Anybody checking in to see what’s on the needles or if I’ve done any interesting travel may want to stop reading now. Come back another day when the content will be sunny and the photo’s amazing. Today, I’m going to post a letter I just finished to the fine people at Sky.
A couple years ago, a friend had a frustrating experience with British Telecom, and spoke about it on her blog. I just finished reading the comments that ensued. Holy Cows. In case you’re interested, you can read the post and comments here.
The letter is fairly self explanatory, so I won’t wax on here. Feel free to leave comments, but please be respectful of each other.
Sky Subscriber Services, Customer Marketing Director
PO Box 43
Livingston, West Lothian EH54 7DD
To Mark Anderson, or representative,
I wish to outline the frustrations my husband and I have experienced since deciding to use Sky for our television, phone service and broadband. I apologize for the length of this letter, but wish to be very clear.
At the outset I wish to say that thus far we’ve been pleased with our television service, however, had we known the struggle we would have, we would have made a different choice. I originally began this letter on the 2nd of February, and set it aside believing that all issues were solved. I’ve been proven wrong, just today.
Our adventure began with an order we placed at the Chimes in Uxbridge on the 21st of August. We were due to move into our home on the 24th of August 2009, and wanted to begin the process so as not to be waiting for a prolonged period for internet services. Shortly after moving in, a Sky Engineer came round to connect our Sky HD box. The house was prewired for satellite TV, but without even checking to see if there was a signal, he said he could not connect the service without talking to the person who had done the wiring in the house, and left. We subsequently contacted the contractor who had wired the house, found that he is a “Sky Buddy” and had him do the installation—at a cost of over £200.
With the TV service hooked up, it was time to work on getting the phone activated (SkyTalk Unlimited). On 1 October, we received notice that we had been debited £39 for line activation. On October 20th, 2009 the OpenReach Engineer came to install and activate the phone line. It was then discovered that there was no phone line to the house, that when the new house was constructed, the line was not brought onto the property. The engineer left without being able to activate a phone line. The following day, a Survey Engineer came to assess the problem and outlined a couple of solutions. And that’s the last we heard.
On the 16th of November, I made a call to Sky. The customer service representative was very nice, but couldn’t find any update as to what was going on with our order. He gave me the reference number for BT and suggested I may be able to get an answer directly from them. So, I rang BT and was told they were not allowed to speak with me since I was not their customer, and that any information I needed I had to get through Sky. Again, that’s all I heard.
I made another call to Sky on December 2nd, 2009, spoke with Dale, and was told that the line had “been rejected” on the 12th of November and the order canceled. He added that “problem resolution” paperwork had been initiated on 29 November, and we would not be able to ask about the progress until 21 days after the initiation of that progress (14 December). Two days later, the survey engineer came by again, said he didn’t know anything about the line being rejected or the order cancelled, and would contact our landlord to discuss options for getting the line to the house. On the same afternoon, Charlie from Sky phoned to let me know that we would be getting a further update from BT on 7 December 2009. The update never came. At some point during the month, another OpenReach Engineer came to install the line, and seeing that there was no telephone pole, left.
After we returned from holiday, I made another call to Sky on 11 January, 2010. Stuart informed me that the order had been deleted from your system and would need to be placed again. He also phoned BT and relayed to me that BT had told him that the project had been assigned to an engineer and the line would be installed in the next 3-5 days. We reinitiated the order for phone service.
On the 10th of January we received notice that an engineer would be installing a phone line on the 2nd of February, with a different number than we had been given originally and that we had ordered SkyTalk Freetime (when it is Unlimited that we want).
On the 19th of the month I phoned Sky to ask if there was any news regarding bringing the line to the house. Steve kindly rang BT and was assured that there would be a phone line activated on the 2nd—and that they didn’t need a pole. At this time, Steve posted 2 discounts to our account. At that time, I tried to sort out the phone package, to get the SkyTalk Unlimited as originally ordered. I was informed that I would need to wait until the line was active before it could be changed.
