Cancelled your Orange contract without fee? Sure about that?
Remember when Orange decided to pump up their call charges? Remember how they weren't really sure what the hell they were doing, and allowed some customers to cancel without paying an early termination charge while telling others they couldn't? Remember how they changed their minds, but promised that any cancellations agreed in the meantime would be honoured? That doesn't appear to be quite the case.
Lewis has been in touch with Bitterwallet - he was one of the hundreds of readers that followed our advice and cancelled his contract without paying an early termination charge:
The conversation was painless; I explained I was entitled cancel free of charge and this was confirmed in the initial phone call, and then again a day later with by a different operator. I was told that I would need to wait 30 days as stated in the contract - I thought this was fair as the contract was only 7 months into its 18 month term.
Then I received this bill stating a Voluntary termination on 27th August with a cost of £281.68 - 30 days after I had phoned and cancelled free of charge:
I got straight on the phone; eventually the operator apologised, saying these types of bill were only meant to be sent to people who had tried to cancel their contract at a later date than I had. He also told me that he couldn't cancel the direct debit as the account was showing as disconnected on his records and it wouldn't allow him to change it. He then suggested that if I had the money in the bank that they could take it and then refund it back, to which I firmly stated not a chance. He then suggested that I just cancel my direct debit and everything would be fine.
I immediately cancelled the direct debit after the phone call, but I am not convinced that this will be the end of it.
Of course this is probably a one-off, an oversight by Orange - after all, they did promise to honour the cancellations they'd accepted. Nothing to worry about, we thought, administrative error. Until yesterday, when another email arrived from another reader, who found themselves in a suspiciously familiar predicament:
In August I was one of the customers who cancelled their Orange contracts. However I also stayed with them and took a new contract out with a new phone. I was told that cancelling the contract would be fine as "everyone was doing it", though I was told to wait til after the weekend when my new phone and contract arrived.
I did this, but then was told I wasn't able to cancel my contract at all, and advised to seek legal advice by a rather rude adviser. I contacted the Executive Office and was put me through to the disconnections department. The operator understood I was promised I could cancel, and agreed to cancel the contract out of goodwill with no cancellation charge - the only caveat being I had to wait 30 days for it to be cancelled.
I have received my bill today for the last month of the old contract, and my current contract. However, the £800 voluntary disconnection charge on my bill is not something I remember being told about when cancelling out of goodwill. Having contacted Orange, the supervisor in the billing dept was not willing to cancel it as it would "go against her".
Seems there are a few people receiving bills for voluntary disconnections they have no recollection of volunteering to. We're getting in touch with Orange to find out what's happening - in the meantime, let us know if something similar has happened to you.