Product Type: Orange in Telecommunications Services
Newest Review: ... to check and doing the work myself. I know of many people who do not rate Orange's customer service very highly but we have had the op... more
Orange Customers, and Customer Service
Member Name: Wolksby
Date: 11/08/06, updated on 03/09/06 (9880 review reads)
Advantages: Good mobile coverage and features / choice of phones
Disadvantages: Atrocious customer service, and where the existing customer is second best
I have been with Orange for many years and have to say that I had never experienced any problems with their efficiency as a provider, or errors in their billing or administration. Virtually each year I would go along to the local Orange Retail shop and upgrade to a new phone, whilst keeping the same basic service plan. Occasionally there has been the little extra of, say, a month's free trial of this or that, hich I have taken up, and then cancelled before having to continue paying for this extra bundle. If I ever had a query, I would ring Customer Services, wait a relatively short while, and then be connected to someone whom I could understand, someone who sounded as if they genuinely cared about me as a customer, and who ultimately was able to solve my query efficiently.
This has, of course now changed beyond recognition - and the opposite is very much the norm. A few weeks ago, I decided to try a local independent retailer, with some 42 branches in my part of the UK, who said that they were perfectly able to arrange my upgrade, without my having to travel further afield to the Orange Shop. When the manager put my mobile number into his computer, he was immediately able to see that I was a relatively 'poor customer', in terms of the fact that I never went over my free minutes' allocation, added on any extra bundles, made hardly any calls from abroad, and always sent texts from the Orange website. Loyalty didn't enter into this, so be warned if you, like me, have been frugal!
They suggested that my best option would be to close my present contract and number, and start out again as a new customer, which I did. I have got a really good deal, with lots of extras, cash back, and an all-singing-all-dancing new phone for nothing.
As I have chosen not to pay an extra £1.50 for itemised bills (recently introduced by Orange) I wanted to continue having access to my account online, as I did before with my previous number. Suffice it to say that Orange appears totally incapable of letting me set up this change of number to access my account, despite numerous emails to them, which they simply acknowledge, then attempt to answer with a standard apology which never addresses my question, and which invites me to give them a number or two where I might be reached, to which they promise to ring, but then don't. The Customer Service line (150) is a joke - on four occasions now I have hung on for 30 minutes, having to endure the most awful music, and then speak to someone who basically couldn't care less - and, woe betide anyone who catches a call-centre operator when they're about to go home! Of course, one or two of them suggest phoning Orange's internet 'helpline' at 50p a minute, but I refuse to do this, as the error message I receive always invites me to phone 150 free, for help on this topic.
I have got increasingly fed up, but found this site by chance, and now feel happier in that I have experienced ALL the areas of poor customer service which others have commented upon, and certainly concur that, in terms of a deal, Orange don't care one iota about their existing customer base. Of course, had I kept on my previous number and deal, I wouldn't have had all these problems, but when I'm shortly going to get a cashback cheque of £180 for being a new Orange customer, it shows how much dealers are being paid to snap up another Orange 'sucker'!
I have sent one more email to them, copying all the previous ones, but I'll still get one of them back as my 'answer', I know. If they do ring me, I'll get cut off, as happened recently, so I'm either going to contact them by recorded delivery, go up to the local call centre in the city where I live (and not one that they're going to shut!), or let my colleague in Features at the newspaper where I work do a real hatchet job on Orange. Perhaps I'll do all three things, just to make me feel better!
The sad thing is that the phone is perfect, I've got a good deal, but Orange's apparent inability to communicate effectively with its customers would put me off joining that network, if I were a new customer on the mobile front. Whilst hanging on for the now usual 30 minutes (Orange perhaps hope you'll give up, and not bother them!) you regularly get the message that 'Orange is particularly busy right now, and experiencing a high number of calls'. Could this be because they're closing call centres, and more and more people are complaining - a vicious circle - but be warned. If everything in the garden's fine, you have nothing to worry about - BUT, should you get a problem, then read the rest of these reviews before going down the Orange route - it could save you a lot of grey hairs!
And, as a postscript, Orange have now taken over Freeserve/Wanadoo Broadband - if they can't even enable me to sign in to my mobile account online, goodness only knows what sort of a broadband internet connection and service they provide. Definitely one to avoid, I would suggest!
