Hey Skype, If You're Going To Sell Other People's Numbers, At Least Have A Customer Service Department

George’s outgoing Skype calls properly display his SkypeIn number, but if anyone tries to call him back, they’re connected the number’s rightful owner, a nice old woman in Raleigh, NC. George wants to know why Skype sold him someone else’s number, but the internet telecom apparently doesn’t pay anyone to answer their phones.

I purchased a SkypeIn number on Tuesday morning (a normal phone number that connects to my Skype account, which should be callable by normal phones). I live in Raleigh, NC, so I chose a 919 number that sounded memorable.

I tried out the service by calling a friend, which worked great. My new number came up on his caller ID, and the voice quality was fine. He then tried calling me back, and was connected to a woman on the other end. Certain he’d dialed incorrectly, we called the number several times and kept reaching the same (amazingly patient) woman.

It seemed obvious at this point that Skype had sold me a number it didn’t control, so I attempted to contact their support. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1) Tried to respond to the purchase confirmation email. However, the email was from noreply@ice.skype.com, and instructed users needing support to check their knowledgebase, and then contact via the online form.

2) Visited said knowledgebase, searched for my problem, and unsurprisingly did not find a match. I was then allowed access to the contact form (you must perform at least one search to have the honor of contacting support). I filled it out, and waited.

3) Emailed support@skype.com, help@skype.com, techsupport@skype.com, webmaster@skype.com, ceo@skype.com and president@skype.com, hoping one of these would at least get someone’s attention.

4) Twittered about it, hoping they’d see their brand mentioned negatively and care. No such luck, although given their recent fiasco with the Skype twitter account, I wasn’t surprised.

5) After 24 hours, submitted another ticket via the online form, saying I’d tried to contact them several times to no avail. Still nothing.

6) Posted in their community forums. The only response I’ve gotten is another user who also can’t get Skype support to respond.

7) Sent a private message to their forum moderator, who seems to be the only Skype staffer who responds to the alarming number of threads detailing numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach Skype support. The message has been read, and the moderator is active on other threads, but has not responded.

8) Decided to write The Consumerist…

To date, I have not even received an automated email saying a ticket has been created. Dead silence.

I paid Skype all of $20 for this service, but I still think I deserve a response, a refund for the lost service, a new number, and dare I say it, an apology. I would cancel the payment via Paypal, but seeing as eBay owns both companies I don’t see this bearing fruit.

At this point, I think I’ve moved from pissed off to simply amazed. Its become a fascination to see just how badly a company can fail at basic customer support. And to be certain, the irony of a communications company making it so hard to communicate with them is not lost on me.

Skype has managed to stay mostly off of our radar for the past few years, and we’ve never had any problems with our service. Does anyone have contact information we can share with George? Leave it in the comments.

(Photo: Ryan Fanshaw Photography)