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Ofcom Drop 2 Year Investigation of Sky Broadband’s Cancellations Policy

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 (11:29 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 458)
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

Sky (Sky Broadband) will be pleased to learn that Ofcom has today dropped a 2 year old investigation into whether or not the operator breached the regulator’s consumer protection rules for governing the termination of landline and broadband contracts.

Last year the regulator claimed to have found “reasonable grounds for believing” that Sky had broken their General Condition 9.3 consumer protection rules between 1st May 2015 and 31st July 2015 (here). GC9.3 is designed to ensure that the conditions or procedures for contract termination, outside of a cooling-off period, do not “act as a disincentive for end-users changing their Communication Providers“.

At the time Sky told ISPreview.co.uk that they were “very disappointed” with the provisional decision, particularly as they claim to have “worked with Ofcom openly and constructively throughout their investigation” and were also “incredibly proud to have the highest customer satisfaction levels in the industry, as ranked in the last Ofcom customer service report” (Sky still hold that position today).

The good news, at least for Sky rather than those who may have complained to the regulator, is that after “careful consideration” Ofcom has now “decided not to take any further enforcement action.”

Ofcom’s Statement

Since the start of our investigation, Sky has made ongoing changes to its processes and procedures to facilitate an improved customer experience when customers wish to cancel their service, and which Sky has informed us are part of a programme of continuous improvement. The actions it has taken, and which we have taken into account in making our decision, include:

* changes to its incentive scheme for advisors so that they are encouraged to recognise if a customer intends to cancel and allow those who wish to leave to do so without having a conversation about staying with Sky;

* clarification and updating of guidance for advisors to improve the customer experience for those customers that are seeking to cancel;

* creating a separate, dedicated and specially trained team to handle cancellation requests made by customers via email or letter;

* providing refunds to customers who made a cancellation request by letter or email during the Relevant Period that may not have had the correct notice period applied to their request – we would encourage any former Sky customer to contact Sky on 0800 759 1703 if you made a written cancellation request and your notice period was not backdated to the date on which Sky received your letter or email; and

* improvements to the clarity of information available to customers on its website about the different cancellation routes available and the applicable notice periods.

Ofcom added that complaints about Sky’s cancellation procedures have since “reduced materially” and have “remained at a low level for a considerable period of time“. The regulator also plans to update their consumer guidance to help people understand the different cancellation routes available from different providers, and assist those wishing to cancel to do so easily.

UPDATE 2pm

A spokesperson for Sky told ISPreview.co.uk, “We are pleased Ofcom has decided to close this case dating from 2015. At Sky we are proud of our industry leading reputation for customer service as recognised by Ofcom. Getting things right for our customers will continue to be our number one priority.” Apparently only a tiny number of related customer complaints were involved (around 10 per month during the period in question).

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