P.S. Today I've just had an email from an independent Market Research company on behalf of Orange to say that I had been 'selected' to take part in a survey on Orange Customer Relations, as I had recently contacted them by email. I thought it best to take part, in the (vain!) hope that Orange would actually take on board any comments from its customers! After a couple of general questions, I was asked whether I had had a reply to my latest email to Orange (other than a mere automated acknowledgement). When I clicked to say I hadn't as yet, the survey abruptly closed, even though it was supposed to take up to 10 minutes! I'm now going to have another try (currently the Marketing Company is telling me that I've already 'been'. but I've asked for a second go!), but answer 'Yes', referring to the numerous previous, but basically useless email responses from Customer Services. Of course, it's ironic, and even more galling that I've been contacted about the survey, but still haven't heard any more from Customer Services - oh yes, I forgot, they are 'currently very busy and receiving a high number of emails!' Do read the other reviews here, and you'll soon see why!
STOP PRESS! Orange have actually phoned me back! My problem in accessing my online account has now been 'escalated'! Technical Services are now going to be on to it! I have been told to wait '48 hours' and then try again! There might then be a problem with having to reset my online password, but this can be done by......you've guessed it, my emailing Orange to tell them when I may be phoned back, or by my ringing the online technical helpine at 50p a minute! Haven't I been here before?! Anyway, as we say in the press, watch this space! Soaps don't get much better than this! ....or do they? Now I've just received yet another email from Orange, this time telling me that it's not going to be possible for me to access my existing online account with my new mobile number - can I give them a contact number, so that they can phone me to ask me whether they may cancel the existing account, to enable me to set up a new one within 24 hours! Of course, this has really confused the issue, as I'm supposed to be waiting for Technical Services to try to rectify the fault, and allow me to try again within the 48 hours, but apparently this isn't going to work anyway, according to the second email. Since each email comes from a different person, in different parts of the country, the right hand doesn't seem to know what the left hand is doing, so I have emailed back with the usual contact numbers, but asked whether the most recent email was the result of Technical Services giving me up as a bad cause? To be honest I'm losing track of what's going on.......but then, isn't that what's supposed to happen, and in the end I'm just brainwashed into believing that the the problem has actually been sorted? If you're old enough to remember 'Dallas', you'll know that anything is possible, so I may well find myself being 'killed off' to return in a later series back from the dead - and I thought 'Emmerdale' was bad!
FINAL CHAPTER! It is with tremendous relief that I can now say that the problems above have eventually been resolved by Orange, almost six weeks after I changed my mobile phone. Just before going on holiday to Europe, I sent another last-ditch email to them saying, just go ahead and cancel my previous online account, so that I can set up a new one, using my new number. On the drive up to Gatwick (fortunately I was being driven) - a call from Orange Customer Services to ask me how everything was, and to say that they have at last cancelled the previous online account. It's a good job I wasn't driving, as I might have passed out with the shock of hearing from them, and from an operator who spoke the same English as I do! Of course, I wasn't in the position to try this out online, as I wasn't going to be at my PC for a fortnight. Then, whilst in Prague, I receive a text message from Orange to confirm that they have deleted the old online account - just like the man on the phone had said!! Well, you probably think that everything has ended up fine! Sorry to disappoint you, but once back in the UK, and at my PC, I visited the Orange website, and clicked on 'Register your mobile account', but despite how long I waited, the link wouldn't work - it always reported an Internal Server Error. Irrespective of what I clicked, I got the same error message, and so gave up for the day at least. When I tried again, a day or so later, the link was active, my details have been accepted, and I can once more access my mobile account online! Hallelujah!
So it has taken Orange almost six weeks simply to cancel my old online account, which would then allow me to open a new one! You're probably wondering if I'm now going to reinstate my Orange email account, which I did originally have, as an alternative to my main AOL one. I think, though, like me, you're going to steer well clear of any additional involvement with Orange. It's the same old familiar story: a mobile phone company initially provides a good service - it decides to get bigger by taking over a Broadband ISP, and then sheds workers at call centres in the UK, replacing only some of these with workers abroad. Of course it now can't cope with the increased workload, and the 'service' literally goes down the pan! I'm going to Yahoo or similar for my alternative email address!
And, the final irony? I had to pop into the local dealer yesterday, where I had arranged my new phone account, and, whilst I was telling him about the problems of the last six weeks, he said that they have a direct link with Customer Services at Orange, and can speak to the right people straightaway!! If only he'd mentioned this to me before, I would have had more hair left, it would not have become so gray, and you would only have had to endure reading about half of this seemingly endless saga!
Summary: Orange provides a good deal to its new customers, but its customer service lets it down so badly
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