back to article Virgin Media whines about Sky's customer service claims, ad watchdog agrees

It's been a quiet year for ISPs being placed on the naughty step by the UK's advertising watchdog. But today, Sky has been admonished for making misleading and unsubstantiated claims about its customer service. Rival Virgin Media successfully challenged the methodology used by Sky, in which it had boasted that it offered " …

  1. Sir Barry


    "Sky was told that the ads must not appear again in their current form and was warned not to use wonky methodology in future advertising campaigns."

    Stronger words from the toothless ASA, their gums are almost showing!

    There are expenses, statistics and then broadband adverts....

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Sigh

      "and was warned not to use wonky methodology in future advertising campaigns."

      "...or else we'll tell you not to use those ads again in their other form too!"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Toothless ASA

      What is even the point in this useless establishment??

      Companys can pretty much say whatever they want, the only comeback is 6 months down the line the ASA will tell them they were wrong for doing it.

      The advertising campaign will have ended by then and no-one will give a damn.

      It's about time they were wound up, a total waste of money.

      1. teebie

        Re: Toothless ASA

        "What is even the point in this useless establishment??"

        To get news organisations to report on false advertising, reducing public trust in the perpetrators?

        They don't have any powers to fine perpetrators, so there isn't much else they can do.

        More cynically, maybe they are there to save the trading standard office money by weeding out the most spurious complaints before they reach them?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Toothless ASA

        "It's about time they were wound up, a total waste of money."

        Can you guess who funds the ASA?

        Spoiler alert








        "The ASA is funded by advertisers through an arm’s length arrangement that guarantees the ASA’s independence."

  2. Richard Jones 1


    Perhaps Sky will now claim the best wonky adverts. Along the lines of "a Sky spokesman was not yet quoted as saying, Sky can can offer better wonky adverts than anyone else - and this time the advert is approved by the advertising watchdog."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    better customer service than TalkTalk??

    Thats hardly an achievement...

    In fact, note to Sky, Virgin, Plusnet et al. Drop TalkTalk from your advertising dross altogether...

  4. dave 81

    It's like comparing craps.

    Never had the displeasure of talk-talk, but had both sky and virgin, and saying one's customer service is better than the other is like saying one crap is less stinky that the another. Could be true, but it's still crap at the end of the day.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have to be honest...

    I was with Virgin for about 10 years and in the last 18 months, they were beyond shit. The final straw for me was when there was a fault at our local exchange that essentially turned my 20Mbps line into 56Kbps line and it only affected 5 houses, mine included, and we were told on several occasions by Virgin that it was too much hassle to fix.

    Sky on the other hand have been brilliant.

    1. Jagged

      Re: Have to be honest...

      "Sky on the other hand have been brilliant."

      - they are all brilliant when you are a new customer. Give it a few more months

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have to be honest...

        Original AC. Been with Sky for nearly 4 years. Moved house twice and everything was done when they said it would be and with no charges on contract renewals. There have been 1 or 2 outages in this time and Sky have been extremely communicative and got the issues sorted quickly. I was prepared for the worse when signing up, but have been more than pleasantly surprised by them. They were helpful and apologetic (for a fault that was nothing to do with them!) when I cancelled the TV service and even gave me a discount for the year on my other services. Can't recommend them enough.

    2. NotWorkAdmin

      Re: they were beyond shit

      Still with Virgin, but can't forget the day they sent TWO people to connect me to the service. A pair of untrained "technicians" arsed about for 2 hours trying to configure the router via USB. They said a "senior engineer" would be with me the following day because they couldn't make it work. I asked why the hell they didn't use an ethernet cable to be told they weren't trained how to do that.

      Needless to say I plugged in a CAT5 cable within a minute of them leaving and let Virgin know their "senior engineer" could take the day off.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wonderful job at ASA

    I mean, whatever they say, it's a win-win situation - for them. They ask the business to take down the ads (why, it was meant to be shown a couple of times anyway, until the competition starts whining, so job done, let's create a new one), and the ASA is happy to declare to the beeb how many times it has "intervened" this or that year on behalf of consumers, blah blah blah. And if some try to whinge about this being a merry-go-round, with businesses taking turns and getting slapped, and their competitors stepping into their shoes, etc, while REAL fines would make them all suddenly very, very careful so, sort it out, ASA! - ASA smugly points out it's got no powers to fine, sorry, fuck off, we're doing our job marvellously. Like I said, wonderfully cushy position and the whole dance has been going on and on and on for years. Business happy, ASA happy, legislators happy, all out for dinner. Customers... fuck them.

  7. Grubby

    Why only private companies

    Ofcom have the power to demand a company stop talking when what they're saying is bull, but for some reason they don't act when it's a government department. Take GoSafe who run the speed cameras in North Wales and areas of England, all material they produce states "we don't hide cameras", "speed kills"; both claims have been proven to be untrue or cannot be proven and therefor, under Ofcom rules shouldn't be used. A number of UK prisons promote their rehabilitation scores, but the methods used to come to this conclusion are very, very dodgy. Then there's the government itself who are able to base whole campaigns to get votes then change their mind, surely making a claim in order to obtain a vote should be binding in some way?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Why only private companies

      Take GoSafe who run the speed cameras in North Wales and areas of England, all material they produce states "we don't hide cameras", "speed kills"; both claims have been proven to be untrue or cannot be proven

      Find me an accident that would have killed someone if noone had had any speed - speed kills... Obvious innit.

      (Yes, I know it's the sudden stop - or the sudden start in the even that you hit someone else, which is more likely at high speed than low)

      1. Grubby

        Re: Why only private companies

        The implication is that speed alone kills, which if was true, everybody would be dead, any movement is done at speed. So clearly speed alone does not kill, and it's not even high speed alone that kills, planes are pretty fast but I've never died, not once. And I travel on them a few times a month.

