Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

This week’s issues: Sky charges one reader for a cancelled subscription, and Eircom levies a disconnection fee after a ‘free trial’

‘I don’t want to have deal with so-called Sky Excellence again,’ says our reader

‘I don’t want to have deal with so-called Sky Excellence again,’ says our reader


Distressing dealings with Sky Excellence

Caitríona D’Arcy has contacted us about an ongoing dispute she and her husband are having with Sky TV. She says the company owes them about €3,500 in overpaid subscriptions and is refusing to refund them.

“We pay our Sky subscription by direct debit every month, but in September 2013, I noticed that the payment was going out twice a month on different dates,” she writes.

On further investigation, she was able to trace this back to 2010, when they got their Sky+ HD box. “I remember at the time, the engineer advised us to change the subscription to my name instead of my husband’s and to cancel his subscription, which we did after a few weeks. It would seem, however, that Sky continued to charge us for two accounts, even though we have only one HD and multiroom account,” she writes.

She immediately phoned Sky customer service – which is called Sky Excellence – and requested a refund. “Although they immediately admitted that the mistake had occurred, they then tried everything possible to avoid paying us back the money. Over a period of several weeks, we made numerous phone calls to the customer-service line. We got all sorts of excuses, and many times they said they would ring back and didn’t. No one seemed to be able to authorise our refund.

“In frustration, I even wrote to JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, and Bob Dunn, director of customer operations BSkyB UK, but never received any acknowledgement,” she writes.

“We were passed on to various different supervisors, some of whom were sympathetic but clearly out of their depth or downright rude. One even agreed we were owed the refund but just said he wasn’t going to pay it. Eventually we spoke to [a woman who] told us that Sky had never received a letter cancelling my husband’s account so she basically said her legal team told her not to refund us.”

D’Arcy has since found a copy of the letter of cancellation. “Now that I have found the proof of our cancellation of my husband’s account in 2010, I want to get a refund as soon as possible. However, I don’t want to have to go through the whole distressing process of dealing with the so-called Sky Excellence experience again.”

We contacted Sky. A spokeswoman said they were “sorry to learn of the difficulties”. She said the company had cancelled the account the couple no longer wished to use in September 2013, “and have offered a significant refund as a gesture of goodwill”.


Eircom’s ‘free trial’ comes with a disconnection fee

Jean Swift is a customer of Eircom and was recently “invited to avail of their eFibre network”. She rang to arrange a visit and was told the company was offering eVision free for six months. “I replied that I really wasn’t interested but the employee said, ‘Why not try it; it won’t cost you anything’.”

Swift said it was highly unlikely that she would take up the offer after the free trial, but agreed to give it a try.”

“After two weeks I decided I didn’t want it and rang Eircom. First, the woman who answered repeatedly tried to persuade me to change my mind.”

When Swift didn’t relent, she was told she would have to pay a disconnection fee. “I said I would not pay it and wrote to Eircom. Two weeks later, I have received no acknowledgement.”

We contacted Eircom. A spokeswoman said the company was “extremely sorry that [our reader] had such a poor experience. One of our customer-care managers has spoken with her and has apologised for our error. The issue was caused as a result of an incorrect promotional offer being applied to her account. The disconnection fee has been cancelled, and a goodwill gesture has been applied to her account in recognition of our mistake and for any inconvenience caused.”


A cheesy request for a fully Irish cheddar

Rowena Ní Neachtain is looking for a list of cheddar cheeses available in supermarkets that are made from Irish milk, produced in Ireland and packaged in Ireland.

“It seems to be hard to get information on packets referring to all three. They are often produced in Ireland, but there is no information on source of milk or packaging.” Or it might say that the cheese is from a particular farm but packaged in the UK.

“Is there an entirely Irish brand of cheddar, or butter for that matter?”

So, do you make an entirely Irish cheddar? Or an entirely Irish butter? Get in touch and we’ll give you a shout out.

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