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back to article Overzealous Orange cuts off customer, still bills

A confused Orange disconnected a customer after he cancelled his brother's account, and then insisted he pay for the suspended line until he produced ID to get reconnected. The chap in question, one Peter McDougall, signed a contract with Orange in December, but his line was cut without warning in the middle of last week. He …

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FAIL

That really annoys me

I hate when companies think they can bill you whilst not providing a service. I'm thinking of you BT (Sorry we accidentally cancelled your Home Move request, so it'll be another two weeks but you'll still be charged for the month that you've been without any F*ckin service!)

Personally I'd have gone to the bank and disputed the Direct Debit. Could Orange have justified their end in court?

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Grenade

+1 for that, here's my tuppence:

I did that once with BT. I was disputing what I considered an unfair bill, and after repeatedly ignoring me I told my bank to recover the payment as I considered it unlawful - they clawed back every penny of it and I told BT where to go.

Ended up paying them anyway but it got their attention (long story).

I've also had similar issues with Orange... after setting up a Direct Debit for them they never used it and billed me (which I assumed would be paid by the debit), cut me off, and then one of their customer service gimps phoned me up to ask "why haven't you paid us?".

After telling the clueless bint that there was a direct debit set up for just that purpose, she lectured me on the various ways I could pay my bill and that it was my responsibility, etc. I told her not to be so bloody stupid, you abrasive bitch, slammed the phone down and moved to Vodafone the next day.

If she listened / had some manners I would never have been so insulting, and they would probably still have a customer that wouldn't tell everyone they know to steer clear and never use them again.

Up yours Orange.

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Orange customer service - fail

I've had similar experience with Orange. My partner has an Orange contract with one month left - we called orange to give notification we were going to terminate the contract and they offered us an attractive deal to stay - so we agreed - they also said they would cancell the old contract for us and move the number etc. Should be easy since we were staying with orange. First bill arrive with a £400 contact cancellation charge on! wft? After speaking with several call center monkeys who didn't have a clue, we eventaully got though to someone who did know their ass form elbow and managed to explain that orange had goofed - they had set up the new contract for us, then extended the old one and cancelled the new one and charged us.

That wasn't the first problem we'd had with orange and probably won't be the last.

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Why I won't use orange.

I once had a contract phone with Orange.

15 quid per month and as far as I was concerned a limit of 15 of additional calls per month.

Lo & behold a £600 bill turned up, followed a couple of days later an additional £300.

Apparently somebody in my daughters school had taken the phone (my daughter had 'borrowed' the phone for a couple of days) and been phoning home to Hong Kong.

Amazingly Orange had no record of any limits placed on the phone & a flurry of international calls did not raise any interest by Oranges security dept.

Since then I have refused to have anything to do with orange and will always steer people away from them becasue they are crap

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WTF?

I really hope

you didn't pay them....?

enquiring minds want to know!

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Unfortunitly

the answer is yes

Apparently the 'request' for capping the charge was only a request (no obligation or Orange to do so according to the solicitor)

By this time Orange had called in the debt collectors and it would have cost too much to fight them.

Ironically I had previously had the 'joy' of looking after my previous called Orange phones and they where constantly being suspended because of unusual calling activity.

I guess they prefer their business customers to their regular customers.

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FAIL

Orange are rubbish

Orange seem to have a policy of cutting off their customers when they need to contact them. If you try to contact them by dialling 150 then the automatic system will tell you that you have been cut off and they won't speak to you. In the end I had to phone up a number for prepaid phones then get them to transfer me.

This happened a few times. It turns out that the department I needed to speak to are unable to answer a phone so I was told to fax them instead...

I would also advise their customers to keep a close eye on their credit record. After they screw up they'll leave a black mark on your record and it takes them a long time to fix it.

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Really Annoying Orange

I found Orange not very good at the old customer service thing so I left them. They disconnected me for no valid reason then reconnected me then next day disconnected me. Wasn't too amused so took myself elsewhere. I also wish they'd stop plaguing us with unfunny adverts in the cinema too.

