My Sky+ County Court Claim

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by plague1392, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. plague1392

    plague1392
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    I posted a few times about my Sky+ troubles, primarily in the threads here and here. I haven’t posted anything since I said I was filing a claim against Sky, and a few people said they would be interested in how it went so I thought I may as well post the outcome. I’ll start with a bit of background so you know why I took them to court.

    I subscribed to Sky+ back in May 2002 after being a very happy Tivo user. I experienced 7 major problems that caused me to miss insane numbers of TV shows, the worst being the one were scheduled recordings set from the EPG disappear prior to the broadcast of the programme. On the channels I watched, which were most Cartoon Network, CNX, Fox Kids (I’m not ashamed to admit it :)), this happen on in excess of 80% of recordings.

    I reported the problems I was having many times to Sky by phone, email and letter but I was essentially ignored or offered explanations like “we’re not equipped to deal with such complaints” or advice to “monitor the situation.” I tell them 80% of recordings are disappearing and their solution is to “monitor the situation” - Great! Despite the fact that all of the problems I experienced were entirely and solely Sky’s responsibility, and the fact that the software could easily be modified to solve the problems, Sky didn’t want to know about the problems I was having and never took any action to remedy the faults. Phoning them was just a waste of time and money.

    Sky+ caused me a lot more annoyance and upset than it did entertainment so I cancelled as soon as the 12 month minimum contract allowed me to. To say I was angry and disgusted that Sky had released a product with such a huge array of problems is an understatement, and Sky’s attitude to the problems angered me further. There was no way I was going to let Sky away with providing such an appalling service, so on the advice of my local trading standards office I sent Sky a letter giving them four weeks to rectify the faults. Sky never even bothered responding to my letter, though they did produce it for their defence to the claim, so I assume they just ignored it like they ignored my other communications. After the four weeks all the faults were still present so I filed a claim in the County Court on the Small Claims track.

    I put in a lot of effort preparing myself for the hearing, and wrote a presentation which detailed the faults and described why Sky’s defence was invalid (their defence was an absolute joke). My hearing took place on 25/07/03 and I turned up confident I was going to win. I was quite surprised when I found Sky had sent word that they wouldn’t be represented at the hearing and that they were going to let the defence they filed represent them. I can only assume that they decided it would be cheaper to pay the claim than to send someone, because they can’t have seriously though they were going to win with three pages of nonsense.

    The hearing was over in about 50 minutes and I was awarded £406 in compensation and expenses. I thought Sky would dispute the decision but to my surprise I received a cheque on 14 August.

    I had originally planned to look into a class action when I won, because if I’m entitled to compensation then logically every other user who has experienced these problems should be. However, it’s been about three months since I stopped using Sky+ so I’m no longer experiencing the extreme annoyance of constant failed recordings. Without my daily dose of Sky+ crap my motivation to take this further has gone away. I think I’ve been fairly compensated so I’m not going to take it any further.

    As I’ve said before, it’s my opinion that Sky have some excellent channel packages that are incredible value compared to the BBC licence fee. It’s a shame that these superb packages are let down by diabolical software and their refusal to do anything to fix it. Most of the major problems I experienced could be fixed very easily, so I really don’t understand why they won’t invest a few days (or for some problems a few minutes) to fix them. If they’d sort their software out I’d subscribe again without a second through, but it looks unlikely that they’ll do so.

    The only way to make them fix it would be if enough people took court action. If you’ve been experiencing some of the eleven separate Sky+ faults that cause users to miss programmes through no fault of their own, then it may be worth giving it a go. It’s all very informal and cheap to do – the court fees are £60 for a claim of up to £500. There’s a no costs rule so the most you can end paying if you lose is your opponent’s costs (transport costs to the court and possibly overnight accommodation). You can file your claim online at http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or you can get the papers from the courts.

    If you are interested in filing a claim these two books here and here may be worth having. I bought both of them and they were more reassuring than informative but for £7.68 they’re well worth it if you’re taking court action.

    Filing a claim is easy to do and you’re entitled to compensation if Sky+ is making you miss programmes through no fault of your own. Plus it’s probably the only way to get Sky to take any action to fix the many Sky+ faults. It may be the ideal time as well because the possible anti-trust approval problems with Sky’s Premiership football bid may mean the legal department has their hands full.

    I’m glad I did it and happy to have received compensation, but in all honesty I don’t think I achieved anything other than my own personal satisfaction. I doubt Sky care about losing £406 and they’re not going to rush out and spend the couple of days required to fix the faults. I’m sure they’d be more inclined to take action if a lot of people filed claims, but I doubt this post will encourage anyone to do so because everyone will have lost interest reading it before reaching the end :)

    Right, well that was all fairly pointless. I only intended to mention that I won but I started typing and all this came out in a stream of unstructured consciousness. I’ve never been very good at being concise. Oh well, I’ve typed it now so I may as well post it.
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  3. GETanner

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    Well done.

    What would be interesting is if you could publish the documents you filed with the Courts, obviously removing any personal details.

