Bye Sky – it’s been great Kate


July 20, 2015 by benmblackman


As you will know by now – last Sunday we decided to give up our TV. So the obvious thing to do next was to cancel Sky TV.

Have you ever tried to cancel Sky TV? I’d say in the challenges I have encountered so far in my life it is up there as one of the most difficult. And I got an A Level in Economics age 18. (If you met me age 18 – you’d know.)

Complaint Letter of the Year 2006

Complaint Letter of the Year 2006

It’s not that blooming easy to get Sky TV installed – so I should have known I was in for a battle.

Obviously the all singing and all dancing Sky online account portal thingy-ma-wotsit they are so obsessed with getting everyone signed up to isn’t any use when you want to leave. Sure, you can add items to your account, take out new packages, purchase anything your heart desires, maybe instigate a developing gambling habit, pay your bill, change the date of your bill, query your bill, probably phone someone called Bill – but you cannot cancel your account.

To cancel I would have to telephone someone. A real person. Between the hours of 9am-5pm. Monday to Friday. When I’d be working. Naturally.

It took long enough to get through to that someone. I pressed 4 because it was about Sky TV; 6 because it was about my account; 3 because I wanted to change something about my account; and then finally 2 because I wanted to talk to somebody about it now (I don’t really understand why anyone would press 1 – that you would rather talk to somebody later. If I wanted to speak to somebody later wouldn’t I have phoned later)?

I was confused and we hadn’t even started yet.

A lady said hello.

I said hello back.

She asked me how I was today.

I told her I was alright thanks and asked her if she was alright.

She was alright.

I cut to the chase.

He'd like to do what? LOLZ!

He’d like to do what?!

“I’d like to cancel my Sky account please.”

“Oh, ok. Well I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll just put you through to the retentions department then.”

Uh oh.

What were they doing that for? I clearly said I wanted to cancel. I didn’t want to be retained did I?

Another lady said hello to me. I’m pretty sure it was a different one and not just the same one now pretending to be the retentions department but – you never know do you?

I said hello back.

She asked me how I was today.

Blimey we’ve been through this, I thought, but I told her I was alright thanks and asked her if she was alright.

She was alright.

I cut to the chase. Again.

“Oh I see. So you’re looking to change your package with us?”

“Cancel my package.”

“Ok, well, let me see what I can do for you then.”

Um – cancel my package. See if you can do that?

Lots of key tapping happened and then, “I’m Kate by the way, can I call you Ben today?”


“So I see you’ve been with us 8 years now, Ben. And you have all the movies and sports.”

“Well yes, if you remember you failed to take those off my package a year ago when I asked you to so you had to credit my account with the fees…but then you ‘forgot’ to take them off again and so you had to do the same once more…and then – well I don’t really want to go over this another time. Can you just cancel my account please?”

“Let me see what I can do for you.”

No! Stop seeing what you can do for me – just cancel my account already. I didn’t say any of that out loud, of course, but in my head – man, in my head I was standing up to Kate well.

“Can I interest you in a new package we’re promoting right now, Ben, it’s got all the same channels you’ve got now plus…”

“No thank you, I just want to cancel my Sky account.” Why would I want even MORE channels when I quite clearly wanted less of the ones I already had – as in all of them turned off?

“Well it says here, Ben, that because you’ve been with us for so many years, I can offer you…”

Loud and irritating: Dom Joly in Trigger Happy mocking mobile phone users.“Well that’s great, Kate (I’m a poet but I don’t know it), but I just want to cancel my Sky package. Please.”



“And is this a convenient time for us to carry out this operation, Ben?”


“Um, yes.”

I’m still smiling. Someone told me years ago – smile when you use the telephone and the person at the other end can hear you smiling in your voice. But by this stage it-is-more-of-a-ventrilaquist-type-forced-smile-and-gritted-teeth-type-thing.

“And can I ask for what reason you would like to cancel your Sky account with us, Ben?”

Finally, not that it was any of Kate’s business but it is kind of the reason for this blog so, we might as well get to this point I suppose.

“Yes, I’m getting rid of my TV.”

“So how are you going to watch it from now on then?”

“Well I’m not, I’m getting rid of it.”

“But I mean, who are you going to go with. BT? Virgin?…”

“Um no-one. I’m not going to have a TV anymore”

“But I haven’t got a tick box for that.”

I decide to go with silence now. She didn’t like that. She tapped away a bit more and then…

“Whilst we’re on, Ben, can I ask how many people are in your household?”

Well you can but I’m not going to blinking well answer you am I…


This is how old I was by the time we got to this stage

This is how old I was by the time we got to this stage

Damn my upbringing. Why can’t I just tell them to shut up and do as I politely ask? Why do I feel the need to answer everything they ask?

“And they are?”

None of your business…

“My wife and 2 children.”

“And won’t your wife miss Sky if you close your account?”

Oh I see where you’re going with this, Kate. I liked the fact she asked as she imagined I was doing this in secret, against my wife’s will or to spite her. As if any man ever phoned up to cancel Sky for such reasons. Have you seen Sky Sports? No man gives that up lightly.

“Will she miss Sky? I very much doubt it. The fact I turn over to any form of cricket output every single time she moves a mere millimetre from the sofa…” (People playing cricket right now, people playing cricket earlier that day, people playing cricket at any given time in the history of the game, people talking about cricket, people talking about people about to play cricket, people talking about people who have just played cricket that day, people talking about people playing cricket at any point in the history of the game – you get the picture?) “…No, I think she’ll be ok with it thanks.”

“Ok, just give me a moment…” More key tapping. I could sense Kate was just trying anything now. She’d gone off the script a long time ago, when she couldn’t find a tick box for ‘I’m getting rid of my TV.’

“And how about the kids?” No Kate, don’t stoop this low. You’re better than this Kate. She’s better than this, isn’t she? She isn’t. “Won’t they miss it?”

“To be honest, Kate, what with the amount of ipad they aim to cram into their days, along with Netflix, DVDs, the internet as a whole, and any other form of moving image on any type of screen available (I once had to tear my eldest away from a petrol station adverts screen promoting winter screenwash) – they haven’t really got as much time as they used to for Sky.”

Now I’m not sure if this answer finally gave Kate the conscience and moral compass I’m sure she possesses in her non-working life – or that it was, by now, 4.55pm and her shift was about to finish but the call now sped up somewhat in terms of efficiency.

I couldn’t help feeling that I had upset Kate as she finished our dealings as swiftly and clinically as she now could.

“Well ok. You will need to give us 30 days notice though, Ben. Shall I take this as your 30 days notice point?”

James Murdoch and Rupert MurdochI’d have given anything at that precise moment for them to take that call as my 30 days notice.

“Yes please Kate.”

And, with that the deed was finally done. In your face, Murdoch (I do mean Rupert by the way, not the one from the ATeam). This was now the most humble day of MY life.

Stay tuned for Day 3 – when I suddenly realise I am on childcare duty. With no TV. WHAT WAS I THINKING?


2 thoughts on “Bye Sky – it’s been great Kate

  1. […] Stay Tuned for Day 2 – Cancelling Sky […]

  2. Emily Benet says:

    Great post Ben! That made me laugh out loud! Oh it’s so familiar! Well done getting the tough job done.

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