Monday, September 25 2017

Published on July 6 2017. Opinions
Sky’s the limit
"I'm going to count to 3...."

Sky’s the limit

Telephone and broadband customers of Sky were badly let down yesterday when the provider encountered a problem which affected a large part of East Sussex including Rye. Users could get a dialing tone, but all outgoing numbers appeared engaged. Efforts to get action from Sky were fruitless, as the following incident shows.

We tried to contact our elderly neighbour yesterday afternoon, but her line was permanently engaged.

Knowing she is in poor health, I resorted to an old-fashioned method and walked round to knock on the door. She was unaware that the system was down and that neither incoming nor outgoing calls could be made. She is prone to dizzy spells and only that morning her doctor had advised her to call the hospital ambulance immediately if one recurred.

I returned home to report the fault on my landline. BT couldn’t help – not their problem, they said, but they gave me the Sky contact number. Back to my neighbour, to find another concerned helper; together we called Sky, but of course only reached a robot.

Endless questions in that mechanical voice and then the instruction: “this call is now terminated, you will receive a text message shortly”. Sure enough, a text message arrived by mobile asking for the fault to be reported all over again by text reply.

It was not reassuring when yet another concerned neighbour arrived only to say that the problem was general in the area and not confined to the one line.

For once, I appreciated the personal touch at BT where I was at least able to talk to a human being. It seems that Sky has economised on personnel employment to the point where the customer is carelessly inconvenienced, and possibly exposed to serious health risks in emergencies. That’s not good enough in my book.

Editor’s note: As one of those suffering the effects of this and unable to access the internet to work on this paper, I was somewhat less than amused to be told by the same recorded voice as above that I “could obtain further information on the progress of repairs by going to www.sky.com”. As the whole problem was that Sky’s internet provision wasn’t working and therefore I could not go to sky.com, I did feel that was rubbing a far too generous amount of salt into the wound. Connection finally returned on Thursday afternoon – nearly 24 hours after the start of the problem.

There Are 3 Comments

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  1. Gary Cooper says:

    I wish I could tell you that moving to BT would solve the problem but sadly, it would not. BT’s alternative to customer service is renowned and my experiences with it have convinced me that what we need is the ability to get Trading Standards active against all of those bodies that have trodden this path – notably the utilities and banks.

    If they take our money, we should be able to force them to provide the service we pay for and if they are so big they can afford to snub individuals then we need a collective means of redress -one which, clearly, the governments supine ‘Offs’ have failed to provide.

  2. Jane Steen says:

    The problem affected some 32,000 customers and was caused by a developer cutting through the lines while digging…Sky did respond on Twitter to the (many) customer questions and complaints, but that’s not very helpful to an elderly customer who doubtless doesn’t have a mobile phone to use as a backup route to the internet. Perhaps people with severe health problems should be provided with an alternative means of summoning help such as a lifeline button? Your neighbour’s lucky you were there to provide support.

  3. Richard Hutley says:

    The trick is when the automated response system asks what the problem is just say “i’m thinking of leaving Sky” you very quickly get put through to a human voice! Well it worked on Wednesday anyway, didn’t speed up getting the internet back but at least i could express my exasperation to a human (without abuse obvs…)

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