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Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concerns (Read 38,087 times)
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Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concerns
Nov 6th, 2006 at 12:56pm
 
I recently sent the following letter to Sky's escalated complaints, Viewer Relations:-

Quote:
To whomever it concerns,

Lately there has been a lot of newspaper articles and news items on TV about companies such as yourself that use numbers beginning 084x/087x.

In most cases a company using such numbers actually earns a revenue from each minute that us consumers are on the phone to you.  This revenue you receive varies depending on the number but can be upto around 4p/min (higher in some high usage cases).

These numbers are commonly misleadingly advertised as 'local' or 'national' rate and Ofcom, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and Trading Standards have agreed that describing any number beginning 084x/087x as either 'local rate' or 'national rate' is misleading.

The reason is that the cost of the calling these numbers varies and in most cases costs more than a normal geographical (those beginning 01 or 02) calls.  In fact, it can cost anywhere upto 40p/min (on some mobile networks) to ring these type of numbers.

The newspaper articles about the use of these numbers are available in the following links:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5405620.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2389087,00.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=4086...
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2005300000-2006460369,,00.html

and a BBC news video:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi?redirect=st.s...

I would hereby like to make a complaint about your number, 08702 404040 (all all your other 0870 numbers), and the fact that you are most likely are receiving revenue from us consumers calling on these expensive numbers as mentioned in the above newspaper/TV articles.

Due to the continuing use of these numbers, Ofcom has announced that a new number range beginning 03x should be available from January/February 2007 and that revenue sharing (the money you receive) on 0870 will end during the beginning of 2008.  This new number range (03x) will offer the exact same facilities/network features like IVR (Interactive Voice Response), Intelligent Call Routings, etc that are available now on existing 084x/087x numbers EXCEPT these new numbers will not cost us consumers anymore money than a normal geographical call and will actually be free for us consumers that have inclusive call plans.  The existing 084x/087x numbers in most cases isn't included in any plans simply due to the fact that they cost so much more than existing geographical numbers (those numbers beginning 01 or 02).

I note that even your competitors, although use one of these number ranges (0845), use a cheaper one than your contact numbers which I find disgraceful that a large company such as yourselves with many more customers than your competitors have the need to use more expensive contact numbers and earn money from us calling you.

I would also like to add that your online 'Contact Us' form on your website which we fill in for any queries/complaints/sales, etc only allows 125 characters.  That is a severely low amount of letters and as such means that anyone wishing to contact you via this method is actually forced to ring you and pay expensive rates for you to earn money in return.  I don't know if this is deliberate to force us to ring you at your expensive rates or a design flaw when the contact form was setup by your technical IT department!!!

I look forward to your reply.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #1 - Nov 6th, 2006 at 1:05pm
 
And today I received the following response:-

Quote:
Thanks for your email about the telephone contact numbers used by us at Sky.

I was sorry to read that you are unhappy with the telephone contact numbers used by us at Sky and the contact us link via the website.

Unfortunately, I am unable to comment with regard to Ofcom's announcement regarding new numbers. The numbers used by Sky are national rate numbers, however, the charges will vary if calling from a mobile telephone. Details of the costs can be provided by your telephone provider.

Please see below alternative contacts which may be of interest to you:

Should your complaint be in relation to your account, the address is:

Sky Subscriber Services
P.O. Box 43
Livingston
EH54 7DD

Tel: 08702 404040
Email: skydigital@bskyb.com

However, should your complaint be in relation to a channel or programming issue, the address is:

BSkyB
Grant Way
Isleworth
Middlesex
TW7 5QD

Tel: 08702 40 3000
Email: viewerr@bskyb.com

Rest assured your comments and views have been noted.

Thanks, once again, for contacting us.  We always welcome customers’ comments and actively encourage viewers’ feedback.

Kind regards


As you can determine by their response that they really don't care at all and totally ignored any comments about them making money.  They also still think 0870 is national rate.

