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back to article Orange punts two year lock-in

Customers who are prepared to wait 2 years for their next subsidised handset, or give up the subsidy entirely with a SIM-only deal and no commitment, are being offered bonus minutes and text from Orange UK.. The benefits, compared to the 18 month contracts already available, depend on what kind of animal you are: Canaries get …

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2 Years of Orange

This 2 year tie in would be fine if Orange a) supported failing handsets and b) actually gave a fig about their customers.

I'm an 18 month customer and I can't even replace my flakey V3 because I have had it for 11 months and it's not insured. What happened to Sale of Goods and Services Act?

Without better "support" for potential failures, this "2 year tie in" deal could never be made an attractive proposition. Dressing a pig in a dress does not detract from the fact it's a pig!

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There's a bonus now...

Just ask your operator (Voda in my case) for an upgrade. Then say you'd "rather keep your existing handset, so can I have a discount instead?".

It's worked for me 2 years on the trot.

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Anonymous Coward

Orange would do better...

Orange would do better to offer existing customers a discount on their line rental on older contracts (not the zoo contracts they have). I haven't upgraded my phone since 2005 because the models and contracts they offer are more and more pathetic and overloaded with crap I don't need or want.

Showing their commitment to existing customers who haven't upgraded (and hence don't cost them anything anyway) would be much better than this 2-year contract mess, especially when their customer service seems to be sliding towards worse every time I have to deal with them (which is thankfully not often).

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I'd go for a 2-year contract..

..if Orange could sell me a phone that will last two years without it, it's charger or it's battery failing and thus requiring me to fork out hand-over-fist for an unsubsidised replacement in order to have a usable phone for the rest of my contract.

I've not had a mobile last that long yet without something breaking and I'm careful with them as a rule.

I suspect this is because the expected upgrade cycle (and the need for manufacturers to shift their shiny new toys when they come out) means build quality of mobiles is generally what my father always used to dismiss as "cheap plastic rubbish" when on toy-shopping trips (which is why many of the toys I _was_ allowed to buy live-on in toyboxes of children to this day).

Maybe a free 24-month like-for-like warranty would sway me but till then I'll not take out any contract that outlives the manufacturer's guarantee.

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Canaries

What on earth are Canaries gonna do with the free txt msgs? They dont have opposable thumbs, surely more minutes would be better.

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JP

Germany has been doing this for years...

So much so, that I think it's a 3 year lock-in for some contracts...

My Father had a 2 year contract with T-Mobile in Germany, and got a subsidised Siemens pile-of-cra... I mean phone. After 13 months, the battery suddenly lasted about 3hrs on idle, reception was poor at best, and the phone was just falling apart (to add to the problems of the poor design and limited functionality of the phone in the first place.) After lasting out the remaining 11 months, my father was then told that he didn't use the phone enough to warrant an upgrade, but would he like to buy a new phone anyway?

Contract CANCELLED.

I was frankly quite amazed that the UK has lasted so long on 1yr contracts and upgrades.

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Mat

2 years soon passes

I've had my SE K700 for well over two years, it works fine, battery is still ok, so I don't see the problems with a 2 year contract

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Anonymous Coward

Sale Of Goods Act

If they are supplying a handset for use with a 24-month service contract then the expectation would be that the product would last for at least that length of time.

Excerpt from the Sale of Goods Act:

"For the purposes of this Act, the quality of goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

[...]

(e) durability

I am not a lawyer - but I'd suspect that you'd have a fairly strong case for the quality not being "satisfactory" if they didn't last 24 months when it was provided as part of a 24-month service contract ...

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The future could be orange......but probably not.

The most interesting thing is to hear that they will be running contracts with no handsets with minimum line rental and no handset. I know from my experience that customers fall in to one of two VERY broard catagories.

They either want a fashion handset (bought for looks)and want the latest. In which case they be willing to pay out up front for a handset and at the pace that the fickle phone industry moves they will still pay for a sim free fone regularly or just sign up for another contract to get the phone they want.

Or they are a data customer like myself (bought for capabilities). I bought a Treo 650 and 2x M5000 SPV's from Orange a year ago and for the uses that I have for them Orange hasnt got any replacement. Simply because there hasnt been anything produced. I have an upgrade in July but apart from getting 3x 8800's to flog I cant feasibly see anything worth getting but with an upgrade due Id feel I was wasting it if I didnt take advantage of getting a discount im entitled to.

