Orange cancel call charge increases - official statement

12 August 2009

As promised, here is the statement from Orange concerning their decision not to proceed with planned changes to call charges. Orange has also confirmed on MSE that customers that have requested their PAC code "will still get it", meaning if you had already confirmed your cancellation and requested to transfer your number to another provider, the cancellation still stands:

"Orange recently decided to make changes to contract customers' call charges for out-of-bundle minimum call rate, international calls from the UK and pay-as-you consume data browsing.

However in listening to our customers it became clear that some of them found the messages sent to announce these changes confusing about who would be affected and how. This is obviously not our intention and therefore we have decided not to go ahead with the proposed changes.

It is normal practice for businesses to make pricing changes, and whilst we clearly cannot rule out any future changes we know that transparency and consistency in our policies is extremely important to our customers. Orange apologises to those customers who found the messages unclear and any subsequent misunderstanding this has caused. We will be reviewing all policies and procedures for price changes to make sure that they are clearer in future.

Orange always strives to deliver the best communications and we hope that these steps will overcome any confusion and frustration that our customers felt."

TOPICS:   Mobile   How To Guides

56 comments

  • Robert
    Why isn't their press release mentioned on their own website?!
  • Mark H.
    Ah dear god do a night shift wake up to this i had my whole day planned to ring ofcom write emails/letters Well, good on ever one who tried, we showed them we wont be pushed around.
  • Josh
    Ohhh mannn! So this means i cant cancel now! f**k's sake!!!
  • AndyB
    I can't wait for my contract to be up I have been with Orange for 2 years and after this and the way I was treated when I wanted to cancel I will find it very hard to come back as a customer when my 18 month contract is up
  • Mark B.
    I am going to love it when march comes round and i can tell them where they can stick their contract renewal! Has anyone else noted what they have said in their release above - i quote:- "It is normal practice for businesses to make pricing changes, and whilst we clearly cannot rule out any future changes we know that transparency and consistency in our policies is extremely important to our customers" My take on this is that they have no plan to permanently cancel this price increase. What they will be doing now is working out how they can get the price increase done without allowing people to cancel the contract. As they have said to the people who have canceled - they were only bringing their prices in line with other operators - so there is no way they will continue to miss out on the possible revenue that they would get with increased prices.
  • Steve
    Can I still challenge the increase based on the previous communication.?
  • Pete
    Thats good news for me, my cancellation stands =p
  • chocky2002
    "Orange always strives to deliver the best communications" maybe they should let their customer service advisors aware of this - overall their attitude is appalling in how they speak to customers.
  • Pingu
    The representative on Moneysaving expert has said "Anyone who has requested their PAC Code will get it" I've requested this by email to both the customer service desk and also the Chairmans office, I presume they are going to now attempt to weasel out of the above.
  • Pingu
    As an addition to the above. I am sure a vast majority of us have requested it over the phone to be told no, does this mean we are entitled to cancel or not?
  • scooby d.
    Well majority of the above comments prove the reasons behind consumers wanting to disconnect was not the price increase but a greedy selfish scheming way to make a few bob by flogging a phone they have been given in good will. If anyone is sneaky and trying to get extra money out of a confused situation its the consumers and not orange who as already stated are only bringing their prices inline with every other network. And as for the attitude of staff although I agree their is no excuse, the way staff have been talked to on majority of calls being talked down to, insulted and people being down right rude is reason enough to justify people being a little spikey. And remember people had the changes of t & c's not been abused then the change wud probs not have pulled so those who didn't get chance to cancel blame the possible thousands who abused the system.
  • Mark F.
    @Pingu Afraid not. Orange are no longer breaching their T&C's so there is not right to cancel. I'm gutted....i had two contracts .... just renewed my vodafone one as i thought i'd be able to cancel orange eventually...stuck with it for another 9 months...need phone up and reduce my tariff
  • OrangeCalling