    Would give others a nice framework to use if/when they decide to go down the Small Claims route.

    Did the Judge give you a break down on the award?

    At a guess, I would assume it was £60.00 Court costs, £300.00 for the Sky+ system you purchased and £46.00 extra costs or did they order a refund of subs?

    The Small Claims is a very much under-used way of getting big companies to answer the consumer.

    Again, well done. :clap:

    Guy
     
  4. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Congratulations indeed, although it is a shame that you want to use the tech but after all these bad experiences you won't be coming back to SKY. No surprise they chose to pay up either, openly defending their product would have meant certain answers to questions being on record as opposed to just a brief outline defending their position.
     
  5. TheBigApple

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    Congratulations. Although it will do nothing to Sky's reputation, it's always good to hear about cases like this. :clap:

    After reading through the previous threads I'm quite glad I've not had any problems with Sky+.
     
  6. Rasczak

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    Yeah well done plague :smashin: Always pleased to see bad treatment by Sky put right!
     
  7. plague1392

    plague1392
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    Thanks a lot to everyone for the congratulations and positive response. I’ve been accused of trolling when I’ve brought up Sky+ faults in other forums, so I wasn’t sure what response this would get. By the time I finished typing it I wasn’t sure whether to post it, but I’m glad I did now.

    GETanner, I’ll scan in my exhibits and upload my case to a website tonight. The only thing I think I’ll have to remove is the details of the offer Sky made. The letter said something like the details of the offer are confidential and shouldn’t be made available to third parties without prior permission, so I best cut that out. I’ll just say that their settlement offer barely covered the court fees I’d paid, so seemed more like a slap in the face than an attempted settlement.

    The breakdown of the £406 award is:

    £155 for the cost of the Sky+ unit over the unsubsidised cost of a regular Pace Digibox. I felt the Sky+ unit worked fine as a regular digibox so I didn’t think it would be fair to claim the full £300.

    £96 for half my regular Sky subscription fees to account for programmes that Sky+ caused me to miss. Obviously Sky+ couldn’t cause me to miss live TV so I only claimed half because I did get some entertainment from watching Sky.

    £60 for half the Sky+ subscription fees for the year. I actually claimed the full £120 because, while it didn’t fail on all recordings, I felt the Sky+ advertising was misleading and inaccurate and I would not have subscribed to the service if I was made aware of its many faults/limitations. I also felt that Sky+ had lead to a significant loss off enjoyment and disappointment as evening after evening I found programmes had not recorded. I don’t really understand why but the judge said I couldn’t claim for loss of enjoyment and disappointment in this case and because Sky+ worked sometime he could only award me half the Sky+ subscription.

    £25 for half the Sky+ installation. Again, I went for the full £50 but for the same reason as above he could only award me half the installation costs.

    £60 for the court fees.

    £10 for expenses bringing the case to court.

    Total £406.

    Thanks again for the congratulations.
     
  8. GETanner

    GETanner
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    Cheers for doing that.

    With regards to the offer Sky made. As you won the case, it is academic and no doubt equal to about a month's free subscription, their standard attempt to buy angry subscribers silence. As you did not accept their offer, it could be argued that you are not held by any clauses made with that offer but best not to risk seeing if their legal department knows their stuff.

    Would be interesting to see Sky's reaction if you now tried to re-subscribe to the Sky+ system.

    Guy
     
  9. ajb

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    Hi

    Congrats also from me...

    If anyone needs a little bit of legal advice here or there, I might be able to help...

    Regards
    Andrew
     
  10. plague1392

    plague1392
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    I’ve uploaded my case notes, exhibits and Sky’s defence in a 2.5MB zip file here. Hope it’s of use to somebody.

    Looking through all that Sky+ related stuff has really worked me up and I’ve just gone off writing a long rant about the quality of Sky’s software and incompetence of their employees. Fortunately I came to my senses before posting it, but I can feel the old Sky+ rage coming back. My motivation is returning! Let’s get that class action on the go boys! :)

    Actually, I’ll just be glad to put Sky+ well behind me. The only pleasure I got from it was when the judge gave his decision. Sky+ is the second worst thing that's happened to me in my life.
     
  11. GETanner

    GETanner
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    Many thanks,

    Will have a nice long read in the morning.

    Regards,

    Guy
     
  12. savage

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    Yes must add my congratulations as well .

    well done mate !!! :smashin:
     
  13. Zor

    Zor
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    Great job! It is up to the little man in the street to take on these corporate giants (with large legal departments) and remind them they can’t walk over all of us all of the time. :smashin:
     
  14. TheFatBoy

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    Congrats mate :smashin:

    The link to the zip file didn't work for me though!
     
  15. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    Seems to be working for me. Have you tried right click, "Save as.."?
     
  16. phelings

    phelings
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    I too lost episodes of Scooby Doo that were preprogrammed everyday for ages,so I used manual recording for them.I rarely record of the Cartoon Network,and recordings on all other channels were fine.Could it be a CN problem?
     

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