to send them out”. Since then nothing

    Why make an offer if you can’t honour it – unbelievable. Has anybody had any joy getting these vouchers?

  20. If you are still waiting for M&S vouchers after Sky’s 60 day deadline has elapsed then fill in the online form on the advertising standards agency website. It’s really simple, they will contact you within 24 hrs by email asking you to give consent for them to contact Sky on your behalf and you should receive vouchers in about 1 week by special delivery. I waited over 100 days for mine and then heard about this and it worked for me. Also if you need to phone Sky and don’t want to incur costs by phoning 0870 nos and being kept on hold for ages, go to the ‘say no to 0870’ website and you will find nos starting 01 for most sky depts + loads of other companies that only offer 0870 nos on their correspondence. Hope this helps…..

  21. Marcus – yes, I had the vouchers – I think it was towards the end of the 2nd free month. As soon as they came I cancelled my free subscription with them, due to end just before the date when I’d have to pay for it.

    I did have to hassle them quite a bit, one department didn’t know what the other was doing. Their call centre seems to be pretty much a sham (the phrase arse and elbow springs to mind).

    I did get charged, but they refunded me directly to my bank account eventually. They also gave me a credit on my account, which they said I could use to extend the free trial for another month, but by that time I’d had about all I could take and not even the temptation of another free month could swing it. Freeview it is for me. In fact, I’m looking forward to the new service launched by the BBC and ITV in summer: Freesat – – that should upset Sky -wonder how they got away with the name?

    I ended up getting all of the money that they charged be for the free service back, plus I got the M&S vouchers, so all’s well in the end. Just remind me though – next time an offer like that comes up from Sky, it’s just not worth it.

    If you’ve not got yours yet, like Vicki says, go to the ASA and tell them that Sky has not honoured their end of the bargain.

    Did I sign up to Sky? No. I’ve got my Freeview box and my Networked Tivo. I’ve had no problems with either. On the other side, the better half did enjoy spending the vouchers. I’d worked hard for those. 🙂

  22. Late last year, I “recommended a friend”, or whatever that Sky arrangement is called, because my partner was tired of the Virgin Media debacle. Sky said that I would get £50 worth of M&S vouchers and a free Sky + box in exchange for this recommendation. Guess what? I’ve received no vouchers and no Sky + box.

    Into the bargain, Sky promised to pay the connection fee (about £150) to BT. With the inevitability of night following day, Sky paid nothing towards BT, despite there being two clear notes on my partner’s account that they were going to do so. We don’t have our vouchers or Sky + box and we’re £150 out of pocket.

    Ringing customer services is Kafkaesque, because all you get is an automated system with no complaints option. To complain, you need to put a letter in the post. I have tried emailing, but the email was ignored. When you do get through to a human being, it’s a lottery because nine times out of ten, the person on the other end has no real understanding of English. Different Sky operators say different and often contradictory things. It’s all deeply frustrating.

    I think that the Sky “introduce a friend” offers are illusory, designed to hook in new customers, and if they do exist, the process of claiming them is so convoluted and complex that most people will probably give up.

    “Sky customer services” is a contradiction in terms.

  23. Hurray – I got my vouchers!! Vicki (above) you were right. As soon as I filled in the ASA complaints form

    they got in touch asking permission to contact Sky – sure enough 2 weeks later the vouchers turned up some 9 months after I joined up with a “welcome to Sky letter”.

    Unbelievable that they rely on people just giving up – they probably only send out a fraction of the total vouchers they should…..

    It’s criminal – just don’t give up!!!!!

  24. Following the three month trial (which I cancelled a few days before the end) they keep sending threatening letters saying that I owe them £146. I’ve telephoned and they admit their mistake, but I am writing as I want something in writing to show to the debt collector they keep saying they will refer me to.

