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Weekend fling turned out to be a bad idea

THIS column has a confession to make. I was once a Sky Sports subscriber. It lasted for all of three days. I saw the light and recanted last Monday. That's all it took for me to fall in and out of love with the sporting tentacle of old Rupert's multi-media empire. That's 72 hours, almost as fleeting as a Britney Vegas marriage: surely that constitutes a record, entitling me to a free subscription for life?

Eh, probably not. It's my own fault really. I made the fatal mistake of believing that an offer that sounded too good to be true was, in fact, 100pc true. And so I signed up on the dotted line -- or rather, over the phone last Friday afternoon.

First, a brief synopsis of why it took me so long to succumb to Sky's charms ... and so little time to break it off after our weekend fling.

As a GAA hack who is 'on the road' most Sundays, and the odd Saturday too, I always lived under the impression that getting Sky Sports wasn't worth it. If I wasn't around for 'Super Sunday', what was the point?

The Heineken Cup? Fair enough, but there is such a thing as your local boozer.

Endless hours of American PGA golf? I'll answer that conundrum after I finish my latest 12-hour project -- watching fresh paint dry on the unheated garage wall.

But then, last week, I relented -- at a time when I was in a huff with Rupert. The signal on my second Sky box had been on the blink and, on being told it would cost €100 to fix, I went to cancel my second box in a fit of pique ... only to be then told that yes, as a valued customer, they could have a technician out next week to fix the problem for free.

This news was greeted with conflicted feelings of unbridled joy and jaundiced cynicism. But joy was winning out -- and I suddenly remembered a personalised letter only recently received, proclaiming: "Frank, Enjoy a Sky Sports and Sky Movies half-price upgrade for six months."

So I rang the number, and was told they couldn't locate such an offer attached to my account, but was advised to access one via the website. No joy there. So I rang back. To be told that, no, they couldn't offer me a six-month package (a "misprint", apparently) but a three-month one instead.

"Typical", I muttered to myself, before asking the price -- just on the off-chance. "€54.50," I was told. This was only €6.50 more than my current monthly bill. I could even sell it to the rest of the clan on the premise that Santa Rupert was giving them Sky Movies for (almost) free!

"Are you sure that's the full monthly total, including my second box?" I double-checked. The answer, most assuredly, was in the affirmative.

And so I became a happy-clappy Sky Sports customer for three months ... until I treble-checked my online account on Monday, and realised they'd be taking an extra €15 per month, and of course they were sorry about the misunderstanding ... and I duly became a Sky Sports customer for three days. The whole experience has been -- how should I phrase it? -- very downgrading.