The End of the World is SKY

After numerous calls and an hour ‘online chat’ for which I have a transcript we were expecting a phone call from the BSKY B engineer to tell us what time in the next 2 days our broadband and landline would be connected. No call came so I contacted them.

What happened next was a total farce. The first call ended when I was cut off after telling me that the broadband was going to be installed at a different address. I was staring at the screen where it gave the correct address for my account so I have no idea what the call centre woman was seeing. I called again and then spent maybe 45 minutes arguing with a woman who told me that no matter how long I complained I could not have a connection until May 5th at the earliest.

Her explanation was:

There is an existing connection so they always wait 7 days after termination before starting a new order. It is irrelevant that the house has been sold. The customer ‘might change their mind’.

Then it takes 2 weeks to process an order and a further week for an engineer to get off his or possibly her arse and come to the house. Ergo 4 weeks wait. For everyone.

The woman had no idea why I hadn’t been told that at the outset nor why the website does not say this. Her suggestion was ‘you could try Virgin’. Well that’s a huge vote of confidence in her employer. Try another provider.

I wanted to escalate the matter. She refused. Nobody would speak to me she said but she would log a complaint for me. Somebody might (stress, might) call me. They didn’t.

Never one to give up I called SKY HQ and asked for the CEO. Are you a customer I was asked. I admitted I was. Well the CEO and Head Office don’t speak to oiks like you. We have a customer service rep to do that. I explained that customer service was an oxymoron (more moron than oxy) at SKY. Well we still won’t speak to you. Go away. And she hung up.

Then I discovered that I know personally and quite well one of the SKY main board directors. I have sent off an e mail. I will wait to see if I get a reply.

I think BSkyB is probably the nastiest and most unhelpful service centre I have yet dealt with in Britain. The competition is hot.

So don’t watch this space as we shall be without broadband and phone line.

I won’t go into how it took an hour at the Vodafone shop to buy a 3GB prepaid SIM card. At least the Vodafone people were helpful and polite. Even if the system was crap.

I originally set out to write a piece today on my concerns for Britain’s future. I saw someone walking through Winchester yesterday sporting a T shirt saying “If you don’t speak English get the f**k out of our country”. (The T shirt did not use asterisks). I fear for Britain if that attitude prevails at the forthcoming election. However that fear has been overtaken by the thought that the country might be run by people like those at the SKY call centre. The end of the world is SKY.

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30 thoughts on “The End of the World is SKY

    • Yes Victor, the haves and the have nots are getting further apart and it usually ends in tears and worse. It is a chilling prospect.

  1. Oh Andrew, this is appalling. I’d say try BT but fear they are as bad. I dread anything going wrong with our system because it will mean that I have to try and speak to an actual person which is well nigh impossible. You must be at the end of your tether …

  2. E per fortuna spesso sento dire che in Gran Bretagna tutto funziona bene, che sono bravissimi ecc. ecc. Eh no, invece tutto il mondo è paese, ovunque ci sono sempre caos, persone che non rispondono come dovrebbero e tempi lunghissimi per ottenere qualche cosa.
    Ciao Pat

  3. I can identify with all that you have written only in a different way. This, I think is a sign of what the future holds. It is going to get worse and frankly I don’t hold any hope for what is going on any country. The US is headed for disaster because the politicians have no common sense and most are corrupt. So, don’t feel alone if you think things are bad in GB.

    My Internet service is with Time Warner and a new cable needs to be installed that leads from the street and runs down an easement to a box behind my fence. If is rains or there are high winds then I don’t have Internet. Getting someone on the phone who is an American is next to impossible.

  4. I like the end of the world is sky,I can’t begin to say how many of those kind of calls I have suffered through,the level of frustration usually sends me through the roof.
    Thank you for telling me it’s just not in the states the level of incompetence is still alive and living else where

  5. I wish I could say something comforting . I saw a couple of tabloid headlines today and thought, is this my country they are writing about? John Lewis broadband are endlessly helpful and polite and with actual people on the phone (but I have no idea what their stop/start policy is).

  6. Yes Andrew ,but England is no Hong Kong. If you want modern fast efficient service I would not rely too much on places were English is the main language. Monty Python rules.
    We went to Bali and as a matter of course the waitress would supply you withe WiFi code and tap it in your device and with a smile.
    We went to a ‘resort’ up North here in Australia during Christmas spending $400.- a night…no WiFi. No help…just very large people eating themselves to death.
    However, you can go for nice walks and read brilliant writers, go to musical events, museums and watch the birds nestling in between the reeds.
    Ah, the Yorkshire Dales.

  7. I think you may have expressed your concerns on the future of Britain rather well here, perhaps without meaning to. Whatever happened to customer service, and the customer is always right? I’m afraid it’s become an archaic notion, and that’s not just in Britain.

  8. Andrew, welcome to the wonderful (NOT) world of Internet/Broadband providers in the UK. You have my every sympathy and so will everyone else whose had to suffer at the hands of Sky, BtInternet and a host of others …….

    In contrast, Pete and I couldn’t believe the speed and efficiency at which we got our internet up and running in Jakarta – it was possibly the most efficient service ever and put the UK to shame.
    Good Luck and try not to pull too much hair out over it!

