Sky calls on debt collectors after scuba diver tries to close his account
A reader called Rory Golden, a well-known explorer and diver, got in touch last week and made it clear that Sky is the limit of his patience and endurance.
“At the beginning of April of this year, in accordance with Sky’s terms and conditions, I wrote and sent a letter to their offices in Burlington Road, Dublin 4, giving 30 days notice to terminate my account,” said Golden, the first Irish diver visiting the Titanic site in August 2000.
His email explained that he had had issues with his Sky box and was frustrated “trying to go anywhere on their helpline, so he decided to shut down. [the account]”. He had been with the company for 30 years.
“The April payment had to be made, so I authorized the May 10 payment to be made as well and ended the direct debit from that date,” he said. “I assumed that would be more than enough. I then went to sea for the next five weeks in the North Atlantic.
As a further explanation, he tells us that there is no cell phone service in Ireland in the North Atlantic, where he took part in another high seas expedition. And no, neither we nor Rory let’s not give the mobile operator a hard time on this.
We must, however, explain that Rory is a high seas diver of some notoriety and has been on the Titanic on more than one occasion. Most of the artifacts he rescued from the ship can be found in museums around the world. He has also appeared on television and in documentaries and runs a diving operation in southern County Dublin. In short, he’s well used to dealing with tough, high-pressure situations – at least underwater, dealing with Sky was a whole different matter.
“When I returned, there were two letters from Sky dated June 12 and 25 informing me that my June payment had not been made and that I could correct it. Sky’s second letter threatened to sanction and cut my account. Funny, since that’s what I wanted them to do. Cancel my account that is.
So Rory called Sky because there was a local number to contact. “I explained that I had been out at sea for five weeks and that what I had done was in accordance with their terms and conditions, but the agent had nothing to do with it. He admitted that they had received my written letter and that someone had called my cell phone but got no response. I stressed again that I was at sea in the North Atlantic and had no telephone service. His response was that they expected me to call them back. Although I had no record of a missed call from them. Because I had no cover. In the North Atlantic.
Reasonably enough, we think, Rory responded that if Sky tried to contact me, “then it was up to them to follow up. That as far as I was concerned, I had given the correct notice on their terms and conditions and it was the end. He insisted that I had to pay the € 41.50 and late fees ”.
Rory had none of that. He told the man from Sky “I wasn’t going to pay anymore, and that was the end of the matter for me.” He more or less said it was not over. I disagreed with him, I complained about Sky’s policy, I said politely but firmly that I was not taking it out on him personally, but rather on the company, I said goodbye and I ended the call ”.
A few weeks later Rory received another letter, dated August 15th but received it on August 20th, “this time threatening me with a debt collection agency, and that it could affect my credit rating.” Of course, that helped me.
By the way, he tells us that “all of these letters appear to have been mailed in the UK so they are taking longer than usual time to be delivered as well. I called Sky back on the 20th and went through the same process with another agent. I told them that if they wanted to go further by threatening my credit rating, I was willing to challenge that to defend myself and my reputation. I then suggested once again that they were wrong, that I had followed the procedures and that it was a waste of time of over € 41.50 ”.
A week later, Rory got another call from Sky in the UK. “A Trevor and a Victoria spoke to me at length, and once again I refused to pay any money. The call lasted almost 10 minutes. On Wednesday September 1st I got a call from a UK number on my cell phone. I answered it and a man with a Scottish accent asked me if I was Rory Golden. When I confirmed who I was I asked who was calling and was told it was about the credit score / check. I told the person never to call me again and hung up. I redialed the number on my office line and got a hired number so I assumed it was a fraudulent call.
A day later he received a text message: “This is an important message from Resolvecall. Please call us on 0818 ****** citing reference 5 *** to discuss this. Thank you.”
Resolvecall is a UK based debt collection agency. “They have no jurisdiction here, I presume,” he said.
Later that same day he received another call from a UK telephone. And the next day another. And then another. And then another.
“Does Resolvecall have jurisdiction in the Republic of Ireland? To which mediator can I file a complaint about this? I am completely ready to go further on a point of principle, even if it costs me more than the amounts committed. How many vulnerable people could handle this type of harassment? I have informed my lawyer of the situation so far and am considering my options. Maybe a public broadcast from you could solve this ridiculous matter.
We reached out to Sky to see if he could explain what had happened and a few hours later he reached out to Golden. The company apologized for the experience it had in trying to process the cancellation. The account was canceled retrospectively from the date of his first correspondence which was April 28 and a credit on his account of € 58.10 was refunded to him.
Golden contacted us again to tell us that he had not planned or even wanted the refund and added that he was planning to donate it to the RNLI.
In a statement, Sky said that “attempts have been made to contact the customer upon receipt of the letter, to process the cancellation. In accordance with our Sky TV contract, customers can write to us or send us an email. to cancel their account, but the notice given by these means will not be effective until we have spoken to the customer and verified their account ”.
He added that once “the account has been verified, the notice will take effect from the date the original notice was given. Unfortunately in this case the customer was not reachable and therefore we were unable to verify the account to process the cancellation request ”.
We also asked about how Golden was treated by UK debt collectors. “When an account is overdue, system-generated letters are issued for a certain period of time, which is standard industry practice. The company we work with is regulated by the FCA and follows strict regulatory obligations under its FCA license.
And in case you were wondering, it’s not the Irish FCA but the UK Financial Conduct Authority.