High Definition television?….Having Difficulties?…or Highly Dubious tactics more like!
We became involved in this HD TV saga as a direct result of the sudden death of my washer-dryer after fifteen years of reliability, when after several unsuccessful attempts to get a suitable replacement at the right price elsewhere, we eventually went into Currys in Llansamlet in Swansea.
We quickly found exactly the right product, paid for it and arranged for its’ delivery a couple of days later at a time to suit our timetable….. Sorted!
On the way out, we noticed a huge amount of publicity for a special offer to install HD and multi-room Sky TV. We made enquiries and were told that we could use this offer to upgrade the Sky TV we currently have …… no purchase necessary (though, to be fair we had just spent £450 on a new washing machine, had we not?)… So for a one off payment of £29, and then an extra £20 per month we would have Sky HD in the lounge and a further sky box in a second room.
Several text calls and Emails from Sky later, we had a phone call from somebody several thousands of miles to the east of Offa’s Dyke, a gentleman called ‘Mo’ with a very pronounced accent.
From this difficult conversation, it emerged that the amazing offer we had received from our local store was a complete mix up. We could not in fact have the multi-room offer. That only comes when you purchase an HD-ready TV from the store at the time of booking (contrary to the information from the salesman). Also we would have to pay, not £29, but £79 …. though the monthly increase would be halved to £9.75…. and this would just be for the straightforward HD and Sky in one room only…..
Confused?… We certainly were, with each of us taking turns to try to translate what the man in the call centre was trying to get across. He said that installation would be very simple, and would not need any wiring, just a card, as we already have a sky aerial. He tried to persuade us, though, to switch our telephone to Sky, but we refused as we are happy with our current service provider, and we made it clear that we were not prepared to link the TV to the telephone….(we don’t use TV shopping channels)
We agreed to go ahead, anyway with the straightforward installation of the basic HD in one room only, and a date was fixed for Monday, between 9 am and 1 pm. We mentioned the fact that there is congestion at certain times as we live opposite a school, and that access to the satellite dish is restricted by a canopy, but we were assured that this would not be a problem.
We later received a letter confirming the installation arrangements, just as we were going away for the weekend preceeding ‘Installation Monday’.
On the Sunday evening we received an Email telling us that the installation team would telephone us at 9 am on the Monday to tell us exactly when they would arrive.
At 9.30 am on that fateful Monday (without the telephone warning) two service engineers arrived (knowing nothing about the Email contact).
Firstly, they inspected the satelite dish…. (cue: sucking in of breath)…. “The problem here is that it will have to be totally rewired. The wire is the wrong colour. The original Sky Engineer installed it wrongly, you see. And you are missing a bit at the end of it that we’ll have to add. It will all have to be rewired, and that will be difficult as it is all sealed in”
So we went inside to look at the set …..” Yes, that’s OK, but where is the telephone socket?”
Now then! Here’s the rub …. despite having told the far-away-gentleman that we were not prepared to link to the telephone…it appears that, if we do not connect the TV to the telephone, Sky will charge us a further £25 in order NOT to do so!
They will also then charge us an additional £60 per month until the full cost of the HD box has been covered.
To connect the telephone would involve having two sets of wires running into the room, over the door and across the room. In addition, the far-away-gentleman had arranged for “Multi-room Sky” (which we had distinctly said we did not want), which would mean a further two sets of wires coming into the house and over and around several other doors and into another room too! Not a word of all this had ever been mentioned before.
Then they turned their attention to the fact that our TV stands on top of a purpose built reproduction cabinet (cue: another sharp intake of breath)…. “The trouble there, is the lack of ventilation …. the HD box gets very hot… you would have to sit with the cabinet doors open whenever you want to watch HD TV., or sit the box outside somewhere on a table, (complete with wires)
At this point, we both said unanimously: “Sorry, boys… forget it!”
However… there is another twist to this farce…Had we allowed them to go ahead with their planned task, they would not have been able to set it up on the same day, anyway, as in their wisdom, the company had not sent us the necessary HD card and we would have been without any TV at all until such time as they managed to get their act together!
The engineers were very understanding, considering that they had spent at least 30 minutes of their time, for which Sky would not reimburse them, and they agreed that we were right to cancel in view of the long term disruption and damage that the installation would inevitably have caused.
The engineer used our land line to contact the firm and my husband then cancelled the contract and asked for a full refund within 24 hours. (Needless to say,even 48 hours later there was no sign of the refund, and when we telephoned the Sky number we had been given, they knew nothing about it)
At the same time our visitor made a call on his mobile phone to report “Yet another cancellation as a result of poor advice and information, both from the initial salesman and the call centre”.
Why does Sky do this? Perhaps they hope that people will be afraid to stop the work when the full reality of the lack of truthful information is realised? Yet these two apparently honest engineers told us there are dozens of people deciding, as we did, that it is all just not worth the hassle.
But then, Sky were quick enough to take the £79 from our account . On a grand scale over the whole country, that probably could amount to an enormous sum of money available to them for trading, despite its’ having to be returned later…they at least have access to cashflow for fourteen days in the interim.
So….Beware! If you should decide to take up one of these offers, make sure you read the small print and don’t get too excited about HD until you actually talk to someone who knows what is what.