I therefore urge all Sky customers to email Sky at the address in my first post and complain like I did.  Maybe!!! with enough complaints they will reconsider their use of number otherwise I do believe that when the time comes they'll migrate over to 0871 as this allows them to continue receiving more revenue than they are now.  They could however, switch over to 0844 but it'll most likely be the 5p/min at all times option.

My letter to them was based on the draft letter I did here.

A lot of forum members are posting that they hate paying Sky's stealth premium rate 0870 number and this is why I urge you all to email Sky and complain otherwise that basically ensures that Sky will do nothing at all and continue to receive money from keeping us held in a queue for over 20+ minutes in some cases.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #2 - Nov 6th, 2006 at 8:38pm
 
If you are contacting Sky on this subject I would also make sure to copy in james.murdoch@bskyb.com, jeremy.darroch@bskyb.com and brian.sullivan@bskyb.com too

Sky know perfectly well that 0870 is not National Rate but they are such disgusting money grabbing cynics that they repeatedly train staff to lie (seemingly on pain of the sack) about it because they know the utterly useless jokers who run Ofcom will do precisely nothing about their continued and pathological lieing to all their customers.

If Sky put the lie that 0870 is National Rate in an advert you can complain to the ASA about it and get it stopped but if they put it in a letter or on their website there is nothing you can do thanks to useless Ofcom not excercising any of their own optional backstop powers under the Communications Act 2003 to stop this scamming.

I think one would achieve rather more though by visiting one's MP and asking him to refer a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman asking why Ofcom has failed to ensure accurate price disclosure of the cost of calling telephone numbers by telecoms companies and call centres in all possible locations in which that information can be provided to customers - give Sky as an example of where Ofcom have failed to take any action.

Ofcom like Sky have nothing but total contempt for the British public but they would be scared of having an MP and the Parliamentary Ombudsman breathing down their necks.
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« Last Edit: Nov 6th, 2006 at 8:42pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concerns
Reply #3 - Nov 6th, 2006 at 2:17pm
 
Thanks for the Draft Letter, I have made a few amendments and e-mailed it to Sky. I will post an update when I receive their reply.

Copy of my letter below.

Dear Sir or Madam

Lately there has been a lot of newspaper articles and news items on TV about companies such as yourself that use Telephone numbers beginning 084x/087x.

In most cases a company using such numbers actually earns a revenue from each minute that us consumers are on the phone to you.  This revenue you receive varies depending on the number but can be up to around 4p/min (higher in some high usage cases).

These numbers are commonly advertised as 'local' or 'national' rate and Ofcom, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and Trading Standards have agreed that describing any number beginning 084x/087x as either 'local rate' or 'national rate' is misleading. The reason is that the cost of the calling these numbers varies and costs more than a normal geographical (01 or 02 call). In fact, it can cost anywhere up to 40p/min (on some mobile networks) to ring these numbers. Sky still refer to their 0870 numbers as "National Rate" and according to Trading Standards are therefore guilty of misleading customers.

The newspaper articles about the use of these numbers are available in the following links:-
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5405620.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2389087,00.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=4086...
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2005300000-2006460369,,00.html
and a BBC news video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi?redirect=st.s...

I would hereby like to make a complaint about your number, 08702 404040, and the fact that you are receiving revenue from us calling on this expensive number as mentioned in the above newspaper/TV articles. I spend almost £50.00 a month on sky services (TV & Skytalk) and object to paying extra to ring you when the cost of the call should really be included in my Skytalk inclusive call plan. In the past I have waited over 30 minutes in a queue at a cost of £2.40 before the call was answered. This really is a poor service.

Due to the continuing use of these numbers, Ofcom has announced that a new number range beginning 03x should be available from January/February 2007.  This new number range will offer the exact same facilities/network features like IVR (Interactive Voice Response), Intelligent Call Routings, etc that are available now on existing 084x/087x numbers EXCEPT these new numbers will not cost us consumers anymore money than a normal geographical call and will actually be free for us consumers that have inclusive call plans.