For me I havent got any problem with signing up to a 3 year contract with Orange on a Sim only deal at a reduced rate and supplying my own handsets as and when I decide that a model has come out that would suit my needs better than the one I have at the moment.

However untill they want to start doing that. Ill be taking my 3 Sciroccos in black please.

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Something desirable enough to keep for 2 years

When they come up with a handset that you actually want to keep for two years, then I'll consider it. Lets face it the present handsets are:

1. Not durable/tough enough to last for 2 years without some sort of damage/malfunction.

2. Full of useless features that you're never going to use in a million years.

3. Overly complicated when trying to get at the features you want to use like bluetooth.

This is a bit general, some manufacturers are better than others, Nokia are fairly durable and Motorola are better than they used to be but some of this is dependant on phone model as both manufacturers have made a few turkeys and other manufacturers are in competition with Bernard Mathews!

For me 2 years would be too long, I don't even like having an eighteen month contract and I tend to change my phone anyway halfway through because I'm fed up with the one I've got.

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Anonymous Coward

2 years with one handset? ...

... I've had mine for 8 years!

I moved to payg a while back and have saved myself a whole chunk of money.

My phone can make/receive calls and make/receive sms. What more do I need?

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The Future is indeed BRIGHT!

Orange are not a phone manufacturer, they are a service provider. The contracts customers sign up for are for the sim card not the handset. (Which is the case with all mobile operators)

I used to work for Orange and T-Mobile and speak to the imbeciles who bought handsets which they couldn't use. They simply wanted the most expensive phone available to show to their friends at the pub.

People always want something for nothing. I think the deals are pretty good value for money as I buy sim free handsets when I want them.

And to respond to Jay B, you do get a 12 month warranty from the manufacturer of your handset. But if you choose cr*p, thats what you get Motorola handset are rubbish. Stick with Sony Ericsson or Samsung. Nokia used to be good, but checkout the forum on their website with all the complaints about their handsets.

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The Future is indeed BRIGHT!

Orange are not a phone manufacturer, they are a service provider. The contracts customers sign up for are for the sim card not the handset. (Which is the case with all mobile operators)

I used to work for Orange and T-Mobile and speak to the imbeciles who bought handsets which they couldn't use. They simply wanted the most expensive phone available to show to their friends at the pub.

People always want something for nothing. I think the deals are pretty good value for money as I buy sim free handsets when I want them.

And to respond to Jay B, you do get a 12 month warranty from the manufacturer of your handset. But if you choose cr*p, thats what you get Motorola handset are rubbish. Stick with Sony Ericsson or Samsung. Nokia used to be good, but checkout the forum on their website with all the complaints about their handsets.

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Wising up to the upgrade con

I think Orange are the first putting their toe into the water to get out of the endless cycle of supplying hugely subsidised handsets to punters on 15 quid a month tariffs who then expect another 300 quid handset in 12 months. This ludicrous situation has gone on for years and all credit for Orange being the first to start to tackle it. On one hand you have punters expecting hundreds of pounds in hardware subsidy and then the phone company has to rip off everyone else to pay for it. We're creeping closer and closer to £30 a month basic tariff for a pitiful amount of minutes and/or texts because of the endless handouts some customers expect. I think all the mobile companies need to eliminate hardware subsidies entirely and use the savings to give punters more service for their money. The glut of "free" upgrades being hoovered up by chavs and neds who then unlock and/or flog on eBay is costing us all money.

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Anonymous Coward

Orange bites back!

In response to JayB's comments who writes....

This 2 year tie in would be fine if Orange a) supported failing handsets and b) actually gave a fig about their customers.

Orange is a network, not a handset manufacturer and to hold Orange responsible for your handset failing is unjust. Orange pay for your handset but they didn't make it. How about holding the handset manufacturer accountable?

People seem to forget that....

When my TV breaks down, I don't ring Telewest demanding a free TV else I wont pay my bill.

When my Car breaks down, I don't ask Sainsbury's to fix my car because I spend a lot of money on Petrol each month at their service station.

So why do people expect mobile phone networks to give them free handsets at their every whim???

