British mobile carrier EE has refused to admit there's a problem with its Orange Mail app, even though it appeared to have quickly drained the data allowance on a barely-used PAYG phone. Register reader Adam Quantrill got in touch after a £10 credit he placed on his son's Orange-branded Samsung i9000 Galaxy pay-as-you-go phone …
I saw this years ago - think it was on Vodafone broadband PAYG - they said there was a 1p minimum charge even though the account said it charged for the amount of data. So when it connected to check mail / something tiny the charge was 1p - check your mail automatically every 10 minutes = 6p per hour = £1.44 per day = over £40 per month.
ha ha ha ha, oh wait it's not the 1st anymore. There's got to be a complaint to what ever body it was replaced trading standards in this. I am not going to accuse Orange of theft, but I wouldn't disagree with anyone who did.
small claims court they'll soon fold. Then keep filing them each time the credit drops. He'll be quids in if he claims for photcopying, research, time wasted each time.
It's not a bug
It's a feature.
Re: It's not a bug
Do you work for apple by any chance?
Re: Do you work for apple
No. I wouldn't give one of their devices house room.
EE Don't Care
About their customers. They are the lowest of low life, slimy, lying scum that ever floated round the toilet bowl.
This reminds me of the mighty WAP.
The one downside of my favourite phone ever, the Motorola RAZR V3i (replacing my original RAZR after a few years) was that it had a hard-wired WAP button. Had a nice etched globe on it, to suggest that WAP would connect you to the world. Rather than the handful of slow, rancid, unloved sites that it actually gave you access to...
Anyway on my Orange version of the phone, this button was hardwired, and impossible to disable. And they'd cunningly placed it right next to the red end-call button, which was also the return to home menu button, and the on/off switch. When you pressed it, it auto-connected to Orange's WAP portal, and cost you about 2p.
I presume someone got something out of WAP. The couple of times I used it, I never succeeded in downloading any page with the info on it that I was actually looking for.
Vodafone had done the same thing with my SE K800i, only in this case 'Live', all other menu buttons could be remapped on the phone except this one.
I love this standard response...
"There is no reported problem with the Orange Mail app, customers are only charged for data usage."
This is the standard unthinking robot response of most customer "service" nowadays. You report anything to a service provider or even a supermarket and they prattle on that "no one has reported a problem". Well stupid, what do you think I'm doing? My dear old mum occassionally asks in her local Tescos why they stopped stocking A or B and the YTS reject deputy manager typically responds "There's no demand for it" - it's insulting and demeaning.
If they were honest - and that's not going to ever happen in a global brand - they would say "you are the first / one of very few people to have reported this so far" but instead they seek to belittle you by trying to make you as an individual feel odd and unusual compared to their "normal" customers.
Re: I love this standard response...
I came to post the same essentially. How can there be no reported issues if this guy is reporting an issue? Those forum posts seem to show the same culprit as in this case, the sevenmail address is there too. Perhaps if the gentleman in question is alerted to this information he will have more to bang EE over the head with.
As for EE, I'm currently a T-Mobile customer but my contract is up. Will I renew? My answer rhymes with "snow". Their network is awful. I don't live in a massive city (Sunderland) but I still struggle to get a reliable connection at times. I had to look carefully when I noticed that my phone was using "E" for data, as in Edge, in the city centre.
Re: I love this standard response...
This reminds me of an email bug I had with BT over ten years ago. It was a strange incompatibility between 2 of their own servers, where you'd get up to a one week delay on mail deliveries between BT Connect and BT Internet. They were the business and domestic email systems respectively.
I remember the trouble I had getting through the script readers of 1st line support. But I managed it one day. This was when they still had UK call centres, I doubt I'd get anywhere now they've outsourced to India.
Because I had a decent bunch of emails from several different Connect users, and it was happening all the time - I managed to talk to one guy who recognised it was a problem. 2nd line support quickly sent me through to a nice chap who was an outside consultant, and clearly had been working on this problem for a while. Even though normal support didn't know about it, and it wasn't mentioned on their service support pages. 2nd line support actually opened a ticket for me, so I got some updates. They then fixed the problem. But it re-occurred after a couple more months, and I didn't succeed in getting past 1st line support again - and they said there was no ticket. So I set up a domain and swore off BT's horrible email - which they then outsourced to Yahoo.
I guess that's the way to run a bug-free system. Don't let any bugger open a ticket.
Re: I love this standard response...
Yes, it's these sort of "PR" responses that just make things worse. Some companies treat PR as a strange "arse-covering" exercise rather than thinking of it as a customer service opportunity.
If they had instead stated "We are really grateful for the hard work that your reader has done to try to track down an issue with their Orange handset. We cannot confirm his findings at this time but we have escalated it to our development team and hope that this new information can be used to provide an even better user experience. We would also like to apologise that this issue wasn't escalated when we were first contacted and will ensure training amongst our front line staff to better recognise the helpful feedback given by the more technically-literate of our customers."