    I am absolutely delighted that Orange have caved in. I spent over 5 hours last night on the phone to them, until I was disconnected by them at about 10:30pm, still arguing my point. I was fully prepared to spend another 5 hours on the phone to them tonight, and tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that, ad nauseum... Lesson here is: Stand up for your rights people. A contract is there to protect the rights and obligations of all parties that agree to it. If one party decides to change the terms to the detriment of the other and to its own advantage, and the disadvantaged party does not agree to the new terms and conditions or give consent, the contract is null and void and therefore not legally valid. Therefore they must either go back to the original contract - the one which was agreed to, or disconnect you, which is what i repeatedly told them, over and over, and refused to go away until they did either. Along the way, they attempted to 'bribe' me with extra minutes or a reduction in my monthly contract fee but they would not disconnect me; I refused all offers; It was a point of principle. Either they disconnect me, or they go back to the contract I signed and agreed to. If Orange had gotten away with this they would have set a dangerous precedent: In future, they could make even more radical changes to contracts and gotten way with it, citing previous changes to your contract. Be ever vigilant, read and understand your contract carefully and don't let them get away with it. Be polite, be firm, but be absolutely, totally stubborn and obstinate and do not give in...don't let them grind you down - ever! Carl T.
  • Sam
    scooby doo, I take it you work for Orange, as you too talk acomplete load of shite!!!!
  • RKDE
    I have sent letters and will keep pushing, the way I was treated on the phone, if I can't get out I will buy it out and I am never going back, I left them 5 years ago for poor service and was informed that they had got better, they have not! Possibly the worst customer service team I have ever encountered with such lines as "you have a problem with that? take it up with ofcom" What are the changes "listen I will tell you this I am not letting you cancel" (I only asked what the changes where) That letter in my view is not official as I did not receive a copy, although I have recieved a text from orange today which states "hi from orange. Please read your bill this month to learn about some changes we're making to the bills you receive by post. thank you" (I wonder what the changes are?)
  • Sam
    RKDE I think that's just reffering to the fact they are now charging you £1.50 for your paper bill!!! or you can opt out and just get your bills on line
  • RKDE
    While I think about it I have not had a text to tell me that they have cancelled the changes so in my eyes they still are changing and I would not put it past orange to wait till 30 days and the cost have changed because that letter was not official or released to the public
  • RKDE
    It probably is the bill but I don't want to pay £1.50 and I will dispute them costs too
  • scrappy d.
    I dont agree Sam. Why did most people want to cancel? Were they really going to be massively out of pocket or did they just want a new phone? (I genuinely believe some people will be out of pocket.... but most of us? comon!) Thats not to say its the wrong thing to do, when big companies want to makea few bob (as Im sure orange did here, it doesnt really cost 15p to connect a call does it?) they will try similar things. We just wanted to do exactly the same thing. Doesnt excuse generally bad customer service including rudeness and being outright lied to by call centre staff. As for them tring to find a way to increase the prices without breaking their TnCs.... fair play to them, they are of course entitled to increase them in line with the Retailers price index jobby.... we signed the contract telling them they could.... BUT it still stands that even doing it bit by bit.... they cant increase it a massive amount in a single 12 month period so they will have to REALLY stagger their increases. If orange can prove that 'look it costs us 15p to connect a call to 08xx number or outside of your minutes' with facts and figures I may feel a pang of guilt. but not a moment before.
  • jah
    Lol @ Scooby Doo. Given a phone in good will? No, I don't think thats really correct is it. "Just bringing prices inline with every other network..". Well, firstly I don't think thats true, but even if it was, you can't say to customers 'oh look, we're cheaper than every other network' then when they sign up say 'actually we're just going to up our prices now so we're no longer cheaper!'. And how is a customer cancelling their contract 'abusing the change?'. They are fully within their rights to - as Ofcom, Orange and every other network are aware. Orange played a calculated risk game, hoping that the increase in income would surpass the losses from a few customers cancelling. Unfortunately for Orange customers these days are savvy, sometimes more savvy than the companies, and the risk didn't pay off. Its a consumer win all round (except perhaps for Orange shareholders like yourself!)
  • Paul S.
    Folks, you've won. Orange are not going to make changes to an agreed contract without your permission. Hooray. Plenty of readers who weren't affected took advantage of the situation to cancel their contract early and keep their handset - that was entirely their right to, because that's how contracts work. They had the same contract and the same rights (in our opinion, at least) as somebody who would be paying more under the new terms. Orange were yet to bring about the changes and are no longer going to, so it's a little bizarre to see people saying that because their cancellation was refused yesterday or last week, they still have the right to cancel now. No terms of contract for anyone have been breached - Orange are only honouring those cancellations they've agreed to because both sides agreed to terminate. You don't retrospectively have a right to cancel citing a breach of contract that has never occurred. That's not to say this has been handled shockingly by Orange, or that some readers have been treated miserably by some customer service reps. It doesn't matter if it was a hundred or a few members of staff at fault, the horror stories and blatant lying by operators reported amongst the comments probably warrant further investigation by Ofcom. If you were treated badly and are still in contract, take it to Ofcom and don't re-sign.