I do hope that Sky will consider making an ethical decision to migrate to using one of the new 03 numbers.Should Sky fail to do so then I will be very likely to end my Sky Subscription and instead move to NTL who I already have my Broadband with.

Yours faithfully





~Edited by bbb_uk: Corrected links
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« Last Edit: Nov 12th, 2006 at 9:42am by bbb_uk »  
 
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #4 - Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:08pm
 
Thanks for the contact email addresses NGM.

I have just emailed Sky informing them that I have changed to cable.  Reason: Sky's use of 0870 numbers.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #5 - Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:15pm
 
kk wrote on Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:08pm:
I have just emailed Sky informing them that I have changed to cable.  Reason: Sky's use of 0870 numbers.


You mean Teleworst or NTHell don't use an 0870 number then? Shocked

I wouldn't object to the 0870 number so much if Sky provided a web interface for making changes to channel packages but no incredibly they make you spend ages talking to and holding for employees which they must still surely lose plenty of money on overall despite the 0870 number.  No wonder they have to charge so much as the minimum monthly fee you can pay them (£15).
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #6 - Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:26pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:15pm:
I wouldn't object to the 0870 number so much if Sky provided a web interface for making changes to channel packages but no incredibly they make you spend ages talking to and holding for employees which they must still surely lose plenty of money on overall despite the 0870 number
..Or even if they provided an email facility other than their online form which only allows a maximum of 128 characters.  In other words you have to make it a very, very short email otherwise you're forced to ring them for which they earn money for.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #7 - Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:42pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Nov 7th, 2006 at 8:26pm:
Or even if they provided an email facility other than their online form which only allows a maximum of 128 characters.  In other words you have to make it a very, very short email otherwise you're forced to ring them for which they earn money for.


Nope I'm pretty sure they lose money every single time they take a phone call even after the 0870 revenue share.  I don't think you can employ much in the way of a UK call centre worker at £1.80 to £2.40 per hour (3p to 4p per minute revenue share)?  OK if you factor in call waiting times perhaps they earn £7 an hour.  Still losing money though after the office space allocated to the person, their computer and wages are factored in.  Perhaps they could make a profit in the weekday daytime on 0870 if the call is taken in India though? Wink

I think they perhaps only make money by persuading people to upgrade to Sky+, Sky HD and more expensive channel packages when all they wanted to do was change a Channel Mix selection or something?  You know how easily most members of the public apart from us are led............... Wink
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« Last Edit: Nov 8th, 2006 at 12:09pm by NGMsGhost »  

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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #8 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 12:02pm
 
The reply from Sky:-

"Thank you for your recent email addressed to James Murdoch, Jeremy Darroch and Brian Sullivan which has been passed for my attention.

I welcome your comments regarding the cost of calling the 0870 telephone numbers in order to contact us.

However, I would draw your attention to other means of communication such as www.sky.com which allows you to contact us directly via email or using our feedback forms.  There is also the provision to allow you to order Sky products and change you Sky package.

Once the equipment is installed, you can use Sky active through your Sky box to view your Sky statements, upgrade your Sky subscription and order additional products and services.

I hope this information is of use to you.  However, should you require any further assistance in regards to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at the address above.

Kind Regards

Natalie Paton
Customer Liaison Consultant"
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #9 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 12:13pm
 
kk wrote on Nov 8th, 2006 at 12:02pm:
I welcome your comments regarding the cost of calling the 0870 telephone numbers in order to contact us.

However, I would draw your attention to other means of communication such as www.sky.com which allows you to contact us directly via email or using our feedback forms.  There is also the provision to allow you to order Sky products and change you Sky package.

Once the equipment is installed, you can use Sky active through your Sky box to view your Sky statements, upgrade your Sky subscription and order additional products and services.


At least she clearly accepts that 0870 is hidden premium rate call and involves a revenue share to them.  Not quite as bad as bare faced lying which is Sky's usual slimey tactic.

As to amending your Sky package via the box or online neither are possible unless you want to move up to their Premium movie packages or order Sky+.  If you just want to change your Sky Mixes or resubscribe for a month or desubscribe you are forced to call them.