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FAIL

Thick

I have had a similar issue with Orange I have my own contract, my Mothers and my sons mobile accounts which I pay for . Another relative with the same surname opened an orange account they promptly cuts us all off, bills had been paid. Too my sims at one address, its was fraudulent. Therefore my relative who was staying with us due to work was told that we where both the same person and proceeded to discuss my account with her breaching the DPA.

Fortunately I was able to prove my ID my telling them to google me I am listed on a government web site.

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Silver badge

Google me, I'm famous...

Oh my God, you're Gordon Brown!

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Flame

Virgin on the ridiculous

I had a similar situation with Virgin Mobile - they inexplicably decided my phone was constantly downloading and disconnected me once my bill was sufficiently large.

No attempt to contact me - I thought there was a problem with my phone.

They did reconnect the next day - once I'd handed over £160 for data I'd not used.

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WTF?

RE: Virgin on the ridiculous

...and you didn't challenge them?

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Black Helicopters

Tom Jones Syndrome

It's not unusual

Orange do stuff like this all the time, I have to deal with them on a daily basis.

Black Helicopter, they need to have your ID to track your activity!

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Anonymous Coward

the Orange scam....

Start a contract account on the 10 th of a month and they set it up with Billing on 10th of month.

After a year, you continue on a 30 day notice period..

Lets say, a few months later, on the 20th of a month you sign for a new 1 year contract (prices come down so you expect an immediate saving - they say you don't have to give notice as you are not leaving them)....

NO

you must pay your old more expensive account from the 20th of one month until the 10th of the next month because that is your "BIlling Date" .. which is now competely separate from your Contract Date.

Try speak to the cretins and they tell you "COMPUTER SAYS... "..."COMPUTER CAN'T BE CHANGED" and other such Morongisms.

Their greed just cost them 43 new line contracts...

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He would be better off

moving to a different company every year !

I got charged data costs by orange for their mobile-tv....250MB at 4 quid a MB....even though I was on a free trial !!

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Billing for a service that isn't being provided?

Isn't that fraud?

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Orabile....

It wont get better when Orange and T-Mobile merge into OraBile!

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Nice

It's always nice to see how companies, who's bread and butter is communication, communicate professionally with their customers..

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Small Claims Court

It wont be an isolated incident.

Orange have suffered nothing but some minor adverse publicity in a reasonably niche area.

File a claim in the Small Claims court, say £200 for damages, lost time, costs incurred etc and see what happens. Yes one claim is insigificant but if every wronged customer did it they would have to either start paying to fight the claims or coughing up when they get it all wrong (which, to be honest, only seems fair).

If you win and they dont pay - send in the bailiffs!!!

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Flame

Of COURSE they did...

It goes without saying that Orange - like almost every large firm these days - seem to have virtually no adequate systems when staff screw up. I've had personal experience of their inability - often total unwillingness - simply to sort out a problem on the spot. These organisations are 90% devoted to selling, advertising, obtaining new customers and billing - everything else, including customer service, is secondary. Discretion - the hallmark of a true manager - either doesn't exist or is viewed with alarm.

And of course it's not Orange as such you're dealing with - there is no Orange in the sense of an entity. The problem will have been caused by some jobsworth whose sole interest was in getting a problem off his workstation and onto someone else's as fast as possible - he can hardly be blamed as THAT's his contractual job. And when queried, the matter will have been passed to some supervisor with a computer where the rest of us keep our common sense.

Ultimately in all firms like Orange it's all a management problem. The problem often being that management isn't simply bad, but that - in the classical sense of the word that an older generation used - management simply doesn't exist beyond a set of rules.

I recently ended a conversation (not with Orange) when a supposedly senior manager tried to explain his total inadequacy with "Well you know - we have to do what the computer tells us!" At which point I replied "I need to leave now - because you're frightening me!"

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text messages from orange...