On the 28th of January, BT workers came to the property with telephone poles, and asked me if my husband was going to dig the hole for the pole. I’m not joking. I had them ring the landlord, who came by, and work commenced. The following day, the pole was installed, but not connected to anything, so on Monday the 1st I called Sky to make sure everything was in place and the line would be installed on time.
I am able to report that after 5 months of waiting, and making calls to Sky, there was a phone line. Believing that I have an active phone line, I again called Sky to get the plan changed to SkyTalk Unlimited and to get the broadband sorted. The representative informed me that they had no record of our order. So, we re-ordered the broadband and the kit should have been on its way. Unfortunately, she could not, for some reason, upgrade the phone plan, since she was not seeing an active phone line.
Three days later, (5 Feb) there was still no dial tone, so we called again. My husband was informed that it may be midnight before the line went active and to call in the morning if there was still no dial tone. Yes, we needed to call. My husband spoke with a technician, named Brian, who was able to help isolate the problem to what we believed was a faulty box at the phone port. We then commenced on a wild goose chase to find another box, which we were unable to locate. My clever husband reconnected the old box, and we found that we had a dial tone—-at one phone port, and since there is service to the house, it is not your problem if it doesn’t work within the house, but I digress. Since we have just the one working phone port, however, we cannot connect our television to the phone line, meaning of course that we are unable to order movies, reach customer service, change a password or erase “kept” programs from our DVR.
On the same day, we were told that our order for Sky Talk Unlimited would be expedited and we could call back in a day or two to make sure everything was in place.
On 8 February, my husband made a call to sort out what was happening with our broadband order, and we learned the extent of our issues. Apparently, there were 2 accounts under our name, our original order, and the order that was activated when we were having the difficulty getting a phone line installed to the house. 2 accounts, that were not talking to each other, and needed to be rectified by the IT department. I don’t to this day know if that ever happened, to be honest. I do know that although we had tried to have Sky Talk Unlimited initiated, our calls were still being charged through BT.
On 24 February, having returned from a short holiday, I phoned to see if the Unlimited package had been activated. I spoke with Robert, who, after some checking assured me that the plan was active and that calls to the US would be covered (as long as they stayed under 60 minutes). The same day, we picked up our modem from the post office and had internet for the first time in 6 months.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I received a phone call today, 11 March, with the good news that our Sky Talk Unlimited service would be activated on 24(?) March. I’m afraid that I may have been less than pleasant with the nice girl who phoned. I told her she needed to check again, since I had been assured 3 weeks ago that the service was in place, and that we had been making calls to the States since that time. I let her know that we would not be paying for these calls, since we had been assured that the plan was in place and active. This representative was unable to see our account information, but told me that someone from the billing department would be in touch shortly.
This is the last straw. What has transpired over the last several months has gone from irritating and frustrating, to maddening and now past the point of a civil response. Something MUST be done. Sky has a broken system. There is no way to track sales agreements through the process to completion when there is no established phone line. Your right hand doesn’t know what your left hand is doing, no one has been able to see all the necessary history and information, and as a result we have been given bad information. Additionally, the deal we had worked out originally with the representative at The Chimes is worthless, causing us unnecessary expense and frustration. That plan included free line rental for the first 6 months, and Broadband Connect for £10/month.
I want to stress, everyone I have spoken with from Sky has been extraordinarily nice, but this is ridiculous, I’m sure you can agree. The OpenReach Engineer, who connected the line on the 2nd of February, stated he had never seen a job take this long, and as he lives on the same street, has been watching along with us for progress since October. He said that he was embarrassed at the way things had taken so long. I believe this is an aberration, but I cannot, at this time, recommend your service to others. I am tired of being thanked for my patience, what I really want is a straight answer from someone who knows what is happening.
I hope you can use this experience to improve customer service in the future. I would very much appreciate a response.
There it is. I’ll post the letter as soon as I can, and I’ve just finished lodging a complaint using Sky’s online form. Can’t wait to see what happens next.