You might like to write back to her and copying in Messrs Murdoch, Darroch and Sullivan to make that point.  Ask why they don't have full online account management like everyone else.  Especially now that they are also in the broadband marketplace. Roll Eyes
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #10 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 2:37pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Nov 8th, 2006 at 12:13pm:
At least she clearly accepts that 0870 is hidden premium rate call and involves a revenue share to them.
I never read anything that suggests that Sky accepts that 0870 is hidden premium rate and/or involves a revenue share.  All they've said is basically there are other methods of communicating with them.  This doesn't really state that she (or Sky) accept that 0870 is a hidden premium as they've specifically avoided the mentioning or implying that 0870 is a hidden premium.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #11 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 2:54pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Nov 8th, 2006 at 2:37pm:
I never read anything that suggests that Sky accepts that 0870 is hidden premium rate and/or involves a revenue share.  All they've said is basically there are other methods of communicating with them.  This doesn't really state that she (or Sky) accept that 0870 is a hidden premium as they've specifically avoided the mentioning or implying that 0870 is a hidden premium.


Well at least she didn't try to claim it was BT National Rate as all their staff normally do and in suggesting that there were free of cost ways to contact them or change services she did in effect acknowledge that some customers felt using the 0870 phone number was too expensive.  Its clear from the tone and phrasing of the communication that she knows perfectly well what the problem is with 0870 and is trying to find a way to dodge the issue.  What really makes my blood boil is when Sky staff just brasenly still try to claim that 0870 is charge at the BT National Rate as so many of their phone advisers do.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #12 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 3:01pm
 
NGMsGhost wrote on Nov 8th, 2006 at 2:54pm:
Its clear from the tone and phrasing of the communication that she knows perfectly well what the problem is with 0870 and is trying to find a way to dodge the issue.
I agree.  They would have checked the links I provided which clearly state that 0870/0845 is used to earn money but of course its unlikely that Sky would ever admit this as it wouldn't look good for them.

Quote:
What really makes my blood boil is when Sky staff just brasenly still try to claim that 0870 is charge at the BT National Rate as so many of their phone advisers do.
Some of this, again, may come down to the fact that many CP's still state that 084x is local rate and 087x is national rate so I believe due to this why would anyone think otherwise especially since they did used to get known as local rate and national rate upto about 2 years ago?
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #13 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 3:09pm
 
bbb_uk wrote on Nov 8th, 2006 at 3:01pm:
Some of this, again, may come down to the fact that many CP's still state that 084x is local rate and 087x is national rate so I believe due to this why would anyone think otherwise especially since they did used to get known as local rate and national rate upto about 2 years ago?


Which is why the 03 code won't stop the con due to the scammers being able to remain using 0844, 0845 and 0871 which people will still wrongly imagine are "local rate" or "national rate".  And of course Ofcom won't do anything itself about such factually misleading claims continuing to be made.

Had Ofcom returned 08 to only Freephone use and given revenue sharers a choice only of 03 NGNs charged at geographic rates to consumers that they pay the extra service fees on or getting an 09 number from 1p per minute fully disclosed as being revenue sharing then the whole 084/7 local/national rate revenue share deception would have ended.

The fact Ofcom did not do this is why I now regard them as an organisation with no genuine consumer protection interest and existing only to legalise the actions of the worst telecoms scammers.  They then confirmed this by allowing BT to introduce a hidden 20% price rise for most UK telecoms consumers.
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Re: Sky Complaint - lack of interest to our concer
Reply #14 - Nov 8th, 2006 at 3:59pm
 
4PetesSake wrote on Nov 6th, 2006 at 2:17pm:
The newspaper articles about the use of these numbers are available in the following links:- 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=4086 60&in_page_id=1770
and a BBC news video:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi?redirect=st.s tm&news=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1&nbram=1&nbwm=1&nol_storyid=5410232

~Edited by bbb_uk: Amended post title to match thread title



What has this  dailymail link got to do with phone numbers ?

And the video link goes nowhere!
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