Is Sky playing fair on end-of-contract notifications for pay-TV customers? Ofcom to investigate the telecoms giant
- Ofcom is investigating Sky over whether it is following industry rules
- Firms now have to tell customers when their contract is coming to an end
- Sky believes it does not have to tell its pay-TV customers
Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether Sky is complying with mandatory rules that say it must issue end-of-contract notifications to pay-TV customers, This is Money can reveal.
Earlier this year, the telecoms watchdog introduced new regulations that require broadband, mobile, home phone and pay-TV firms to notify their customers when their minimum contract period is coming to an end.
These rules say the notifications must be sent to customers of all public ‘electronic communications services’.
Ofcom said it believes that Sky provides an electronic communications service and must therefore send end-of-contract notifications to its pay-TV customers.
Sky is being investigated by Ofcom over whether it is notifying customers appropriately
However, Sky does not consider that its standalone pay-TV services fall within the definition of an ‘electronic communications service’ and believes the obligation to send such notifications does not apply.
The watchdog said it expected to provide an update on this case by the end of January 2021.
A Sky spokesperson said: ‘We welcome Ofcom’s plans to review our position and are pleased to have the opportunity to clarify what has been a long running difference of views on interpretation of the law.
‘Our customer service is industry leading, we speak to millions of customers every year and we are always on hand to support with billing and account questions.
‘We give our customers an extensive range of options to help them manage their Sky services and bills, we make all advertised offers available to all of our customers, and we proactively send new tailored offers and ways to make savings each month.’
Sky added that it encourages its customers to get in touch if they want to discuss billing or new services.
Pay-TV providers have to tell their customers when their current contract is coming to an end
It also said it makes all advertised offers available to all of our customers whether they are new or existing.
Ernest Doku, tech expert at Uswitch, said: ‘End-of-contract notifications were intended to put more power in the hands of consumers and help them get off packages that are no longer good enough.
‘Ofcom’s investigation centres on whether pay-TV providers like Sky are required to send notifications for standalone TV customers in the same way that mobiles and broadband suppliers have to.
‘Any measure that puts more information in the hands of consumers is a good thing, and our figures suggest that mobile and broadband consumers could be £1billion a year better off if they move to a better value deal.
‘We look forward to seeing the results of Ofcom’s investigation, as their decision could affect thousands of consumers who use pay-TV services like Sky’s.
‘Don’t wait for an end-of-contract letter to drop through your front door if you know you are out of contract.
‘Get online now and start researching what deals are available, even if they are with your current provider.’
Customers are encouraged to use price comparisons sites to see if they could save money by switching provider or moving to a different service with their current supplier.
It is also worth negotiating with your TV provider to see if you can get money off your existing bill.