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.