Thousands can cancel Orange contracts after loophole is opened

July 27th, 2009 713 Comments By Paul Smith

picture 41 Thousands can cancel Orange contracts after loophole is openedUPDATE 12/08: Orange has now scrapped the ToS change following consumer upset and cancellations. Read full update and official statement here.

UPDATE 08/08/09: Comments as of late Friday indicate Orange are now refusing to cancel contracts if you did not go over contract allowance in the last 3 months. We will be contacting Ofcom and taking legal advice Monday and will post a response. More here.

Cast your mind back to what happened when 3 announced they were cancelling their 3 Like Home service – it provided customers with a loophole to terminate their contract early. 3 weren’t entirely pleased about it for the most part, and their staff tried plenty of tricks to wear down those who called to cancel.

Now it’s the turn of Orange. They’re making substantial changes to their pricing policy – in particular there’ll be changes made to costs for web access from your mobile, and the cost of calls not included in your plan (the likes of 0870 numbers and calls made beyond your allowance) will rise from 5p to 14.7p a minute. Many customers have received a text from Orange to make them aware of the changes, which come into force from mid-September. As far as we can figure out, these changes are set to affect all customers.

[NOTE 28/7 - Bitterwallet reader Robert states has been told by Orange customer services the changes do not affect customers who signed up after June this year, so you may not be eligible to cancel]

Is this an opportunity to cancel your Orange contract? Absolutely. The terms and conditions set out by Orange are very specific:

“4.3 You may also terminate your Contract if we vary its terms, resulting in an excessive increase in the Charges or changes that alter your rights under this Contract to your detriment. In such cases you would need to give us at least 14 days written notice prior to your Billing Date (and within one month of us telling you about the changes). However this option does not apply if:

“4.3.1 we have increased the Charges by an amount equal to or less than the percentage increase in the All Items Index of Retail Prices published by the Central Statistical Office in the Monthly Digest of Statistics in any 12 month period.”

Of course, Orange isn’t making it easy for everyone. A common complaint in both the HotUKDeals forums and MSE is that customer services are turning down requests to cancel, because customers either don’t use web services on their mobile, or that they aren’t using their full allowance anyway. This is not a valid reason to refuse a request to cancel. The key is the passage in the terms and conditions that says:

“You may also terminate your Contract if we vary its terms, resulting in… changes that alter your rights under this Contract to your detriment”

picture 3 Thousands can cancel Orange contracts after loophole is openedRegardless of what customer services may say, your contract gives you the right to go over your call allowance, regardless of whether you do or not. If gives you the right to call 0870 numbers and the right to use web services, even if you have no need to. You have the right to do so at the price you originally agreed with Orange when you signed the contract. Your average monthly bill may not be affected by these changes, but the terms and conditions in this instance are concerned with your rights being affected; clearly, if you can’t go over your allocated minutes without paying three times the price you originally agreed when you signed the contract, then the proposed changes are detrimental to your right to do so.

Another trick being attempted by some customer service agents is to demand the return of the handset. However as the terms and conditions clearly state:

“14.1 your Device is not a part of your Contract – your Device and Accessories are acquired by you outside the terms of your Contract.”

If an Orange operator demands the return the handset is mandatory, politely ask them to read their own terms and conditions.

Finally, it seems some customer service agents are telling customers who didn’t receive the original text that they aren’t affected by the change. Again, your monthly usage isn’t the point here – it’s whether you have the right to exceed it and not be charged more than you originally agreed.

As is always the case in these instances, how successful you are will depend on the temperament of the individual operator taking your call, and how well informed they are. Be polite, but stick to your guns. Contracts are in place to protect you as well as the other party – brush up on the points above and let us know how you get on.

Comments (713) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by rebecca December 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I have just contacted orange about this, and I have contacted them again, I have only recently took out my contract, in the last few months, and like others I had the message about the increase in feb2012. I was told that for me to cancel it would cost £515.00 as a buy out fee. I am questioning that now! Will let you know how I get on, as I am not happy and would rather get a new contract out with someone else.

  2. Posted by Omar January 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I’m in the same position. Will let you know how it goes!

  3. Posted by my name is david simmons January 22, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    please cancel my subscritption

  4. Posted by i no longer have a phone January 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    please cancel my subscription

  5. Im thankful for the blog post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  6. orange have charged me £40 for calls to an international number that happened during a continuous period of 3 hours. the actual sim card was not in the phone at the time and had not been used for 4 months. at the same time as these calls were made l was actually speaking to my family on a different network. the calls were made to a french answering machine not in english. the calls over 20 of them alleged to have happened one after another with no break for 3 hours . orange have not investigated fully why, but to say that l had made the calls. l cannot speak french. C an l cancel my orange contract. thank you

  7. Posted by ron April 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    can i canceal my contract, if orange cancealed my orange without giving me any notice

  8. Posted by ron April 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    sorry it would make more sence if i added that they cancealled my orange care contract without any notice

  9. Posted by stephen May 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I have had my orange phone for 5 weeks, they charged me on a 08 number which they told me to ring to cancel a supscription. i rang them 4 separate occasion’s and they promised they would take the charge’s off. After all this i just got my bill of £76,66p. I ve just been on the phone to them and they said there sorry but they cant do anything, because the bill has all ready been issued. I only used22min out of my so called free bundle and only 15mb of internet. and i didnt even ask for data traffic which i asked them to take of at the beginning. all the time after all the phone calls only today they said that data traffic was still on but they will credit my next bill. how can they be so stupid,,, i need to cancel but the nice? woman on the phone said im stuck with orange for the nexy 23 month’s. there must be some way to cancel. any idea’s would be appreciated/

  10. Posted by jennifer August 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I really want to cancel my contract sim card please I only had it for month so I want to get new phone anyway

  11. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience concerning unexpected feelings.

  12. Posted by robert sharman September 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

    this is to say that i will now be canceling my contract with you as of nowi will pay for the time i used with you but it will not be on the 30/9/2013 thank you

  13. Yes! Finally something about gold watches.

Leave a Reply *(required)