...or something similar then it could make the situation so much better. Instead of thinking "this is a company that hates it's customers" you could think "well they dropped a ball but they sound like they are going to try to help". The outcome might be the same, i.e. naff all. But from a PR point of view it would surely be a better response?
Re: I love this standard response...
Oh gawd... You've just made me feel really guilty. Genuinely. I work on support for software/ecommerce and I must admit to responding to customers like this. But to be even more honest it is because I know our solution has so many crappy bugs in it that if I admitted we were the problem every single time we would have no customers. And the developers are too interested in new exciting Dev rather than fixing them and the management are too interested in the money flowing in from it to care. Makes me sad to realise what I've become and I think that attitude will have to change where I can get away with it. Be honest, how many of us are in the same position and have done this and how many of us treat our customers or internal users like this?
Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.
I suppose they've got to raise the money some how, to pay for the shotgun-nosed prick?
Happened to my mum too - she burned through £60 of top ups (about five years' worth, for her) before I took a look. Now on Vodafone ... and watching it like a hawk.
EE offers customers a choice of plans so they can decide the talk, text and data allowances that best suits their needs. Charges are made clear at point of sale and the EE customer service team is happy to help customers pick the right package.
There is no reported problem with the Orange Mail app, customers are only charged for data usage.
Additionally there are more than 10 different PAYG plans available.
That has to be right up there amongst the most useless bollocks PR response of all time!
Re: PR ftw
Don't complain if we're defrauding you. Simply move to a different billing package, which will steal your money in a different way...
I read yesterday that the Co-op are about to sell Sim cards. The prices looked good.
Unfortunately they use EE.
Sorry Co-op but you just lost a potential customer.
that doesnt mean they have a baked in email app. The problem here is that the phone had a baked in email app. Even if he put a different sim into the phone it would still probably try and phone home. As the customer had to root and firewall the app before he could stop it working this wont help the average joe.
Does anyone know a good Mobile phone Providor
I really am looking to Ditch EE because they are a useless bunch of (the following phrasing is too extreme for even the most hardcore El reg commentard and has been deleted on legal advise).
Re: Does anyone know a good Mobile phone Providor
O2 dropped half my calls, even when I had full signal. I guess that was network capacity issues, like with their over-sold 3G.
Vodafone were OK, other than "forgetting" one month that we had a 3GB broadband allowance between 3 of our 7 company phones, and so charging us £2,300 instead of the usual £280. They fixed it, then buggered it up the next month. But only charged us £680 that time... Then couldn't work out what to bill us, and ended up giving us a random refund - which probably left us £50 up. ish... Network was less good than I expected, but OK.
EE have also buggered up our billing, and seem to have surprising holes in their network too. And I still get a bit of the full signal but nothing, then suddenly 3 missed calls thing.
3 have never given me any problems. But then I only use them 3 or 4 times a year on a PAYG MiFi.
Sorry I can't be more helpful. Orange, before the France Telecom takeover, were the dog's bollocks.
the badger's nadgers? But were never the same afterwards, and I don't see that EE has improved things. Sad.
Re: Does anyone know a good Mobile phone Providor
We've been with every carrier in the UK, and the only two I have any respect for is O2 and 3. Both provide a good service and are generally quick to resolve any problems.
They aren't perfect though. O2's downside is that they charge a premium and don't have a very good signal in rural areas. 3's downside is that they only use the 3G spectrum so getting a good signal inside a building is tougher than with O2.
However they're both streets ahead of T-Mobile, Orange and EE who provide such a disjointed service that it's laughable. The absolute worst we've been with is Vodafone, with chavs manning their retail stores, everything being a tick-box bureaucratic nightmare, resulting in paying for services that do not work and disinterested staff being unable to help.
Orange duplicates every Google app that could run up charges
My wife's Orange OSF arrived infested with Orange duplicates of every Google app, all placed prominently on the home screen, all the Google originals hidden in the app draw. All of them chargeable to use.
There's nothing accidental about this, Orange try very hard to trick users into authorising unnecessary charges instead of using the free option already on their device. Silently running up data charges is just so easy they could hardly resist. I find it rather easy to believe they've gone an extra step and fired up services without waiting for the hapless user to click the wrong launch icon and mistakenly give permission.
I admired the Orange crappery so much it got wiped after 60min, instead of the 24 hours testing I'd planned on. It really was that blatantly abusive.
Re: Orange duplicates every Google app that could run up charges
Agreed. This was the biggest flaw with my OSF and one that I eventually did something about by rooting it and slinging a more up-to-date Android on it, notably NOT an Orange one. Mind you, although I don't use it as my regular phone anymore, I no longer buy Orange/EE badged phones.
Although I suspect that some folk might look poorly on my current choice - a rooted Huawei Ascend G330. ;)
and all this is why...
my next phone is going to be unlocked, and stock. Then I only have to worry about the firmware the manufacturer adds.
