Skype Hangs Up On Some Londoners

35 Comments

[qi:090] Remember how we complained about Google-owned GrandCentral doing a switcheroo on their promise of one number for life? Well, Skype is doing the same to some Londoners who have SkypeIn mumbers. The company sent an email to some of the “0207” number owners with this explanation…

We’re very sorry to tell you that we have to change your SkypeIn number. As some of you may know, we get SkypeIn numbers from a variety of telecoms suppliers. Unfortunately, we have to return some of the 0207 SkypeIn numbers to one of our suppliers of London numbers.

The numbers stop working on Dec. 20th. The company says it will give you a new SkypeIn number and voicemail for free for 12 months. Many of these numbers could be in the 0208 numbers and 0203 area codes, Skype says. That said, it is pretty lame for the company to pull a stunt like this, especially a company as big as Skype. Their excuse is pretty weak.

35 Comments

Justin

I’ve also switched to http://www.VOIPfone.co.uk for my business (Skype killed my main business number) and it is far, far better than Skype in every respect – virtual switchboards, call transfer, company wide answerphone and call register plus the option to add UK freefone numbers!

Brilliant! I’m furious that Skype screwed me over, and it’ll cost me thousands in missed orders, but I’m really glad to have found a better alternative.

Cheers,

Justin
http://www.masterofmalt.com
Whiskies of Distinction
0800 5200 474

Alan

Hmmm… maybe it’s a blessing rather than a curse that Skype could never be bothered to make the SkypeIn service avaialable in Canada.

david roe

I moved my number over to voipfone at the end of last week.

Very impressed with them spoke to a young lady who guided me through he process and my number was transferred it about 4 hours wouldn’t even get a reply to an email from skype in 4 hours.

Found this page on skypes forum http://www.voipfone.co.uk/skype or you can just do what i did and call them 020 7043 5555.

Jo

Don’t panic, Skype customers can keep their number by porting it over to Vonage. Just call 0808 178 9617.

vijay gill

Calm down, sometimes the underlying provider of the number goes away, or there is a regulatory change. It is not like skype doesn’t have smart people who can’t figure out that changing numbers willy-nilly on folks will result in bad publicity. Sometimes there is no good technical solution around this problem.

Steve Dovey

I received the following from them a short while ago:
“At this time there’s nothing further that we, at Skype, can do to assist you in keeping this number, but if you’d like to inquire about using your number outside of your Skype subscription please contact the owner of the numbers GCI Telecom on sales@geonum.co.uk

I think they may be able to organise some sort of forwarding service. Not sure what the costs will be though. As for Skype’s solution of one year’s free line rental, that’s just laughable. I’d be offering at least a couple of free years, a refund on the last payment and a whole bunch of free credit.

John

IT’S NOT JUST 020 7870 NUMBERS THEY ARE WITHDRAWING, IT’S ALSO 020 7871 NUMBERS!
WHAT THE HELL ARE SKYPE PLAYING AT? LESS THAN A MONTHS NOTICE IS JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH! I WILL NEVER USE SKYPE AGAIN!

Sen

I renewed the 0207 number that I had for just over a year just 11 days ago and had more stationery printed at a cost of over £200. I complained over 24 hours ago, but have received no reply. (1) If according to their blog response, they knew of this potential situation some time ago, why didn’t they at least warn you when renewing recently (2) Having renewed 11 days ago, the offer of 12 months Skype in represents just 11 days subscription – 14 Euro cents (3) Be warned, these numbers don’t appear to work as fax forwards to a VoIP based fax to email service.

Ole, Norway

Couple of hundreds in stationary? We are talking tens in car vinyl!
We know this is no attorny food, but Skype really let us down.

quack

“0207 numbers are no longer available, these 0207 number relate to central London, 0208 are the suburbs and 0203, well who knows!”

