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How to get Sky TV as cheap as possible

This is a short article that I wrote based on many years of learning how to keep my SKY subscription cost as low as possible.

I know a lot of people with Sky TV and when we compare subscriptions I never come across two people paying the exact same amount, even when they have exactly the same hardware and package. They could even be living next door to each other and they won't be paying the same price. Why? Because the price you pay is based on a set of factors such as:

  • The original price you paid on sign-up
  • The package and options you have
  • Any price increases you accepted
  • Any discounts you have received
  • Any special offers you have active

As time goes by and you add discounts, prices increase, you renegotiate again and so on, you end up paying some random figure that bares no resemblance to the amount your neighbour with the same setup and package as you is paying.

Where to start

Ok, first things first. You need to keep in mind a couple of things before you start negotiating your subscription cost. The first thing is that there is no customer loyalty or customer care with Sky. Over the years the company has outsourced everything and so there is no friendly face who will bend over backwards to retain you as a customer. You are just a number and there are hundreds of thousands of us. That said, Sky still want your money and it's better to keep you paying something than to lose you.

Second, Sky have a minimum amount that each subscriber needs to pay for them to be in profit. They won't tell you what that amount is but it is a safe bet that it is based on the most basic package with no box supplied.

Thirdly, treat negotiating your Sky subscription cost as a game. Sky won't take it personally, so you shouldn't either. The aim of the game is to get your subscription cost as low as possible and this article aims to help you do just that.

Box or no Box

In order to view Sky you need some hardware known as the Sky box. For all new customers this is the Sky Q box and for existing customers with older hardware it is a Sky+ or Sky+HD box with or without multiroom.

Many years ago you could buy a Sky box from Amstrad, Grundig, Pace or Thompsom or you could negotiate a Sky box in your subscription package from Sky. These days you can only get a box from Sky and like mobile phone service providers Sky don't make the hardware, it is made for them by someone else at a nominal cost. They can sell the box to you at a profit or they can give it to you at cost making money on the subscription only. In order to recover the cost of the box you have to agree to a one-year subscription and the minimum amount you have to pay increases to cover the cost of the box as nothing in this world is free.

Negotiating

Whether you are a new customer or an existing customer you need a starting point when negotiating. With new customers it is the retail price quoted by Sky for the package you are interested in. For existing customers it is your current subscription fee.

The first step is to look online for deals even if it they are not for the package you have. Even if you don't find any deals there are always some deals on offer in my experience.

First you need a point of contact. I prefer the concierge service on 0333 2000 333. The first hurdle is negotiating the automated system to reach a human. Once you've done that the game commences. After going through security (existing customers) the trick is to understand that the person at the other end of the line is working from a script and you are battling their experience, current mood and limitations of what they can do for you. If you get a person that insists they can offer you no discount or anything just say thanks and hang up. Then call back and try again. You'll get someone new each time and chances are the next person will try their best to find you a deal. If the deal is acceptable and you accept then congrats. If the deal is not good or there is no deal after trying multiple times you can ask to be transferred to the cancellation team or you can ring back another day.

Cancellation is a long process. If your account has an ETC (Early Termination Charge) then you may have to pay a fee to leave. It's worth noting that when negotiating a contract change you can ask for the ETC to be removed.

When requesting cancellation you will probably be transferred to a retentions team whose job is to retain you as a customer. These service reps can offer deals that the standard reps can't. These deals can be anything from free or half-price add-ons for a period or free boxes, in return for a new one-year contract (don't forget to ask for no ETC for deals without a free box).

In some circumstances the retentions team wont offer you anything that you like. In these circumstances I tend to go through the cancellation process but you can keep trying if you are not great at bluffing. What happens next is as we pay a month in advance you will have a month or longer before your disconnection date. During this time just sit back and relax. Sky will call or email you with an offer to return. You can still reject the offer and you may get further offers right up to your end date, I know I have. Don't forget it's all a game and if you were bluffing about leaving you can always call up on your last day and go through the negotiation process again to get the best deal you are happy with in order to avoid losing access to your favourite channels.

Contracts have no real length

Another point worth noting is that the length of your contract means nothing. You can sign-up for a one-year contract but that doesn't mean you can't renegotiate until the end of your contract. You are free to renegotiate as often as you want. I tend to renegotiate quarterly or whenever I see a better price being offered to new customers. I call up Sky and play the game to see if I can get my subscription cost down. More often than not I'm successful. This will extend your end date again but that's ok, especially if you get the ETC waived meaning you can leave whenever you want anyway with no cancellation fee.

Multiple service deal

Another way to get a cheaper deal from Sky is if you also have phone and broadband services with them. Like the dual fuel discounts offered by utility companies if you have phone and broadband with Sky another set of discounts will be available to you. This can be anything from free or half-price broadband for X months or a year or free calls to certain numbers. Note that you will never get free phone rental because Sky have to pass that cost to BT.

Summary

Remember that it's all a game. Don't make it personal and don't get upset when Sky announce that the cost of your subscription is going up, or get mad when you call up and the person you get tells you there's nothing they can do you just have to accept it. Learn to play the game. Hang up and ring back until you get someone willing to help. Treat it as a game, to win you have to get a low score. The lower [your subscription fee is] the better. Keep playing and good luck!

If you have any feedback about this article or any tips or just want to contact me in regards to this aricle then feel free to drop me an email.

Related article: If you have a problem with your Sky box or you just want to know how to keep it running smoothly then check out my article on Sky Box Maintenance.

If you have any feedback regarding this article, or you have a suggestion for a new article, or just want to say thanks for the info then feel free to drop me an email at dave@detoxcomic.com.

Last updated: 21st January 2017

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