Cancelled your Orange contract without fee? Sure about that?

17 September 2009

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:

Bitterwallet - the future's not so bright for Orange customers

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.

25 comments

  • The B.
    Haha, Orange are cunts, they used to be good when Hutchison owned them but it went horribly wrong when France Telecom took over, after 10 years of being with them I reluctantly bailed, they should merge well with T-Mobile, a pair of useless operators both stiffing their customers.
  • dimebars
    Can't say I have much sympathy for your 2nd reader - the ultimate act of stupidity is to cancel your contract because the terms are unfair, and then sign up for the new unfair contract!
  • Gary
    Same thing happened to me, however when i called up they said sorry and cancelled the invoice.
  • Andy B.
    To the user that cancelled their direct debit (1st example) they WILL still try to take the money and they WILL send you a letter advising that they couldn't and to invite you to make an alternative method of payment. This WILL mark a "1" on your experian credit report to show that you late paid on one of your bills and you WON'T be able to phone Orange to have this removed. You will have to write to their credit department, (yes you have to write a letter to correct a mistake that they made, as I found to my cost when they messed up a direct debit change of mine recently)
  • Craig B.
    Bit different to what I got... I got a cheque for £11 as they owed me once I'd cancelled early.
  • Lewis
    Hi Andy brown I am said person, I have already cancelled the direct debit not sure if I can un cancel it now, really don't want this messing up my credit rating did you manage to get it all resolved in the end? Not really sure what I should do now.
  • Someone y.
    Well mine was cancelled, and I got a final bill for the correct amount. Guess this will just happen to some and not to others. If it's just a phone call to resolve it, who really gives one??
  • deemy
    I successfully cancelled my contract, with no voluntary termination charge on my last bill. Although the cnuts did charge me for using my PUK code before 30days notice! Was charged around £30. I did email them a couple of times to no avail, I was not told this over the phone. I have since signed up to a new Orange contract, ported my number out and back in and is under the same account, so couldnt be bothered with the hassle as overall am better off.
  • Mark (.
    To be fair, o2 did exactly the same trick when I cancelled a contract under the 14 day thingy... one call sorted it though. Minor inconvenience, but nowt major.
  • Me
    I used Orange once. Never again. Customer service was none existent, half the time I had no coverage as the local mast was always being repaired. Complete shite. Avoid at all costs.
  • J.H.Christ
    Glad I have an iPhone.
  • Mike
    I too got the Voluntary termination bill. Mine was for £220, phoned up straight away, they appologised and credited it off leaving my in credit by a few pounds which will apparently be refunded into my account as the direct debt is still set up. He told me once its paid to just cancel the direct debt as they cant as disconnect. So if i cancel it will it affect my credit score?
  • lewis
    Mike this is what they said to me. They said they couldn't cancel the direct debit as my account was cancelled on their system and that I should cancel it at the bank. They too told me that this charge would not be going ahead and that they actually owed me £5.00 which would be sent by cheque. After reading the comment from Andy Brown I have reinstated my direct debit which should be ready for tomorrow morning when they try and take the money. I rang them again today and they confirmed that it definitely wouldn't be taken from my account but I must cancel it at the bank just in case. I really don't want to have my credit rating messed up because of orange so I am keeping my direct debit and will have to go through the process of trying to claim the money back if they do try to take it tomorrow. I'll be sure to keep you updated.
  • deemy
    Wanted to know if anyone else was charged for using their pac code before the 30 days was up?
  • Kantoorpand h.
    In my opinion this company is listening to you when you have a problem. They are friendly and wants to help me. In the Netherlands Orange will be gone in 2 or 3 months unfortunately. It's gonna be T-mobile, a bigger company in Holland and also less interested in the customers..
  • JimBob
    Well for me I received a £3.21 cheque in the post this week from Orange which was a pleasant surprise! I took out a new contract with Orange after cancelling just so I could get a new mobile phone and here I am back to my original number. For those who want to know the trick for keeping your number on a new contract with existing supplier..... Get PAC from existing supplier i.e. Orange Port it to another supplier PAYG, in my case O2 Wait thirty days.... Request a PAC from O2 Port it back to Orange. Ok there is a 30 odd day period with two mobile phones but you keep our original number....
  • Recoil24
    Sounds like it will all sort itself out for you guys. Myself and my g.f deployed a different tactic; Get a stupidly cheap contract deal instead of leaving. When this first broke I was only into my contract by a month with a new phone that I'm happy with and we managed to get an already retention reduced tarrif down by another tenner to about £15 for Unlimited Texts / 600mins and a shiny phone. It's truly amazing the price I now pay and I'll be happy to stick at it for a gd few years to come! I'm sure when retrentions look at my contract in 17 months time they'll wonder how I'm getting it so cheap. I advise you guys do the same with any network if this scenario comes up again (supposing your happy with Orange - which I am because my phone does its job) Good luck and thanks to bitter wallet I'm saving myself nearly £20 a month :) Thank you!
  • Jamie
    My mother managed to cancel her contract with orange 4 months into an 18month contract with a Samsung Tocco Ultra. She phoned up saying she had lost her job, it came as a shock etc, that she had been loyal for the past year and 4 months, they asked to reduce her contract from 45 to 35, then from 45 to 15, and then she got it down to £7 a month. They blocked her sim making and sending calls, but she just went out and bought a PAYG sim. Not the same, but still £7 a month for a Tocco Ultra? Sounds a deal to me.
  • emily
