Orange - the latest gravy in the battle for contract cancellations

10 August 2009

UPDATE 12/08: Orange has now scrapped the ToS change following consumer upset and cancellations. Read full update and official statement here.

So this whole Orange cancellation thing then – here’s the latest.

A couple of weeks ago, we revealed that Orange customers had a cast-iron way to get out of their pay monthly contracts after the company had increased some of their call charges.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Orange customers took advantage, word got around and the whole thing began to snowball. A few questions about how to cancel arose, and so Paul came up with a troubleshooting guide. Our comments sections began to swell as you followed the instructions and gave us feedback on how it was working for you.

The days rolled by and more and more tales of successful cancellation followed and all was good. Then, towards then end of last week, things changed dramatically. Orange have started to reject some customers’ requests to cancel, saying that their legal team have told them they’re not eligible, because they don’t go over their monthly minutes allowance and they don’t make 0870 calls, the areas where the price changes are being actioned.

They’re also telling customers to make a complaint to Ofcom if they’re not happy, which sounds like fobbing off in the extreme. A case of telling you to make a noise somewhere else, through a procedure that’s trickier and more daunting than just picking up your phone, calling Orange and quoting a contract before getting your PAC number.

To us, this new approach from Orange sounds like complete and utter bollocks. Just because you haven’t encroached beyond your minutes or made an 0870 call YET doesn’t mean that you won’t in the future. Orange are deviating from the contractual agreement you both made when you signed up with them and now they’re trying to tell you that you have to just shut up, sit still and swallow a price rise whether you like it or not.

We’ll be spending the day trying to get a reaction to Orange’s shift in tactics from cleverer people than ourselves and hopefully the picture will become clearer over the next 24 hours. Either way, we’re certain that this isn’t over yet, and if you’re a disgruntled Orange customer looking for way out of your contract, we’ll do everything we can to help you make it happen.

Keep watching the skies, people.

