Sky TV customers face the biggest penalties for escaping contracts, according to new study

11 Apr 2018 Sky TV customers face the biggest battle among pay-TV subscribers when it comes to escaping contracts, according to research from free satellite TV provider Freesat.

Standard Sky TV contracts come with a minimum length of 18 months – as long, or longer, than any other TV provider. Sky TV customers who cancel their contract early are also required to pay a termination charge of £13.40 for each month of the contract they have remaining – higher than any other TV provider. This means that a Sky customer on a standard 18 month contract who wishes to leave after six months would have to pay £161 to do so.

In comparison, customers with Virgin Media’s Player Bundle are locked into contracts of just 12 months and must pay £3 for each month they have remaining on their minimum contract term, while BT TV customers are hit with early termination charges of £5.50 a month, but must enter contracts of 18 months.

Freesat also carried out a study of more than 2,000 TV viewers and found that 41% of those who had cancelled a contract with Sky, Virgin, BT TV or Talk Talk in the last 12 months had encountered difficulty when doing so. Respondents were also asked how likely they were to switch service in the next 12 months. BT TV subscribers were most likely to jump ship (19%), followed by Sky TV (15%), Virgin (13%) and Talk Talk (10%).

The respondents were then asked whether they thought their chosen service was good value for money. Sky ranked lowest in this department, with two thirds (65%) of their customers stating that the service isn’t good value for money. The most common reasons Sky TV customers gave for this was that they think the service is overpriced and that they don’t watch many of the channels. Sky’s premium TV bundle comes at £80 a month, or £960 a year. Faring narrowly better than Sky, 62% of Virgin Media customers called their service poor value for money.

Freesat spokesperson Guy Southam said: “With long contract terms and high early termination charges, people are feeling trapped and discouraged from cancelling their PayTV subscription.

“Our research has shown that 99% of the most watched shows of Sky customers are available on free-to-air channels, so it’s understandable that customers are asking themselves if their subscription is really necessary.

“They could instead switch to free-to-air and top up with a service like Netflix or Amazon which might offer better value for money without the long term commitment.”

To find out how much you could save by switching from Sky to Freesat, click here.

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