Orange false promises which resulted in unwanted phone contract
I've had a mobile phone with Orange one way or another since about 1997 and I was one of Freeserve's original customers back in 1998 - Freeserve being taken over by Wanadoo in 2000 which was then acquired by Orange in 2006.
In recent years, as an Orange mobile customer, I was entitled to a free broadband service. Due to my heavy internet use, in 2008 my broadband connection was capped between 6.00pm and midnight to 50k/s - there later transpired some confusion with conflicting letters saying that the cap had been lifted and that it had not. Regardless, the cap remained.
When my mobile contract expired and having had some problems with a broken phone (Nokia N95) which neither Orange, Nokia or Phones4U were prepared to address, I decided to move my mobile phone and broadband to O2 and phoned Orange to inform them of my intention to leave.
Their loyalty department offered me a competitive mobile phone deal which entitled me to a discounted unlimited broadband service. I pointed out that I was being capped on my free broadband connection and said that I would accept the deal so long as the cap was lifted - I accepted that my free broadband connection had been capped but I wasn't prepared to pay for a capped service. The Orange representative assured me that the cap would be lifted within 7 to 10 days.
A month later, the cap was still evident. I phoned Orange to complain. On my first attempt I found myself talking to somebody in a call centre in Asia who didn't understand my situation at all and first of all said that my connection was slow because it is busier at those times and then told me that the cap was there for legal reasons. I gave up and tried again, managing to speak to somebody who assured me that the cap would be lifted very soon and that I should contact them when it was lifted to receive a refund for the period when it was in place.
Three months into my contract the cap remained. I tried again to speak to somebody at Orange and eventually spoke to somebody else who repeated the promise that the cap would eventually be lifted but having reached a point of exasperation I used the Orange website contact form to inform them that unless the situation was dealt with within a week I would take the issue to OfCom. Having heard nothing for a week, that is what I did.
OfCom informed me that as the terms agreed on the phone had not been met, I would be entitled to terminate my contract. They gave me a reference number and a high level support phone number at Orange. When I then phoned Orange with this information, they assured me that it would be addressed immediately and that somebody would reply within 24 hours.
Needless to say, nobody at Orange did contact me within 24 hours so five days later I phoned them again. They said that somebody would phone me back within a few hours and this time they did. They informed me that there was no way that under any circumstances the cap could be lifted. They agreed to refund me for the 3 months plus which I had paid for the capped broadband service. When I challenged them that my mobile phone contract was taken out on the strength of their promise I was passed on to their mobile phone division who basically stated that the two departments were unconnected and that if I attempted to terminate my contract, I would be charged for the 14 months plus which remained or I would have to pay the full retail price of the handset - a Nokia 5800 (another story).
So, in a nutshell, Orange retained me as a mobile phone customer by promising me that a limitation on my broadband service (then free ) would be removed if I also signed up for a home broadband package - when in fact they were not going to do so.
All this is documented on my account notes at Orange - they have been read back to me - yet Orange still insist that I am bound by the contract. It makes me feel quite sick, literally, that they feel that they can get away with it. If I agreed a contract with them that I would pay them a certain amount a month and then said, 'well, actually, I haven't got any money' they would soon get heavy with me. But in essence, that is what they are claiming as justification.
Under advice from OfCom, I have sent a letter by recorded delivery detailing everything above. If there are any developments, I'll post back.
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