It has been a while since I provided an update on the situation with Skype. I was hoping for a satisfactory resolution however they seem intent on keeping their customers unsatisfied.
As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, Skype offered me compensation vouchers for the Unlimited World Subscription and the 3 Online numbers I had plus 10 Euros in Skype credit for “for the excessive E-mail correspondence, the forum postings and the inconvenience in general”
On the face of it, the offer doesn’t sound too bad however I have three major issues with the way they are handling this issue:
1. Skype are not upfront about their compensation, they don’t seem to have a policy but deal with each case as it happens. I had to correspond multiple times to get to this stage.
2. Offering 10 Euros in credit for months of inconvenience is really a joke. I have spend a lot of hours over the last 3 months (yes three months) in chasing this up.
3. Skype seem to always consider that they are always right (after you skip through their excessive apologitic tone which is not sincere). Despite sending them their own automated replies, Skype do not recognise that I logged 2 support requests back on the 7th of April and 10th of April. And that is really unacceptable.
I will continue chasing Skype demading a satisfactory resolution to this problem.
Below you’ll find extracts of the communication between me and Skype (it is long but worth reading as I wanted to show how Skype deals with its customers)
First response from (Skype Office of the President)
Note the apologitic tone yet stating they did nothing wrong
… your E-mail has been forwarded to me for further review and clarification. I am very sorry to read that you have had an issue concerning your Skype Unlimited World subscription.
I deeply apologize for the delayed response and the associated inconvenience it has caused you. As you asked for a personal direct contact, we do not have live phone or chat support and all our support is conducted by E-mail. At present E-mail support requests gives us time to deal with you as a customer and each problem more thoroughly, because we have time to search and develop the answers to your different problems and to find out the best solution for you and your case.
Please allow me to explain to you in detail.
As I see from your order records, you purchased the Unlimited World subscription with the order ” xxxx” on July 4th, 2008 for the first time. As it is the nature of a subscription, it was extended automatically as recurring payment via your back then used credit card (Visa ).
The subscription was extended monthly without any hiccups until April 1st, 2009.
After the subscription was automatically extended with the order “xxx ” on April 1st, 2009 ( and you actually had a running subscription ), you unfortunately placed on the April 7th, 2009 manually another Unlimited World subscription order ” xxx”.
With this order “xxx “, purchased by yourself, you changed the conditions of your recurring, almost for 1 year running subscription by yourself. You changed from you Unlimited World subscription for 1 month to a 12 months Unlimited World subscription. Therefore you changed the subscription conditions.
And unfortunately you processed the changing on April 7th, 2009, 5 days after we presented and initiated our new subscriptions. Even though your recurring subscription from April 1st, 2009 was active, and you changed your recurring subscription to a Unlimited World 12 months sub.
As you bought a different subscription, you just are able to purchase the new subscriptions complying with new rules and conditions. The new subscriptions don’t include the online number due to the fact we changed the subscription in April 2nd, 2009, as mentioned above. And their function is different to the old subscriptions. An online number is not longer available in our new subscriptions. The new subscriptions offer a 50% discount on online numbers.
Thank you for your response and your detailed email.
Since you have looked into my account in some detail (unlike any of your support staff so far), I will give you the benefit of the doubt so I will respond to you in detail despite me having explained this situation to support and on your forums (and provide to Peter whom I assume is the one that forwarded this case to you):
> After the subscription was automatically extended with the order “xxx” on April 1st, 2009 ( and you actually had a running subscription ), you unfortunately placed on the April 7th, 2009 manually another Unlimited World subscription order “xxx”.
Did you question the reason I did this Michel ? Why would I do such a thing ?
I’ll explain, the reason is that on the 7th of April I received an email from Skype telling me that my subscription was cancelled. The email instructed me to sign up for my subscription again
When I signed up again, I decided to pay for 1 year rather than monthly as it was offering a discount. AGAIN, let me repeat that had it not been for your email that was sent to me telling me that my subscription has been cancelled, I would not have done any of this.
Furthermore, I submitted a form to support concerning this without any response so I went to the Skype Forums and created a post (http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=319901) and one of your moderators (Norman Musgrave) told me that the email I got from Skype on the 7th of April was “In error” and that support will get back to me.
As you can see, this was back in April and as you know, we are now in June and I have heard nothing of substance, just calls for patience and that a compensation programme has commenced for those affected (without any details)
Please Michel, look at my case in more detail and re-instate my subscription as it should have since my subscription was cancelled through no fault of my own.
PS. While I am pleased that you have responded promptly, there are many customers requesting support who don’t get such a prompt response (if any) this despite your automated messages telling customers “Because the majority of requests require research to resolve, it can sometimes take us up to 48 hours to respond, though we make every effort to get back to you as quickly as possible and most queries are answered within 24 hours.”
