By Pádraig Hoare
Sky Ireland has been fined by the communications watchdog after failing to provide almost 80,000 customers with their contract rights.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) said Sky Ireland had been penalised €117,000 after an investigation found the television company failed to provide about 79,000 customers with a contract on a ‘durable medium’.
Durable medium means a firm must provide certain information to a customer or client, whether it be in writing, either on paper or email, or another durable form. The watchdog said 41,000 of the affected customers were also not afforded their right to a cooling off period in contravention of the Consumer Information Regulations 2013.
Sky has accepted that it breached the Consumer Information Regulations 2013 and has paid the penalty in full, ComReg said.
The watchdog said it investigated the manner in which Sky handled certain distance contracts entered into by existing Sky customers and whether such customers were afforded their right to a cooling off period and provided with a contract in a durable form.
By law, a customer who has entered a distance contract — one not signed in-store or face-to-face — has a right to a cooling-off period of 14 days to withdraw from their contract, ComReg said.
Companies must also provide such customers with a contract on a durable medium that the customer can store and later retrieve for inspection to see what their key terms and conditions are, including their cooling-off rights, it added.
Sky will now communicate with its affected customers individually and provide them with confirmation of their contract in a durable form, and will inform those customers of their right to a cooling-off period of 14 days from receipt of the communication. This cooling off period will allow Sky’s affected customers to cancel their contracts if they wish, and Sky will inform its affected customers of how they can cancel their contracts.
The broadcaster will publish a corrective statement on its website explaining how it has contravened the Consumer Information Regulations 2013, and will have to demonstrate to ComReg’s satisfaction that it has fully performed the above remedial actions, the watchdog said.
Sky has committed to implement all of the above remedial measures, ComReg said.