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Surely this is illegal?

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
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Registered: 08-10-2010

Surely this is illegal?

Went online to pay our outstanding balance to Sky, then cancel it. however they wanted the next months subscription, in advance, before we could cancel. So I rang them.
I explained what we were doing, and that Sky was too expensive for what it is. He then said, to cancel, he would take the outstanding, £47, not the £73 that they wanted online.
We made a card payment (not direct debit) for £47.
They then put us through to cancellations who, true to their job, talked us into a 'deal' which was acceptable. With the first direct debit coming out on October 3rd.  All well and good.
I looked at bank today, the £47 card payment has changed to £73.  This is not what Sky said. This is ,I believe ,illegal. It took me 2 hours on the phone and online to get an email address that works ( one of their customer advisers gave me a dead link) and I have sent off a letter of complaint. We have bank charges now, thanks to them.  Not happy.
I record all my phonecalls,and told the adviser this. He snottily told me that I can't use it as evidence as I didn't tell them that I was recording the call  - even though they have a recorded message telling us that THEY are recording it.  I suppose they can 'lose' any incriminating recording.
So be aware. If you phone Sky, tell them you are recording the conversation, whether you are or not.  It may stop them sticking it to you. Angry
43 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-12-2013

Re: Surely this is illegal?

just inform the bank the payment for that amount wasn't authorised and they should also refund the bank charges.
in my view banks are been irresponsible clearing payments above available balance.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Surely this is illegal?

1) You CAN use recordings without telling them. A few years back there was an employment tribunal where the judge was made aware of secret recordings an employee had made. The employers defence claimed that these recordings could not be used as evidence however the judge disagreed and decided that they would be heard. This set a precedent in ET circles however there is not actually a law that makes recording people unlawful (in some countries there are). I had to look into this extensively myself a few years back after a major legal spat with an organisation.
2) You authorised the lower amount however as they have your card details they can access any amount they want and there is legally nothing to stop them. The bank will claim that you authorised payment by supplying the card details and thus they won't refund. That said you explicitly authorised the lower amount and they decided to help themselves to the extra and as you have proof, you can submit a money claim online for a refund and charges that you incurred.
3) Ask the bank to perform a chargeback if you don't want the legal hassle. Some banks don't like doing it but if you persist they will do so.
4) Do not back down.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Surely this is illegal?

I don't think a decision made at an employment tribunal would set any kind of precedent. I think it would apply only to the one case. ETs are not chaired normally by a judge AFAIK but by a legally qualified individual such as a barrister.
I don't know the law on using recorded phone calls in evidence. I always assumed for a recording to be used it had to be declared in advance that it was being made.
PN often refer to recordings when there is a problem with a customer. Maybe they can tell us Undecided
DaveyH
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Registered: 15-11-2012

Re: Surely this is illegal?

If it were me I'd be phoning them back up and cancelling all together like you first intended. Bunch of shysters!
nanotm
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Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: Surely this is illegal?

last time I rang sky I asked to be put through to retentions, I never offer to make a payment (even if one might be due) prior to deciding if I'm actually leaving or getting a new contract, its been a while though since I last called them so maybe they have changed there system, personally though I would of waited until I was out of contract to tell them I was leaving, that way they cant ask for a month in advance Smiley
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Moderator
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Re: Surely this is illegal?

I would contact the bank in the first instance to see if they are able to make a charge-back and cancel their charges.
If the bank cannot/will not help then I would send a snail mail to Sky recorded delivery giving them 7 days to refund the £26 pounds plus reimburse you for all bank charges incurred plus the cost of the recorded delivery. In the same letter I would also state that you wish to fully cancel your subscription.
If the bank does help then I would still send a letter of complaint to sky.

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
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Registered: 08-10-2010

Re: Surely this is illegal?

The problem is their billing method .  They Bill you a month in advance, but this goes on your account two weeks early. So if you want to cancel in the last two weeks before your new bill, you have next month's on there. And you can't, according to their procedures, cancel until you pay the outstanding (including the month in advance).
Shysters...as someone so succinctly put it.
nanotm
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Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: Surely this is illegal?

according to the FSA that's illegal, they can only charge you for the service received, if you cancel your service they cannot bill you for a service period that you don't receive!
report the problem to your bank (incorrect amount charged to your card) then contact sky customer services and inform them they have taken the wrong amount from your account, if those two actions fail email the FSA and get them to investigate the illegal practices of sky and the failure to rectify the problem (actually contact them immediately they will make you wait for sky to respond but be breathing down their neck the whole time) who knows they might get yet another fine for sharp practices ......if the payment situation is in the contract copy you have for cancelation billing contact tradeing standards over unfair contract conditions, if its not in the contract then contact them over unfair business practices and get them hung out to dry
sky already make massive amounts of profit every year from subscriptions without needing to extort cash from people illegally !
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
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Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Surely this is illegal?

It's got nothing to do the the FCA (the FSA no longer exists), so that would be a waste of time.

nanotm
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Re: Surely this is illegal?

well whatever there name is now here is the page you should follow
http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/technical_notes/disputed-transactions.htm
which is two pronged, firstly contact the bank and dispute the transaction amount and also the charges that were incurred because of it, and then contact sky customer services (via email) and inform them of the mistake they have made
if either of them fix the problem and you are left no worse off be happy, if neither of them fix the problem then the ombudsman will be able to give full legal advice, but be prepared to have to file a small claims court case against sky so do everything you can via emial!
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Surely this is illegal?

You have to give Sky 31 days notice to cancel your contract:
Quote
If you want to end the Contract for any other reason you may do so at the end of or after the Minimum Term, by giving us at least 31 days notice at any time.
nanotm
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Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: Surely this is illegal?

but if he singed up to a new contract at a lower price he didn't cancel the contract and should only have been charged the outstanding balance of 47 quid
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,824
Registered: 27-10-2012

Re: Surely this is illegal?

It's not clear if it's a new contract though. It depends on what the 'offer' was - sometimes it's just a continuation of the existing contract, sometimes it's a new 12 month period.
Either way though, a company cannot charge your card more than you've authorised them to take.
alanf
Aspiring Pro
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Registered: 17-10-2007

Re: Surely this is illegal?

There is a Sky Complaints Procedure
http://help.sky.com/articles/sky-customer-complaints-code-of-practice
with an Ombudsman to appeal to if you are not happy with the outcome.
http://www.ombudsman-services.org/downloads/FrequentlyaskedquestionsSKYJanuary%202013.pdf