I'm looking for a little advice as I feel I am between a rock and a hard place.
Back in May we decided to switch our Broadband over to Sky from Eclipse Internet (whom we have had many years good service with). We chose to do this based on cheaper prices and because we already had the Phone and TV services with them.
Having switched many times in the past I knew it had to be carried out using a Migration Authority Code. I duly requested this and the code given was provided to Sky during the signing up process.
Shortly after my broadband went live with Sky I received my final bill from Eclipse, but the amount they took from my account was the final month payment but with an extra £30.
When I contacted Eclipse the explanation was that Sky had not used the MAC, but in effect 'hijacked' the line, forcing BT to make a PSTN cease at the exchange, which incurs costs of £30. That amount was then debited from our account to pay the fee.
I was not happy with this and phoned Sky, who stated that the MAC code wasn't needed. I asked them about the cease and they denied such a thing took place, stating that nothing needed changing at the exchange. They told me that I should refuse to pay the amount and take it up with Eclipse.
Eclipse tell me that Sky try this on all the time, they are notorious for it, and that the charge still stands. They suggest that Sky should be responsible for redeeming the amount because they have not gone through the correct channels. I asked Eclipse for Proof of the cease so that I had something to use to support a dispute with Sky. They told me that they couldn't provide any document but proof was provided in an email that was sent by Eclipse when BT ceased the circuit. That email is below:
Our suppliers have advised us that a change to your telephone service or account details for your line has prompted their systems to generate a broadband circuit cease request (PSTN Cease).
Common reasons for this include:
• Cancelling the phone line because it is no longer required or you are moving property
• Moving your telephony provider away from BT to a 3rd party provider
• Making a change to your BT phone account, e.g. the bill payer has changed
• A long-standing fault with your telephony service
• The phone line was suspended/stopped by BT for payment reasons
IUnfortunately we are unable to stop this cease request with the suppliers because there is a direct link to your telephony service which is a contract between you and your phone provider. Sadly we cannot discuss this with our supplier due to data protection
We appreciate you may not have been aware of any changes occurring which may have caused this, however because of this activity your broadband connection was ceased and as a result we have cancelled the service on our systems, taking our standard 30 days notice from when the cease completed.
Because the service has had to be cancelled any early termination fee applicable (depending on the contract status for the service) will apply. Due to the nature of the cease we have had to add the broadband cease charge of £25.00 + VAT which is passed on from our suppliers when a broadband connection is ceased".
I offered to email this to Sky as proof, but the customer service adviser told me he 'didn't have an email address'. He also again stated that Sky were innocent, no line was ceased and the amount should never have been charged.
At the end of my tether being bounced between both companies I decided to take matters in to my own hands and seek indemnity at the bank. We put in a claim for the £30 which was successful and the money was reclaimed. However, a fortnight on from this we started receiving emails from Eclipse saying that we still owed them the amount and that it would be passed on to the legal team. I answered with full explanation of why I refused to pay and told them that I had lodged the indemnity claim and had the money redeemed by the bank, so they should not be pursuing me. I did not receive any response to this email and two weeks later I receive a letter form a Debt Collection Agency giving me 10 days to pay or action will be taken.
I rang Eclipse who basically just told me it was out of their hands and that I should make the payment.
So my quesitons are... do I have a leg to stand on? Should I press Sky to cough up with the money (even though I cannot prove what Eclipse say is true). Do I have any protection form the bank? Should I go to an Ombudsman? Would I get anywhere contacting BT for proof of the cease? Or should I just drop my principles and pay up?
I would really appreciate your advice on this.
Thanks for reading,