  • Cancel F.
    [...] Latest news: Orange are no longer proceeding with changes to call charges and cancellation is off. Source. __________________ I drink, therefore I [...]
  • RKDE
    Just had an email from orange, they have not made the call changes and are refusing my cancellation - time to haggle for a buy out
  • Zombi
    Balls
  • gravy
    Now I don't like to say I told you so but..... Seems like BW's reader made them change their minds :)
  • Lisa B.
    Hi guys - I'm a journalist writing for The Observer and the Guardian website. I spoke to Orange about this story on Monday after being contacted by a reader (perhaps one of you) and eventually after a couple of days of repeated calls by me they agreed to cancel the call charges. When i presented the story to them on Monday I sent them the link to Paul's previous stories on this on Bitterwallet so I'm glad they got the statement straight to him. I'm writing it up for the Guardian site now and I've just checked with Paul if it's Ok to ask you to send me any of your comments for my piece (which will also appear in The Observer on Sunday). Please do post here marked for my attention or email me ([email protected]). Real names would be good! Glad to be writing some good news for once....Lisa
  • mister p.
    ^^^ who is this woman?? "After a couple of days of repeated calls by me they agreed to cancel the call charges." Nothing to do with thousands of pissed off punters complaining to the exec office or Ofcom then? Or BW chasing them since JULY? The reps have been reading this site and customer complaints for weeks, and she takes credit for solving this?? She only got in touch for the first time on MONDAY and sorted everything! Well done you! :D
  • Alan S.
    Exactly! Another member of the old-guard print media who is completely oblivious to the fact that there's a new way of doing things and getting things done. Bugger off grandma! Here's a quote for you - 'Fuck me, is the Observer still going?' And yes, Alan Spamhands IS my real name.
  • Lisa B.
    @ mister pickles. Sorry - didn't mean to sound like I was taking the glory. As I said above, it was because I sent them the Bitterwallet website links to back up what readers who contacted me said. So it would have been your complaints that did - possibly/hopefully backed up with my threat of publicity in a national newspaper. I am just after feedback, that is all.... Cheers, Lisa
  • Adam B.
    Hi Lisa, I genuinely use 0870 numbers and data and have gone over my contract (sometimes by £15) so when i found I'd be charged more via the stagged text I used the opportunity to break the contract and phoned through the 150 number to the cancellations department. Got a excellent guy on the phone who explained what the charges were and ran through the usual upgrade early extra minutes etc, and after he finished his bit i said "Sorry, but I'm afraid I'll have to cancel". He said fine and i requested to be the next bill my last, All processed and done, the total time spent on the phone including waiting, 4 minutes. Nothing remarkable about the call, except that there are good customer representatives within Orange. I phoned once at the start of this "Orange Fiasco" and have been delighted with my service, but not with my rates. Thanks, Adam
  • Lisa B.
    That's great Adam, thanks for letting me know. Glad you had a happier experience than some! Cheers, Lisa
  • Sam
    lol, Alan that was class!!
  • Lisa B.
    @Alan Spamhands. Thanks! Sorry to disappoint, but we're still hanging on for now. I will get back to my rocking chair...
  • Andy D.
    Lisa's story is up now - http://is.gd/2dGSl
  • H D.
    Gosh you guys need to be more appreciative, the fact that Orange's antics are to be published on a national newspaper is a GOOD thing. Hopefully this will give Orange the bad PR they deserve, and will make people think twice about taking a contract out with them. I have seen some good things from Orange admittedly, but the bad points overwhelm the good ones, as this fiasco with the call charges has shown us. Thanks Lisa for making our (us consumers) case that bit more stronger, and we can only hope that other companies will think twice before they try to inflict any damage on us consumers. Heres the article http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/aug/12/orange-call-charges-u-turn
  • Sam
    woohoo, I've been quoted in the Guardian!!!! does that make me famous and do I get any dosh!!! hahaha
  • Possible 3.
    [...] do this anymore guys Orange have called off the price changes for september Orange cancel call charge increases - official statement | BitterWallet __________________ *#0000# ,To Find Out Your Firmware Version! *#06# ,To Find out Your IMEI [...]
  • SpamJavelin
    One word, "Impressed". Well done everyone. I'm now paying £8.50 a month with Virgin with £52 Quidco plus better reception. An Orange customer for 7 years too. CONSUMER POWER!
  • gadgetman
