Written on: 14/09/2012
I was a customer with Orange a couple of years ago, originally signing an 18-month contract on their Dolphin 35 plan, and opting to extend it after 12 months or so as they offered a free upgrade (first phone was an LG viewty which I loved and still have; upgraded phone was an LG Arena which is the worst expensive paper-weight I've ever had the mis-fortune of owning).
Despite claiming that the contract would be a flat 35 pound a month deal, for 600 minutes, 'unlimited' (so 3000) texts and internet, I never paid anywhere near that amount. My monthly bill would always somehow be in the region of the 45-50 quid mark, despite only using an average of 100 minutes, 300 texts and barely any internet at all every month.
I took umbridge with this with their 'helpful' (read, 'moronic') customer 'service' call centres, and their answer was "that's the amount we charge, nothing you can do, you're locked into a contract and can't do anything about it." Wow. That's me told, then.
When the time for renewal came up, I was on the verge of dumping the contract and going elsewhere, but sadly they snared me in with more false promises - a nice, shiny new LG Arena, which in their words to me was "A million times better than the Viewty and a real iPhone killer", and the same amount of minutes, texts and internet for a flat-rate, 'it'll never be more than' 25 quid a month. Result, I thought.
Of course, the phone turned out to be garbage, the bill stayed the same (even went up to the 55 quid mark at times) and the customer service, both on the phone and face-to-face, effectively just flicked the V's up at me every time I complained and said 'tough, shouldn't have extended the contract then.'
I decided not to pay the last month of my contract as I wasn't using the phone by that point (I'd finally got myself a Blackberry on 02 PAYG), and frankly, Orange had got thousands out of me by that point - I'm sure that they'd be willing to drop the final bill as a gesture of good faith.
Wrong. The day after the bill went unpaid, they cut the phone off. The day after that, they sent a letter from some bodge-job collection agency, threatening me with 'removal of goods totalling the sum of the outstanding debt, with the use of force if necessary', and the day after that, three burly men turned up at my door, demanding the money and telling me that if I didn't have it 'we'll take all your things and laugh.' At which point I coughed up the economy-destroying FOURTY-FIVE QUID that Orange were clearly hell-bent on claiming as their own.
That's the last time I had any dealings with Orange personally, although they still send me junk-mail with 'enticing and exciting offers' to 'welcome me back to the world of Orange'. I have no idea what else the junk mail says. It's normally torn-up and in my Hamster's cage as bedding and bog-roll by that point.
So, to summarise, abysmal customer service, mis-led on monthly contract payments, frankly the worst signal coverage I've ever experienced (one corner of my bedroom was about the only place I could get it), and viciously nasty if you don't play the game on their terms.
Thank goodness for 02....