Orange loses customer

I’ve used Orange for my mobile service for something like 10 years. In that time, I suspect they’ve done pretty well out of me.

They just lost me.

In my most recent bill I found a charge of £33 for 13MB of data downloads. Since I have never used more than 3MB a month I challenged this charge. Their customer service claimed that the entire 13MB was downloaded between 6pm one day and 5am the next. So by their own reckoning, I’d have had to download the equivalent of 1300 emails in that time, a neat trick given I’d have been asleep for half of it. I simply don’t use my phone that way.

They were unable “for data protection reasons” to substantiate what exactly I am supposed to have downloaded in that time and the people responsible for “billing integrity” are not a “customer-facing” department.

Orange seem to be unwilling to explain or justify this obvious anomoly. And the person I spoke to said she could “escalate” my complaint but her supervisor would only tell me the same thing. So the “customer-facing” people seem to be given no flexibility or power to make customers happy – it must be a stressful job. This is not a business that I feel comfortable having a direct debit relationship with.

Oh well, when Orange can’t escalate an issue, at least I can.

Faced with this kind of institutional obstinacy, I am out of here. I’ve cancelled the contract when it expires next month. I wonder if this abrupt thump in the tail of the corporate brontosaurus will reach some functioning part of its brain between now and then. Don’t hold your breath.

UPDATE Sept 16th: I’ve now made progress with Orange – see this post.

5 thoughts on “Orange loses customer

  1. Emergence Marketing

    When your customers stay with you until you screw up

    I have been reading a few stories of disgruntled long time phone customers who are switching companies for one screw-up (here for a Verizon story, here for an Orange story). I can absolutely relate with that as I have done…

  2. Peter Rukavina

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had considerably better experience with Orange, albeit in France and without ever having had to talk to anyone who works for Orange.

    I bought an unlocked GSM phone from eBay before a month-long visit to France this spring. I bought an Orange France “pay as you go” SIM card to go with it.

    Upon arrival in France it “just worked” and everything I did with the phone during the month worked well: there was coverage absolutely everywhere and I was able to buy “mobicartes” (to recharge airtime) at every tobacco shop in the country. The Orange network was, at least relative to the closed Rogers network here in Canada, surprisingly open: I was able to browse the web, check my IMAP email from a home server, and even use the phone as a GPRS modem from my laptop. Some of this took some scrounging of Orange websites (in French) and Google Groups, but it all worked as expected.

    I’ve no idea, of course, what would have happened should I have needed to seek out Orange for technical assistance.

  3. Jack Yan

    Johnnie, you have a right to demand how the 13 Mbyte were worked out. There is no law strong enough in the British Commonwealth that says you can’t. ‘Data protection’ my ass. There are several convincing reasons that jump to mind: (a) it’s your data, not anyone else’s, and you have a right to know how your systems are being used; (b) public policy: if you are affected, then who is to say others are not; (c) your terms and conditions are likely very clear that you can have access to private information held about yourself; (d) your legal right to sue those who may have misused your account. Orange is not only being morally foolhardy, it is actually acting against the law with regard to your rights as a British subject.


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