...Get deleted without being read. That's what happens when they send 5 to 10 texts every week, aimed at 12 year olds, talking about dolphins and ardvarks, in l33t txt spk, to tell me I they're sorry I didn't win this time.

So a text telling me to call them would probably also be ignored.

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Bronze badge

Apparently it is a condition

To get Orange personal service, apparently you have to provide your identiiy details to Orange and they can do what they like with them.

I have bought a pay-as-you-go Orange SIM in orger to test a locked device I've been given - surplus from work - but I don't intend to take it to the point of handing over my name, e-mail etc. If the other UK providers have the same terms now, I'm in trouble. For instance, I think O2 knows who is using this phone, but also knows I have NOT given permission to sell my address to junkmailers.

Nevertheless, if I did sign up with Orange, but falsely gave my name as "Mortimer Mouse" and e-mail ifyousendmespamiwillkillyou@whitehouse.gov , obviously I would have not kept the bargain and they'd be within their contractual rights to terminate service - and, yes, to bill me monthly for 12/18/24 months anyway.

For me this a reason to avoid Orange; ymmv.

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FAIL

Had similar with 3 Mobile

A while back, they rang me up out of the blue to inform me that at the end of the month they were shutting down their 2G network and that I would have to get a new phone. No written warning - nothing but what was effectively a sales call. I told them I didn't want a 3G phone - all I wanted to do was make calls and I vastly preferred a 1 week battery life to a mutlicolour display - and to cancel my account. I even wrote with that effect.

So - the cut-off date rolled round and my phone went dead - but no sign of confirmation that my account had been cancelled. So to make damn sure, I cut off the direct debit from my end. This resulted in a years worth of hounding by various debt collectors - fortunately, all of whom backed off when I told them that the account was still in contention - as 3 tried to charge me for a further three months before finally honouring my cancellation request.

Fail, because... well, just because there's no other word for it.

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Stop

3 mobile

RyokuMas -3 hasn't got a 2G network, and has never had one. They are a 3G only network that happens to let you roam on to a competitors 2G network if there are no available 3 transmitters, and they pay extra for every 2G call.

If you have been using 2G phone with a 3 SIM then you have always been breaking the terms of use and 3 are quite right to disconnect you.

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Stop

Tip of the iceberg

This guy is lucky, my experience is that Orange will happily ignore any facts presented to them - they'd claim black is white if it suited them. After a year or two, IF you can get the complaint before someone senior enough, then you might get a grudging acceptance that you were right, but no they won't fix their systems and bill you according to the contract they entered into !

They'll then employ more than one dodgy debt collection agency to collect the debt you don't owe - mind you, even the collection agencies backed off when threatened with legal action.

The only advice I'd give is that no bargepole is long enough to risk any contact with Orange. In my experience, a bunch of dishonest, incompetent, corporate bullies that I wish I'd never had anything to do with.

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong surname for 5 years

Orange have had my surname wrong for over 5 years now. They won't let me change it as their confused security model means I can't prove I am actually me (Fonejacker springs to mind). I find it funny more than anything.

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Alert

Better off without them

I ran three PAYG mobiles with them for some time. In the early days, their customer service was quite good, but it is now beyond a joke. The on-line top-up of the PAYG accounts rarely worked first time. Sometimes it claimed that a transaction had failed when it had not. Sometimes it double-debited my credit card.

I went through a phase of receiving bills for someone with a middle-eastern name, but otherwise correctly addressed to me.

As time went on, even threats of the regulator failed to have any effect. In the early days these would result in random calls with promises of follow-ups. These never happened.

Latterly, the chances of acknowledgement of any postal communication were absolutely zero.

As I say, better off without them.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh how I enjoyed Orange

We had a phone through Orange and requested a code to move the number to a different supplier. Move went fine but several months later got a letter from Orange demanding payment of the outstanding past few months contract charges. Called them to thrash it out on numerous occasions but there was never a record of having previously spoken to them. Went to the extent of recording it from my end (yes, I did tell them I was doing it) but still nothing on their system next time so went straight to their Executive. Suddenly a letter saying nothing to pay, their error yadah yadah....