    • HK is worse Lottie. PCCW has a de facto monopoly and vigorously abuses it. Waiting times are a disgrace. But SKY’s attitude stinks. They have zero interest in the customer. I have rarely found such a stubborn and unhelpful attitude. Maybe we should move to Jakarta.

  9. I don’t want to click on “Like”, as this is not a happy story. It quite similar in Australia, when I come to think of it.

    But, you are in your house, aren’t you?

  10. When I lived in England I had BT as my telephone and broadband provider and apart from a slight hiccup when we moved house I never once had to call them. Although having worked as an oxymoron representative I cannot believe the women still has a job. When I moved to Poland and we set up our cable tv and internet (no phone since we have mobiles) I saw impressed by the price (internet is relatively cheap and fast here) and the speed they set it up (about 3 days after we called to to sign up to our supplier). I do wonder if England could learn from their eastern european allies, especially since Ukip think 90% of the English population is Polish.

    • Ben, since I left the demographics have changed here. That are lots of Polish workers I’m sure. They speak good English and have a strong work ethic as far as I can see. UKIP is a dangerous growing minority but that’s democracy and it has to be addressed through the ballot box. The challenge is who else to vote for. I am naturally in the centre with very mixed political views. A bit of everything. There is no obvious party. So people like me either vote tactically or abstain. Neither is good. I don’t have an answer.

      • I have an absentee ballot still since it hasn’t been 15 years yet. No sure who I will vote for and then I have presidential elections here coming up as well. So much power in these hands.

  11. Groan, same old, same old… . I’m afraid it’s just going from bad to worse. As I said in an earlier post, ‘welcome to the UK’. Customer Service is appalling as you have already discovered. Can it get any worse? Probably! My commiserations.

      • Apathy, indifference, no pride – wish I knew the answer to your question. When I returned from many years in Zambia I was rather expecting a UK with law and order, where people were fined people for littering the streets etc. Instead a found just the opposite – dog fouling everywhere, youths motorcycling over bowling greens, people parking over dropped crossings, no discipline in schools and so on. Nobody seeming to care, just grumbling without actually doing anything about it.

        You had the right idea by contacting one of the directors, which reminds me a little story of mine from some 20 years ago: I had been staying with my elderly parents during my various cancer treatments, but after the disease metastasised I stayed at my partner’s house some 30 miles away as he was able to look after me and take me back and forth to hospital.

        My parents needed a new washing machine, so hoping to get a reliable service I went to order one from Norweb (which was then the local electricity company) and they had a shop a few miles from my parents. Having selected an automatic machine I asked the assistant how much it would be for installation, as the old one was a twin tub, which my mum just filled with hoses from the kitchen taps. I also added that the new machine would not be going in the kitchen, but outside into an area that was to become a laundry room. I was told that the ‘flat rate’ was £200, regardless of where the machine was situated. I questioned this, as I was bearing in mind the extra work and copper piping. Again –‘flat rate £200’. We went and got my mum and brought her to look at the machine to see if she liked it and this time spoke to a different assistant who assured us ‘flat rate £200’ for fitting. I even asked to see the manager and he confirmed the flat rate of £200. (I actually thought that was high if going next to a sink, but okay if situated where we wanted).

        I ordered the machine and I was aiming to be at my parents when it was delivered, but got there to find the fitter had been and left, having refused to fit it on account of the length of the piping needed! I was hopping – and immediately got onto the phone, but it took 18 calls to actually speak to someone who could understand the situation. I also wrote a letter to the MD in Manchester, detailing my visits to the shop, the people I spoke to and the questions I asked. With my letter I included a bill for the 18 phone calls, charging £2 each ‘flat rate’ and £15 for the letter (which is what banks were charging for letters at the time).

        I received an apology from the MD, including an ex gratia payment of £51. We got the same fitter back to install the machine and he charged us £200 (apparently he would only have been paid a fraction of that through Norweb).

      • That is quite a saga. SKY is now really pulling out the stops. We now have an installation date of April 20th – advanced by 2 weeks. They call me with a daily progress update. The problem is that it can not be economic to provide this sort of service to each customer. Part of the answer is training and part is empowering individuals. That’s difficult with a call centre. Some have horrendous attrition rates. We want cheap but we want quality. They don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Anyway £200 to install a washing machine is usury. Shocking.

  12. Here in the US, we’re headed toward a possible monopoly as the 2 largest internet providers want to join. (Comcast & Time Warner) No competition. Who would you change to? We did just win “net neutrality” here, which still could be an issue, but it’s a start.
    I have a video post coming Saturday, however, sounds like you won’t be able to see it. . Here’s a preview: http://youtu.be/KMcny_pixDw

  13. Andrew, I feel your pain…and as for your upcoming election, I was just speaking with a friend in London today about the very same sentiment you addressed here…and he has that same fear. Will be keeping an eye on your election and adding my hopes for a much brighter future than that!!

  14. My friend Maria lives in Winchester. They went to Southampton for a night out and her partner got called a Ch**ky c*** by the “comedian” act and then when she got irate, he said they looked like they had escaped from an immigration detention centre. Nice.

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