Skype reponded with:
Again note the excessive apologies yet they keep pointing at me as the one who did the mistake!
I again thank you for your response to your Unlimited World subscription issue.
I really do sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you experienced and the previous responses you received.
You are referring to the statement we posted on our ” Heartbeat ” webpage:
http://heartbeat.skype.com/2009/04/problems_with_autorecharge_and.html We experienced on both days an issue, a technical hiccup with our E-mail notification system. It wrongly sent out E-mails, to a few customers, stating a problem with our auto-recharge ( ATU ) agreement. You, unfortunately received one as well.
As your subscription was not affected in actual fact, due to the fact your subscription worked properly, even though you received the wrongly sent out E-mail you cancelled your subscription yourself by placing a new order, as we do see from our records regarding your order history and the changes you made, the system states you changed the conditions of your subscription by yourself, manually. The subscription was running without any hiccups, and the next step we can replicate in our system is, that you changed the subscription from a monthly subscription to a 12 months subscription, and therefore the conditions. That is why I provided you with my previous response to your request.
I apologize for the inconvenience you experienced.
Regarding the reinstatement of your old subscription. As you afterwards bought a different subscription, you just are able to purchase the new subscriptions complying with new rules and conditions. The new subscriptions don’t include the online number due to the fact we changed the subscription in April 2nd, 2009. And their function is different to the old subscriptions. An online number is not longer available in our new subscriptions. The new subscriptions offer a 50% discount on online numbers.
Once again, I am really sincerely sorry and do apologize for the wrongly sent E-mail notification, and I would like to provide you with a 12 months Unlimited World subscription.
I appreciate you offering me a 12 month subscription however you keep referring to me as the one who cancelled the subscription and I cannot accept that. You are stating that my subscription was not affected in actual fact, maybe that was so but how would I know that when the email from Skype tells me it is cancelled and when your support doesn’t respond ?
After I received the email and after not receiving an answer from support, I went to the Skype Forums as they became my only reference, on the forums, Norman (your representative) clearly states that you have to cancel the old subscription and I went by that instruction.
Again I ask you the question, why would I cancel my own subscription ? In addition, I didn’t change my subscription, once again due to the statement from Norman (your representative) instructing to cancel, I cancelled the subscription and upon subscribing again, I saw that the yearly subscription was attractive so I subscribed to it.
These events were triggered by the cancellation email that was sent out. Having no reason to believing that it was an incorrect message and concerned that my service was cancelled and having nowhere to turn except the forums (you don’t offer a phone number for one to contact support either) I had to take the action that I did. You cannot blame me for your error and I cannot accept your statements pointing at me as the reason for losing my subscription and my 3 online numbers.
Once again I ask that you reinstate my subscription to the state it was in prior to the email that was sent in error.
Finally, in addition to the email you sent in error, have you also considered the time and effort that I have put in to get to this stage due to this error ? It has been over two months of trying to get in touch with someone in charge. You think that I or any of your loyal customers should go through all the time and effort due to an error by you ? Why wasn’t there an immediate response to this issue right after it was discovered ? Why does it take me to post on forums and blogs and look for a contact in Skype that can listen ? Why ? Can you please offer an answer that isn’t just a deep apology? Can you tell me why this has taken so long and what are you doing so that other customers don’t receive the same treatment ? I felt and still do feel treated unfairly and unjustly by Skype
And Skype replied:
Thank you very much for your replies, and I sincerely apologize for the very long waiting time.
1) Once again, I am sorry that our Skype Customer Support didn’t respond instantly or rather in time, and you had to wait for a response to your issue.
You refer to the Skype forum and this specific thread you started: http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=319901
As mentioned in my previous response, Norman didn’t clearly state that you have had to cancel the subscription to reinstate the old subscription. You asked him the following:
” It has been nearly 4 days now since the last update and it is taking way too long. How much longer should I wait before I am forced to cancel my subscription and requesting a full refund ?? ” ” …can you please advise how I can cancel my subscription and get a refund as well as the refund for extra month that was charged to my credit card even though I resubscribed and paid 1 year in full I don’t really want to cancel this subscription but I am really left with no other choice ” ” …I want to CANCEL my subscription and get a REFUND for the 1 year I paid in advance and the subscription payment made for the month of April even though my subscription was supposed to be cancelled. ”
Norman did answer:
” Hello Tim,
You can cancel your Unlimited Plan at any time.
Go to >> Account Page >> Subscription Settings >> Cancel
Cancelation is effective from the next billing date. ”
You asked him, how to cancel the subscription ” xxx ” and to receive a refund of the paid amount. There is now word of ” …you have to cancel the old subscription… “.
2) I am really sincerely sorry for the wrongly sent out E-mail notification, and I understand that you took the action you did because of this E-mail, but Skype in actual fact didn’t trigger the subscription order ” xxx”.
