CONSUMER: Sky says sorry after frustrated Julie couldn’t get TV to work

Streetwise reader Julie Harden had problems with Sky
Streetwise reader Julie Harden had problems with Sky
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Returning Sky customer Julie Harden thought she was on to a good thing when they offered her a home TV entertainment deal for just £20 a month.

But the shine soon came off the bargain when she couldn’t get the TV to work and was hit with an unexpected £120 installation fee.

Freeview TV viewer Julie, 53, was approached by a Sky salesman in Fareham shopping centre in early September.

A bit of a BBC3 fan, she was disappointed when the original free-to-air channel was discontinued on Freeview and only viewable online.

So when she learned that Sky customers could still watch some BBC3 programmes, rejoining Sky was an attractive proposition.

It sounded even better when the Gosport nursing home worker was assured there’d be no upfront charges or increase in the £20 monthly subscription after the first 12 months.

A matter of days later, Julie received a welcome letter from Sky confirming her ultimate TV package experience and an appointment for an engineer visit to install and set up her TV box.

It confirmed she’d been given a £10 discount and had nothing to pay.

In the meantime a viewing card to activate the service turned up.

But to her disappointment the installation didn’t go to plan.

When she went to use it to unlock and activate the TV service after the engineer had left, she found herself staring at an error message on an otherwise blank screen.

A frustrated Julie tried to get on to Sky customer services.

But she ended up going around in ever-decreasing circles trying to get help to fix the problem.

What completely flummoxed her was the signed agreement saying that the installation wouldn’t cost anything.

But when she tried to query the £120 charge, nobody appeared to be listening.

She said: ‘My daughter rang them up and tried to get it sorted, but they just kept passing her to different people all the time.

‘She spoke to four different people, then she asked to speak to a manager. Customer services said he’d call back but he didn’t.’

After further attempts to speak to someone at Sky to get the TV up and running, a service advisor finally made contact.

It quickly emerged the service engineer hadn’t fully activated the viewing card when he installed the TV box.

Julie was assured they’d be able to rectify the matter over the phone by going through a series of steps without the need for another engineer visit.

But in what amounted to a monumental mix-up, the service advisor went on to book it.

The blunder was compounded when the internal administrative error triggered yet another welcome letter demanding the £120 set-up fee.

With the repeat engineer call-out looming Julie was concerned that she could be slapped with an unexpected, unaffordable bill.

Because the clock was rapidly ticking down to the engineer’s visit and no-one from Sky appeared to be motivated to get the issue sorted, she decided it was time to call in Streetwise to see if we could help.

We did a microscopic check over of her initial agreement with Sky, including the small print, but couldn’t find any term or condition in it to justify the additional charge.

We put it to the firm that Julie had just cause to complain.

As a simple matter of contract law she couldn’t be required to fork out for any charges or fees she didn’t know about in advance.

At our instigation Sky did some digging and soon discovered how it had got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Without any further quibble, Sky took the installation disaster and their customer service advisor’s failure to rectify the problem over the phone squarely on the corporate chin.

The duplicated engineer set-up arrangement was cancelled and Julie received a full apology together with a two-month goodwill viewing credit.

A spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry to hear about the difficulties Mrs Harden experienced getting her Sky TV set up.

‘After looking into this matter further we were able to identify and resolve the errors that occurred.

‘We have apologised to Mrs Harden and have credited her account for the inconvenience caused.’

Julie was relieved that the worrying issues she’d experienced with Sky had finally been resolved and she wasn’t going to take a hit in the bank balance after all.

‘Sky rang me and it literally took them five minutes to get me connected,’ she said.

‘If Streetwise hadn’t got involved with my complaint I’m convinced nothing would have been resolved.

Thank you very much for all your help.’