TOPICS:   How To Guides

62 comments

  • Thousands B.
    [...] 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. [...]
  • Cancelling B.
    [...] 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. [...]
  • Sam
    I tried to cancel on Saturday a few times and got the same response, "you arn't entitled to cancel as you have not gone over your minutes in the last 3 months" told them that I might go over my minutes in the future tho and his reply was "yeah, and I might win the lottery tonight!!!" I made 2 0870 calls after that on Saturday so don't know if this will now entitle me to cancel? Dread calling back as they wer getting really shirty and rude the last time...
  • Mike e.
    POWAH TO THE PEOPLE! http://www.tootingpopularfront.com/citizensmith.jpg
  • steven b.
    they triedthis tactic with me, they said you have not gone over your minutes in the last 5 months so why would you in future. i just told them some lie about needing to use it more as i needed to use it for work now (if they can lie so can i) and they said fine it was disconnected this morning :) DONT GIVE UP
  • Rik A.
    I got out of an orange contract last time round on a very similar issue. I had a few heated discussions over the phone and was told that I might still be charged a disconnection fee (equal to the remainder of my contract, of course) if they deemed that I was not disadvantaged by the change in terms. They could not tell me there and then if my disconnection would be free, therefore discouraging me from exercising my right to cancel! I eventually wrote to them, including a copy of the Ts and Cs highlighting the appropriate section and explaining that based on the contract I expected to be disconnected without further charge. That did the trick. My advice therefore is not to engage in heated phone debates (we all know the helpline staff are trained to keep you in contract) and simply write to them expressing your wish to cancel based on a specific term in the contract. Also, this does mean there is a written record should you require it in court! ;)
  • Robert
    I've just spoken to Ofcom and was told that I have a right to cancel. They provided me with a case number and the phone number to Orange Complaints department. They didn't know much about the changes, so they contacted the disconnections department and they informed me that I can't because I haven't exceeded my minutes. I then told the lady that was dealing with me what the terms state and also the UK LAW DIRECTIVE, and she said she was going to contact the relevant departments and call me back tomorrow. So at the moment it seems like Ofcom are not on Orange's side and there seems to be quite a large case being built against them
  • Adam
    Spoke to OFCOM also they backed me with their General Condition 9.3 which gives no reference to previous months usage. I've got an Ofcom Orange Referal Number to call and see where this leads me. Advise everyone to call OFCOM
  • Sam
    called ofrcom got reference number, called orange executive office, quoted ref number and said I wanted to cancel. the guy said I spoke with his collegue on saturday and he had said no to cancelling me so he had to uphold that decision. Got no where!! gonna have to put it in writing I think, This is really outragous, think they are hoping most folk will just drop it if they get nowhere on the phone
  • Thedave
    Any idea of a cut odd date for calling to cancel. Was hoping to wait the 21st.
  • Anyone F.
    [...] like they're trying to avoid people cancelling their contracts: Orange - the latest gravy in the battle for contract cancellations | BitterWallet Fight the bastards! __________________ Ouroboros <Groove>, Zealot of Karak Eight Peaks [...]
  • Gibbs
    Rang Ofcom and got a Ref number and number to call. I was wondering how does writing a letter of complaint affect the '28days to complain or it appears as if you have accepted the contract changes' rule? I got the text on the 22nd July so have only ten-ish more days before it appears I have accepted the changes? Is that correct? Does written communication have to fall under this condition also?
  • Bobby
    Rang twice this morning, neither of them let me cancel, they said that I had not gone over my bundle, but then I told them I range an 0870 number this morning, they said that I was still not eligible to cancell beauce of some section 15 bollocks about percentage calls or summit like tht.....THEY TAKE THE PISS
  • christopher
    Hey guy, just canceled my mates contract for him just about 5 mins ago, I used to work for 02 when they had the 08 number changes and they had to let people cancel. Just really clearly state that u will not get off the phone and that they cannoty charge you for any cancelation charge as that is illegal. That you are not making any complaint. I said to the lady because she said that i havent been over in the last 3 months, i said it is not your job or oranges job to predict the future and that they need to pull there acts together advised her that they and she has broken the legal terms of our contract that was arrrange mine only three months ago. She apologised and wham bam fank u mam she canceled it for tomo. Always take NAME AND REF number for all your calls with these guys they are twats!
  • Gibbs
    Called customer services 5 times, no joy. Called Ofcom, called the number they gave no joy. Kept saying that the 3 months previous I hadnt exceeded/called 08 numbers. I explained that as of Oct when I go back to Uni we have no landline so may be going over and I didnt agree to the terms. Was going round in circles and he was having none of it. Is writing the next step or keep trying on the phone? My account will certainly have been labelled not eligible by now!
  • Wilko
    Just been on the phone to Orange for almost an hour and a half this morning to two seperate people. Both claim they are not now allowed to cancel contracts based on this issue, and have been advised by their legal department to get people to voice their concerns (in writing only). I have also called Ofcom and think the more people who do that, the more likely it is that they'll look into it as well. For information - the address to send your written complaints to Orange is: Compliance Team Astral House Orange Plc Senhouse Road Lingfield Way Darlington DL1 4YG
  • Sam
    can we not just cancel our direct debits and stick 2 fingers up at them. Would Orange then not have to prove that we wer not within our rights to cancel. We all know we are tho and should be OK? Anyone thinking of doing that?
