Ditching Sky, rejoining Sky and ditching Sky again

Over the last few days, my article about leaving Sky and rejoining again has been looked at more than the front page. My plan was to cancel and go with Freesat, supplementing it with various streaming services, but I rejoined because Sky did me a deal after I cancelled. Sky, for those of you who may not know, are the main satellite subscription provider here in the UK.

However, over the weekend something happened which means I’m cancelling the lot (yes, again). No more Sky. No TV package. No new “shiny Sky Q” box.

Why? Well, let me tell you the story so far..

– Back in 2006 I installed our first Sky dish. No (at the time) expensive engineer visit, I just bought a dish, got some cabling and put it up.
– Four years later I did the same again for my mom, installing Freesat with the help of a TV balanced on a dustbin.
– After being a loyal Sky customer for 11 years, I switched to cable with Virgin broadband and TV.
– After not “getting on” with the Virgin TV box, I switched to Virgin Media Business, ditching the line rental and used VoIP.
– Sky did me a special deal a couple of years back as a “returning customer” – £15 per month.

I was quite happy with Sky at £15 but, in the last year, the cost had increased slowly. A bit at a time here and there. I received a letter stating that it would be increasing yet again – by £2.75. So, after being offered a weak “retention” deal, we cancelled it.

After doing this though, we got a phone call from the Sky UK call centre to offer us a special deal to come back. I explained that we wanted to stick around the £15 mark and we didn’t really need to Kids channels, sports, movies or all the other bits.

The standard package of channels (traditionally known as the “Entertainment Pack”) were fine and I liked the HD versions of channels due to the quality.

They magically managed to get it down to £17 and we received the following email confirmation..

It wasn’t quite the £15 we were paying 12 months ago and it didn’t have the Kids channels, but we knew that Sky had increased prices recently so agreed to the 18 month deal.

However, as the days went by I grew a little puzzled by the Sky TV “Future Bills” section.

When I queried this I was initially told that an “additional discount” needed to be added to bring it to the £17 and that had to be signed off “by a manager”. It would happen “within hours”. However, after waiting several days it stuck at £21.

The calculations just didn’t make sense either, and I had a £14 discount which wasn’t having the “impact” promised on the monthly cost..

So I asked Sky. I emailed them and got some responses which were from their foreign complaints team. They made little sense if I’m honest so I asked again and again until I got this…

I have checked on your Sky Account and see that your package cost was £17 for Sky Entertainment (£27 with £10 discount) and Sky HD for £1 (£5 with £4 discount) which is total £18 however due to the annual price increase that’s effective from 1 April 2020, there will be a £3 increase on your package (£2 for Sky Entertainment and £1 for Sky HD) which as a result increased your Sky bills to £21 per month.

So, the deal I’d been given was based on old prices. The “Sky Entertainment” package was £27 per month but it’s now £29. The Sky HD channels were £5 but that’s now £6. The £27 + £5 = £32, and £14 off that would be £18. 

Sure, this is the third time I’ve asked Sky complaints to explain how they hit £17 and they tell me that it adds up to £18 but I simply gave up trying to get sense from them at this point. It was clear that their “deal” was based on the old prices, and these will increase on April 1st – just days away.

What’s basically happened is that I’ve been stitched up. Sure, there is a small caveat in the contract that states…

Prices and services may vary, including during the minimum term.

..but what is annoying is that they’re not showing the upcoming price increase on the confirmation email (at the top of this story).

Based on this, I think this is happening…

    1. Letters like this are being sent out to customers (this was received before I did the new deal with Sky to stay)
    2. Some customers won’t be happy and will call up to cancel or to try and get a discount.
    3. Sky do a deal with those people, telling them the new price, but perhaps “omit” the fact that the new deal will be also going up in price next month.

So, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and I used this very handy piece of contract law…

If you decide that you no longer wish to keep this offer, you need to let us know any time within 31 days from when the offer is applied (“cooling off period”).

It’s now all cancelled. Sure, it took me two hours to battle through their live chat, but I’m done with them.

I’m not sure if this is just one individual within the Sky Retentions Team who was just “purposefully forgetting” to tell me that a price rise was around the corner to keep numbers up, or whether it’s something that’s done more widely there, but it left a very bad taste.

Loyalty really doesn’t matter. I know I congratulated Sky in my earlier piece for trying to bring Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services into one box, but the prices are creeping up too quickly. I’ve also realised that I’d rather be the guy ordering a sandwich than having a set meal.

Sorry Sky, that’s the end of it. I’m not having your “permanent on-loan Sky Q” box and I’ll be selling my old Sky 1TB boxes and getting Freesat sorted. The world is moving on…

More to come on this one as I head to a streaming TV world… Follow us on Twitter to stick with the story or Like our Facebook page.

Update – I’ve had a few emails asking about this feature. There’s definitely a few people who have received similar price rises of late and a lot of you are looking for a better deal. What I’m planning to do is to find a decent, good-value “box” which does the clever pause / rewind / record stuff and adds the Netflix and other bits in. However, you might want to do something else, so here’s what I’d recommend..

Want to stay with Sky but looking to reduce the cost?

Call them up and see if they can do anything. Find out if new customers are being offered a better deal than you. Ask them to at least match that deal.

If you want to reduce cost by “downgrading” your package, don’t let them talk you out of it. They will try and tell you about all the bits you’re “going to miss out on”, but remember why you called. Stick to your guns.

If you want to really drill down the cost, go to the Virgin Media website and check to see if you can get Virgin. Sky are a bit less likely to look at pricing if you’re unable to get a comparable service from a competitor. So, if you can get Virgin, tell Sky that you’re thinking of switching to Virgin, even if you’re not.

Tell them that you want to cancel. You can chat to them online but, in my case, both approaches took ages. They seem to be very busy at the moment, no doubt because of these price increases. Pencil in an hour or two so that you can perhaps call and have the phone on “speaker” and do other things while you’re queuing. You don’t want to rush a decision or feel that you’re being pressured.

I asked to cancel and got through to a “Retentions Team” who tried to keep me, but the guy I spoke to freely admitted that he only had a “limited range of discounts” to offer me. It was only when I actually cancelled that a “more powerful” Retentions Team contacted me, and they had a lot more flexibility on pricing.

If you do go ahead cancel, make a note of the “end date” and don’t forget that you can change your mind before that date comes. I got this email after cancelling – they’re eager to keep you and offer a number to call, but they’ll probably call you before the date mentioned below. Cancelling your service doesn’t mean that everything will go off immediately, so don’t think it’s all gone wrong if you’ve got to this stage and you didn’t “mean” to 🙂

Want to change to Virgin / BT / Now TV / TalkTalk / Freesat?

You will be given a big list of reasons “why you should stay” by Sky. They will have these prepared and they will try their best to make you think that you’re doing the craziest thing in the world. Again, stick to your guns.

It’s similar to switching mobile networks. Write down what deal you’re getting, why you want to move and have it in front of you when you cancel. You want that cheaper price, or that better offering. You will not be talked out of it.

Hopefully you’ll end up with a deal, a better one at least, but if not and you’ve had enough of the steadily increasing monthly price, keep an eye on us here at Coolsmartphone and we’ll show a great alternative very soon.