    Quel suprise. They are also, I hear, changing their terms so you cannot end a contract early and take out another one within 6 months with them without paying the termination fees on the original contract. Which every other network has done for years. You cant end a contract claiming you dont agree with the changes, then take out a contract that locks you into said contract terms Orange used to be a great brand. Until October last year I had used them ever since my first handset (the first Nokia mobile on Orange!!) for my personal phones, as had SWMBO. We both jumped ship to Tmobile and watched our bills drop! But the packages are crap compared to others, and customer service is pants. France Telecom have let the company go down the pan. Both Mobile and Broadband arms are loosing customers rapidly to other networks as a result (see the register and BBC articles). This farce simply gave more people the opportunity to leave. Wonder how many customers they lost??? They offer unlimited this and that, but how much of it do you actually use? Their data offerings are the worst in the business, and the highest of all the networks now. For what I paid on Dolphin 35 (bill was around £50/month), I get upto 900 minutes and 900 texts (or any mix of) PLUS unlimited data for £30/month. No contest in my case.
  • sher
    i have read all you complaining about orange. why is that coz you didnt get in touch in time to cancel. orange must of done something good, for you to join them in the first place. And you are all quick to slag the company off, but i think you need to think of what the company does that is good. Like orange rockcorp takes kids off the streets and rewards them for their hard work. orange wednesdays, helps charities. ya just all a bunch of moaners.
  • Jase
    Well done to all your bitter consumers keeping the pressure on this cooker...see what happens when we stand up and unite? Bitterwallet...next stop, gym subscriptions (Fitness First). They aren't changing anything, and they aren't necessarily doing anything wrong...but I feel we could squeeze some money from the current rate.
  • John
    @sher Personally, I joined Orange earlier this year due to them being the only provider that offered the phone that I wanted. I'd never been a customer of theirs before, and had read both good and bad press. Now that I have been a customer for over 6 months, I feel experienced enough to state, categorically, that Orange is the worst provider I have been with. I get weak signals, at best, with very little HSDPA coverage in the places that I most frequently want them (at work, at friends, in town, and sometimes at home). Their customer service department is about 20% decent, helpful people, and 80% people who don't think anything about using words such as "shit", "fuck" and "bollocks" when talking to their customers (IF they don't just hang up on you). I cancelled my contract last week, due to the previously announced price change, and will NEVER go back to them. As for the comments "orange rockcorp takes kids off the streets and rewards them for their hard work. orange wednesdays, helps charities". Maybe this orange should stick to those things then, and not attempting to provide a telecoms service, because they're terrible at that. Finally, your last comment "ya just all a bunch of moaners" applies to you also. Your whole post was nothing but a moan. Thanks for your comments.
  • John
    @Jase Are you trying to "exercise" your rights as a consumer? lol
  • Simbo
    Bring back Hans Snook!! I've been with Orange since the beginning - they were the pioneers of the mobile industry, very innovative & very forward thinking. Anyone remember the listman Orange mailing list - still running but extremely silent recently? Then the Locust SMS community (Jon Anderson, you rocked!) - Orange never officially acknowledged it until they thought they could steal the ideas & make money out if it... (OrangeImagineering - my ****) they killed it! Everyphone on 330 - brilliant service - they killed it! Then Wildfire.. wow! What a geek toy that was "Wildfire?" "Here I am" - "What does a cow say?" ;) Haha!! Yup, they killed that one too! Orange were years ahead of their time during the 90's!! Then Hans Snook left, Hutchison sold out to France Telecom who were busy screwing up Freeserve at the time (Wanadoo?) then did the same with the mobile service. Anyway... got a nice shiny N95 8GB out of 'em a few months ago on an 18month contract, paying £30/month - did quite often ring 08 numbers so would've seen an increase in my bills so once I'd read the hype, I too joined the droves & requested a PAC. Now with O2 on a rolling 30-day contract. More mins, unlimited data at £20/month!! Byee O - you've lost a loyal, evangelistic customer who's brought £££'s your way!!! Simbo!!
  • Codify
    LOL at the guardian taking the credit. Mobile phone giant Orange has reversed its decision to put the price of its calls up next month after the Guardian contacted it suggesting it was breaching its terms and conditions by not allowing customers to leave. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/aug/12/orange-call-charges-u-turn
  • Me
    Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience, I rang up on the 29th of July and was told I could cancel (and just give 30 days notice) and received a letter in the post saying my contract is terminated on the 26th August. Will this still go ahead? Apparently people with PAC codes can still cancel but this isn’t a code. I have already taken out a new orange contract but thats already passed iits 14 days cool off period so i cant even cancel that if the original one meets problems. Any suggestions would be appreciated…