  • Mark F.
    @Sam As good an idea as that is if your contract hasn't been cancelled and you don't pay your bill then that will affect your credit rating. And that's the last thing anyone wants!
  • Gibbs
    I got told by Ofcom that the address was: Orange Customer Services PO Box 10 Patchway Bristol BS32 4BQ How ironic the postcode begins with BS.
  • Tom
    @Sam ... if you cancelled your Direct Debit, you would be in breach of contract, and they'd be after you. Plus they would probably take steps to block your phone and wouldn't release your PAC code. Be persistent and if not, go to the ombudsman, that's what he's there for.
  • Michael
    I have phoned ORANGE Customer service about 7 times over the past 2 days. 2 operators told me to contact Ofcom, Still yet to do this. others told me i hadn't received the message yet, which i had! and i was also told that it would not affect me due to me not going outside my bundle. Even though i had a 0845 number on my previous bill! Very annoyed about this to be honest and i think the only thing is to write a letter of complaint
  • Jenna
    I managed to get out of my contract last week without a battle, but really used this as an excuse due to poor signal and them not being at all bothered by this. However, I feel that the people using these price changes to simply get a new phone are making it more difficult for people that are actually unable to get any sort of signal, and therefore service. Rant over - thanks for the posts on this website, I know it's helped a lot of people that aren't very confident in phoning people like this!
  • Harry
    I just tried to cancel and they checked the last 3 months bills. I hadn't gone over so I can't cancel. I then said I may use these numbers in the future but they said that because they had advised me of the changes I could not cancel and would have to pay the rest of the contract. Stupidly forgot to get refernce number so am going to do it again soon.
  • deejayone
    As suggested in the most current update of this issue on Bitter Wallet - let's start using Twitter and Tweeting the bad experiences using the hashtag: #badorange @deejayone
  • Paul S.
    Harry, that's nonsense - you have 30 days after been advised of the changes in which to cancel. If that's what you were told, then Orange Customer Services are flat-out lying to you.
  • James C.
    i called with an ofcom referemce number amd they are still refusing to cancelt the contract they ofcom doesnt regulate their specific things and that the company sets their own arbitratry guidelines so basically if u havnt went over ur allowance in the past three months they will say that it hasnt been to your detriment which they are taking as the 3 months prior usage and i rang a number given by ofcom there was no waiting it was picked up straight away any1 finds any way around this?
  • Amy B.
    Just been on the phone to Orange. Spoke to a useless guy who said I can't do anything until I receive the text message - Is this right? I went over my minutes last month by quite a lot, and when I asked how I receive this text message, he said he didn't have the criteria, and the system generates it.
  • James C.
    i suggest as well as the twitter thing every1 file a complaint here http://www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog/
  • Matt
    Have phones, got told to call OFCOM, called OFCOM, called orange back with reference, got address for compliance team, so drafted a letter. I have posted the letter but also emailed it direct to the CEO office. They have since called and told me that their legal department is currently looking into my case along with everyone elses. I honestly don't believe they have a legal leg to stand on and are buying time. They will get back to me with a decision. OFCOM also gave me the CISAS details which proved quite a useful tool in the letter as showed i was prepared to take it further. Incidentally, Orange are not following their own procedures if you're told straight away to contact OFCOM. You SHOULD be referred to the cs operator's supervisor, and following that go through the Orange arbitrary process. OFCOM were shocked when i contacted them telling them what had been said, as was the Orange CEO dept who promptly contacted the cs centre operator i'd spoken to. So i am now awaiting legal response from CEO dept, and phonecall from supervisor regarding their lack of following procedures. OFCOM certainly thought we had a case when i spoke to them this morning.
  • Jordan
    Im like the rest of us out there, trying to cancel my contract.. Being a college student, im so cash strapped atm and in serious need of pulling this one off! But, now it seems asif most people are writing letters to Orange to cancel them. Im too afraid too speak over the phone to a member of customer service, due to what iv read on here and simply id be quite a push over in an arguement being as im not a confident person.. So im going to take the Letter/Email route.. But could someone please pass on their Email address? And also, could anyone post a rough copy of a decent Letter/Email to help me cancel my contract? Many thanks, Jordan.
  • John K.
    They are a pack of useless... They keep trying to say i dont make enough out-of-bundle or 08 numbered calls... managed to get out of 1 contract which I only took 8 months ago - their system says the contract has ended already (I think there is 10 months to go but less said!) After 2 calls they still have the upper hand... Will keep trying until I get RESULTS! Thank you for the invaluable information
  • Richard
    Can someone give me a step by step guide on what to do ? I have phoned orange several times but because i have not gone over my minutes i can not cancel. I contacted trading standards who told me to write a letter to them telling them their in breach of contract i I have not writ this yet but I will today. What else should i do ?
  • Paul S.
    UPDATE 10/8 Ofcom have now responded to Bitterwallet's request for a statement on the current situation. You can read it here.
  • Nick
