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Read this: Customer complaints prompt Sky investigation

Summary: Under rules introduced by Ofcom last year, if you took out a contract after 23 January 2014 and your provider increases prices on that contract, you can cancel without paying any penalty fees. Together we convinced Ofcom to take action and, as a result, fixed contracts mean fixed prices from the day you sign the agreement until the end of the contract. -

Read full article: link icon  Customer complaints prompt Sky investiga…

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Summaries are done by Clipped-Your articles and documents summarized.

Sunday, 9 August 2015
Ian Sandin
8:30 PM

I had a letter from Virgin telling me that they were increasing the monthly subscription as they would be giving me more sports channels. I wrote to Virgin and told them that as I didn't watch any sports channels, I didn't want to pay any more. Have I had a reply ? guess!

Ian Sandin

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Ian Sandin's 4 posts GB
Monday, 10 August 2015
7:20 AM

Ian Sandin:

Just like BT have increased their charges across the board to pay for the extra 'sports' services they apparently provide. We don't what any of the sports they claim to show but we still have to pay the extra despite not having BT Sport either.

Seems to me that the people running BT and Virgin, and maybe others, services assume that 'everyone' wants to watch 24/7 football with a few other sports fitted in between. The FA research on how many actually watch football shows it is a minority - yet the majority have wall to wall football inflicted upon us.

There's nothing anyone can do to correct this marketing mistake.

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MikeP's 215 posts Silver Silver GB
3:08 PM

MikeP: Except its not a marketing mistake.

I'm actually a total non-sports fan, but I understand that if you are a sports fan, its important to you. And unlike movies or TV, its something that you'll want to watch live (hence the reason why pubs have Sky Sports). So if Sky or BT has the rights to certain matches, etc, then you'll have no choice but to sign up if you want to watch those fixtures. And sports fans are willing to pay a lot of money for that access, which means they are highly profitable customers. And if you add the sports package to full movie/TV packages, then you can charge a lot of money Changing channels: cost of top pay-TV bundles rises to £100 a month | Media | The Guardian

However, that coverage is not totally price insensitive - and some point they (or perhaps their wives) ar going to say 'how much!', and then they might think of cancelling completely or possibly switching providers. So providers, having spent eye watering amounts of money of sports rights, will do their best to extract as much money as possible from customers whilst keeping them.

Confusing and complex packages, sudden deals which might not always pan out, and of course adding something whilst increasing prices are a favourite. My Virgin internet package now has faster speeds, yet strangely has also increased in price. I didn't ask them for a higher speed, yet Virgin say they are doing me a favour...

Of course this is pretty standard in the US. Since cable is generally the way most people get their TV, consumers there are very used to 'bundling' and hate it. Basic cable package? Over 100 channels, but often includes sports channels that you might not use, but still have to pay for. That helps spread the cost of sports to everyone, not just the potentially highly profitable sports fans. There is an argument that niche channels would vanish if viewing packages were 'a la cartre', but most resistance has come from the big content providers. In fact both cable companies and consumers are fighting back, since the expensive sports rights might not actually pay for themselves anyway
Pay-TV Providers Bid to End Sports Networks' Win Streak - WSJ

You can see that some of the cable providers (who are themselves widely hated by consumers) are starting to offer slimmed down packages, without sports Fox, NBC Universal Reject Verizon's New TV Packages | Media - Advertising Age - becuase their consumers dont really want them. Yet big sports providers (who have paid big bucks for the rights) are fighting this, since they'd be left with fewer viewers.

Sports, as the WSJ article makes clear, is a steady market. Live sports can't be watched via Netflix, etc, and audiences remain much the same as they have been. In the case of BT, they've added market share because of the sports rights they hold, and they assume that more people want to watch than do currently. It costs them nothing to 'give' you sports as part of your infinity package, but might make you stay with them. And at the same time, they can argue a higher price, because you've got 'more value'.

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MikeB's 2,522 posts Platinum Platinum GB
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
7:14 AM


I, too, am not a sports fan, only watching a bit of F1, maybe some golf occasionally but definitely not football, rugby, horse racing, athletics, etc. So why are we non sports viewers being forced to pay for the rights to sports we don't watch and don't want to watch? The principle used to be that you paid for the package you wanted to watch and nothing else. That has changed to everyone paying for the higher costs of football plus their normal service charges for broadband, etc.
I am still of the opinion that marketing departments don't consider what we the viewing public want but rather what they want us to watch, even if we're not interested, and making extra income.

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MikeP's 215 posts Silver Silver GB
11:47 AM

MikeP: I think the marketing departments consider what we might want, but then look at how much extra income they might make!

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MikeB's 2,522 posts Platinum Platinum GB
Ray Baldacchino
7:27 PM

Well done Which? - they finally got at least one organization - Sky - to comply with the law of contract and stopped them from breaking existing consumer laws too. A lot of the telecoms companies have been increasing the cost of their services above that agreed at the onset of the contract.

A trick EE attempted was to charge me £18.25 from 3/7/15 to 2/8/15, when my contract for b'band and phone ended with them on 3/7/15 and I moved to my new supplier on 6/7/15 for the phone and 21/7/15 for the b'band! I cancelled my direct debit so they could not charge me a month's line rental (most of the £18.25) for 2 days - 4 & 5/7/15 - and refund me in September! I e-mailed them twice to explain my position because they continued to make demands despite my 1st explanation. They never did give me a final bill but if I had allowed them to take the £18.25, my relationship with them would have been extended by over 2 months after my contract expired with them holding onto my money.

SSE, my new supplier, were unable to transfer my phone and b'band on the same day - the latter was transferred 15 days later. This has happened before, in fact I think its always been the case when I have changed suppliers. It seems that in the UK, our suppliers are unable to do things properly and transfer both services on the same date, as they do in North America, who usually are more up-to-date than this country and not so prehistoric!

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Ray Baldacchino's 8 posts GB

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