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    Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

    This is a discussion on Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death within the Sky news and announcements forums, part of the SkyUser Announcements category; Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill - 2 Years After Death - ISPreview UK Dealing with the loss of a ...

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      Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill - 2 Years After Death - ISPreview UK
      Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough without also having to tackle debt collectors as they chase for late payments, but how late is too late? According to Sky, which through its debt collection agency BPO have been pursuing one deceased customer for an outstanding payment of £62.25 (TV service), the answer is two years.

      The customer in question, Mrs Andrews, sadly passed away two years ago and shortly after that her surviving son-in-law, Adrian Kennard, sent Sky an email confirming that she was deceased. At this point the trail of communication went cold until the following email suddenly dropped.. a whole two years later.



      Mr Kennard said, “Even I find this sort of harassment distressing. I only have this because I was the contact for email as she did not have email. Not amused.” The good news is that Sky has agreed to clear the balance on Mrs Andrews account and the debt collection agency has also been informed.

      Sadly such situations are not unusual, although they rarely extend quite this far after a person’s death. Never the less we’ve seen plenty of similar cases from different ISPs over the years, with this somewhat morbidly comical example from Virgin Media making the news back in 2013 (note the late payment charge, which hits after the declined direct debit that clearly states “deceased“).



      Nothing prepares you for the loss of a loved one, although in this instance it may prove useful to highlight the current rules for tackling late bills and other debts. Firstly, it’s a common misconception that your debts are wiped away when you die and in fact they can sometimes be passed onto a relative or other personal representative.

      In most cases when somebody dies that person’s estate (i.e. all their assets and funds) are gathered together and redistributed according to their legal Will, which should ideally be handled by a solicitor, and any debts or payments will also be paid as part of that process.

      Any “unsecured debts“, such as phone, broadband, credit cards or water bills etc., are the last to be paid out by the estate and if there isn’t enough money left to do that then the debt can fall onto the shoulders of a relative / personal representative. This is particularly true if any bills were in joint names because the other named party would inherit that responsibility.

      However if the deceased didn’t have a big enough estate to cover all of their liabilities then many of the debts can be written off, which prevents creditors from chasing surviving family members. In any case it’s always wise to have a solicitor in your corner so that they can tackle all of the different hassles on your behalf.

      In fairness it’s not always easy for broadband providers and other utility companies to know for certain, unless a relative informs them accordingly, when somebody has died. As such it’s important to contact the ISP as soon as possible, which will usually ask you to confirm the deceased’s account number, your name / address, your relationship to the deceased and any action to be taken (cancel the account). As a rule we’d always ask for written confirmation in order to give you a defence against admin errors like the one above.

      Equally it’s sometimes the case that a service provider will, in the event of a customer’s death, simply wipe out any outstanding balance and cancel the account without hassle.


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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Just to put this into perspective, the mother of a close friend died earlier this year.

      I understand that it was all handled well and her account has been closed correctly.

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Indeed, how many sky customers die each year?
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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Quote Originally Posted by mcphailan. View Post
      Indeed, how many sky customers die each year?
      Not an answer that many of us would like to consider, but it does happen.

      Our modern society does not like to discuss death, yet in the Victorian times it was dealt with in a much better manner.

      Of course there are many stories of companies charging the deceased. These are just the latest, but a little care or human interaction would have identified the issues and prevented such letters being sent out.

      Of course with the recent changes in Sky's T&Cs it would seem that a lot of people have been taking Sky for a ride in the past. Adding interest charges to late payments will not help the kind of issues mentioned in the article above.
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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Not an answer that many of us would like to consider, but it does happen.

      Our modern society does not like to discuss death, yet in the Victorian times it was dealt with in a much better manner.
      In so many ways, we seem to have regressed.

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Just like pregnancy our society appears to regard death as a medical condition rather than a fact of life.

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Sorry to be harsh! and it is rare that I defend Sky! But I have dealt with a few
      family deaths over recent years and in almost all cases utility companies ie gas/electricity/communications/council etc have required confirmation in writing
      and a copy of the death certificate to close down accounts, at which point they have
      sent a final bill and confirmation of account closure. I don't think an email cuts the
      mustard!
      Last edited by Koala5; 17-04-15 at 06:48 AM.

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Thank you Koala5. I wasn't too sure how Sky specifically handled matters on this topic.

      I was aware that my friend needed to get a copy of the death certificate, but there was a delay as an autopsy was required. I didn't know if Sky specifically needed a certificate as well.

      However it is fair to say that some kind of evidence will be required in order to keep any personal data safe and prevent malicious attempts to close accounts.

      I doubt that many people will have access to a fax machine, but many do have access to a scanner or perhaps a digital camera. The alternative would be to post a copy.

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      Why doesn't the son in law give the bill owners new address as the graveyard and let sly get on with it?

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      Re: Sky Pursues Customer for Outstanding Bill – 2 Years After Death

      I think it was very considerate giving plenty of time to grieve.


     

     
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