    Just cancelled my contract - they tried the '3 months excessive usage' nonsense, to which I quoted Adams comment above ( Ref: his call to OFCOM) I quoted General Condition 9.3 ....and they agreed to cancel my contract right there and then Of note 1: She tried to suggest that because I'd texted a foreign number, I was somehow exempt and still obliged by the contract. I frankly didn't understand what she was one about Of note 2: she made sure that i'd received the text in the first place. Obviously some people are trying it on .................... 3-5 working days for my PAC code and good riddance to them* (I'd love to think this goes smoothly, but I really cant imagine that happening)
  • iRonman
    My brother rang over the weekend he had gone over his minutes a few times and had rung an 0870 numbers in the past month and he was able to cancel without even breaking a sweat, I suppose he had done all the right things to be in the 'right to cancel' pool, but I think everyone should have the right to cancel regardless of making 0870 calls or going over their minutes.
  • James C.
    i just called again the person on the phone told me orange did not have to cancel my contract the woman on the phone said she agreed with me that i should be allowed to but that my account had been marked by a supervisor not to cancel? she told me i would have to pay £350 point for the contract to be terminated she also told me that ofcom are just a regulatory body and they have no say over what way orange conduct their buisness. ofcom told me to contact cisas and when i told orange this the csr was pretty smug and said by the time they get back to u it will be too late for ur contract to be cancelled anyway. so its safe to say that imm more than a bit annoyed. they are taking a judgment on my account over the three months ive been of university as soon as i go back i will be over my minutes and phoning my bank and now because o these charges it will cost me more money. does anyone kno of any1 else that can be contacted to complain about this?
  • James C.
    also are they allowed to "mark" my account
  • BeckyF
    do u have to have received the text message to be able to cancel your contract?
  • Neil H.
    I spent ages on two phone calls this morning and after being placed on hold for five minutes the first time around I then got Mrs Smug-git who also used the previous usage etc etc BS. Poor coverage, poorer customer services.........never again me thinks
  • Hannah
    Where can I find details of the general condition 9.3 mentioned above?
  • Ian
    ofcom General conditions GC9.3 which says: GC 9.3 Where the Communications Provider intends to modify a condition in a contract with a Consumer which is likely to be of material detriment to the Consumer, the Communications Provider shall: (a) provide the Consumer with at least one month’s notice of its intention detailing the proposed modification; and (b) inform the Consumer of the ability to terminate the contract without penalty if the proposed modification is not acceptable to the Consumer.
  • James D.
    Got A Nokia 97 a week last Friday,and my girlfriend also has an orange contract we have spoke to orange this evening after being on gohold for more than 30 minuted and 2 call backs and some heavy persistence we have got out of contracts its is important to read the whole of this post plus others as they will try and catch you out!! and try and say its not going to effect you when everyone will be affected!! Thanks To everyone for all the posts as i cudnt of done it with out if anyone would like any info on my experience please dont hesitate to ask!!# James
  • James D.
    Also if they try and say ur out of call charges will not be affected by this change make sure u ask if any other charges will be affected by this change because the gman on the phone tried telling my gf this but when asking him if any other charges will be affected he said yes IF YOU WANT UR CONTRACT TO BE CANCELLED JUST KEEP TELLING THEM THAT YOU WANT THE CONTRACT TO BE CANCELLED BECAUSE THEY ARE CHANGING THERE TERMS. Dont fall for any lines they must cancel it. everyone will be affected. especially on 087 numbers
  • Adam
    I tried on Saturday to cancel and was told i couldnt, had the whole we have spoke to our legal team etc. Rang then on Sunday and went through it again, spoke to a supervisor who told me not to call again and put the phone down. Spoke to ofcom today and then rang up to say i was going to make a formal complaint and also about the supervisor. promised a call back that didnt happen and so rang back and the guy offered me 200 minutes and £20 credit, but only if i was going to stay with orange and wouldnt persue any further. I said i was going to continue to persue. Rang this evening to ask about the cancelling within 30 days and the time it would take for my formal complaint to be seen to and was told they had changed the criteria again and were disconnecting anyone, Now disconnected... :D
  • Sally
    Well done James, you wouldn't like to ring for me too please, would you? LOL I'm at my wits end with them, I really am!
  • Josh
    James, mind letting me know kinda exactly what you said? To get out of a contract so soon into it is impressive i must say indeed.
  • Sally
    Morning all Just had a call back from Steven at CEO who I spoke to yesterday and who promised he'd ring me back within 24 hours. He said he was passing me through to a CSR who was called Barry and who did cancel my contract for me due to the fact that I had rang some 08** numbers recently. He did try and persuade me to stay and explained about the price increases, quoting some examples etc, and also said I should make sure that other networks hadn't increased their prices before I moved elsewhere. He said my pac code would be sent out in the post and the final bill would include an MNP Debit. I was very polite with him, had a bit of banter, told him I wouldn't fancy being in his shoes and he said he had had so many arrogant and abusive customers on the phone it was unbelievable. He said it was nice to be treated the same way as he would treat people - shame some other CSR's don't follow this eh! lol
  • J
    i called earlier today & was told that since i had not called any 087 numbers i would not be eligible to cancel. i tried to agrue using all the points in this post but she was not having any of it! i don't know what to do now as i KNOW i am within rights to cancel, but they just don't want to lose any more customers! HELP!
  • Blackberry
