So today, I received a direct marketing mail from a Digital Satellite Warranty Cover ltd telling me the warranty on my satellite system is due to expire and inviting me to sign up to a plan costing from £6.49 a month to £11.99 a month (and actually likely to cost us £23.98 a month as we have a 3 box system with Sky+HD, Sky+ and a standard box). A copy of their letter with nice big red letters to try and look important is below.
Now the following is a variety of reasons why I wont be taking up this deal
- My satellite equipment was for the most part completely replaced when we had skyHD installed in October this year so is still under warranty
- Even when the warranty runs out there are still three main options should a fault develop. Firstly sky charge a standard £65 call out fee (and yes that is £65 and not £72) for any out of warranty faults. Secondly sky generally waive this if you threaten to cancel due to the fault. Thirdly even without the warranty you still have rights under the sales of goods act in the event of a fault
- The company in question has had 2 adjudications against them by the advertising standards authority here and here for similar marketing material but seems to have disregarded much of the adjudications against them
- This company, and/or others like them, have been the subject of consumer reports in particular BBC Watchdog (before it became pants) and the like
- I am registered with the mailing preference service so shouldn’t be receiving any unsolicited direct mailings
So dear reader, what have I done about this mailing and what can you do if you receive a similar one? Well the solutions are threefold
Complain to the MPS
You can only do this if you are registered with the MPS. Details on how to complain to them are on the MPS site.
Complain to the ASA
The advertising standards authority deals with complaints from the general public and other companies about a variety of advertising along various media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mailings, text messages etc etc). Advertisers have to adhere to a strict code of practice governing the advertisements and the ASA investigates any breaches of this practice. The letter from DSWC ltd breaches several requirements under this code and as mentioned above they have been in trouble with the ASA before for breaching the code but have done little to change their marketing.
I submitted the following complaint using the online form
I am complaining about the advert on the following grounds.
1 – I am registered with the mailing preference service and should not be receiving any direct marketing mailings without my consent.
2 – I believe the claim “If you require a service call and your sky digital system is not under warranty, you will now be charged a minimum call out fee of £72” is misleading as
a) I understand the maximum call out fee sky will charge is £65
b) In spite of the expiration of the warranty, any faults with my digital satellite system would also be covered under the Sales of Goods Act which offers up to 6 years protection and
c) I understand that sky will often waive the £65 call out fee in order to retain customers who threaten to cancel their service if a fault develops
3. I question how the mailer obtained my details as I am registered with the MPS but am also ex directory and am omitted from the edited register of voters in order to protect my privacy
4. I question how the mailer knew I was a digital satellite subscriber
5. I question whether the statement “IMPORTANT NOTICE REQUIRING URGENT ATTENTION” in red at the top of the mailing, exaggerates the importance of the mailing and goes against the adjudication made on 28th November 2007 by the ASA regarding a similar statement at the top of a similar mailing from the same advertiser
6. I question whether the advertiser has also breached the adjudication made by the ASA on 21st October 2009 as the advertiser is still sending unsolicited mail following that adjudication.
7. I challenge whether the mailings are properly targeted following the adjudication on 28th November 2007 or if a further breach of this adjudication has occurred.
8. I challenge whether the claim “NO MORE FREE CALL OUTS” is misleading as
a) I understand the equipment is still covered under the sales of goods act which would result in a free repair and call out
b) I understand sky frequently waive the call out fee when a subscriber threatens to cancel the service due to a fault
9. I question whether the statement “YOUR DIGITAL SATELLITE SYSTEM WARRANTY IS DUE TO EXPIRE” is misleading and whether the mailshot has been properly targetted as the vast majority of my digital satellite system was replaced on 13th October 2009 when I upgraded to skyHD. Notably the dish, LNB, vast majority of the wiring was replaced as well as a new box being provided and new wiring to rehome my existing boxes. As such a new 12 month warranty would apply to this system from this date and would not expire until 13th October 2010 which is some time away and not “due to expire”
Get Legal On Their Asses
It should be very simple to get this company off your back. In order to prevent marketing from a company you just need to serve them a notice under section 11 of the data protection act. The notice doesn’t need to be anything fancy or in a prescribed legal form. Simply stating
Take note I hereby serve you a notice pursuant to section 11 of the data protection act to cease processing any and all of my confidential data for the purpose of marketing. You have 21 days to comply with this request
will do the trick. While you are at it you may want to throw section 10 of the data protection act in as well which covers the processing of data likely to cause damage or distress, and receiving junk mail is distressing right? If the company fail to comply with this notice and you still receive junk mail you can file an N1 form with the county court seeking an order enforcing the data protection requests. This will cost in the region of £30 but is free on many benefits or low incomes and would be recoverable from the other side anyway.
Dont want to fork out for stamps to mail Digital Satellite Warranty Cover ltd. Well don’t worry, they provide a very handy freepost envelope just for this purpose…. well ok its for sending the application form for the warranty back but we wont be doing that so may as well use it.
Whilst you are at it, since they like junk mail so much, here is their freepost address should you need to mail them for any reason. I am in no way suggesting sending them lots of mail which would cost them lots of money and may make them think twice about sending unsolicited junk mail to people. If you are interpreting this paragraph as saying that, that’s down to you
Capitol Trading Park
Kirkby Bank Road
Knowsley Industrial Park