  25. What you guys have to understand about the call centres is this :
    They get assessed performance wise on length of call – that is the provider get paid for length of time – your call to them, but the call centre gets paid per call – so they have to keep call time down

    Then they get assessed by time spent offline – that is time taken to make notes, before next call drops in – of course often tthe B*** manager will drop the call in anyway – you try typing up notes about last call with another call in your headphones – and you are not allowed to keep notes due to DPP

    So what you end up with is a bunch of guys with managers cracking whips over shoulders

    ocasionally you get one brave soul with understanding and listening skills who may actually know something about how to fix your firewall / bb problems to get the wireless up and running and will report all you have said but they usually get fired for breaking the norm

    So you end up with a bunch of fellows who toe the line and will pass your call on/ fob you off with a story / or get you to shout so they can pass the call on. Their notes consist of – customer was very annoyed instead of brief summary of customer comments – so useful to engineer

    Asian centres toe the line better cos they don’t have JSAllowances to fall back on when unemployed

  26. Hello there

    I have strayed across this website whilst looking for SKY LTD head office address, and am most distrubed. I have worked in the Sky call centers for a year now and have gone out of my way to help any customer who calls me, as a sky employee we get cares scores which judge our performance on how we deal with customers to emsure that the service provided is the best we can possibly give.

    There are 4 offices that you can possibly get through to when calling the customer service number (08442414141) these are Portsmouth, Richmond, Glasgow and Newcastle. Whilst richmond are indeed questionable in performance i assure you the portsmouth call center will always go out of its way to resolve any issues that you may have.

    The only thing we do not do is give out the head office address, even to the employee’s hence why im looking on the internet.

    if anyone has any issues could they please Email me, and i will do my best to relay them to the appropriate peoples.

    * e-mail address removed * will have to do as we do not have company emails for employee’s

  27. actually scratch the other email address, use this one instead the other i have given to my little girl and i dont think she will like strangers contacting her much 🙂

  28. Emily, I’ll alter your first comment above and take out the e-mail address, I wouldn’t want some of the web’s nasty people harvesting the address and spamming it.

    Thanks for your comments about Sky’s service. I’m sure there are people who genuinely care about providing good service, it’s just that I’ve never spoken to them. All of my dealings with Sky have been a bad experience, and considering I now pay £57 a month that’s hard to swallow.

  29. Greetings dadams. Just to let u know – if ever I feel a bit bleugh I look at the Family Fortunes answers. I invariably end feeling well, u know, hysterical. Thx for putting them up. Nice One + Regards

  30. I’ve had the same problem this morning with Sky taking a whopping £206 from my account. Apparently my boxes are not connected to the same phone line (yes they are), no I haven’t moved one of the multi-room boxes to my other 50 bedroom mansion down the road, and no, there is no elf in my house messing with the phone lines that stops the boxes sending a callback to Sky.

    I had the phone put down on me twice before I eventually spoke to someone who said that could not refund me but only credit me instead… I wonder of Tesco will accept Sky credit as a means of paying for my groceries this week.

    Incompetent company, awful customer services, and have ridiculous demands like writing in to ask for a refund when it is clear I shouldn’t have been charged this in the first place.

  31. @36 – you’re right Fiona. So while it’s good to hear from Emily who believes that some people at Sky do their very best to offer good customer service (which may well be true) the simple fact is that the experience of some people is just bad all the way.

  32. Had a similar problem with sky charging me an extra £41.75 because they said my boxes aren’t connected to a telephone line. It was in fact sky engineers that fitted the boxes and they connected the telephone cable to an old non working telephone point. They never checked the connection and sky hasn’t noticed for 9 months. Tried to sort it out with customer services but failed miserably. Is there a worse customer service department anywhere in the world. Got the impression they didn’t care less if i left. History is littered with companies that displayed similar arrogance to their customers, most recently Toyota and look how much it has cost them!. So if the senior managers do read this I suggest you start to take into account all of the complaints that fill the forums, even on their own web site. Hopefully someone can take the bull by the horns and sort out this aweful customer services department. Great product but crap service.

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