Sky charges for repairs to non-faulty digiboxes

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by xmattbaron, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. xmattbaron

    xmattbaron
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    Sky charges for repairs to non-faulty digiboxes
    By Andrew Smith
    Published Thursday 6th January 2005 11:42 GMT
    Exclusive British Sky Broadcasting has denied accusations that the company tried to profit from a known software fault in its digital video recorders, after customers were charged £65 for engineers to visit their homes.

    A recurring fault in the Sky+ system software causes recordings to fail for no apparent reason. The bug eats up space on the digibox's hard disk and, even after the failed recording has been deleted, the disk space is lost.

    Although the problem has dragged on for two years, coming and going through various software updates, recent complaints from Sky+ customers have revealed an interesting development:

    Customers whose digiboxes are still under warranty are told by Sky that the fault is known about and will be fixed with an automatic software update, downloaded by satellite. But customers whose digiboxes are out of warranty are told that it is a hardware fault and will require an engineer visit. This incurs a £65 call-out charge.

    The discrepancy was confirmed this week by The Register. Calling twice as a customer whose digibox is still under warranty, we were told on both occasions that the problem is caused by a known software fault.

    But calling twice as a customer whose digibox is out of warranty, both times we were told that it is a hardware fault and we would have to pay £65 for an engineer to fix it.

    Refunds and retraining
    Sky has so far been unable to explain the discrepancy in advice being given to customers, but a spokeswoman stressed that the company was "absolutely not" trying to profit by charging for unnecessary call-outs.

    "We have had complaints from a small percentage of customers and we have confirmed that it is a software fault," the spokeswoman explained.

    "We will review engineer call-outs on a case-by-case basis and although we can't make any promises with regard to refunds, some customers would receive a refund if the engineer was unable to fix the problem."

    The spokeswoman acknowledged that "retraining" of some call centre staff may be necessary to ensure that customers are offered appropriate advice in future, regardless of whether or not their digiboxes are still under warranty.

    Never miss a thing
    This recording fault has been a long-term thorn in the side of Sky and thousands of customers who subscribe to the £10 per month Sky+ service.

    Why the fault cannot be fixed permanently is a mystery, and some Sky+ users have come to dread the automatic software updates, knowing that the problem may re-appear at any time.

    When the bug first struck, customers were infuriated by Sky insisting that there was nothing wrong. An extemporary campaign organised on an internet discussion forum resulted in a flood of complaints to Sky, but the company continued to deny the fault and denied receiving any complaints.

    Concerns were heightened when it was discovered that a hidden menu option had been added to the engineer's menu on the Sky+ interface. "Planner Rebuild" seemed to serve no purpose other than to correct for the lost disk space caused by the recording bug. Rather than crushing the bug once and for all, it appeared that Sky had decided to simply work around it.

    Much to the dismay and some ironic amusement of Sky+ users, the "Planner Rebuild" feature was a failure and has not solved the problem it was meant to fix.

    Sky+ adverts infamously boasted that subscribers would "never miss a thing", a claim which has lead to Sky paying compensation to customers affected by the recording bug. The "never miss a thing" line does not appear in the latest round of advertising.

    Pace giveth and Freeview taketh away
    Elsewhere in the troubled world of digital video recorders, owners of the Pace Twin Freeview recorder are still waiting for the service to work as expected, two years after its launch.

    Essentially a Freeview version of Sky+, the Pace Twin relies on TV listings being broadcast as part of the Freeview signal.

    But in the run-up to the product's launch for the Christmas 2002 market, Pace somehow neglected to warn customers that the requisite listings info was not being broadcast and, despite optimistic press releases, there was no certainty that it ever would be.

    In late 2004 the listings broadcast finally began, but was soon dropped from some channels. Pace Twin users are now unable to record any programmes from those channels as the units report that there is a fault.

    Users report a slew of other faults with the Pace Twin units, such as ITV and Channel 4 being omitted from the channel line-up, the instant record feature not working due to missing programme details, lock-ups caused by a known memory overflow issue, and a variety of other crashes and glitches that by some accounts have transformed the service into a cut-down version of Freeview costing ten times the price. ®
     
  2. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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  3. Timmy C

    Timmy C
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    Well I'm glad he posted the entire article as I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise and I didn't see the earlier thread. Not sure that your comment was entirely necessary though! Surely we should try and make new members feel welcome.
     
  4. GalacticaActual

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    Yes, have to agree with that.
    I was thinking of going over to sky plus, but now I have read this, I might just reconsider.

    Thanks timmmy c :thumbsup:
     
  5. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Of course for those people like myself who have never experienced this so called "bug" wonder what the fuss is all about:)

    SKY CS talk b******s, well that's a given. I've talked to a few in my time and always come away with the impression I know a damn sight more about the problem than they do but from their perspective they are just phone operators with a computerised prompoting system.

    Of course the article doesn't mention a thing about the results of the call outs.
    If you have paid £65 and they change nothing or replace the SKY+ and the fault happens again you are entitled to either a refund or ongoing call outs free of charge and they never fixed the fault you were paying them for in the first place.
     
  6. vileda

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    Sorry NickUK,

    but this has to be rated in my top 10 most useful posts of all time. I'm down to 50% with nothing recorded and was wondering what the f :oops: was going on.

    Just waiting for the room to be decorated and the dust to dettle before complaining.
     
  7. vileda

    vileda
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    Don't reconsider it is excellent and works (mainly) as advertised (don't start me on NTL's TV) I would not go back, the gimmick of rewinding live tv is a godsend and worth having to subscribe to the premium channels.
     
  8. vileda

    vileda
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    P.S. see below for mystery disappearing disk space fix

    here

    :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :hiya:
     
  9. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    I've been advising people how to fix this bug on these forums for several weeks now. If you think a post taking pot-shots at Sky is more useful than a post telling you how to fix a minor bug with half-a-dozen key presses on the remote, that's your problem. If my box was out of warranty, and I wanted an engineer visit because I couldn't fix it myself, I would expect to pay for it.
     
  10. jenic

    jenic
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    Is this problem still occuring with new boxes?
     
  11. birdseed

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    This thread doesnt surprise me at all, at the risk of being sued, i used to work at one of those call centres back in 1999, just when sky analogue was changing to digital. Obviously the new digiboxes were in high demand and people were waiting 3-4 months for installation. If a fault developed, you were waiting a similar amount of time for an engineer to visit to fix the problem.

    One of the best stories from working there was when a customer was upgraded to digital, about 20 minutes after the engineer left, the "no satelite signal is being recieved " message came up. It basically meant that the dish had probably moved, just enough to be out of line.
    I had to tell her that, she would have to wait eight weeks for an engineer to come back to fix it!!

    you can imagine her response!
     

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