The networks are doing us a service by handling the repair/exchange of faulty equipment, which admittedly is mutually beneficial, however they don't have to.

The store that sold you equipment has legal obligations under the "sale of goods act", which is to replace goods should the phone developed a fault within a reasonable amount of time (28 days is the norm). After which the networks they act in good faith and handle the warranty on behalf of the manufacturer. Generally warrantees are 12 months. After 12 months should your handset become faulty many manufacturers will repair the handset at a fixed cost.

I for one would be happy to pay more for my phones, in exchange for more mins/texts or if I am to get a free phone, many of which cost £400 plus, I'll commit to a network for longer and if my phone goes faulty I'll contact the manufacturer to have it repaired.

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Sales of Goods Act

28 days!!!!

No no no.

The Sales of Goods Act specifies a 'reasonable period' which is typically taken to be somewhat less than the normal working life, and until the EU 'upgraded' ALL consumer items to a 24 month warranty (doesn't matter what the phone says, it's 2 years under European law) it was generally taken to be up to 6 years for most white goods and consumer electronics items. Clearly that is no longer the case, but I'm fairly confident that any court would agree that it is reasonable to assume a product would last the length of the contract to which it is tied.

As regards Orange (and others) not being liable for product exchange - you are muddling up warranties and Sales of Goods Act obligations. A warranty is indeed with the manufacturer, and the merchant is providing a service by managing the exchange, however the Sales of Goods Act places the obligation on the merchant, so if you have bought it as part of the contract from Orange (or others) then legally it is their problem.

Warranties are actually a rather nice fudge that are designed to reduce your consumer rights, or at least your understanding of them. In law you have the right to a full repair/replacement/money back if the item goes wrong within the 'reasonable period'. Typically a far more generous right than that under a warranty, and this should not cost you anything.

do a google search for 'sales of goods act repair replace', and select the second article (guardian money) for more information.

Oh, and expect it to be a real pain in the ass.

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Telewest dn't sell TVs

in response to 'Orange bites back!', specificaly

'When my TV breaks down, I don't ring Telewest demanding a free TV else I wont pay my bill.'

If Telewest had sold u the TV you would say that or if your set top box broke you wouldnt pay the bill.

also if it was the petrol from Sainsbuy's that had made your car break, you'd expext them to pay to fix it.

also i dn't agree with everything that was said in 'Wising up to the upgrade con', but i like the idea of having cheap contracts and no phone subsidies.

Another option would be to get a cheap, short, contract (£5-15) and add different phones for X amount each month for a minimum Y months, this way its possible to get your chosen hand set and not have to pay out a lump sum for it. also, this would work well for upgrades because people could do it whenever they felt the need, for a monthly cost.

Moving on, when my upgrade came round (12 months @ £30), i asked O2 how much they would reduce my bill by if i didn't take a new handset. their offer...£100 credit! I mean if i were to take the hand sets they were offering i could have ebayed them for more than that! they wouldnt even spread it accross they year to reduce my monthly out goings. i ended up with a free windows smart phone with DAB radio from virgin and more mins & txt than i could use for £25/pm.

virgin state up front that you can have a new phone in 12 months or reduce the price of the contract by £5/pm if you dont want an upgrade.

And finally, from personal experience, only my Samsung i300 and Nokia 3210 have even been fit to use after a year, my SE T68i and T610 were in tatters and had pore battry life and other little niggles from around month 11.

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Who doen't care for their their phone, then?

Geez, some of you lot must be really rough with your phones.

Admittedly I'm a low minutes user, but my tri-band Motorola Timeport 250 (on an Orange Virgin-style contract), which I bought in 2001 is just fine. Battery, charger AND phone all work well 5.5 years later despite coming through a plane crash better than I did, and yes, it *was* under my shoulder strap at the time. This phone "just works" anywhere it gets even a sniff of signal.

What do some of you do with the poor thing? Play footie with it or throw it at your maid?

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He chose... poorly...

My wife and I have been with Vodafone (Australia) now for... 9 years now. (time passes fast, don't it? Actually, Vodafone bought out our original carrier, but that's beside the point.)

We both use a Sony-Ericsson P800, and have done so for the last 4+ years. I have only recently decided to upgrade to a HTC Hermes (also known as Imate JasJam and dopod 838pro) because I personally thing the user-interface for the P910 is a piece of crap.