Two months later the bailiffs made an appearance!! Showed them the letter and they went away muttering about 'bloody orange'.

Posted Anon 'cos the wife is trying to forget the whole incident

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title

You don't actually need to tell them you're recording the call, they've already given you permission.

At least that's what I understand by the "Calls may be recorded" at the bottom of their blurb.

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FAIL

Not a Fan Of Orange

I've had so many problems with them over the years I avoid them now.

I canceled my account and asked for the PAK code to to transfer my number. After several attempts at them sending it it hadn't arrived so I told them I wouldn't bother using it and just get a new phone on another network.

No-one I spoke to bothered to tell me that this would mean my account didn't get terminated so they kept billing me. It took me over a week of calling different people in Orange for them to un-screw the situation all because they were incapable of sending a letter and it "was against data protection" to send it through any other means.

Their call centre staff are all very helpful, but seem to be made useless by their ridiculous set of rules and processes. Surely the "Data Protection [Act]" they mention means I can get hold of some info relating to my account. Also I found their complaints team to be more of a complaints re-direction team.

Someone did eventually sort out the mess, I did put everything in writing to them but no-one ever responded.

And the less said about my housemate trying to transfer his broadband away from them the better.

Vodafone are worth the extra money.

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Never ever...

Never ever give your bank account details to a mobile phone company. That's just to dangerous.

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FAIL

Three

Had a similar problem with 3 (Three) once. Ordered a contract that included a free phone (only a £20 a month thing). Never arrived, but the bills kept coming.

Phoned them up, told them the parcel had *never* arrived, they confirmed the phone had *never* been activated, never been used, but I insisted that they block the IMEI number, SIM card, etc. because it was technically lost/stolen (and the cheeky bastards said it was *MY* responsibility to chase up the parcel with the Post Office - not when I never received it and the Post Office tell me that only the sender can make a claim). Next month, another bill. Phoned, argued. Next month, another bill. Phoned, argued. They wouldn't stop the bills or they said they would and never did, so I just took matters into my own hands.

At that point, I just cancelled the Direct Debit, reported them to my bank with an official Direct Debit complaint (and the bank then swiftly cancelled all recurring payments and refunded all the previous payments immediately). Amazingly, a day later I had a phone call threatening me and charging me for cancelling the Direct Debit. Then the next week (seeing as they *couldn't* get any money out of my bank automatically any more, and I refused to pay anything for a phone I'd never received and couldn't use even if it turned up tomorrow) they phoned up and tried to "resolve" the matter (which meant that they forget all about the charges and might "let me" waive the various things they'd charged me for).

Mistakes are fair enough, but Three were utter pillocks about it all and couldn't see sense. I refused to take their calls after a while because I was tired of the accusations and going in circles, so I demanded they contact me only in writing. That way, I could have evidence of their incompetence should I decide to take it to court. Twenty minutes later the same person called me back three times in a row, and got hung up on each time.

They completely failed to fulfill any of their side of the contract (deliver a phone, provide a SIM card, provide telecoms service, supply me with new ones when the originals were lost / stolen / blocked, etc.), so I was happy to take it to court. "Your honour, they say I haven't paid for a phone that I haven't received, their own records say they've never seen come online, anywhere with any SIM, the phone/SIM wouldn't work on any UK network anyway, it's marked as stolen property, that they didn't obtain proof of postage and/or proof of receipt for, which *I* reported as missing the same day as their '28 days for delivery' note expired and which is in a box which contains the paper contract which I needed to sign in order to agree to this contract and authorise the payment by Direct Debit".

I think that'd be a pretty open-and-shut case. That's probably why they gave me my money back and I've never heard from them since.

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WTF?

Orange, pray tell

What does ``ID'' have to do with taking customers' money for a service?

If a signature is all you need for that, then you can't later on demand ID for your own fuckups.

This, needless to say, is enough to become permanently unpreferred here.