    I Have read through a lot of the posts on here and in most cases I cannot believe what i'm reading. On many occasions I've read some people ( who clearly do not know the legal process ) advising others to cancel their direct debit in order to get Orange's attention. This will only result in their bill being passed to a debt collection agency ( as is normal legal process for any business ), if anyone follows this advice it would result in a black mark on their credit record. PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE, the bill you receive from Orange or any other network is payable. simple. If you have a dispute with the bill you can call them and have it explained, reviewed or in some cases even recalculated. The other thing, primarily, is the attitude of some people's posts, treating the representatives of Orange as if they are the enemy, THEY ARE NOT ! They are simply there to help ( they are real people aswell... ). If you can socialise decently in a normal environment with other people without calling them B*****ds and T**t's why can't you be polite on the phone when talking to a representative of a company you do business with ? Another thing I think a lot of people are missing or ignoring is that the Orange minimum call charge which in September will be 15p and thereafter 20p per minute is still be cheaper than Virgin, T Mobile and Vodafone which are currently 20p minimum and thereafter 35p...... (",) Does anyone here think that they're going to get a better deal elsewhere ?? O2 are set to change aswell..... ! Many of the posts on here seem to be from people who are (A) Panicking (B ) Opportunists (C) Misinformed by a third party. Just check the websites of the other mobile operators. I have ! I have been with Orange for 3 years now, I'm due to upgrade AND I WILL, I have no complaints as far as customer service goes, unlike Vodafone ( 6 years ) where I felt I had to drip feed queries all the time to a person who found it difficult to understand English. I find no reason to change network. If you're on to a good thing why would you ?
  • Paul S.
    Hello all, We've spent the day quietly sifting through regulations - there's a new post on the front page of the site to have a read through. http://www.bitterwallet.com/16574/16574 We'll also be posting a guide tomorrow, for those of you who haven't cancelled and want to take further action. P
  • John K.
    Wayhay!! £rd time lucky - now ended 2 Orange contracts - they gave up without a fight at 4.30pm... I asked if they were tortured and she said yes... Would love to know how many have jumped the fence now!!
  • David
    Orange refused to cancel my contract because I dno't use more than 3% of my minutes. Should I keep trying i've been really argumentative
  • John
    was just told that orage have withdrawn their changes and that they cannot cancel my contract any longer? any help??
  • joe
    just been told the same thing that they are not putting up the charges but i just got a text today telling me things are changing on my bill?
  • Joanne
    I'd called last week and was refused a cancellation on a couple of occasions. So I sent a letter to orange and a copy of the letter via email. I have received a reply to my email notifying me that the price rise will no longer go ahead. All very clear untill I received a text today from Orange: "Hi from Orange. Sorryyou're leaving us due to our price changes from Sept, We're no longer making these changes & would love you to stay. Call 150 and select option 1, then option 4 to talk to us." Whats going on? I called Orange and according to them this text was sent in error, and has been sent out to all that have requested to cancel, have I just been fobbed off? Has anyone else received the same text today?
  • Trade
    Orange Customer Services are being intransigent with us and reciting the mantra that as the roaming costs are an additional service it is not part of the contractual terms as it can be added and removed from the account at any time. I have it in writing from Ann Sloan Business Customer Service. Darlington. We bought Orange because one of the necessities was Roaming. Yesterday Ms Sloan said the reason for excess charges was due to roaming in Portugal. They notified us they were to increase the charges and we went to O2 where we have a roaming package that for £ 4.25 per month means there are no incoming calls. We do not want the Orange con.
  • Trade
    Since posting the above Orange now refuse to put anything in writing and Ms Sloan has left a number of messages stating that she would prefer to discuss it. What is there to discuss. It appears that Orange do not even have a signed contract,
  • Lee
    And this morning orange have sent a text saying that they've decided not to alter their T&Cs after all. Running scared?
  • Ewan
    Hi can this still be done as ive had no end of trouble with orange ove rthe last three months and snotty nosed little advisors have just passed me from piller to post
  • Luke
    Hello, Im paying over £47 per month for my Orange Contact (24 months) Really cant afford this anymore. Did try a few months ago to cancell but the orange C.serive person didnt allow me to:( I do have a few problems with getting reception now and again and not happy with Orange at all. I Hardly use my contract minutes etc. What would you recommend me to do to cancell it? Theres over 17 months left on my contract,. Whats the best thing to say to the orange customer service adviser to cancell.? Your help is really appreciated :D Luke
  • Luke
    Help is really appreciated
  • bram
    dear sir, i took out a contract for 18 months with orange july 2009. 7 days after i tried to cancel the contract, because i bought my laptop and mobile through Car Phone Whorehouse, i was told i could not cancel the contract. a over sea's job came up and i took it. i offered to pay for the lap top and Mobile phone cash, this was refused. i was locked into the contract. i have been out of the country now for over two years, i have not made one call on the orange account in all this time. to my dismay july 2011, a payment was taken out of my bank account. i rang orange to complain, only to to be told i have to cancel the contract or they will keep taking payments from me. i expected them to refund my 7 months over payments they had taken, but this does not seem to be the case. everytime i ring them i have to listen to songs, wait ages, give all my details then my ten pounds worth of calling credit expires, thats before they even connect me with disconnections. any advice you can offer me. thank you.

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