Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Skype = Bad

Just found out something today, kinda my fault (debatable though), but also makes me not like Skype very much at the moment.

A while back (September 27, 2006 to be exact), I purchased some Skype credit so that I could make some cheap calls from South America... Very useful, loved the facility.

Fast forward a bit, now we're in Australia, so happens that I don't have a complete Skype setup, missing a fairly crucial component of a microphone, so while Skype would be fantastic and cheap, I can't use it (my own slackness for not getting a mike, but it's not too long till we'll be back in the UK where I have all that stuff).

Add to this, I have a bunch of email addresses that I very infrequently check, basically they're spam catchers. So whenever I sign up to stuff on the web, or can possibly expose my email address, I use one of those addresses. This is what I did with Skype.

Now we get into the why I think Skype = Bad. I found out today that the 9.59 That I had left on my account, is no longer there, searching around all over the place, I just find obscure references to 'Balance Expiration'. Hmmm... what does that mean? More searching, and I find in the help page (about 20 or so items down) a page titled 'Why does My Account page show an expiration date?' (I don't check my account page often, and don't recall seeing an expiration date on the skype window..) which refers to:
The Skype credit balance expires after 180 days of inactivity. As soon you succesfully connect a SkypeOut call your expiration date will reset to 180 days. It can take up to 10 days for your expiration date to reset after placing a call.

30 days before your expiry date Skype will send an email to your registered email address to remind you to place a call so that you do not loose your Skype credits.

oh! I must of missed/forgot a term, and 'cause I don't check that email address... feck! So login, and sure enough there's 4 emails:
  • You're going to lose your credit in 30 days
  • 7 days
  • 3 days
  • You've lost it
Feck! Ok, Skype tried to notify me, but goddamn it, that's my credit, my money, it pisses me off that they've now taken it and not allowed me to continue to use it! If they want to remove it, fine allow me to claim it back. Oh and 180 days is NOT enough time, here in Aus at least statue of limitations is 7 years, not half a year.

I will contact Skype and there's probably a good chance they'll refund or reinstate my credit, but to be honest it'll still leave a bad taste in my mouth. I think I'll start looking at other voip providers, one's who don't steal my money without delivering.



Biscuit said...

Well I've now sent them an email, now to wait and see what the response will be:

Just recently checked my Skype Account and was surprised to see my credit at 0.00 because of an 'Balance Expiration'.

After searching around I realised that Skype has a policy to stop credit when usage does not occur for 180 days, which for my account expired on: 29th March. I was not aware of that (I very infrequently check that particular email address)...

What are the chances of getting that credit re-instated or refunded?

Additionally I am not happy with the restriction of 180 days, I quite strongly disagree with that limit (in Australia at least the limit would be 7 years [statue of limitations]), I realise of course that you're a business and can impose whatever you like, but is there a way I can log my disagreement and perhaps have that policy reviewed?

Of course if my credit is re-instated I will conform to your rules (now that I am fully aware of those restrictions).


Biscuit said...

For anyone interested, got a resolution, yay! They're giving me the credit back, the response was:
Hello Andrew,

Thank you for contacting Skype Support.

The reason that credits have to expire is related to accounting. Virtually all pre-paid services have expiry dates or fees for lack of use. The reason for this is that if an account sits unused it is a liability to us since at anytime it can be used. In accounting terms you need to clear that money off your balance sheet at some point if it is not being used.

Skype policy is that we simply ask that you place one call every 180 days to keep your credit from expiring. We feel that this policy is fair to our customers and at the same time allows us to follow standard accounting rules.

This is written in our Terms of Service, Article 6, paragraph 6.5 :

To view your account and call history please go here:

We have started sending out e-mails now to those people who's credit is about to expire. Sometimes our customers do not receive these e-mails because they either have no e-mail address registered and verified with Skype or the e-mails end up in junk mail or spam filters.

You can check the validity of your e-mail from here: https://secure.skype.com/store/settings/changeemail.htm

However, after reviewing your case we have decided to re-instate your credit.

For the future please remember that you must place one successful PSTN (regular telephone or mobile) phone call every 180 days in order to keep your credit balance. You could also send an SMS message; buy an avatar to personalise your Skype; purchase a SkypeIn number, Skype Voicemail or a Gift Certificate

Thank you once again and we hope you continue to enjoy using Skype

Best regards,

Rando M
Skype Customer Support
Now to go check what my 'Expiry Date' is...

Sean Collins said...

This just happened to me, hopefully I can get the same resolution. They took about $6 USD.

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