Posted by Dan Delaney | 11th Apr 2011

Recently I made the decision that I was going to stop all my services from Sky, primarily because I am no longer prepared to pay extra for TV channels that I don't watch, and 99% of those I do are now available on Freesat.  I bought a Humax Freesat HD+ Recorder, tested it would work OK, and called Sky to cancel my services.

As well as TV, Sky provided my telephone and broadband services and I have been generally happy with the company over the last 5 years or so.  However, I decided that I would swap all my telephone services back to BT so I could get my broadband from BT Infinity which has become available in my area in the last few months.

Cancelling my TV package was no problem at all.  After convincing the customer representative that I really, really didn't want half price TV for 6 months she proceeded with the cancellation.  However, when it came to requesting the Migration Access Code, which I needed to order the new BT Infinity service, I was told there was an 'error on the account'.  Eventually, she gave up and put a request through to the support teams to investigate and I was assured that I would be called within 48 hours by a member of the technical teams. I wasn't.

2 weeks later following 4 (expensive) phone calls with very polite but ultimately unhelpful customer representatives, I was getting increasingly frustrated with the time being wasted by Sky.   Ofcom's regulations state that I should be provided with a MAC code (by post) within 5 days of requesting it.  Not once did I receive a call back from Sky, despite asking for one each time I called.

In the end, I was lucky enough to speak to one adviser who knew exactly which department were able to deal with the problem.  Lo and behold, within 2 minutes I had my MAC code and was able to go ahead with the order from BT.  He could not understand why his colleagues were unable to do the same for me 2 weeks later.  I can only hope that he fed this back to his management, as clearly there is something amiss.

According to Ofcom, "A Migration Authorisation Code or MAC is a unique code which identifies a particular line and enables customers to switch internet service providers smoothly and with minimal disruption".  In theory, this should be the case.  In reality, MAC codes have been in use for years but still there are issues around the inconsistent way that requests are handled by individual suppliers, and in the case of Sky that also seems to depend on the experience level of the customer representative that picks up your call.

At the end of the day, I am not interested in why their systems are out of synch, or the fact they migrated my account from one system to another last week.  As a customer, I expect my supplier to provide the MAC code on request and if they're not able to do so there and then, I expect at least the courtesy of a phone call explaining the delay.  I don't expect excuses.  Overall, my prolonged MAC code experience has spoiled what had been up to this point a good impression of the company.

I may not have received a call back from Sky, but they never failed to send an email asking me to provide them with feedback about my experience... I've sent a link to this post.