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Orange is “committed to providing excellent customer service”

Here’s a tale of woe from Miss Charlie Waldren a semi regular reader here at Mobile Industry Review. Alas, Orange don’t have anything like Vodafone’s Forum Intervention Team so she is, I suspect, destined to roam the land without a response or a resolution.

Have a read:

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Orange is “committed to providing excellent customer service”.

This is what their hold music tells me, but I’m afraid I am becoming ever inclined to disagree.

I’ve had a phone with Orange for just over two years now. The contract (originally in my mum’s name, with me paying the bills) was upgraded in December.

I chose the Nokia 6500 slide, after a fair bit of consideration. Now, I like this phone. It’s sleek, has a decent sized keypad, nice user interface, is 3G which makes email on the go nice and quick, and has an expandable memory. Unfortunately, it also crashes. It does this a lot, and often to the extent that the only way of resolving the problem is to remove the battery and switch the phone back on.

Now, this appears to be a long running fault with this phone. I got a replacement, which did the same. In fact, between Christmas, and up until a few weeks ago, I had had FOUR of these phones, all with the same problem.

This is my only phone, so it’s pretty important to me to have one which works reliably – so in a fit of frustration I called Orange yet again to find out what could be done.

I was finally offered a Different Model Replacement (DMR). However, I wasn’t allowed to choose which phone I could replace it with. The only options were the Nokia 6500 classic, Samsung U600, or Samsung G600. The 6500 doesn’t have expandable memory, and neither of the Samsungs were 3G, so in spite of Orange’s insistence I was being offered a replacement of the same specification to the phone I had, I really wasn’t. Was there any way around this? Would I be able to actually choose a phone which suited my needs? No.

So, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Keep a phone which doesn’t work (but at least suited my needs on paper), or take a replacement which I had not chosen and did not like in order to have a working handset. In the end, my frustration with the 6500 slide became so great I felt forced to take the replacement, and so opted for the Nokia, as I felt this was the nearest match to my requirements.

I was assured that the phone being sent to me would be a brand new handset, and not a refurb. Yet again, I was let down by Orange, lied to in fact, and found myself issued with a refurbished phone. I called them, and asked to speak to the supervisor I had been dealing with, and on three separate occasions was promised a call-back, and never received one.

The phone I was sent is faulty. The fascia casing does not fit properly, the camera does not work, and there is a dent on the back. I called Orange, again, to try and talk to someone about this, and explain my ever growing frustration at what I felt was a real lack of help. I was told that the best they could do would be to issue me with another 6500 classic. If I wanted a different phone, I would have to wait until I have had a number of those handsets again, and then be offered another DMR. Yes, I have to have the same bad handset again, and then another or three or four of them to finally be offered a replacement – which Orange will choose.

Given that the phone which was originally issued under my contract was faulty, and that every replacement following it has had a problem as well, and I am still not being offered a satisfactory solution to the problem, I would like nothing more than to be able to walk away from Orange. But again, they have my hands tied – I am only 6 months into an 18 month contract, and to get out of it I would have to buy my way out, which at a year’s worth of £30 a month line rental is not a viable option. I was, at one point, offered an early upgrade as a way of at least getting a handset which suited me, but at an early upgrade fee of at least £300, again, this is not an option. The contract is now in my name, but even this appears to make no difference.

It seems strange to me that Orange do not even have some kind of Intervention Team, or a department that actually cares enough about customer retention and satisfaction enough to help me. Right now, I would settle for a nice, working, reliable phone of my choosing – and an admission that the service I have received had been less than satisfactory. If I were a new customer, I would have the pick of the playing field. Why, as a long-standing, loyal member, am I then left out in the cold like this? Do we not matter once we have signed the paper to agree to send them money each month?

So, to the Orange complaints department; here is your challenge. This article is now out in the world for everyone to see – and how you help me will, I am sure, influence plenty of people’s decision about whether to become your customer or not.

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If you wanted living proof of Orange’s challenge with Customer Services, there it is. Charlie, cut your losses. Go to Vodafone.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

26 replies on “Orange is “committed to providing excellent customer service””

” Do we not matter once we have signed the paper to agree to send them money each month?” – you surely jest in asking this, no? Of course we no longer matter – we belong to them for the duration of the contract. Reasoning being that you will have forgotten how bad they were by the time your contract is actually up for renewal and they may offer you a sweetener then – when you do (kinda) matter for a while.

“Why, as a long-standing, loyal member, am I then left out in the cold like this?” – No offence but you can hardly call yourself a long-standing and loyal customer when you have yourself admitted to being “with Orange for just over two years now” – one full contract term and a single renewal. There is no such thing as true loyalty with phone companies. They are loyal to us as long as we pay them (and the more we pay them the more 'loyal' they are) and we are loyal to them for as long as they give us a good handset and a good deal. As soon as either party feels they are not getting enough out of the loyal relationship we usually end up parting ways so we can be loyal with someone else for a little while. Nothing wrong with that but let's not delude ourselves.