  • gadgetman
    @Simbo Nice to see another person that's been there since the beginning. Yup Hans leaving clearly showed to customers.
  • Grunthos
    Cancelled my contract on the 28th - seemed to be no problem. Guy said there was 30 days on it and I got my PAC a couple of days later. However, I now have my final bill for over £200 - a porting out fee apparently. I will be ringing them today but wondered if anyone else has had one of these?
  • Grunthos
    OK - panic over - just talked to a very helpful CSR in billing who went off and talked to her supervisor about my bill and got it wiped. Not sure why it was sent in the first place but am somewhat relieved as I’m expecting delivery of my new Nokia 5800 from Virgin this morning! So, if you get a final bill that tries to charge you for porting, ring up billing and ask them to look into it - tell them you cancelled because of the t&c changes and weren’t expeting to pay for the rest of the contract. Phew!
  • Hellcat
    So.. it's the Guardians fault that I can't cancel my contract?! ;-) I never did get the T&C change text message despite being 14 months through an 18 month contract. I did however get a text this morning: Hi from Orange. Best Plan is out free service that reviews your mobile usage every 6 months to make sure youre getting the best value. We've just completed your review and you could save money by switching to your recommended Orange talk plan. Visit Orange.co.uk/pb for details. Terms apply. So what are these terms? Will this mean I'll be on the new T&C with increased charges if I change to their reccomended plan? I've been an Orange customer since 1998, but doubt I'll still be with them after some costly customer services blunders including them telling me I'd be on a fixed price internet deal while on holiday only to return to an £80 internet bill. Cheers Orange.
  • John
    @Grunthos Sounds like the exact same stunt they were trying by telling people that they couldn't cancel - trying their luck. You can guarantee that a small number of people would just pay the porting fee, if everyone was billed for it. The old business partnership of Bodgitt and Scarper comes to mind.
  • Rachel N.
    I had called to cancel my contract on Saturday morning and request a PAC. Orange told me that I shuld be recieving it withing 2 days. Thursday morning I called again to confirm as i still didn't recieve anything from them. Orange said it's been in the post and they also confirm the address with me. This morning I called again as I was getting myself a sim only with Vodafone and i needed a PAC code at that time. JAMES ext 27185 from Orange answered and he told me that there's nothing on the system saying that I have requested the PAC nor cancelling my contract. I explained that Orange confirmed with me twice that my contract has been cancelled and the PAC was on its way in the post. I can't wait until my contract with Orange ends. Apart from their bad attitude and rude oparators, the reception is not the best either. JAMES said sarcasticly ' Our terms and conditions have been changed back to the same one now. You can still cancel and get the PAC if you want to but you have to pay £260. Do you want to pay? I will cancel it for you right now if you want to pay? I felt like being slapped in the face!!!!!!! I argued with him for a good 10 minutes. I just couldn't believe I was treated like that. He was rude, and has got a real bad attitude. I wouldn't have had any problem to carry on using if the charges have changed to the same terms and conditions but the way JAMES responded was unacceptable. If this is an Orange tactic to keep their customers, i think it is very pathetic. If Orange can not be honest with their customers then VODAFONE, O2, T-MOBILE, VIRIN and THREE are pretty much likely to have less competitor. I guess he was lying about his name and the extension no. too!!
  • Anonamouse
    Guys, I work for Orange (Hence the name) I can tell you that 1200 of you per day were cancelling, some of you with 18 month contracts totalling £750+ contracts. This site and the comments on it were mailed about the place like a viral ad and I have no doubt that they were seen by the cheeses that "run " the place. As an employee I do like to think that we are a good company, but we are only as good as our coverage and prices. This company is like a tree full of monkeys, look up and see assholes. Love and kisses, An orange employee. /Good work.
  • scooby d.
    responce to rachael nl, my advice would be to call back and request them to trace the call, what u have to understnd is that thanks to numerous forums so many customers are calling and 'claimin' they call to disocnnect but only following prompts via forums, majority of these cmers are still using this as a get out of jail free card and did not initially call. Also to all of those people slating orange for their rise in minimum call charges i suggest u read the recent publishings in a like for like rise from 5 to 15 p in minimum call charges and further hikes in 08 calls from voda who are REFuSING point black to cancel cmers contract although they admit t&c's are being breeched.... also virgin of a similar natre...now who were the fairest of them all
  • scooby d.
    ok spelling attrocious, its late
  • Cancel F.
    [...] Cancel your Orange contract! From Bitterwallet: [...]

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