        Speed + [Something else] kills. The something else could be stupidity, alcohol, malfunction etc. But to state 'Speed Kills' is incorrect.

        Being alive kills, you can only die if you are alive. So where are the alive cameras fining people for being alive, it's the number one killer all over the world!

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Why only private companies

          Speed is however a massive factor.

          It increases the energy involved in any collision. Since the energy is proportional to the square of the speed even relatively small speed increase makes a significant increase in the energy brought to the scene.

          It decreases the time available to react to any situation - whether that be a mechanical failure or a human failure on your own or someone else's part. It also increases the distance required for that reaction to occur - compounding the difficulty.

          Obvioulsy travelling at 30mph (relative to what?) doesn't kill, but the energy which does kill people is readily available at speed, and judging by the number of road deaths each year is beyond the capacity of many people to reliably control...

          1. Terry Barnes

            Re: Why only private companies

            "It decreases the time available to react to any situation - whether that be a mechanical failure or a human failure on your own or someone else's part. It also increases the distance required for that reaction to occur - compounding the difficulty."


            One person travelling too fast can also force errors in others. An elderly or very young pedestrian may not be able to accurately assess if they have time to cross a road when a vehicle is approaching outside of the normal speed parameters for a road.

            No accident is improved by having ithappen faster.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Why only private companies

              Apparently three people disagree and think that collisions are better at higher speeds. I just hope they don't get trusted with a couple of tons of metal with a significant power plant in it on a regular basis.

          2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

            Re: Why only private companies

            Quote "Speed is however a massive factor."

            It sure is, one of the worst accidents I've seen happened at 30 mph, when a driver joined a motorway at 30 mph into a road packed full of trucks and rush hour traffic doing 50-60

            But thats a bit off topic

            How about the ASA fine companys for lying on their BB ads and make them put the full price on them instead of the 6 month new customer

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why only private companies

            Actually at 30 mph there is a 50/50 chance a person hit will die so it does kill half the time if you're a pedestrian!

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Why only private companies

              Too much of many things can kill.

              "Speed" for example be it in either its amphetamine or methamphetamine form is estimated to have killed about 3,700 people by overdose in 2013 alone.

              So, I don't think ASA could uphold that complaint.

  8. Dan McIntyre

    Sky v Virgin Customer Service

    Gotta say, having been a Sky customer for over 10 years who recently switched to Virgin - Sky customer service IS far superior to Virgin's abysmal offering.

    Any time I ever had a problem with Sky I could call them and within 24 hours it was sorted, with a credit on my account for the inconvenience. Both times I had to do that it was a fault in the BT exchange.

    Only reason I switched to Virgin is because I moved home and Sky/BT et al could only get me a max of 1.5mbps connection and had no plans to put fibre in my new area. With Virgin I get 161mbps, most of the time.

    But for Virgin to complain about Sky's claims, well it's beyond belief as they have the worst customer service I've ever experienced.

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Sky v Virgin Customer Service

      I've heard this quite a few times but never experienced it - every time I've called Virgin they've been helpful and the issue has been fixed within the next few hours.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Sky v Virgin Customer Service

        The success/fail rate is IMHO down to who you get to speak to.

        If you can get beyond the S. Asians with names like John and Mary and speak to some who actually understand English then you will get a pretty good response.

        T-T are just about the lowest of the low and pretty well even a blind man/woman could do a better job at support than them so not good PR to use tham as a comparison.

        There is very little money to be made in Broadband alone.

        The sooner people understand that the better.

        It is all about 'Quad Play' for the likes of VM, BT and Sky these days. So for your £100/month (and up) you had better get a decent service. Us cheapskates who only take Broadband/Cable (no TV) and phone are just not profitable to them so we get the service we deserve... crap and no matter which company it is.

        If you want better service then open your wallets you skinflits and choose someline like A&A.

        Get what you pay for

        no such thing as a free lunch

  9. thelastdinosaur

    Having had both Sky and Virgin Media in the past (and also having worked for Virgin Media on Broadband support) I never found either was better than the other but to be fair I was very lucky in that I rarely had to call for tech support. Am I the only though who wants to grab VM by the throat and tell them to stop moaning about it and if there is a grain of truth just focus on themselves? Maybe VM have a point. Maybe they are correct but I can't help but feel if these companies just kept the mouths shut it would serve them better and make them look more mature then whinging.

  10. tin 2

    Wow, I've been a customer of Sky 3 or 4 times - most recently when O2 threw their broadband customers to the wolves and I was too lazy to get out before I was transferred.

    I can safely say that the customer service experience in every case was the most downright miserable incompetent load of shit in absolutely every respect that I have ever experienced. And I've been a British Gas customer so there's the benchmark.

    I had my customer service expectations lowered more than I ever could have possibly imagined by this lot, so I really really struggle to think that any other company could be worse.

  11. Vinyl-Junkie
    Thumb Up

    Sky have been excellent...

    ..every time I've had to call their customer service (which tbh is not all that often). They have resolved the problem quickly or, if not of their making (hello BT!), have managed the offending party so I don't have to. They even gave me a refund (without my asking) for all the services that depend on Sky broadband when I had an extended outage, even though the problem was originally caused by BT.

    Furthermore theirs is the only customer service department I have used in connection with broadband who actually take any notice when you say "I've worked in IT for the past thirty-odd years and I've already tried this, this and this, so please put me through to your second-line support". Everyone else insists you go through the script, so they can get you to do all the things you've already tried...

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