I’ve been paying £40-50 a month for two years, so in my mind that does make me a loyal customer, not to mention that (until recently!) I had promoted and recommened Orange as a good company to friends and family, some of whom switched to them on my recommendation. I rather wish I hadn’t now!

I do feel for you Charlie. The frustration of this situation is appalling. However, I'm frankly not surprised. I was with Orange for almost ten years when I moved over to 3UK. Did Orange give 'le toss' that I was leaving. Nope. Just offered me a terrible upgrade. They seemed sure that 3 would let me down and I'd be back. Not on your nelly!

I joined Orange when they were the new kid on the block, with a shiny new digital network, and they were excellent in all things. Then they were sold to the French………… Great wine, cheese, cassoulet and beautiful mediaeval towns – sh1t customer service.

Alas you tend to get this kind of aftertaste from most operators. It's only
Voda with the safety net of the Forum Intervention Team who you can rely on.

2008/8/28 Disqus <>

I'd have to agree. Even though I'm a 3 fan and generally a happy customer, it seems increasingly clear there's only VF that gives any kind of damn for its reputation. You get what you pay for.

I was with 3 when they first came out (largely due to the attraction of a plan with unlimited text messages, which was not heard of at that time), but found their customer service almost as appalling as Orange’s!

I think, all things considerd, I would rather pay a little more and rest safe in the knowledge that were I to have a problem, someone out there will listen, give a damn, and help me get it resolved. 🙂

Well – i've (more precisely my partner) have had some success with Orange. Ewan posted a story about her not being able to make calls to landlines. She complained rather heavyly, and Orange promised to work on the fault, she receieved a phone call, each day, same person, explaining exactly where they were with the fault. Yesterday, they called and confirmed that it was fixed, and indeed it is. Personally i'm not a fan… She's on a

I'm sorry but tied and loyal are not the same thing. You had no choice but to pay your bills and you did it in return for a service that until now you felt was worth the money. That's not loyalty.

Dont get me started on Orange. The best thing they ever did was let me terminate my contact early, ironic really.

Hi there,

I work for Orange and might be able to help. Really sorry to hear of your bad CS experience.

If you drop me an email with your contact details to 'customer.services@orange.co.uk' with 'Susan Orange Response' in the title I will give you a call to see if I can help.

Thanks,

Susan

Orange Response

Well, I've emailed, and had an automated response….

I must confess, I'm not holding my breath for a resolution, but it would be very nice to be proved wrong!

Lucky you, I would be ecstatic if they did that for me – then I could skip on over to VF, and find myself a place where I'm listened to and helped!

I ordered a new phone from the orange website last wednesday, my mum ordered it in my name with her card deatils and her name as the cardholder. Orange told us we couldnt do this as the cardholder name didnt match the name of the person the phone was for (which was me), so we rang orange customer services and sorted out the problem, or so we thought, just today i got an email from orange saying there was a problem, so we rang orange again, turns out that they didnt acknowledge the fact that we had sorted out the order details, pretty much they have given us the finger and given the phone my mum had ordered to someone else, and to make matters worse when we ordered the phone originally it WAS in stock, even after we changed the order details the phone was still in stock. To me this is bullshit coming from one of the top UK phone networks.

I ordered a new phone from the orange website last wednesday, my mum ordered it in my name with her card deatils and her name as the cardholder. Orange told us we couldnt do this as the cardholder name didnt match the name of the person the phone was for (which was me), so we rang orange customer services and sorted out the problem, or so we thought, just today i got an email from orange saying there was a problem, so we rang orange again, turns out that they didnt acknowledge the fact that we had sorted out the order details, pretty much they have given us the finger and given the phone my mum had ordered to someone else, and to make matters worse when we ordered the phone originally it WAS in stock, even after we changed the order details the phone was still in stock. To me this is bullshit coming from one of the top UK phone networks.

I ordered a new phone from the orange website last wednesday, my mum ordered it in my name with her card deatils and her name as the cardholder. Orange told us we couldnt do this as the cardholder name didnt match the name of the person the phone was for (which was me), so we rang orange customer services and sorted out the problem, or so we thought, just today i got an email from orange saying there was a problem, so we rang orange again, turns out that they didnt acknowledge the fact that we had sorted out the order details, pretty much they have given us the finger and given the phone my mum had ordered to someone else, and to make matters worse when we ordered the phone originally it WAS in stock, even after we changed the order details the phone was still in stock. To me this is bullshit coming from one of the top UK phone networks.

orange customer care is a joke no good at all very bad service false information given 80% of the time all the do is taslk complete shit , to expensive they missell you goods information etc a comoplete bunch of liers

Yes….I'd guess that 99.99999% of Orange users would endorse your opinions of the non existant Orange customer services……..Orange you really do stink and if I'd realised how uselessy unresponsive you are and have been via your 'e' mail address on the Orange site….I would never have purchased this Orange Miami cellphone.What's up?…..Cat got your tongue…….Bloodsuckers,I'd say.

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