Saturday 1 December 2007

How Sky use YOUR personal information

Got your Sky magazine yet? Good. Chances are, like me, you empty out all the crap, straight into the bin; all those adverts for pensions, useless scratchcards, etc..

Chances are, then, that you have also inadvertently thrown away the small A5 leaflet on how Sky use the information they hold about you. If you have, dig it out of your bin, and read it. A change in their terms and conditions means that, unless you telephone them to tell them otherwise, Sky may, and I quote from their leaflet..

“Use and share the information we hold about you for account management, market research, and the marketing of Sky’s and third parties products and services.”

Along with…

“Information held by the Sky Group about you, may also be shared with other companies outside the group, including for sales, marketing and market research purposes by such companies, unless you indicate that you with to be excluded from such uses by contacting us on 08702 40 40 40”

This effectively means that unless you ring them, and tell you specifically DO NOT give consent for your information to be shared, they can forward it, indeed SELL it, to ANY third party they choose.

The leaflet clearly states that this may mean you are contacted by them, their subsidiaries, and third party companies, by POST, TELEPHONE, EMAIL OR SMS.

All this, discretely tucked away on a sheet of A5 paper, which I believe they KNOW, the majority of us will sling straight in the bin.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that this will mean you are bombarded with junk mail, unwanted cold calls, and text messages every five seconds, but it does open the door for these companies to contact you.

If you want to prevent it, RING SKY, don’t allow them to make a profit out of YOUR/OUR private information. The number is 08702 40 40 40.

A WORD OF WARNING… If you choose to ring the number, DO NOT attempt to navigate your way through the “new and improved menu”. This took almost 4 minutes, and after a further six minutes on hold, I gave up. I rang back, and selected option ONE, which is to book a Box Office event. Surprise, Surprise.. it was answered within FIFTEEN SECONDS!

Once I had managed to relay what I was talking about to the trained chimpanzee, I complained about the wait, and demanded that Sky reimburse the cost of the call, and made a complaint about the time difference in answering calls, when a profit can be had, either from a Box Office event, or by keeping you on hold for a week!

If you find yourself on hold, COMPLAIN. They WILL refund the cost of the call, although it took several attempts and the threat of a package downgrade from me, in order to get them to stump up a quid. It might seem like a small amount; it is, but why should big companies be allowed to change their terms and conditions at will, making them more profit, and then even more profit when you try and do something about it, such as following their OWN advice!

Another step you can take to prevent any of these companies ringing you, leaving aside Sky, is by registering with the TPS. You can do so at

Telemarketers are required, as I understand it, to verify that your details are, or are not, held with the TPS, and if they ARE, they are NOT allowed to contact you. All the details are on their site, and while they don’t specifically handle individual cases, any calls you do receive, can be subsequently reported online, free of charge. These then go toward preventing them from contacting you again, or can be forwarded to an Ombudsman or OFCOM as a recognized complaint.

Speaking personally, I have reported British Gas twice in the past. Since the second reporting (and probably the 8th or 9th time they rang), they have never rung back. It isn’t 100% effective, but it does cut out around 95% of cold telephone calls.

With the Government happily sending our private information to all and sundry, we need to be more proactive at protecting our own private information. Preventing Sky from selling it to anyone they choose to, is a very good start! ;)

Don’t let ANYONE help themselves to your personal information to make a profit, and certainly don’t allow them to make a further profit out of keeping you on hold all day. Fight back!

No comments: