A day or so ago some Skype In users in the UK got a rude awakening. It seems their numbers are being repossessed by the provider Skype was securing them from.
Now a news account out of the UK says that Skype could have saved the numbers if they were willing to pony up a few more pounds per month around the very valuable 207 exchange in London. That's akin to a 212 in New York City these days.
So what does this mean? Well for starters Skype sold something they did not own, but simply are leasing or renting. At the time of sale I don't recall seeing any warning that the numbers could be changed at any time, and all that I'm paying for is really Skype In service from "SOME" number, ANY number.-- FAUX PAS #1-ALWAYS TELL YOU CUSTOMER THE RISKS.
As a matter of fact I was able to renew my number today, which is a 207 number, without any warning of the impending loss. FAUX PAS #2-Always communicate transparently at the time of sale.
My view is if the number is subscribed to Skype should go the extra mile and look out for their customers just like GrandCentral did, by taking every effort to save and salvage as many numbers as possible by either moving them to a friendly carrier using LNP (if this exists in the UK) or by sucking up the loss, which they haven't done. FAUX PAS #3. -ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR YOU CUSTOMER, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE PAID YOU.
Now what does this tell me reading between the lines.
1) Skype In is not a big deal to Skype. The revenues are not that big and they would rather incur a few upset users than pay higher rates.
2) Skype's view of this is not very customer oriented. Unlike a real phone number where you can refer to the new number, that doesn't happen with Skype In numbers. This helps support their argument to avoid E911 issues that they are not a real phone company. I say BULLOCKS. Those who promoted their Skype In numbers now have to tell everyone, and in some cases print new business cards.
3) It happened during a holiday week here in the USA. This means many USA based users of UK Skype In numbers will not learn of this until next week. Timing is everything.
Do I see both sides of the issue. Certainly. Is it fair to the user...NOPE! Does it point to the need for new leadership at Skype from the outside, where customers and technology are clearly known. YUP!
UPDATE---> Skype Journal guest poster Simon Perry weighed ' with his thoughts with a great comment calling all of this "BIZZARE"