Aug 082019

Mass cull of expat Sky cards…

According to reports Sky have, last week and this week, switched off many Sky cards being used by expats to view UK TV.

Many people have seen a loss of access to the Sky pay channels, and although contacting their card provider, new cards are not thought to be able to be issues for a few weeks due to the numbers involved.

It appears as if Sky have started to switch off many sky cards thought to be used overseas, possibly from the one or two major “sky card dealers” who operate in the UK and issue cards to expats.

One report suggest over 700 Sky cards suspected of being used outside the UK have been cancelled this week.

In addition, this cull is also thought to affect Sky cards thought to being used for “iptv / streaming”, which is happening, coincidentally, just before the start of the new Premier League football season.

Sky cards are, via the terms and conditions of the sky contract, only for use in the UK. Although, as I understand it, under an EU court ruling a few years ago, it is not illegal to use a viewing card from one EU member state in another EU member state.


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  12 Responses to “Mass cull of expat Sky cards…”

  1. Yet you can still use the SkyGo app to watch Sky content abroad?

    • Yes, you still watch SkyGo UK in Europe for a limited number of days without then need of VPN / Smart DNS, because that comes under EU Portability rules, which the UK is currently part of (may change after Brexit).
      Sky UK viewing cards are not part of the EU Portability law, so Sky can cancel those they suspect of being used outside the UK and ROI.

  2. any ideas if this problem will be resolved in future or will this be a constant issue with SKY clamping down on suspect cards?

    • Sky have and always stopped cards that they think are being used against the T&Cs and outside the UK…just this time they hit a large card dealer which affected a lot of people.

  3. We lost our service last Friday and our provider suggested we switch to Now TV (which has rubbish resolution of 720p and is reliant on a good internet speed).

    Our provider is ********. We have had two different viewing cards since we first came to Spain in 2005. Our current card is a white one which has to be 10 years old. I have questioned why our provider has not swapped these out for the red / pink ones which I think have been around since 2015, as age of a viewing card must surely be one of the areas that Sky will focus on. I have to admit that I am pretty miffed with *****. We pay them £150 per annum to host our viewing card and they should have ensured replacement cards as these became available. They don’t like people asking awkward questions though.

    When I said that I want my full service, they said they are trying to get viewing cards but it will take many weeks.

    The question really is are ******** a one off dodgy supplier and if so, who can we rely on to get our service back?

    Once upon a time a large proportion of Sky revenue came from expat communities. I know this proportion has decreased but I cannot believe that the commercial management at Sky want to throw away all that business. If they do, they need new leadership! I have to ask what sort of customer care does a company exhibit when it switches off a customer from whom they direct debit my UK bank for £87.50 every month and has been a loyal customer for 14 years? It’s commercially non-sensical.

    • White cards are still fine, and will only be swapped for the red cards if the white card is damaged, or you upgrade to Sky Q.
      The company you mention are just one of a number doing the same thing.
      And it will take them time to get cards and new addresses for their clients.
      “large proportion of Sky revenue” – i would not say a “large proportion” but a “small proportion”…sky have 10m tv subscribers, there are approx 250,000 British in Spain, but not all of those will subscribe to sky anyway.
      “believe that the commercial management at Sky want to throw away all that business” – it is more to do with rights…they can get penalised by rights holders…so more contractual than commercial.
      “I have to ask what sort of customer care does a company exhibit when it switches off a customer from whom they direct debit my UK bank for £87.50 every month and has been a loyal customer for 14 years? It’s commercially non-sensical.” – make no difference if you are a good customer or not, your card is in breach of the contract.

      • I did say that about 10 years ago I saw figures that showed over 10% of Sky revenue was from expats. I know this figure has decreased but no company should look to throw away customers.

        If Sky were serious about switching off cards that were in breach of contract then they would be shutting down supply chains to all of the ‘resellers’ who host viewing cards for the specific purpose that customers can continue to watch and pay for Sky abroad. You only have to go and ask online to see all the businesses that have been doing this for years, so why are Sky selectively victimising customers of one or maybe two resellers? If a business has a policy, it needs to be consistent with it, otherwise customers like myself, who I thought you supported, have to play Russian Roulette as to who they can trust to ensure their continuity of service.

        It needs to be black or white. Sky have always known about this expat marketplace and benefitted from it. They have enjoyed the revenue it brings in. I would suggest they have not only done little to suppress it but have actively ensured that it can survive. How otherwise are their viewing cards available to resellers / card hosts?

        As you obviously know far more than me about how this marketplace operates can you explain to me why, after 14 years, Sky suddenly believe my card is in Spain? I notice you blanked out the name of my UK card host. Don’t you think potential new customers have a right to know before wasting their money. This company still actively promotes its service.

        • Sky will have turned your card off if it is in breach of their T&Cs. This they have always done.
          Yes they may not have been as proactive about it int he past, but with IPTV and piracy on the increase, (coincidence this happened just before the football season?), then they have started to clamp down on it more.
          Also, perhaps this is also to do with Skys new owners, who want to be more tough on such things.
          This will have come about maybe as it was supplied by a company known to be supplying them outside the UK.
          It may also be that they found out that some of the cards issued by the supplier were being used for sourcing streams for use with IPTV (you sometimes see numbers on Sky sports channels, which can be traced to cards and dealers if they are being used on unauthorsied streams),
          I removed the company name, as I am not a “name and shame” place.

          • I understand what you are saying but, again, surely my viewing card is associated with my account which Sky take the direct debit from every month. Even if the hosting company are doing dodgy stuff, I am paying Sky their full dues and would be very happy if I could do so again.

            I have taken this onto LinkedIn and Sky have made contact and said they want to help! We will see.

            I know it is not something that you would do in the public domain but utilising my email address, could you recommend a dealer that is not going to draw attention to itself by dealing in the murky and dodgy side of the market? Cheers.

          • Your account is probably also associated with a “A S A / Authorised Sky Agent”…and has an ASA number on it, which may be linked to the agent who has issues…
            And your account is also using a UK address…if the agent has 10 cards / contracts at the address, then that will cause some form of investigation,
            That is if the address being used even exists…which if sky are now aware if fictitious, will investigate.
            In which case Sky can happily turn off your card as you are in breach of your Sky Contract T&Cs a

    • That “rubbish resolution” of 720p is HD and is perfectly fine even if connected to a TV. The problem with NOW TV is the frame rate – not the resolution; they’re entirely different.

  4. Certainly the company I am with is one of those targeted by Sky. Now they are asking me to provide a UK address which has no Sky services. I think they have asked all their Sky customers for similar action. But if i could do that, with a bit of effort it would not be so difficult to fix up a Sky subscription independently – it’s getting the uk address that is the challenge and why I signed up with this company in the first place. The big problem here is Brexit: Sky executives know that when this is ‘done’, the days of ‘turning a blind eye’ are over because vested interests in a number of EU countries, especially France, will no longer tolerate what is a clear breach of licensing regulations. So much for Brussels’ much vaunted single market – never happened (and never will) for broadcasting rights.

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