Why do we buy our own handset? Because we struck a damn good deal with our original carrir which (by Australian Law) Vodafone couldn't force us to move from. To give you an idea, the bill for both our phone (connection and calls) combined comes to about AU$50.00 a month (about 21 quids I believe). That's for the both of us.

So the moral of the story is... when next you look at upgrading your mobile, it can be worth it to fork out for a decent handset and then tighten the screw on the provider to get a better deal on your rates. ^_^

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Re: He chose... poorly...

Aubry Thonon writes: "It can be worth it to fork out for a decent handset and then tighten the screw on the provider to get a better deal on your rates"

That isn't always possible.

As a resident in France for the past 24 years, I've come to accept that the French way of doing business is radically different from the UK (or Aussie, although I don't know how things work down under) way. In the UK, a business feels to a certain extent that its customers are what keeps it alive and that they should be treated with a minimum of respect. Over here, customers should be eternally grateful that companies, for whom they are but parasites, deign to serve them. There's *NO WAY* you're going to get a discount on the contract over here, even if you supply your own handset. Forget it!

Not only that, but as far as Orange France is concerned anyway, the only page of their WAP portal that they guarantee will render correctly on a phone not bought from them is the home page. Indeed, I have a Nokia 6280 bought SIM-free last year, and there are a few pages that generate errors instead of displaying because the phone isn't one that's been Orange-branded and therefore had its firmware modified.

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Orange can stuff it

I've been with Orange since 1995 and since France Telecom took over they've been absolute s**t. They moved me from the contract I was on when they brought out the new packages and rather than offering me the new packages they've left me in limbo paying around £20 extra per month to get the same service (I've asked them about transferring and I'd need to sign up for a new 12 month contract on the new call plan). I'm up for renewal in 2 months and as far as I'm concerned they can stuff their contract where the sun don't shine and I'll never deal with the frogs leg eating buffoons again.

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Anonymous Coward

Look at it the other way

Who wants to be locked in to a contract for 2 whole years?

I don't mind paying a 12 or 18 month contract at a higher rate to get my new handset and then, when I'm entitled to an upgrade, if I don't bother to take it, I should be offered a lower rental charge.

Somehow I don't think mobile operators can accept that...

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Yikes!

Lloyd wrote:

"They moved me from the contract I was on when they brought out the new packages"

Egads, thing ARE very different up North. When the "mobile companies war" (so to speak) began in Australia in the late 90s (with companies springing up overnight and then being bought out just as quickly), the government stepped in and introduced a simple Law - you cannot move a customer from their contracted rate to a another rate without their express consent. And if they don't consent, you must continue to provide the same service for the same rate. Period.

There was a rash of complaints by customers to the telco ombudsman (the Aus version of UK's OfCom), followed by a spate of fines, and then the Service Providers got the message. Which is why I am still paying the equivalent of only 21quids a month for two mobiles including calls, and valiantly resisting various telcos advances to change plan. (come to think of it, most give up as soon as I tell them my current rate)

Which does not mean OZ does not have its mobile-phone problems. Unsurprisingly, teenagers and tweenagers still get in financial trouble by being lured into ridiculous plans with the offer of bling-laden phones. PT Barnum makes sure companies can still report ludicrous profits.

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things aren't that different 'up hear'

We do have contract law - and companies can't just vary the contract to your disadvantage without (at your option) either compensating you commensurately, and/or voiding the contract and your obligations under it completely.

There is even specific legislation protecting consumers (not businesses - we are assumed to be grown ups) from unfair contracts - so even if the contract does say the provider can simply change the terms to your disadvantage - that term of the contract is almost certainly illegal, and unenforceable.

This is why MS (& their merry cohorts) with their oh so fun EULAs wrapped in cellophane have never actually dared risk a well funded court attack, as their whole EULA (and specifically the 'we do not guarantee that this product will do what we say it will' clause) would probably collapse. There have been successful attacks on narrow parts of the EULA which is why it has changed over the years, so you now have a right of refund if you do not accept it.

What is different (possibly) is that as a nation we are not particularly stroppy, so high handed tactics are usually quite successful in railroading unhappy consumers who simply grumble, and hand over further money. Viva Australia and their Strop.

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