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'Why has Sky cut off my services and threatened to send debt collectors?'

Jessica Gorst-Williams
The reader said they had sent Sky around 25 letters, most of which were ignored - AFP or licensors

Nearly six months ago I entered into a contract with Sky for the provision of internet, telephone and email services.  

The payment date dictated by Sky was to be the fourth of each month via direct debit on my bank account, to be set up by Sky. Then Sky rang to say I had not paid in full. 

My bank confirmed that the direct debit was still open and no attempt to make a withdrawal had been made. I told the Sky representative this and all seemed to be resolved. 

However, by the middle of the month, all my Sky services were cut off. My wife, who is registered blind, and I were left without the systems of communication that have become everyday essentials.

Since then, I have written around 25 letters to Sky. Most have been ignored. Sky has continued its bombardment of offensive missives, threatening to send debt collection agents to my house. This is doing goodness knows what to my credit rating.

WD, Cleveland

I understand you had two Sky accounts, having set up one before your arrangement with another provider was finished. 

To avoid termination fees with that provider you waited before moving to Sky. When you were ready, you set up another Sky account so there were two. These, it so happens, had separate direct debits with different banks.

Correctly, only the second account was activated and Sky says the bank it was trying to take the money from rejected it. Meanwhile, the other mandate relating to the first request was not linked to any Sky services, and so the system did not try it. 

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As Sky could not receive or take the payments, it placed a restriction on the live account. A late payment fee of £7.50 was threatened, as well as a termination fee should you fail to pay the outstanding balance.

You wrote to Sky but its data protection rules meant that further identification details were required before the account could be reviewed. It seems you did not pass these security checks. Sky says it has a record of receiving only five letters from you. It doesn’t know where the others went.

You have now left Sky, having been charged no termination or late payment fees, and with no effect on your credit rating. 

With some haggling from you, £93 (in respect of the upfront set-up costs and services you had used and paid for) has been refunded. Sky has also given £50 for goodwill.

A Sky spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear about Mr D’s experience and have resolved all of his concerns.”