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Sky could face fine after breaching Ofcom's broadband switching rules

Wednesday, September 21st 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Sky could be set for a hefty fine after Ofcom ruled that the company breached rules making it easier for consumers to switch broadband providers.

Ofcom said yesterday it had “provisionally determined” that Sky breached the rules between 1 May and 31 July 2015.

The communications regulator has now given Sky a month to present its defence before Ofcom makes its final decision.

Ofcom opened its investigation in August last year following complaints from consumers.

It said in its provisional decision that Sky breached a rule designed to ensure that the conditions for cancelling a contract do not put customers off switching providers.

But Ofcom is not taking enforcement action against Sky in connection with another rule that covers customers’ cancellation rights within a cooling-off period.

A Sky spokesperson said: “We are incredibly proud to have the highest customer satisfaction levels in the industry, as ranked in the last Ofcom customer service report.

“We have worked with Ofcom openly and constructively throughout their investigation so are very disappointed with this provisional decision.

“We will review the provisional assessment in detail and put forward our case before Ofcom makes its final decision.”

Complaints

Sky pointed out that according to the most recent Ofcom complaints report, it received the fewest broadband, TV and landline complaints compared to BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, EE and Plusnet.

The company also performed well in Ofcom’s last customer satisfaction survey, with 80% of Sky broadband customers saying they were happy with the provider’s customer service.

The spokesperson said Sky had seen a 75% drop in the number of cancellation complaints received by its complaints team – from around four per 300,000 customers to around one per 300,000 customers.

Ofcom has the power to fine Sky up to 10% of its revenue for the period in which it breached the regulator’s code – potentially hundreds of millions of pounds.

In 2011, it fined TalkTalk £3m after it was found to have breached Ofcom rules by charging for cancelled contracts.

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