Screw You No.4! Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get A Contract on Orange

My phone (a HTC hero) has given me nothing but grief over the 18 months I’ve had it – it’s been difficult to use but to be fair, being on Orange doesn’t help.

It’s a patchy network – phone calls are always cutting off and I randomly get texts failing but I have been too lazy to change, instead faithfully paying my phone bills which vary from £40-£85 for the last seven years.

Well enough is enough! I’ve been experiencing extremely poor 3g/2g connectivity whilst I am work – which is about 9-10 hours a day and it went from me missing out on a few emails (so having to come home and trawl through my inbox to see what was missing) to total blackout.

Calls and SMS are now also difficult whilst I’m at work. I have to walk 15-20 minutes in order to get some connectivity…needless to say, this is hardly workable!

#alttext#

Obviously, it’s quite a specific problem; I don’t have the connection problems anywhere else, so it’s been difficult to diagnose what’s wrong. This is where you can separate a network worth their salt and one that isn’t.

I have tried a few things, like using another phone to see if that helps, but it doesn’t so it is a network problem. My friend is new to Orange and has an iphone – sure enough she gets no emails whilst in the office.

I have called up customer services, emailed, twittered, asked over the phone, emailed their executive office.


Customer services over the phone, though polite, diagnosed in 5 minutes that is must be “my office building”.

Ah yes, but it worked until a month or two ago.

“You can have poor network in built up areas” she continued…

“But I didn’t have this problem before” I pleaded

“Then, I don’t know.” she concluded.

The executive office basically told me off for emailing them (they offer a senior level of customer service, basically it’s not an office of plebs who don’t have authority, this lot can generally make things happen) and told me to go back to customer services, and if I wasn’t happy with the response, ask to be diverted to the Team Manager and if the issue wasn’t solved could forward the problem on…to them.

Great. Because I have a whole year to sort this problem out.

Email customer services told me to call customer services (see a pattern) and they would do a network check (I’ve told them a million times, it’s mainly the mobile internet I have an issue with NOT the phone reception so how the hell do they check for that?). I would have to do this check whilst I was suffering the problem…can I be on the phone for an hour whilst I am at work, diagnosing a problem with my phone? Bearing in mind I’d have to use another phone (ie. work phone?!). NO.

In Store customer services; one told me there was a 3G issue in my town (apparently a lot of iphone users going in store to complain – boy would I be pissed if I spent a fortune on an iphone that can’t connect to the internet!) and it would be reset on October 14th (has made no difference to me).

The second in store guy I saw said he didn’t know because he’s “from Sheffield” and admitted that Orange were “a bit crap” but were “getting better” but “that doesn’t help you, I know”.

Orange’s Twitter help was at least short and painless; they asked for my affected post code and responded with “There are no issues with masts in the area, does it happen at peak periods as it may be down to congestion .”

8 week congestion? I don’t think so. I’ve used their online network coverage checker (I am in a very central area which should have full connection) – trust me here, it lies. Apparently my affected area is “excellent” !!!
I don’t get it – I’m not some pleb who doesn’t pay bills, I am a current customer whose contract – thank god – is up in 3 months and then I don’t care if they offer me a free iphone for £10 a month – I won’t stay with them. Think about it – a phone that doesn’t work 50% of the time is as useful as a pig with a spanner.

(Despite the phone not working, I must add that my bills are higher than ever).

Sorry, I could rant all day. It’s clear to me now that no one at Orange is going to take full responsibility for this so all I can do it sit out the contract and meanwhile find a better network to go on. I’m just thankful I didn’t sign up for another 24 months with them.

So anyway, here are my 5 reasons to avoid Orange (as if the previous rant wasn’t enough to put you off Orange!).

#alttext#


1. They are tyrants: Orange phones are always locked to their network

Even though people pay out a fortune over the 18-24 months they have a contract (the therefore have already paid out for the phone many times over) Orange seem to think it’s ok to lock their phones to their network.

