Cyclone Gabrielle: Sky TV slammed for demanding Hawke's Bay residents return Sky Boxes buried under metres of silt

Consumer NZ is calling out Sky TV for its treatment of customers following Cyclone Gabrielle.

Some flood-affected Hawke's Bay residents say they've been ordered to return their Sky Box decoders or face a hefty fine, despite the fact they're buried under metres of silt.


The Dockary family's home is still covered in thick silt following Cyclone Gabrielle. 

"We've got no house, no furniture, no contents, and no job," Hawke's Bay resident Nicky Dockary told Newshub.

With no working TV, they're trying to cancel their Sky subscription. But Sky says to do that, Nicky needs to return the decoder or face a fee of $260.

And there's a problem - it's buried somewhere beneath huge piles of silt.

"I even explained to her that I would have to dig down," Dockary said.

"I said 2 metres, might be 1.5 metres but a lot of silt and dirt and filth and she said she still wants the box back."

After sharing her ordeal on social media, other locals have come forward with similar stories. 

That includes one who said they had to email Sky pictures of their damaged house so they'd stop, and another who said Sky couldn't understand the concept of "we've lost everything". 

"I've got better things to be doing than digging up Sky Boxes at the moment."

Consumer NZ's been looking into the issue and said Sky isn't treating its customers fairly. 

"We're really disappointed in the response from Sky, the fact customers are having to go through toxic silt to dig out these boxes is not what they should be doing right now," Consumer NZ head of research Gemma Rasmussen said.

In a statement, Sky said it's offered assistance to several hundred cyclone-affected customers and is aware a small number haven't received the appropriate level of care.

It said it doesn't expect anyone to return their silt-damaged Sky Box.

That's clearly not what Dockary was told, as she's been trying for weeks to find it to no avail. 

So she's considering sending something else instead.

"They're going to get a nice box of silty crap," Dockary told Newshub.

She hopes that will put an end to it, so she can concentrate on recovering the things that matter.