The TV, telephone and broadband provider Sky has decided to show the door to the company’s door to door sales team. The decision has come amid allegations that its sales agents lied about Sky’s download speeds and broadband limits in an attempt to pursue commissions.
The controversy began after an investigation by The Guardian in May which exposed a number of instances of improper selling, with several Sky sales people blowing the whistle on its practices. They said that they were under so much pressure to sell packages and meet targets that they relayed false information to customers. Sky, however, disputed these claims by saying they have rigorous training systems in place.
One Sky agent, who have been given the name Sky Walkers, said: “I have been in sales nearly 20 years and I have never been under this much pressure before. We get constant phone calls and text messages. Three times a day we have to tell managers the numbers of doors that we have knocked on, the number of people spoken to and the sales we have made. I’m looking for another job with less money and less pressure.”
Managers’ bonuses were often related to door to door sales teams hitting their targets. Staff who did not make seven sales every week were told to work Saturdays, even thought the official target the teams were set was to sign up six new customers every week.
Sky called its agents to a series of meetings on Tuesday and began the process of axing their jobs. They were told to elect a representative for each team and have been suspended from their duties until that process is complete. The provider says that their decision is not connected to the controversy.
A spokeswoman for Sky said: “We have been reviewing the way we sell our products to better suit customer demands. The way customers like to shop is changing, with online becoming more important. In addition, as well as new customers joining Sky, a significant part of our growth now comes from selling additional products to existing customers with whom we already have a relationship.
“As customers choose other ways to buy our products, door to door sales are becoming less viable and we are proposing to withdraw from this activity. We will consult with employees before taking a final decision and will work to find alternative roles for those affected should the proposal go ahead.”