Cyfrowy Polsat’s sales technique.

As any regular readers will know, there are two companies who reign supreme on my list of bad companies to deal with – TPSA and Cyfrowy Polsat. I’m sure the list would be longer if I actually dealt with more companies but I’m not in a hurry to test that theory. The latest episode involves Cyfrowy Polsat (CP) and their cheating, sneaky, underhand sales techniques.

We have two subscriptions to CP, one in the lounge and one in the bedroom. They were unable to join the two together in any way so I have to make two payments each month both to different accounts! All we want from CP is the regular Polish TV channels plus the four BBC channels. When we took out the first, lounge, subscription, the BBC channels were only included in the packet “Family relax-mix” for a monthly cost of 57.80 zloty. We took out the relax-mix on the shortest contract available of 12 months. This was done AT GREAT LENGTH via CP directly.

We then decided to add the bedroom subscription and by this time the BBC channels were included in the cheaper “Family” packet for 37.90 zloty per month, so that’s what we signed up for and signed another 12 month contract. This was done very easily at a sales point in Saturn, Arkadia.

So far so good.

Roughly a week to two weeks after we signed the contract in Arkadia a letter arrived from CP, addressed to my wife as she had signed the contract (to avoid the earlier torture of trying to sign up without having a dowód osobisty!!). The letter was offering an upgrade from Family to Relax-mix and attached a contract for signature. The exact nature of what happened next are not clear but it seems that my wife might have signed and returned it, thinking that this was just an official copy from CP (as opposed to the Saturn-based sub-contractors) of the contract we signed in Arkadia. LESSON – read everything before you sign it.

In the meantime, I continue paying the 37.90 a month and we’re all happy people. We never, ever, watch any of the programmes in the Relax-mix packet so we wouldn’t know that anything had changed. Roughly three months later, the decoder in the bedroom is locked – call CP – it tells me. Strange, I think, I’ve paid the bills so why lock the decoder?!

We call them. They tell us that we owe them money for the upgrade to Relax-mix and until it’s paid the service is dead. We explain that they might be talking nonsense because nobody remembers signing a contract for Relax-mix, we don’t want Relax-mix so why would we pay more to get it? There must be some mistake, surely?! They insist that they have a signed contract and it is for 12 months and that if we don’t like that “we can go to court”. That’s exactly what they said!

We asked them to send us, fax ideally, a copy of the contract because we honestly didn’t remember signing anything. I hunt around and can find the letter with attached contract, unsigned. Was there a second document that was sent back, or not? Nobody is sure.

After another month, no copy of the signed contract is sent to us and further telephone communication follows similar lines – you signed a contract, we don’t care if it was a mistake or not, pay the money or we’ll put your name on the list of people who don’t pay their bills, if you don’t like it you can go to court, no, there isn’t anyone else in CP you can talk to. In other words – screw you Mrs Customer!!

By this time my wife was getting worried that her name would be put into a black-list somewhere and I was failing to find the time to go visit a CP office and try to make them see our point of view – or at least show us the signed contract. The phone rang yesterday and it was another person from CP, theoretically a senior person, calling to speak to my wife. They called the home number, in the middle of the day, of course! Thankfully I took the call and was able to give the guy my point of view.

I explained the problem:

  1. We’re a good customer with two decoders and have been paying on time every month.
  2. We only want the packet that gets us the BBC channels – that now means “Family”. We would like to be paying 2 x 37.90. They want us to pay 2 x 57.80.
  3. We could live with wasting money for Relax-mix in lounge, if we have to, but why waste it for both decoders? That’s just silly.
  4. Even if we did sign a contract, it was clearly a mistake caused by their sneaky tactic of sending the upgrade letter so close to the original contract signature.

His response was no different to all before him; you signed a contract for 12 months….so fu** you! He went on to claim that it was “impossible” to change the contract after it was signed. I explained how it was apparently “easy” to change the original Family contract to a Relax-mix contract by sending my wife a sneaky annex in the post – so why is changing it the other way any different? I went on, at length, to explain to him that in my opinion this is sneaky, underhand, bully-boy sales tactics and that we can’t possibly be the only people suckered into paying for a packet they don’t really want. I told him that we don’t have the time to bugger around any more so, for the time being, we’ll pay the money but that I will be expecting to see a copy of the signed contract and I will be visiting their office (when I have time). I explained that this is one customer they will have for precisely 12 months, after that THEY can go screw themselves! None of this had any effect. They just plain and simple DO NOT CARE what their customers think.

Without crowing about the good old UK, this sort of bullshit would not happen over there. You’d call them, explain the problem, apologise for messing them around (if a contract was actually signed at all) ask to be changed to Family packet on both decoders and they would do it without hesitation. Because they know that in this way you will remain a happy and therefore loyal customer. If you wanted to cancel the contract completely, they would not be so lenient, but just to change between packets – no issue.

Cyfrowy Polsat = bureaucratic, short sighted, idiotic business that, like the others on my list, treats customers like dirt and expects the customers to just roll over dead. Can someone tell them that the communist days are over please – we have choices and we’re going to damn well exercise them!!!


6 thoughts on “Cyfrowy Polsat’s sales technique.

  1. Ian,

    but why would you expect persons you call to please / appease you – when there’s (as we suppose so) a contract more legally binding than any contactperson’ understanding of your feelings, their sense of decency and of humor combined?

    If the punch line is “screw ya, CP, I’m gonna lose ya in a year” then, hey, you underestimate your enemy. They are not so stupid, the proof of their thinking being in your bills? More, I guess they don’t care if you quit or not. There are few market players – you won’t be having much choice. (Think how TP SA hadn’t cared about customers before they got demonopolised.)

    But what interests me is – is there a national gap to mind? How would situations like yours be dealth about in UK? British sat-TV providers don’t send mail?

  2. I honestly think there is a national gap, as you put it. I’m not saying companies in the UK don’t employ revenue generating tactics but I do think there is better regulation against sharp practice and more importantly, my experience is that if you do end up in a silly situation it is far easier to correct it and get to a point of mutual happiness.

  3. they must have learned this crap from Time Warner Cable in NY. It sounds EXACTLY like the sort of stuff they (used to) do. I told them to produce a signed contract, because in my case I KNEW I hadn’t signed a thing.

    Isn’t there a consumer advocate type thingy in Poland where you can go with such issues?

  4. Indeed it’s not the sort of thing we put up with nor have too with support from charities like The consumers association and tv programmes like watchdog. They seem to have brought companies in line over the years and it gives us a much easier ride when there is a problem.

    We had a digital tv decoder die on us a few years ago. We were out of contract and so I rang to cancel. I did get asked why by a lot of various levels but the final one – who clearly had the major responsibility for keeping my monthly subscription going – asked me if there was anything he could do to change my mind. I said if he gave us a free new decoder installed. A week later all done! That guys cabling was terrible. Two photos and another guy was sent to put it right.

    We do get problems and often they are ones that shouldn’t occur but most companies do put it right given a call and quite a few phone menu manoeuvres.

  5. Pingback: Cyfrowy Polsat – how NOT to handle customers (again) « 20 east

  6. Pingback: Goodbye Cyfrowy Polsat | 20 east

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