‘Divorce shouldn’t cause me such financial stress’

27 September 2019

Moneywise helps out a reader having problems with their Sky subscription

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A few weeks ago, I began the process of divorcing my husband. He moved out just two weeks after upgrading the Sky broadband and TV service in my house to Sky Q. His details are on the account, which I can access as he gave me the password.

I don’t want to lose my previous Sky TV and broadband but I do not need Sky Q or want to pay the extra £80 a month for it. I asked the firm to return the account to my name (my husband took it over when he moved in) and downgrade it to the previous level, which was at around £70 a month – not the £150 Sky Q charge.

Sky said my husband would have to terminate the account, and I’d have to apply to open a new one in my own name with charges. It added he would have to honour his two-year contract if he terminated the account, which would mean paying thousands for nothing.

Sky won’t talk to me as I’m not the account holder, which seems ridiculous. Surely it’s a common problem with divorce or separation? Shouldn’t the company have a policy for this?

AA/Bath

Of course Sky should have a policy for it as should all firms that may have to deal with the financial aftermath of a relationship breakdown. It should know that you’re in a distressing situation and should do all it can to ensure the smooth continuation of whatever service it offers with no extra charges – to either party.

I contacted Sky on your behalf – however, its reaction for a large company was woefully slow, adding to your distress as the time to pay another bill came around.

Eventually, it responded and, after some toing and froing, agreed to switch the account from your husband’s name to yours and allow you to adjust the package.

That means no penalty charge for him and no need for you to pay a fresh installation charge.

But you remain far from happy.

“Divorce is stressful enough but this horrendous experience has already significantly increased my stress levels,” you told me.

I agree, and call on all companies – but especially Sky – to put in place a proper plan to deal with separating couples to reduce the stress and financial problems.

To end on a more positive note you told me about the much better experience you had with Virgin Atlantic.

“When I provided the company with evidence of my divorce, it dropped all the charges to switch my pre-paid flights from my ex-husband’s name to a female friend who will now join me on a holiday that I will need much more than I thought when I first booked it!”

I would love to hear of other companies acting positively to help separating couples.  

OUTCOME:
Charges dropped to switch Sky services to reader’s name

 

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