Sky customer gets €2,100 payout after two years trying to cancel his contract
Pete Swift has won a £1,500 (€2,100) payout from Sky after spending two years and £1,395 trying to cancel his TV and broadband package.
The 30-year-old research consultant, who lives in Edinburgh, billed Sky £25 an hour for calls made to the telecoms giant, the ombudsman, various credit reference agencies and debt collection companies. In total, Mr Swift spent more than 55 hours on the phone to the individual firms, including 31 hours talking to Sky.
The problems began in 2012 when Mr Swift moved house to Leith in Edinburgh and attempted to cancel his contract with Sky. When the provider failed to do as requested, debt collectors hounded Mr Swift for payments over an 18-month period.
Despite showing bailiffs proof that he had paid his final bill to Sky, he was contacted several times by three different debt collection agencies.
As a result, Mr Swift decided to take legal action, first contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau and then the Ombudsman.
Sky shortly offered Mr Swift a £60 gesture of goodwill, but he was more concerned about the effect the error had had on his credit file. He said: "When I asked [the ombudsman] about rectifying any damage caused by the third party debt collectors Sky had employed, they said they could not enforce corrections from [Sky] as they were not under their jurisdiction.
"The money was also an issue though, they would only request for Sky to pay me £60 as a gesture of goodwill."
"I told them that this sum was not proportionate to the hassle and frustrations I had experienced as a result of their error and was therefore not appropriate compensation."
Mr Swift then decided to take Sky to court and last month reached an agreement with the company just two days before his court date. Sky said it would pay him £1,500 for the time and money spent on trying to terminate his contract.
He said: "When Sky finally agreed to cover the full settlement I had mixed emotions. On one hand I was really pleased to have the £1,500 and some form of resolution, but I was still very resentful of the lengths I'd had to go to and the way Sky had dealt with the situation.
"Sky had contacted me the week before to try and talk me down to a lower sum of £500," Mr Swift said.
He continued: "The whole time I was dealing with them it just felt like I was being fobbed off with the bare minimum they could get away with. There was never really an acknowledgement that something was wrong procedurally that needed to be addressed, it just felt like a case of let's pay off the complaining customer so he shuts up."
Sky said the issue was due to a technical fault with its systems, meaning his cancellation was not recorded on his file.
A spokesman for Sky said: "Our staff work hard to deliver great service. However, in Mr Swift's case we got it wrong, and didn't resolve things quickly enough.
"We are really sorry and have apologised, offering a gesture of goodwill in recognition of the frustration he has experienced."
Mr Swift's bill to Sky:
1 Wescot (debt collection agency) – 3 hours
2 Wescot (debt collection agency) – 3 hours
3 Mackenzie Hall (debt collection agency) – 6 hours
4 Sky – 31 hours 25 mins
5 Equifax (credit reporting agency) – 5 hours 20 mins
6 Experian (credit reporting agency) – 1 hour 30 mins
7 Noddle (credit reporting agency) – 30 mins
8 Citizens Advice Bureau – 4 hours 50 mins
9 Ombudsman Services – 3 hours 15 mins
• Total time spent – 55 hours 50 mins
• Consultancy services priced at £25 p/h
• Total £1,395.83
The Telegraph first highlighted issues with cancellations at Sky more than two years ago, which led to it promising to improve its processes.