As far as I am concerned, once you have completed your contract, that phone is your property and is there for you to do with as you wish.

I always pass on my old phones and it’s so irritating when I have to fork out another £20 to get it unblocked (I don’t see why my friends and family have to move over to Orange to use a phone I’ve paid over £1,000 for).

T-Mobile also do this (T-Mobile and Orange have recently merged, so it’s a match made in tyrant heaven). Vodafone and O2 have provided unblocked phones since forever – and rightly so.


2. They are tyrants: They will not upgrade your sim card no matter how much you beg

Orange for some reason, always makes odd little rules for itself that other networks do not.

One thing I found was that they will not upgrade your sim card no matter what.

Well, why would you want to upgrade your sim card you ask?

Well, say you want to change your phone, because it it’s broken, or you need something with more functionality but you can’t upgrade with Orange yet. In my case, I had a 2G Blackberry and bought a new 3G one because I needed something faster.

It turns out that Orange will only give you sim card relevant to the phone they sold you.

So I ask them if they can upgrade my sim to a 3G one (it’s not a difficult job – ALL of the other networks will do it for you, my aunt even got an upgraded sim card in store with O2 for no charge).

Bear in mind I am still paying £70 per month on my phone bills at the time – but Orange say no way.

Orange are extremely strict with this – you get a sim card which matches the phone THEY sold you only. No negotiation.

I think that as long as you are paying your bills why do they care what phone you are using? It will probably make them more money anyway…

Why does Orange have to be so awkward and difficult, instead of helping a customer out?

#alttext#

3. Their 3g/2g/network connection is piss poor

See previous rant. My friends on Vodafone don’t complain about their connectivity – when I say, “My phone always cuts off” their response is, “Oh, on Orange are you?”

4. They have the worst deals

A network that locks your new phone and won’t give you a new Sim Card that is worth about 5p is hardly going to be generous now, is it?

Check out Cnet’s comparison, for example, of iPhone 4 deals. Orange isn’t the best value in any of the categories (neither if Vodafone to be fair, but at least Vodafone works).

Infact, Orange gets the crown for having the most expensive deal for the iPhone 4:

#alttext#

Imagine having that deal and not being able to use the phone fully!

I have just generally found Orange an expensive network to be on – I don’t mind paying premium for a PREMIUM service.

5. Their customer support is….

Once again, read my original rant! You get diverted back to the customer call centre and the thing is, they will not do anything for you! Anything remotely complicated is ignored. Simple stuff, they can do. They don’t seem to have a problem setting up direct debits, for example -_-

And their website never works properly – I’ve still never managed to do payments on it after 7 years!


Listen up Orange! I am that sort of easy going, just-let-it-renew kinda gal that is worth holding on to. All the times you have screwed up my upgrades, screwed me about with sim cards and send me faulty phones and yet I’ve stayed with you cos it’s been easy. If I can avoid your customer services and sort things out myself, I do.

Not any more! You can wave goodbye to my excessive internet usage I am skipping over to…well I don’t know yet. But there most definitely won’t be a hint of orange in sight.

Any network recommendations ladies?!

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Comments

  1. Hey, I hear you on the Orange front, I was with them for three years. When sat in my Mum’s house, despite their website saying I should have excellent coverage for voice and internet, I had…no coverage. And when I got coverage back, they never delivered any texts I’d been sent whilst in a coverage blackhole…When my contract ended in August, I was like you, I thought ‘I want an iPhone, but I’ll stay with Orange because I can’t be bothered to go elsewhere’. So, I ring them to tell them this, and they want to charge me well over what any other provider would charge for an iPhone, on an 18 month contract. So I decided to just buy an iPhone and go SIM only, since they told me I could do this for cheaper than anywhere else. Nope, freshly iPhoned up, I rang them for a microsim and was told the package I’d been offered didn’t actually exist! And they weren’t the least bit apologetic that I now had a useless £500 phone because of their miselling.