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FAIL

BT

BT once cut me off by accident, they should have cut off a line in Reading (01707) but cut off my line in Rochdale instead (01706).

When I complained they said that I'd died and a relative had requested that the line be cut off.

I explained that as I was still very much alive I still had a use for a phone line, at which point BT said they'd reconnect me as soon as I coughed up £100+vat for reconnection.

I promptly contacted the local radio station, who coincidentally had a BT person on their phone-in that morning. I had a working phone that afternoon and a £50 credit on my account...

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Anonymous Coward

RE: BT

Apart from the shoddy service I revieved from BT during the 6 months I was with them, I did have one extrordinary experience.

Because they had cut me off by accident (twice in 6 months) and called in debt collectors for an unpaid bill of £0.00, they were prepared to waive all charges.

Fine by me, the charges were 4 months line rental (cut off for the other two!) and a few local calls here and there. Didn't stop them then sending me another demand for £0.00 and threatening to get in a debt collection agency. By the time that had happened, I had moved address and had a different phone company anyway...

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Passed me to a debt agency

I cancelled a contract with Orange, year and a half later I was contacted by a debt agency who Orange passed on a debt for non payment of two seperate numbers and contracts (one number was because they originally gave me that by mistake rather than transferring my number across) still trying to sort it out.

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AAaaargh!

Oh how I get miffed reading about the experiences with phone companies, it's far too easy for them to screw us around and such a mission for us the average joe to fix it all when they do! These companies should be forced to pay a huge penalty for these cockups! Giving someone a bad credit rating should be dealt with by a massive fine in favour of the persons life who will no doubt be screwed thanks to said black mark!

I have recently been having problems with one of these companies, I signed up for a contract and then they managed to loose my credit details and over a period of days money was taken from my account, lucky for me HSBC were on the ball and managed to stop most of the transactions but do you know how hard it has been to get back the money that did go missing?!?! Aaaargh

It's as if the process is designed to be complicated and endless just so people give up in the end!

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Orange

This would be Orange AKA France Telecom, who was getting employee's to kill themselves?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/30/france_telecom_death/

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Pirate

Peter McDougall's employee

I work with Peter and know what a pain in the arse this all was for him. That said, I have been with Orange for 11 years and almost never had any trouble with them. I like Orange and just signed another 18 month contract with them, in order to get my new HTC Desire phone free.

How could I hate that?

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FAIL

Well rid of them

Sounds like I got off lightly. Apropos of (as far as I've ever figured out) absolutely nothing, I found an extra charge for some photo-message-related service on my bill - my phone lacked a camera and had a basic monochrome screen. Called them - they promised to remove the charge and refund the money. Next month - charge still there. Tried emailing them and was left wondering why they gave out a contact address when the people on the other end were apparently not empowered to do anything at all except say sorry and tell me to phone to sort it out.

Thankfully the next call actually worked, although I didn't see how the refund added up (to my detriment, of course) and the promised written apology never materialised. Didn't bother chasing as I'd already decided to ditch them when my contract was up, and did.

And whilst not directly Orange's fault, the idiot company they'd charged with handling their handset upgrades was still calling me, regular as clockwork, at renewal time up to three years later...

Definitely not going back.

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Grenade

What to do if phone companies hassle you.......

1. Get the telephone number for the managing directors office if you get nowhere with a call centre - don't ask the callcentre though (they won't know it or won't give it) instead find the corporate headquarters number on the web and call that then get transferred to the MD's office.

The PA of the MD will be so pissed that you've called they'll get someone to sort out the problem miles quicker than constantly phoning drones with no authority (some companies e.g. Virgin Media actually have what I call a 'secret complains team' for people who call up the MD's office, many big companies do).

2. Direct Debit - cancel it at the bank and claw back any transactions which are incorrect - the monery has to be returned immediately (i.e. same day).

3. Really cheese off the company by asking for full details of all information they hold on you. An email should suffice (email is 'acceptable' for DPA requests according to Gov. rules - but do it in writing too). Your 15 quid is well worth it - it'll cost em' much more to get the requested details and blank out the stuff they don't want you to see (e.g. call centre f***ing ars**le notes etc).

