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    Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

    This is a discussion on Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service within the Sky news and announcements forums, part of the SkyUser Announcements category; Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service - ISPreview UK Ofcom has said that ...

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      Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service - ISPreview UK
      Ofcom has said that they’re in contact with Sky Broadband after the ISP earlier announced that they planned to unilaterally move their existing free Sky Talk (voice calls) customers on to a new £4 per month package, albeit via the controversial approach of presumed consent.

      The change was revealed as part of last month’s price hike announcement (here), although existing customers still had to do a bit of digging in order to uncover the development (Sky’s official announcement page doesn’t mention the £4 charge). In fairness the writing had been on the wall since July’s closure of the old Sky Talk packages (here), which at the time only affected new subscribers.

      Meanwhile many existing customers have continued to make use of the Sky Talk Weekends service, which at no extra costs included free UK weekend calls for those who subscribed to the Sky Line Rental service. Funnily enough this too is a downgrade from the older Sky Talk Freetime package, which not so long ago also included free evening calls.

      But on the 1st December 2015 all that will change and those who subscribed before the July 2015 Sky Talk revamp will instead find their free Sky Talk add-on being changed for the new Sky Talk Evening and Weekends package, which adds £4 per month to the cost.

      The move is similar to the one that BT pulled when they suddenly lumped the £5 per month BTSport Pack content on to their existing broadband subscribers, as opposed to giving them the continued usage of BTSport Lite for free (here). At the time Ofcom felt the need to intervene (here), although so far the regulator has not taken a similarly strong stance with Sky.

      An Ofcom Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

      If there is concern around how a particular contract change has been implemented, Ofcom will speak to the provider involved to establish the facts and assess the risk of consumer harm. Ofcom is in contact with Sky about its recent price changes, and how they were communicated to customers.”
      In fairness Sky have given plenty of warning and are sending out letters / emails, which give customers a chance to try the new service for free during the first 3 months (the new package also includes calls to UK mobiles, UK landlines and 0870/0845 numbers). On top of that customers can visit Sky’s website to change or downgrade the package (sky.com/changetalkpackage), while others may simply choose to exit their contract without penalty.

      Never the less anybody who fails to receive or simply overlooks the letter, which can easily happen (lots of people were unaware of the BTSport change despite BT sending similar notifications), will eventually find themselves paying £4 extra for a service that they don’t necessarily want and never requested. We understand that Sky has agreed to look at any complaints about this on a case by case basis, such as if you neglect to change your package in time.

      A Sky spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

      With our new Sky Talk packs, customers gain even more types of inclusive calls, including to UK mobiles, for as little as £4 a month. However, we are making it clear that if customers are not happy with their package, they can upgrade or downgrade at any time.”
      Under Ofcom rules and general consumer laws, providers must treat customers fairly when they make changes to their contracts, including changes to prices and the services offered. They must also make sure that customers are made fully aware of any changes and any impact so that they can decide whether they are happy to agree to them.

      Ofcom has also published guidance which states that the notifications sent to customers should be easy to understand and clearly set out what change is being made, how it will impact the customer and what steps the customer can take to avoid the impact of the change if they wish to.

      Sky certainly deserves some credit for broadly meeting the above points and perhaps doing so in a more effective way than the aforementioned BTSport situation. Never the less many consumers will consider it bad practice to try and tack-on a new service at extra cost and as we said before, such notifications can be easily missed.

      Similarly Sky should really mention the extra charge on their official announcement page (linked above), otherwise it makes it even harder to know what’s happening if you missed or didn’t receive the related notification letter. In that case you might well be oblivious to the change, at least until it shows up on your bank account.


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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Actually I thought sky did this fine.
      I was on freetime and the email from sky laid it out fine with a link to downgrade with no hassle at all. The downgrade was one click and all upcoming bills were adjusted immediately.
      I downgraded as i do not use the landline phone, but if you use it as a freetime customer then the move to the £4 was the correct choice really. They also have give you a few months for this and offered a free month of the new service.
      The tone and balance of the communication from sky was clear and friendly.

      The bt sport one was very different, as they put everyone on bt sport if they were on broadband to boost their numbers, whether they wanted it or not and then started charging those customers for the bt sport pack, without informing them very well and it was not at all easy from what i saw to downgrade to bt sport lite or even remove it all together.

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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Not sure I would totally agree on "fine" but I suppose they would have been damned whichever way they handled it.