    Absolute robdogs, I went to 3 and have never looked back. £15 a month for unlimited everything, marvellous signal even with the iPhone 4′s dodgy signal-losing feature, job done. Look on http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/ for networks with masts near to places you frequent (home, work) and take it from there, you could get the best deal in the world but if you don’t have a good signal, it’s worth shit all.

    Good luck!

  2. I honestly won’t use any other network. I love Orange. Never experienced any of these problems. I’ve always had handsets replaced with the utmost expedience when faulty, never had problems getting new SIM cards. The locked phone thing doesn’t bother me once I’ve finished with my phone its up to other people what they do with it, I pretty much always sell on ebay anyway and buyers can see its locked.

    I once defected to O2 because I saw a great deal… I lasted 7 weeks before I actually paid to come out of that contract and go back to orange. THe network coverage was hideous, the customer service was hideous, just.. urgh!

    I’ve now been with Orange since about 1998 and have upgraded many times, had no issues with texts not sending or calls cutting out, customer services have all but once been excellent. I must confess that the one bad experience I had with customer services was dire, but once in 12 years is a better hit rate than I get with other customer services departments I’ve called less often! Yes I’m looking at you COuncil Tax and Next.

    As for my iphone, I dont’ have the iphone 4 but have a Sim Only deal with them which costs me not much a month with unlimted internet, 600 mins and unlimited texts.

    Seriously shocked by your post! I would never have guessed people had such bad experiences with them! I guess I’ve been very lucky indeed! Phew

  3. They don’t have the best selection of phones, but I’m yet to have an issue with Virgin. They offer some good deals if you’re already a virgin media customer too!

  4. This made me chuckle! I have the same response when people complain about their connection.

    Been a loyal O2 customer for years. Never had a problem with them and they have fab. deals.

    Best of luck finding a new provider!
    xx

  5. Been with Virgin for a year now, and have the best signal in the majority of places I go to.

  6. Nilufar Ali says:

    Omg, my boss was telling me the same thing on friday, he has a htc phone on orange, and suddenley a month ago the network has dissappeared when hes at work. He knows its not because of the building, because i get network always and im in the same office as him. im gonna let him know about this as well, because he thinks its the building we work in but now that your having some issue with it, it must be the network!

    O2 is the best when it comes to network coverage. I always get network wherever i am.

  7. Hurrah, I’m not the only person experiencing such abominable network problems with Orange then, or being subjected to the awful customer service.

    I joined Orange just over 12 months ago. Off I trotted to university where the signal was awful but I put up with it because I knew I was in a terrible area for signal on pretty much any network. In June I moved back home, here the real problems began. I can’t make calls because my signal drops out. I can’t receive them because the signal is at best, patchy and I get alerts hours later that someone has tried to phone me. Useful I think you’ll agree *rolls eyes* My texts take forever to send then most often fail. I’m not receiving them either. And don’t get me started on the mobile internet. So I go back to point of sale – Carphonewarehouse (Dear everyone, avoid these incompetent fools at all costs) who treat me like a child and send me on my way.

    I phone Orange repeatedly, they don’t know what’s wrong. They report that all masts are fine and have been for some time. They check the coverage which is described as excellent. Well if this is excellent, I’d hate to see what their definition of average is. I ask them what they are going to do. Finally they agree to send me a replacement sim card. But surprise surprise, the problem remains the same. I know it’s not the handset as I can receive signal on an o2 sim card perfectly fine in my phone (it is unlocked which seems rare – even Orange were surprised).

    So I battle with customer services again. I am told that there is no congestion but two masts have been down since August. Now I know that they are feeding me complete and utter BS. Incidentally, these masts will not work until December. I am offered £2 discount per month for the remainder of my contract (12 months) in way of compensation. Excuse me, but that is no where near acceptable when I’m forking out £35-£40 a month and receiving nothing in return.

    I ring back again (same day as the last phone call), this time I’m told that there are no mast problems/congestion. They admit that it is Orange’s fault for the lack of signal. HURRAH. I am told my problem has been logged with the tech department. I am awaiting a phone call in which I’m sure they’ll just tell me another load of BS. I just want my contract ended. I refuse to hand over another penny.