Completely wrong. London just has one area code – 020. The next digit (7, 8, 3) is totally meaningless. When 020 was created, they merged the 0171 and 0181 area codes together, getting rid of any historical and geographical significance the 7 or 8 may have had.

I can’t believe people still think this way 7 years after the change occured.

Mat

Michael

“To those that “invested huge amount of money” in a SkypeIn number, should have invested some time in reading the ToS or in a lawyer to review it for them.”

Huge sum of money? “Huge” is relative. A few hundred pounds spent on stationery can be huge to some people.

Lawyers. How realistic is it to expect people to get a lawyer in every time they sign up for a service such as Skype?

The bottom line is that any company that relies on it’s small print to pull a move like this deserves to lose its goodwill.

Companies that care about their customers solve the problem. They don’t say “gotcha, sucker” and point to the Ts & Cs.

Jens

This reminds me of the three day skype breakdown earlier this year. In a similar fashion, the communication from skype to its user base is simply poor. Quickly two points as examples:

1) There is no clear communication from skype in the message as to “why” they are doing this. Obviously, this leads to a lot of speculation.

2) The other aspect is that skype doesn’t participate in the discussion. Take this comment thread as an example. This morning, GigaOM was 13th on the Techmeme Leaderboard. There are a ton of bad comments on skype here, but nobody from skype has commented. Incredible.

Both instances are in my view examples of very poor corporate communication and PR. They neither shape the message well, nor do they participate in the discussions.

This somewhat reminds me of the Dell/Buzzmachine desaster a few years ago. ?

Dave

Had my SkypeIn account from the very first day they came out and am disgusted with the attitude shown by Skype. At least they could be honest and say they want to save money and put their customers 2nd in every way. And myself and numerous others have been given a voucher that is invalid when they try to input it into the system.

jack hogan

Defintely the work of amateurs – if skype wanted to support people in the migration the least they could have done was give 6 months notice. Even ofcom would have been sympathetic to this argument so I can only assume they knew this might happen quite some time ago but only decided to tell people now.

Poor does not quite describe it !

Andrew Davies

Same story here. I’ve been paying for this service for over 3 years, and have almost a year left on my account for my company phone number. Absolutely pathetic.

Libran Lover

If that is a weak excuse, what about Skype’s excuse for not displaying the user’s SkypeIn number as caller-ID when making SkyeOut calls in the US? They don’t do that because displaying the SkypeIn number as caller-ID while making SkypeOut calls will give the impression that SkyeIn and SkypeOut are bundled services, in which case FCC regulations say that they should also offer 911 calling. Since they don’t want to offer 911 calling, they don’t even want to give the impression that SkypeIn and SkypeOut are part of a single service! THAT is a real weak excuse!

artem10

I’ve had my UK SkypeIn number for over a year and it’s incredible that Skype pulls such a prank on its otherwise devoted customers! I’ve looked at the London numbers they’re offerring and all of them seem to be in the 0208 zone.

Does anybody know of an alternative to SkypeIn for London-based phone numbers?

Advice Network

I’d be just as mad if I was in the position of having a number I used for marketing go bad, but is there a chance that it isn’t Skype’s fault?

Here is a hack I use for my phone numbers. I don’t know if it would work in the UK, but in the USA it is golden. I have a too free number. It’s really cheap, $1.00 a month and $.05 a minute incoming, and it is independent of my real number. I can move, change cities, change states, and I keep my toll free and just have it wring to my new number. I haven’t had to change it once, and I’ve moved 7 times.

Michael C. Neel

Wow – I’d expect GM to present what’s actually happening instead of a chicken little viewpoint.

The supplier in this case is OFCOM – i.e. the Government. It’s common in the US to change Area codes for a region when the population growth out grows the amount of numbers available. businesses that want permanent numbers purchase them (normally these are 1-800 toll free numbers in the US, but they don’t have to be). Otherwise your number is subject to change.