      There was the initial lack of clarity issue around whether or not downgrading the talk package online would start a new 12 month contract (despite what it said on the resulting webpage, it doesn't), which could have been avoided by better wording in the communication sent to customers.

      To their credit, Sky subsequently clarified this on the Sky Community (I think after some pressure to do so after it was suggested that the community SUs flagged it with Sky via the Sky Community management).

      The greater issue though is the "presumed consent" that ISPReview mentions. Despite the gentle waves of dissent that have been registered here and elsewhere, I suspect that there are still a lot of people will not have given the letter/email the proper level of attention (if they gave it any at all !) that it deserves when they received it. There are many reasons why that have happened. I'd be interested to know how the mitigation for that situation was discussed when this change was designed.
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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      ... a chance to try the new service for free during the first 3 months...
      I thought that customers who let the package change happen automatically merely had the increase deferred for 1 month?

      Or does that only apply to customers going from the old £5 anytime uk to the new £8 anytime extra?

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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Quote Originally Posted by gymno View Post
      Or does that only apply to customers going from the old £5 anytime uk to the new £8 anytime extra?
      Nope, 1 month was mentioned in the email / letter to customers going from £0 to £4 too:

      To help make sure this package is right for you and to give you the chance to try out its new benefits, we'll give it to you at no extra cost for one month. After that, the standard price will be £4 a month, which is the lowest of any major landline provider for inclusive evening and weekend calls to UK mobiles."
      thinkbroadband :: Sneaky price and package changes on the way from Sky

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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Hello All
      I think it really fails to matter at the end of the day : how something is displayed by the
      supplier you the customer will end up ' Paying' more : In my case the fact that sky have added mobiles to the call allowance means little to me as I have inclusive calls with my
      mobile but I require a landline which allows Us to contact our parents who never use mobiles, So the result is we will end up paying £4 extra a month for something we already
      have now at zero cost. This to Me is another Money grab by Sky to reclaim some of the
      football excess they paid early in the year.
      Having checked all options this is the best deal for us at present but I think as a family
      who have been with sky for over 15yrs we are getting very close to saying goodbye
      sometime soon if this action of twice yearly increases continues : there is only so much
      money in the pot.
      I am sure we would miss sky TV but nobody can continue to fund an ever increasing habit
      forever without some sort of check...........
      .

      Just a Thought............
      Last edited by wizard200; 03-11-15 at 06:20 PM. Reason: X Eyes must be getting Late !!!

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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      I cancelled the movie package last week, had seen the decent ones at the cinema anyway, the £4 a month for the phone will be gone by the end of the week.

      I've been thinking for a while of moving my Broadband to Zen, but we really cannot afford the possibility of downtime with the Broadband, however we may have to bite that bullet.

      I really think in this case Sky have lost the plot, £4 a month does not sound a lot but it's the cumulative effect of increases.

      Instead if giving massive discounts and retainers, they need to reduce the costs for everyone, now there's a novel concept!
      speedyrite and wizard200 like this.
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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Quote Originally Posted by marjohn56 View Post
      I cancelled the movie package last week, had seen the decent ones at the cinema anyway, the £4 a month for the phone will be gone by the end of the week.

      I've been thinking for a while of moving my Broadband to Zen, but we really cannot afford the possibility of downtime with the Broadband, however we may have to bite that bullet.

      I really think in this case Sky have lost the plot, £4 a month does not sound a lot but it's the cumulative effect of increases.

      Instead if giving massive discounts and retainers, they need to reduce the costs for everyone, now there's a novel concept!
      Much like insurance renewals and utility companies, many just pay the full cost, despite being told to swap and negotiate.
      The companies I would expect rely on this for a lot of their income and discounts is just another marketing tool.

      Zen, that's a name from the past. Do often wonder how these small ISPs do compete with the big boys these days.

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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      Switching to Zen would simplify my life, not only as my ISP, they also do domain hosting and thus DNS stuff too, all in one basket
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      Re: Sky Broadband Defends Move to Push Users on to GBP4 Sky Talk Service

      When I think of all the IT illiterate or "normal" people like my poor old mum out there this really annoys me. She would have been shafted so many times by Sky's deliberate obfuscation of their billing and application of discounts across different services if it wasn't for me keeping an eye on her account. Raising people without permission to a service they haven't asked for is theft at worst and fraud at best. I can't really put into words.... yes I can Twunts! excuse my portmanteau.
      wizard200 likes this.

     

     
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