Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

'Orange 1-1-8 thousand how may I help you?' said the cheerful voice. Carefree as you like, I asked for the number for Sky customer services to report my parents' broken digibox.

This was back on Christmas eve morning. I had been walking the dog around Kenilworth Castle when my dad rang in a panic saying the Sky box had broken, and, well, we had rather hoped to watch some television over Christmas. So I took it upon myself to sit in my car and make a phone call to sort it out.

But when I searched Sky's website on my iPhone I could not find a number for customer services. I found numbers for all sorts of other things including 'Report a deceased account holder', but nothing at all for living account holders with deceased Sky boxes.

Which was why I decided to call directory inquiries. The only number for directory inquiries I could remember was one I must have had in my head from when I was an Orange customer. But now I was a Vodafone customer. 'So what?' you might think. Oh, how like a lamb to the slaughter I went, dialling 118 000 -- the number, I now realise, of the beast.

The cheerful lady found the Sky customer services number instantly and said the words that would seal my fate: 'Do you want me to connect you?'

Can I make clear that she most definitely did not say, 'Do you want me to bankrupt you?' She may have said something about call charges. But if I had properly digested what they were I wouldn't have continued. She must have said them in that sing-songy voice so I didn't really digest their meaning.

Why else would I have hung on my mobile phone as Sky took a long time to answer, playing me a jolly tune? And then a jolly man asked me to identify myself. And then things weren't very jolly at all.

If you have ever made one of these calls you will know it is easier to forge a new identity than to convince Sky of who you really are. 'Madam, can you give me your four digit passcode,' he said, to which I answered that I couldn't possibly remember. I didn't say I was ringing about my father's Sky. I just assumed it would all be fine if I continued merrily along. And because I had set up the account for my dad, as a gift, I was as good as the account holder, if you squinted slightly. …

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