    Sorry for the rant Rowena, but I feel your pain!!! Up until a year ago, I had been a loyal customer to o2 since 2001. I am never ever straying from them again. As soon as I get out of this contract hell, I am hotfooting it down to o2. They always have great deals and I’ve never ever had to call customer services for anything with them, so go figure. Also I’d like to point out that o2 are the network that provide coverage for Network Rail as they are the ONLY mobile network that could offer them complete, comprehensive cover across the whole of the UK to enable train drivers to contact signalling centres in cases of necessity/emergency and vice versa. Also handy to know if you live near a train line :)

    Apologies for the essay! xx

  8. I’m so glad you’ve posted this rant about Orange! I’ve been tempted to switch from Vodafone because Orange have a better offer on the Blackberry I want. I remember I was on Orange for a year during Uni, and I absolutely hated it because I could never get any signal, even though I was in an “excellent” coverage area, so switched back to Vodafone ASAP! So thanks Rowena for reminding me that Orange may not be the best network to switch to just for the sake of a cheaper phone contract (understatement of the week lol)

  9. hint from a guy i to have had big orange problems they are shit try giffgaff.com you wont look back lol i also have the exec tel number if anyone wants it heh heh heh !!! twitter @jayfromcornwall

  10. Several months ago, I visited an Orange shop on Princes Street in Edinburgh to discuss an upgrade to my Orange contract.

    I am visually impaired/blind and, as such, require an accessible phone.

    I was assured by one of the staff, a man named Omar, that the Motorola DEXT would be suitable for my needs. I was informed it has TTS installed. After much effort on my part it became clear that the DEXT is not, in fact, accessible and is completely unsuitable. It does not include any TTS system. My partner was with me at the time and will verify I was told the phone is accessible.

    I attempted to raise this matter with the shop, and was told there was nothing they could do to help.

    After emailing customer services I was told to go back to the manager of the shop and that they cannot help me. When they called me back the customer service agent was very abrupt/rude and told me that their hands were tied.

    I went into a shop in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. They contacted the shop in Edinburgh. Omar at first claimed he could not remember me, and then insisted he told me to phone Customer Services for advice.

    I then phone Customer Services. They were rude and insisted there was nothing they could do.

    It has become clear that I was misled regarding this phone, presumably in an effort to get me to renew my contract. Nobody at Orange is prepared to do anything about this.

    I regard this as illegal mis-selling.

    This is the second time Orange has erred with an upgrade. On the previous occasion I rang Customer Services upgrades department and explained I needed a phone running either a Symbian or Windows Mobile operating system. They told me the LG Viewty was accessible and on Windows Mobile. When I received the phone it was quite clear this was not true. I returned the phone and eventually upgraded to an SPV-650 which, when speech was eventually installed, ran very slowly and actually worked, after a fashion, despite regular firmware crashes.

    The DEXT was completely unusable. CISAS (the apparently independent adjudicator: paid by Orange) were, shall we say, biased, accused me of lying and offended me deeply.

    Orange customer services are abominable, who pass the buck and refuse to do anything complicated, require the use of of more than one neuron, and never let you speak to a manager or team leader, which means you can’t escalate a complaint.

  11. Oh my word that is absolutely awful Maria! That is truly appalling service. I thought that CISAS were supposed to be independent but it would seem not!

    I’ve had further problems with Orange since my last rant. They told me they would end my contract but the person I spoke to needed to confirm with the manager, whom somewhat conveniently, was not in the office at the time. I was told I could expect a phone call the next day. This was three weeks ago. I am still waiting. I phoned them about 10 days ago when I was told that the person who said he would cancel my contract does not indeed EXIST. I ranted at this poor customer service guy who then told me that my account had been blocked as I had not paid my bill, which they had told me not to pay. I am annoyed beyond belief. They’re going to get what for when I phone them back tomorrow!

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