Skype Loses London Numbers

After the great crash earlier this year and Ebay’s confirmation that it overpaid for the VoIP service in the first place, Skype could probably have done with keeping its head down. …

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26th November 2007 at 12:02 pm

After the great crash earlier this year and Ebay’s confirmation that it overpaid for the VoIP service in the first place, Skype could probably have done with keeping its head down. Unfortunately trouble comes in threes and now Skype is attracting serious flak for having to cut off some 10,000 London 0207 SkypeIn numbers.

What’s the big deal? Well unlike Skype’s core business, SkypeIn is a paid for service. In addition, lots of freelancers, home workers and other smaller businesses have been using SkypeIn numbers and have spent money on stationery, business cards etc which include a telephone number which will be invalid in a few weeks thanks to a Skype cock-up.

I heard about this story on Wednesday last week and got this email back from Skype’s PR team then. I didn’t quite appreciate at the time how many people it affected, so didn’t write it up.

I’m only printing the statement now in full here to add to the developing debate. It is rather long:

We are very sorry to confirm that we are asking a number of our SkypeIn users to change their London-based SkypeIn number. As some of you may know, Skype obtains SkypeIn numbers from a variety of telecoms suppliers. We offer these SkypeIn numbers to existing Skype users as a really neat, cost effective way to keep in touch even when you’re on the move. The London-based SkypeIn numbers in question came from one of these telecomms suppliers. We’ve been in discussion with this company to see if we could keep them. Unfortunately, this supplier has requested that we return some of the 0207 SkypeIn numbers so we’re asking our SkypeIn users who are affected to change their London-based SkypeIn number.

Obviously we know this causes our users a lot of inconvenience. To make up for this, we have given all of the users who need to return their number, a brand new SkypeIn number which will be free for 12 months along with free voicemail. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused and sincerely hope this won’t happen again. For further information and assistance, please do contact one of our customer advisors directly at sichange@skype.net.

As Neville Hobson points out, official word on the matter on Skype’s blog and other main sites is difficult to find. For a company that ought to be so social media savvy – after all it sparked a whole new era of online sociability – their lack of engagement is rather peculiar.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. Pat Coyne says:

    I received one of Skype’s “free vouchers” for a years SkypeIn. When I tried to activate it, it refused to accept my choice of new number, then asked me to pay. When in frustration I tried to pay it refused that too. Emails to Skype go unanswered. I now have no number.

  2. That sounds very frustrating! Skype seems still to be having problems in sorting this issue satisfactorily. Have you checked out the Skype forums where you may be able to pick the brains of some others that have suffered in this London number fiasco? Here’s the link.

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