Skype and I absolutely don’t want to blame you for the wrongly sent E-mail notification.
And I again do truly apologize for losing your subscription, but as I explained in my response, unfortunately we are not able to reinstate your old subscription due to technical reasons and due to the new into our system integrated subscriptions. We cannot ” go back ” to the old subscriptions system.
I am sincerely sorry, but please redeem the 12 months Unlimited World subscription vouchercode. I also would like you to offer 3 online number vouchers each for 12 months, and in addition for the excessive E-mail correspondence, the forum postings and the inconvenience in general I want to provide you with 1 Skype credit vouchercode worth 10 EUR:
3) ” Why wasn’t there an immediate response to this issue right after it was discovered ? ” ” …Can you please offer an answer that isn’t just a deep apology ? Can you tell me why this has taken so long… ”
We did respond to this issue on our heartbeat webpage, as soon as we discovered the problem with the E-mail notification. I provided you with the link. And our Customer Support Agents are answering to our customers requests, inquiries and questions as fast as possible. But as you hopefully can imagine and understand, right now we have more than 440 million registered customers, daily over 16 million of them online, at the same time. We are providing every single customer request we a single response. Please understand, that it takes sometimes more time to answer, and not every single user receives an answer within 2 hours or 2 days of the first time request.
I fully understand and I am able to comprehend your disappointment and kind of anger, but you may rest assured, we here in Skype give our best to help every customer, and we would like to see only happy and satisfied ones, especially with our Customer Support work.
I would first like to say that at the personal level I thank you for your voucher offers. I want a fair resolution and what you are offering me now seems fair with regards to the actual service that is offered. Although offering me 10 Euro “excessive E-mail correspondence, the forum postings and the inconvenience in general ” doesn’t really account for much of the time I have spent in pursuing this matter and the frustration I endured.
I would like to note the following from your response:
– The thread I created was on the 10th of April. That was after I read the instructions to cancel the subscription. The instructions I gathered from many of the threads on the Skype forum about what to do when a subscription is cancelled.
The section of the thread that you have quoted were from a number of posts from the 27th and 28th of April with Norman responding on the 30th of April.
This was done after I was fed up with the lack of response and I requested to cancel the new subscription “xxx”. That was 20 days after the problem started.
– Updating the hearbeat page with the status. Seriously Michel, do you expect your subscribers to check on that page ? When a serious issue such as an email informing a customer that their subscription is cancelled, an email should be sent out informing them of the error. Perhaps even a call or sms or IM. Did you ask why does Skype have an automated system that sends emails about cancelled subscriptions yet doesn’t have an automated system to send emails when an error occurs ?
– Your explanation for the lack of customer support is weak. Having 16 million customers online or 1 million or 10,000 shouldn’t be treated any different. I am sure you have visited your own forums and have seen the huge amount of complaints from customers requesting support. I was taken by complete surprise when I read that many complaints. Your customer support section needs urgent attention.
– You say “Please understand, that it takes sometimes more time to answer, and not every single user receives an answer within 2 hours or 2 days of the first time request”
Again I remind you of my own case. Here is chronology:
7 April 2009 – I get the Skype email that my subscription has cancelled
7 April 2009 – I request support from Skype
7 April 2009 – I receive an automated email from Skype stating “Because the majority of requests require research to resolve, it can sometimes take us up to 48 hours to respond, though we make every effort to get back to you as quickly as possible and most queries are answered within 24 hours”
10 April 2009 – I send support another reminder as I haven’t heard from Skype
10 April 2009 – I receive another automated email
10 April 2009 – I create a thread in Skype Forums
Between 10 April and 4 May 2009 – I get limited responses from Norman, mainly requesting patience. I get fed up and request cancellation of my subscription
All this time, I did not receive any message from Skype customer support. Norman does not identify himself as a Skype support person.
14 May 2009 – I decided to setup my own blog to make others aware of this problem.
Between 14 May 2009 and 4 June – I get numerous responses from people with similar experience. I also posted my problem on another blog where Skype Blogger Peter Parkes had put a response. As a result, Peter posted on my blog
I contact Peter and he gets you involved and I have been discussing this with you since.
Incidentally, on the 29th of May, I learn about a compensation programme through browsing through the Skype Forums. Again, a company that cares about their customers would have informed all those affected by this problem in a proper way such as email.
This has taken 2 months and what you are offering me is due to the fact that I have been vocal about this and have explored several avenues. From a customer satisfaction, this is not acceptable at all.
The feeling I get from this experience is that Skype intentionally delays its responses and provides little information in the correspondence to eliminate as many complaints as possible then just deal with the few left who haven’t given up.
Skype continue to deny that I logged a support request from the 7th of April and I am pursuing this matter through multiple channels.