Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Slam this

I may have been slammed. Very possibly it was just another example of gross inefficiency by a company, but it's hard to say. Slamming is "the practice of swapping a consumer's residential phone line over to a new company without their consent." Sounds highly illegal, but it's not.

I got a letter from Sky telling me it was sorry to hear I'm canceling it's Sky Talk service, which gives me unlimited calls to the U.S. for a flat rate this normally costs £5 a month, but which Sky had just agreed to give me for free for one year to keep my business, starting March 26. Which is exactly why I never would've dreamed of canceling service with them, yet their records show I have.

So I called Sky, and they said a third party has requested my phone service. Well, when I signed on for the free deal with Sky Talk, I also agreed to let Sky take over my line service from BT, saving £2 a month. I'm pretty sure the "third party" is Sky itself, their system just doesn't show it. It should, but this sort of thing has happened to me with other companies, where their systems are just crappy and the information isn't properly networked. So I asked the lady on the phone who the third party was, and she said she didn't know, that it just said "third party" and no name had to be given. A company can just contact your supplier, say they want your service, not tell you about it or even state who they are to the first company, and they can steal your phone service! Meaning if someone does steal our service in this way, we could make several calls to the States (or indeed the UK, as without Sky Talk you're charged per call here), and run up a huge bill without knowing our rates have changed! It's a huge con game!

So the lady tells me to call BT and find out who the third party is. I call BT, and they don't have a name, either! Holy crap, that's ridiculous! They then put me back through to Sky, and this time I got a man who said the system showed that I *wasn't* set to change over -- he said there were notes on the system from my previous call stating that I didn't want to change. But the first lady said if someone wants to take your service, you can't stop it! So I don't know what's going on. The supposed cancellation is due to take place March 27, and the 2nd Sky rep told me to call on the 24th to make sure there was no changeover. Except that the 24th is the day after Easter here, which I think is a holiday and I doubt they'll be in. Whenever I reach them, I'll call back on the 27th to make sure they really do still have my service so that I know my calls are free.

I do know, however, that no "third party" has sent me a "welcome" letter for joining their service, which presumably they would do. Which backs up my theory that the request to switch service came from Sky itself, which it what should have happened to change over my line service. This was all very stressful, very poor service and completely insane. Once it's all cleared up, I may call back to file a complaint, for what good it's worth. Maybe they'll give me a discount. They should.

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