The discussion of which phone is best is another long one, and it's going to take me time to find. Any suggestions? Not the New Z1 mini because someone I know has it, and it scratches a tad fast with sand (front and back) when on holiday.
Sorry to derail the discussion, but suggestions?
- MicroSD is a must,
- 4G not worried about
- removable battery not worried about as current removable batter is original to an HTC and over 4 years old, with enough to eke into the second day if needed
typical megacorp reaction. I'm on t mobile, who are as bad as the rest of them, but they're the people with decent mobile data where I live.
my cheapskate strategy is to top up GBP 10 (payg, wouldn't enter into a contract with any of the bastards) and /immediately/ get a gbp 10 smart pack. at this point there is zero credit for them to chip away at and I have a months use of my phone.
YMMV of course.
Hehe i noticed the same thing. I'm sure phone shops run their own mini towers; so when you take in your phone and tell them it's a useless pile of crap that cant hold a signal they can show it working great.
I had their email service...
And when my computer got borked I lost the password for the pop server. Can you reset it? Not if you don't have the Orange number associated with that email account anymore. It uses a different password on the POP and the WebMail login. Absolutely impossible to get the POP password reset now. I've had to use webmail to autoreply everyone not to use that address anymore.
I killed my own Orange phone account when I realised what a right royal mess their customer services had descended to, but the kids liked to stay on there for the Film offer.
Actually, I have one right now on O2
I just noticed issues with O2's PAYG data connectivity charges.
I have an iPhone which has been non-stop on WiFi for the last 2 days, and I haven't left the house as I'm working on a number of documents. Yet, just after midnight I got one of those messages telling me O2 has just docked me £1 for 50MB of data - why? I'll update once I figure this out.
I may use the occasion to ask O2 to stop using flash messages for any information because it's damn annoying - such messages stop anything else from happening until they are acknowledged, and in a number of occasions it forces me to interact with the phone despite using handsfree.
Orange are terrible
Phones laden with crapware, customer service agents that just lie through their teeth, a network that gives you a decent number of bars reception then texts you to tell you someone tried to call you an hour ago when the phone hasn't moved from the "full bar" location (infuriating!), calls taking three attempts to connect. They give me a good deal since I verbally tore them a new one which is about the only reason I still use them.
But who to move to? Vodafone? No thanks, I actually want a signal sometimes, believe it or not. T-Mobile and EE will just offer the same incompetence as Orange. O2? Never been convinced by them for some reason, though they are looking like the best bet. And I don't like Three's requirement to use a 3G phone.
So Orange stay, for now. Reluctantly.
Thanks for all your comments
A number of things really got my goat about this experience, in no particular order:
- It's not really an option for the general population to root their phones and install firewalls. Even if the 10% of typical public who can understand this stuff did it, they may invalidate their warranty, so are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
- The rest of the population have to put up with the balance chiselling.
- Orange never have contacted me to say sorry. Nor refunded the whole amount. The "stock answers" went to the Register - not me.
- Orange didn't even want to refund the £7 until the Register contacted them - how tight is that - especially considering that all they are doing is crediting a PAYG balance? Do we really have to whack these companies over the head with a news story before they will cough up?
- They operate a "phone only" compaints procedure, so when you complain, like most companies that do this, as soon as you hang up the complaint is forgotten. The complaint can't easily be used as evidence to the ombudsman or small claims - I have taken to recording all such customer service calls "for training purposes"!
- If my son want to receive an MMS (for example I might send MMS to get a read receipt for an important message) he has to leave data on - at a cost of around £4 a day - so it's a ridiculous suggestion that he leave it turned off permanently. (Yes the phone is firewalled now, but what about Joe Public with non-rooted phones?)
- The "recent usage" stats online only go back a month or so - so I cannot get proper evidence of previous instances to get refunds for. So much for online billing... get paper every time.
This bug has been around for at least 3 years, it beggars belief that "no one" has reported it. Apart from anything else, the sevenemail1 server must be deluged with pings all the time from millions of handsets, which probably cripples performance.
My next mission is to get as many consumer groups as possible aware of this for people to get refunds. Please help by copying this story this far and wide.
This sounds strangely familiar...
I had (still have) an Orange San Francisco, originally on an Orange PAYG contract. I like the phone, but was amazed at how easily the top up was consumed when I used any mobile data - I think the original allocation was about 100 megs a month, after that it swallowed your credit. I exhausted a top-up in ten minutes by using GPS and Google Maps! I didn't have the phone turned on all the time either. My previous non-Android lasted for months on £10!
After two years of annoyance, I realised that £20 per month (easily) was contract money. But I liked the phone, so managed to get a t-mobile contract SIM with 500 megs data, 100 mins etc. for £8 per month, direct debit. It's all I need - and much cheaper than PAYG!
I put Cyanogen Mod 7 on the San Francisco after the guarantee expired. Reading this article, I'm *so glad* I did!
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