Sky Television: A lesson in frustration

Update: the post below documents my frustrations, but I have since discovered a pretty large security hole in the Sky Customer Help site. The site requires no password, meaning you can guess an email address (say that of John Fellet, CEO, or Fernando Battaglia, Web Development Manager), and view any questions they have posted, or post questions as them. This is a Bad ThingTM

SkyTV has a really neat feature whereby one can subscribe to email updates about upcoming programs. I think it?s called the ?Alert Service?. I caught the last few episodes of a program called Around the World in 80 Gardens1, and I wanted to see the rest of the series, so I subscribed for alerts when the program would be on again.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don?t ever, ever subscribe to this service. In fact, I might suggest you stay well away from Sky?s website at all times.

Why do I say this? Let me count the ways:

  1. Once you get on the alert service, there is no way to unsubscribe by the normal ?reply? method. Interestingly, this contravenes the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, making it liable for a fine.
  2. Apparently, you can log into the Sky website to unsubscribe, but I wouldn?t know that because every time I try to log in I get this error message:
    Sky Error
  3. After these issues, I somehow managed to log a support request last week via their help system. I checked the request yesterday and it was logged as ?SOLVED?. Soon after that I got another alert message.
  4. Tonight, I went to log in to the support system from another PC. The login page is just brilliant:
    Sky Help Login
    Note the complete lack of a password input. If you do click the login button, you get ?The login ID and password combination you provided is invalid?. Errr, perhaps that?s because I wasn?t able to type a password!?
  5. But wait, it gets better. I then realised I’d used the wrong email address. I tried typing the correct email address, and lo! Logged in without a password. Now I know this is not massively confidential information, but if you can guess someone’s email address, you can get straight into this help system, and maybe run across a question containing account details, or perhaps a credit card number if you’re really lucky.

So all in all, probably the most shockingly bad web experience I?ve ever had the displeasure to deal with. Stay well away.

Footnote 1: Mad as it sounds, Around the World in 80 Gardens is actually a lovely program, moreso if you have a passing interest in design and architecture. The Mediterranean program in particular is just amazing. Incredible modern and ancient gardens in amazing settings.


  1. “I checked the request yesterday and it was logged as ?SOLVED?.”

    I’ve been frustrated with premature solving of requests by Vodafone too. Requests I’ve raised seem to get marked as solved when the problem is passed on to the responsible team to fix rather than when the problem has actually been actually fixed (from my, the customers, point of view). Which I always find a little insulting seeing as I’ve taken my time to report a problem to them.

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