In looking at OFCOM documents, it seems in 2004 they wanted to move all VOIP services to their own area codes – which Skype and others opposed, claiming users wanted “localized” numbers – which I agree. I did get the sense though that OFCOM looked at VOIP as “second class” to traditional lines, so it doesn’t surprise me that they pick Skype to take back numbers from when rezoning.

To those that “invested huge amount of money” in a SkypeIn number, should have invested some time in reading the ToS or in a lawyer to review it for them.

“You acknowledge and understand that the allocation and distribution of the number does not constitute any transfer of any property or other rights with respect to the numbers.” … “In the event that Skype changes the SkypeIn number that has been allocated to you, Skype will send a notification by e-mail, stating the effective date of the change and your new number. If you do not wish to accept this new number, you are entitled to terminate your number, in writing or by e-mail to billing@skype.net, with effect from the date on which the new number will be allocated to you. Skype will not be liable for any damages resulting from the change of number.”

Phil Weyman

For the amount of bad publicity Skype will get from this I’m surprised they can’t throw a chunk of money at it to sort it out…

As far as saying Skype is a toy – they market themselves as a viable telecomunications solution. If they want to play with the big boys they can’t be relying on flakey suppliers that are suddenly going to pull the plug.

I too have lost my 0207 number which I’ve had for over a year and have been using as my main business telephone number.

In the email they sent, it said:

“We’re very sorry to tell you that we have to change your SkypeIn
number. As some of you may know, we get SkypeIn numbers from a variety of telecoms suppliers. Unfortunately, we have to return some of the 0207 SkypeIn numbers to one of our suppliers of London numbers.”

Not sure how many people knew that their phone number was only being leased and could be retracted at any time – that could have affected my decision to go with them in the first place (a reason why it was probably mentioned in very small print somewhere.

Nick

The incompetence of this move is just gobsmacking. I read it at first assuming that it was a year away, not just a few weeks. If they do not reverse the decision I have every intention of ensuring that my number appears as prominently as possible on every scam, spam and sex line listing I can find.

Rick

Saga #xx. Ranks up there with changing my password wo my consent and my having to set up a new account. Further frustration when there is nobody like a customer service dept to talk to.

WARNING: Skype is a toy, NOT A BUSINESS SOLUTION.

Edward

This is unbelievable! Like most people I have had my 0207 number printed on all my stationary and adverts and now my customers won’t be able to contact me in a months time. I have just spent a fortune on advertising as Christmas is the busiest time of the year. I am not impressed at all! I will now warn everyone to keep well away from Skype!

Doug Morris

I have had my number for a similar length of time.

For such a large corporation, I find it incredible that SKYPE can treat small businesses so badly. It is going to cost me a lot of money to change all my printed material. I do not think I can rely on their services again. If skype are unwilling to assist me in my costs then I will be recommending to all I know to cease the use of this service.

Poor is not the word – it is unprofessional, and unsatisfactory! I hope my customer never have to experience the same poor service I am getting from SKYPE!

Adam

I have had my 0207 skypeIn number for more thann 2 years and had just renewed it for another year. I use it as my main contact number in my advertising which I will still be paying for long after the number stops working….
This is really poor, really very poor….
I am disgusted by this action and the short notice that Skype is giving, I had only just renewed it.
What a load of bollox from a company worth millions!

Adam

I have had my skypeIn 0207 number for 2 years and had just renewed it for another year. I use it as my main contact number in my advertising which I will still be paying for long after the number stops working….
This is really poor, really poor….

mspoke

From reading the Skype forums it appears that Skype is no longer dealing with a big reseller of 0207 numbers therefore your number just goes up in smoke if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones (and there are a lot by all accounts).

The two biggest problems here are 1) 0207 numbers are no longer available, these 0207 number relate to central London, 0208 are the suburbs and 0203, well who knows! and 2) They’ve given long time users like myself LESS than ONE MONTHS NOTICE.

Really incredible.

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