Customer wins £1500 from Sky over contract dispute

Pete Swift's credit rating was affected. Picture: James Chapelard/HEMEDIA
Pete Swift's credit rating was affected. Picture: James Chapelard/HEMEDIA
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A FED-UP TV customer has won £1500 from Sky after billing the company for the time he spent dealing with a 
cancellation nightmare.

Pete Swift, 30, faced 18 frustrated months with debt collectors after the firm failed to cancel his TV and broadband account when he moved house.

The customer service was abysmal, there was a complete disregard for the situation they had put me in

Pete Swift

He then decided to take legal action, first contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau and then the Ombudsman.

Once Sky finally admitted its failure to cancel his account, he counted up the hours he had spent speaking to those involved via phone and e-mail, as well as meetings with lawyers. Producing an itemised list of his hours at a rate of £25 per hour, Mr Swift billed Sky for £1395, plus court costs of around £72.

The company eventually offered Mr Swift payment of £1500 – two-and-a-half years after the dispute began. Mr Swift, who works as a research consultant, said: “It was exceptionally frustrating being contacted again and again by debt collectors.

“The customer service I experienced was abysmal, there was a complete disregard for the situation they had put me in and a continued failure to take ownership and fix the problem.”

Mr Swift moved to Leith in October 2012 and as a result tried to cancel his broadband and TV package with Sky, but a few months later he was contacted by a debt collection service. He showed them proof he had paid his final bill to Sky and told them to pass the 
information over.

Two months later, Mr Swift was contacted by another debt collector and he went through the same process again. He also made a complaint to Sky.

But in April 2014 he was contacted by a third debt collection agency who told him he had outstanding debts.

Since the saga began, Mr Swift had been failing credit checks and he was worried his credit had been damaged. For two months he was passed from one person to another at Sky customer services with no solution in sight, until he decided to contact the Ombudsman.

He said: “I had started failing credit checks, despite previously having a good credit history and started stressing out about my ability to obtain credit.

“I felt very powerless as a consumer to fix the situation – and I couldn’t even ascertain what damage had been done to my credit file.”

Mr Swift eventually took Sky to court and last month they finally came to an agreement, two days before his court date.

His bill included 31 hours and 25 minutes speaking to Sky, with a further nine hours dealing with debt collectors.

Sky said the issue was due to a technical fault with its systems, meaning his cancellation was not recorded on his file.

A spokeswoman 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.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com