News : Deaf Sky Customers Win ‘Call to Cancel' Reprieve
July 1, 2014 -- Sky customers who have hearing trouble will still be able to cancel their packages by email - despite the TV provider stating that subscribers would in future need to telephone to end a contract.
In May, The Telegraph disclosed that Sky would tell its subscribers they needed to talk to call centre staff to cancel.
The move, which is soon to be written into contracts, was prompted by a deluge of letters and emails to our offices from customers who had experienced untold difficulties when they no longer wanted to receive Sky programmes.
The announcement led a number of readers to complain that deaf or hearing-impaired customers faced discrimination.
Sue Bright, from Twickenham, said: "I'm sure many people appreciate your campaign to change the way Sky customers cancel their contracts with the company. However, there is one section of the community that may not be so impressed. Approximately 15pc of the population is either deaf or hearing-impaired. Many, like me, cannot use the phone and rely on email, text or 'snail mail'."
Last week, Sky said anyone with a disability would not face the telephone call obligation. Email and "textphone" will still be permissible ways to cancel. However, it has ruled out written letters for security reasons.
The company is also trialling a video relay service, similar to Skype, through which customers can communicate with Sky staff who can use sign language.
Sky customers with hearing problems should register as "accessibility" customers.
A number of other customers were unhappy with Sky's new policy. David Brinkman, a Sky customer, emailed to say: "Any other business would require cancellation in writing. In my experience, when you finally get through, [Sky] do all they can to prevent you cancelling, going out of their way to make it difficult."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company. The group serves 21 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. Sky has annual revenues of over £11 billion and is Europe's leading investor in television content with a combined programming budget of over £4.6 billion. The company employs 31,000 people and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).
Published: Friday, July 4, 2014