Pricewatch: readers’ queries

One reader has trouble unsubscribing from Sky, while another is frustrated about the wait for a refund from Aer Lingus

Sky's the limit when it came to cancelling a subscription
A reader called Rebecca was shocked last Thursday when she was contacted by a debt-collection company acting on behalf of Sky TV.

“I was moving out of a rented house in April, and with more than one month to go I contacted Sky through their website (as the help section prompts you to do) to cancel my subscription,” she writes. “This first contact in March went unanswered, and when I sent a repeat request I was informed that the cancellation could not be performed by email and that I had to call the Sky premium phone line despite their own website allowing me to use the email function to cancel.”

Rebecca does not have a landline and says calling Sky’s 0818 number on her mobile would have cost too much, so she persevered with the emails. “With every email I received from Sky I informed them that I was unable to call due to my personal circumstances and provided my mobile number to contact me to inform me of any outstanding charges.

“As they were not forthcoming about how much money I owed or even how long they planned to charge me for a service I no longer received, having moved out of the rented house at this point, I instructed my bank to cancel my direct debit,” she says.


At that point Sky sent her an email to inform her she was now in arrears for a service she had tried to cancel. When she again asked Sky to tell her how much she could expect to owe, and how she could pay it off without reinstating a direct debit, she received a response. “In May I received an automated email acknowledging I had cancelled my account as of April, and it directed me to a web page where I could submit a customer feedback form telling them why I chose to cancel my account, and I thought the matter was closed,” she writes.

“This morning I received an email from a debt-collecting service, informing me they had been instructed to retrieve €66.06, a figure that had never been quoted to me by Sky. The email states that Sky have exhausted all ways to contact me, and given I have received no emails since May and they never attempted to contact me in any other way I find that very hard to swallow.”

The debt-collection agency now wants her to pay via its website. She has no assurances from any party as to the validity of their claims or their creditability. She has been told if she does not pay up she can expect a visit from a debt-collector.

“The amount may be small, but the fact that I have at all times attempted to reconcile the issue with Sky only to be labelled a defaulter is deeply distressing, and given that I have no reason to trust this would be the end of the matter I have serious misgivings about paying this company.”

Sky said in a statement it was “unfortunate that on this occasion our customer’s inability to phone Sky was not recognised via the email exchanges”.

A spokeswoman said Rebecca had now been contacted “and advised there were no payments owing to Sky. We are reviewing our processes to eliminate the prospect of this recurring in the future.”

Aer Lingus slow to pay after landing reader with taxi fare
A reader called Ailbhe recently had a flight from Dublin to London Heathrow with Aer Lingus cancelled.

“I was put on a flight to London Gatwick four hours later, which resulted in a taxi fare of £100 to get home.

“I lodged a refund claim and received a letter stating that my refund has been approved and sent to be processed,” she says.

So far so good. But that was two months ago, and she has received no refund.

“I have sent numerous emails asking about the status of my claim. I have rung Aer Lingus head office twice, and was told I can only contact customer care by email, but the man I spoke to again assured me that this has been passed on to managers in the customer-relations department and that they would contact me soon.

“It is extremely frustrating when all these mails are completely ignored. Is there anything else I can do here?”

The airline told us that a refund is in process and that the airline will contact Ailbhe this week.