I’ve been a loyal customer of Orange ever since I got a mobile 10 years ago. Last weekend I made the fatal error of trusting them to sell me an iPhone.
I went to my local Orange Shop knowing exactly what I was after – an iPhone 3GS 16GB on an 18 month plan at £30 per month. Sounds straightforward? Not exactly! The sales advisor, lets call him Liam, quoted me £99 for the phone, which sounded reasonable so I decided to go ahead. Liam took my details, did a credit check, I had to wait 30 minutes while a “random” check (don’t ask me what that is) was carried out and he gave me a demonstration iPhone to play with while I waited. I passed all the checks and I was then escorted to the till, he zapped the phone and then announced my iPhone 3GS 16GB was infact going to cost me £189 and not the £99 he’d quoted me. I requested to see the store manager to ask that the cost of the priced quoted be honoured, Liam then fobbed me off and told me it couldn’t be honoured and blamed Apple’s pricing policy. As he’d missold me the iPhone I asked him to cancel the order and revert my phone number back to it’s previous Pay As You Go settings. Liam assured me that the contract for the iPhone had been cancelled and shredded and the my phone had been reverted back to PAYG, and so the next chapter in the saga begins…
My phone continued to work normally until a few hours later when I then saw “No Service” displayed where “Orange” usually would be. I couldn’t make or receive calls or texts when I got home. As my landline wasn’t connected, there was no way I could make contact with anyone unless I went to the nearest phone box. I pumped in various coins to phone the Orange Shop on their costly 0870 number only to hear Liam on the end of the line, he told me to switch my phone on and off for the next few hours and it should be fine.
Well, Liam’s not the sharpest tool in the box, and it wasn’t fine on Sunday morning. I still had “No Service”! Again, I took myself round to the phone box, pumped in around £1.50 to get Liam’s colleague Steven, who very kindly offered to put my number onto a new SIM to resolve the connection problem and he was also kind enough to drop this round to my flat on his way home.
Sadly, Steven’s solution did not work as I had “No Service” displayed on my phone again the following day. I decided to contact Orange Customer Services directly to find out why on earth this kept happening. This was the start of nightly contact with them for the rest of the week!
On speaking to John at Orange Customer Services, I was told that I held a contract for an iPhone! Liam from my local Orange shop had NOT cancelled my order as requested, so their systems couldn’t reconnect my number to PAYG. He offered to follow this up with the Orange Shop as it was their responsibility to cancel it, John was informed that the local Regional Manager had the matter in hand and that the contract would be cancelled within 24 hours. I was still without a functioning phone though!
Twenty-four hours later, I was still without a working phone and Orange had not successfully cancelled my contract. I was asked to wait another 24 hours for them to try to resolve this! By this time I was in the hands of Lucas from Orange Customer Services as John was on holiday. After another 48 hours I could receive calls, but couldn’t make them as Orange couldn’t add credit to my account (my previous credit had vanished), I was also unable to top-up online or via a swipe-card in a shop! I was told on Friday night that this was due to an error message on my account which had been passed to their IT Team for resolution, they expected this to be fixed by Saturday morning (a full 7 days since I set foot in the Orange Shop!)
So, I waited, with great expectations, on Saturday morning to be told that my phone was fixed, but that proved to be far too optimistic! Tessa from Orange Customer Services called (Lucas was now off on holiday too!) to inform me that I’d have to wait until Tuesday for the IT Team to fix my account as they were now off for the Bank Holiday weekend and her team had assumed that they were open! I had played the patient, well-mannered customer up until this point, but I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was at the end of my tether. I stressed to Tessa just how serious this was, that I’d been waiting a whole week for them to get their act together. I had asked before, and I asked again, for this to be escalated to Senior Management and that in no uncertain terms, this HAD to be resolved NOW! Oddly, taking a much harder line paid off, my number account was fixed within 2 hours, why on earth they couldn’t have done this earlier, I’ll never know?
I am so angry with my experience with Orange that I’ve requested my PAC code and I will be moving my custom to another network, so Orange have lost 10 years of custom and a potential £700+ over the next 18 months from me!
It should also be noted that Orange are the only UK mobile network NOT to clearly publicise their rates for 18 month iPhone plans, O2 and Vodafone clearly list their pricing structures on their website and in their brochures.
I’d warn anyone reading this to carefully consider giving Orange your custom.
*All Orange staff names have been changed