4. If the dispute is about a bill ask to see a copy of the CDR switch record and BILLING record in question (under DPA rules since the data relates to you). Then ask them to prove in writing that they reconcile - the bod on end of a phone won't have a clue how to do what you've just asked....

However they have a legal responsability to prove the call is valid or they can't bill you for it..... good for a see you in court moment (a billing record DOES NOT prove a call hs been charged correctly a CDR switch record CAN prove it was billed correctly if it matches with the published tariff).

5. Suffering from threats of bailiffs - tell em the monies owed are 'in dispute' and show them a paper letter proving your still in dispute - then there's jack all they can do apart from make fake threats they can't go through with (record these for later suing of said evil scum sucking pond life).

nuff said.

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JWS
FAIL

Tracking

I spoke to Orange to make a claim on a broken phone and after explaining what happened was promptly interrogated for errors. This was due to their tracking software that tells them exactly what phone you are using with your Orange sim at ALL times when the phone is on, and sends back location data too! Problem with the claim was I had my T-Mob sim in the phone, so had to ask T-Mob to prove I was using the phone, called T-Mob who said "yea, we don't keep that info, or even track it". Needless to say Orange are no longer my phone provider. Sneeky fuckers! Oh and I did get the phone replaced in the end, before I left.

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Thumb Down

There is another lesson here.

Don't do anything for feckless freeloaders, even if they are family.

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Bronze badge

threats from debt collector

I Broke contract, then paid out under protest 'cause that was easier than fighting.

Got an agreement on the amount owing and paid that out.

6 months later got another call from a different debt collector. In spite of the previous agreement, they had given my account to a new debt collector. Who refused to to believe that I didn't owe anything, told me that I had to prove I didn't own anything, and threatened me with a bad credit record if I didn't pay him what he said I owed.

I wrote to the previous debt collector company, told them that we had an agreement, and if there was a complaint made, I would be complaining about them as well.

Figured that a debt collection company would not want to be disbarred for a mistake by Orange that they weren't even getting paid for.

Seemed to work, Orange called off their hounds. Maybe no worse than any either company, but I'm not going back there again.

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FAIL

Isoloated incident? I think not!

Very same thing happened to me when I got a new triband solely to lend to my wife to take to Canada. It worked for a few days and then it was cut off by Orange. I needed ID in store. When I took it my ID wasn't good enough. I needed DIFFERENT ID.

Its the reason I'll be leaving Orange at the end of this contract and why I canceled their broadband!

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

... reading the comments here, the message seems to be "Avoid Orange"

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Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of XBLA

...signing up - easy, can all be done with a few clicks on the controller! cancelling payments - not so easy, involves phone calls, web sites, forms to fill in! Funny that! But honestly, they're not being underhand, it's just the unavoidable nature of these things!

What I do is pay for services like these on a credit card, and then cancel the credit card when I want the service to stop taking money from me. Works every time.

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Pie
Thumb Up

Orange in good customer service shocker...

I have recently switched a couple of phones to orange because they had the best signal for the users. The swap over didn't go smoothly with the numbers not being ported when they should of been, however a call to orange (business) on a saturday resulted in the person understanding the problem, and more importantly sorting it all out within an hour, during which time he called me back to keep me informed and was most apologetic for the problems.

True the switch over should of gone smoothly but Orange sorted it well when asked to.

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FAIL

The future's bright...

Not

I had problems with orange too, a few years ago when I moved off dialup to broadband.

I'd been with freeserve for a few years, they then got swallowed by orange.

Eventually, I decided to switch to NTL Broadband so cancelled my surftime account.

Next phone bill... still being charged.

Phoned orange, said I'd cancelled last month, they said "you need to inform BT that you cancelled the surftime". Phoned BT "That's orange's responsibility"...

Wash, rinse and repeat for 6 months, continuing to charge me during that time.

FINALLY got it sorted, dunno how now.

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