    I phoned to cancel my contract when this all happened. They are now denying that i phoned them to cancel they are saying i phoned to see how long was left on my contract. I dont know where i stand with this. Can any one help? I have been with orange for years and all was great till my last upgrade. They have over charged me, than told me to canel my direct debit so did, then they charged me for canelling it even though they told me too!! The despute went on for months as they kept mucking up my bill i have two phones out with them. It worked out that they reckoned that in 4 months i used over a £1000 when im on a dophin plan that is unlimited texts and 600 calls which were not used. they reckoned i spent it on the internet data they couldn't tell me what internet data, i still think that is bull shit but after going round in circles i paid up what i apparently owed, since then all has been ok but just cant wait to get away from orange.. just wondered if anyone else had the same sort of thing happen to them.
  • Liam
    I cancelled my contract with Orange on the 1st August due to the increase in charges, got my letter through with confirmation that the contract would be terminated on the 1st September. However, I got £360 voluntary cancellation fee, but only found out due to my bank statement, didn't actually get any notification from Orange. I phoned them up and was given the following excuses: 1. Cancelling early. Stated cancelled due to the increase in charges. 2. Told it was because they haven't introduced these charges. Stated Orange had said all cancellations would stand. 3. Then told it was because there were no notes on the system saying I cancelled due to the charge increases and would have to wait until this was confirmed by the operator who took the original call. Then I would be contacted once that operator had been spoken to. As yet, a week later, received no further communication from Orange. Trading Standards have said the best course of action is to put everything in writing and also request a copy of the original conversation when I cancelled the contract. Anyone else been given any similar reasons from Orange?
  • L.H
    Liam, that happened to me. i have the same cancellation date as you do! got a letter from orange saying i owed £176! rang them up immediately and they said that i was told about the cancellation fee! i told them that if i knew about it why would i cancel in the first place when i cant afford to pay that amount of money! i even told them to listen to the phones calls i had when i cancelled both my contracts, yet still they wouldnt give in then i started getting angry with them... so it went on for 15 minutes... i told them i refuse to pay the fee but i will honour paying paying what i owe them. after 15 minutes they said they will get someone to call me back within 2 days! I dont understand how they think they can just get away with it...
  • Liam
    Received a letter from Orange today and they are refunding all the charges.
  • robert
    i have a contract with orange started in march 09 i tried to cancel in jan as a took a contract with 02 for a iphone they are mint but orange would not let me cancel they wanted £329.81 but stated that i could be reconected n pay less. i said what is the point if im not using a network that has no signal anywhere i go they have now tooken me to collections with it theve banged on a £59 charge for the honour why? i think if you dont want a contract anymore you should be able pay a cancelation fee of £30 n thats it!!!!!!!!!!! n send phone back for spares. fucking wank orange are t-mobile just said ok wait 30 days n my contract was ended with nooooo charge so glad im with 02 there ace.
  • Andrew
    SIgned up into a new contract with orange back in June this year. Moved from O2 (Stupidly) because they had no iphone 4's left on the launch. Orange Experience. I had signed up on the top package with 1400 minutes 500 texts unlimited Internet. Because of the terrible signal (including the past month with the integration of T-Mobile) my usage stands at, baring in mind this phone is used for my job, Call time averaging:45-55 mins a month, Texts: 100. Data Usage 10 meg!. Its so bad nobody can call me, nobody can reach me.. i plan my day out via wifi zones so i can do internet work.. i even use a pay phone to call clients. Totally the worst provider i have ever been with. After a the first month or two of this i called up straight away.. i went through there entire problem solving procedure.. blaming the phone rather then their network.. they sent me to apple in which the guy told me there is nothing wrong with the phone but he gave me a brand new one anyways, i was also sent to my local orange store to test my sim card and try a new one. After all this i gave it another month or two to throughly road test it. Results were exactly the same. So i called last night, keeping my cool, politely telling them i am not paying 50 a month to go use pay phones. So they finally admitted defeat that i am not getting an appropriate service. And they have sent an application for me to be disconnected and released from my contract early (in which i could be denied by the team manager, but my grounds where strong ha!). But if i did get d/c then i would have to return the phone, i said no problem. BUT i want the £209 i paid extra for the phone in store... and the guy had the gaul to tell me 'well i am not sure if you can get that refunded for that, its not in our policy' (if it comes down to that then its going back smashed to pieces). So now i sit waiting for a call, with bad signal so they might not reach me, while they consider my application request. Lets Just say, NEVER EVER will i go with orange again.
  • K
    I have something worse than the case just happened, and I already left the U.K, so really it's pain on my ass now. I have been a good customer since the first day I had the U.K mobile number. According to personal issue that I must leave the U.K earlier but already signed 18m contracts, so I have called the Orange to terminate my contract, and said I will pay my final bill plus the fee of rest of contract. Then I called several C/P and they all gave me different amounts, truly unbelievable. In the end, one of C/P in billing department finally to sort out how much I have to pay and I sorted it out in store, then I also sent out the letter afterwards. Then I thought everything is over and then flown to my country. However, it is the beginning of my nightmare. My landlord forwarded a picture of letter said I got £20 debt from Orange which from debt company. I was truly shocked, then I phoned up Orange and debt company oversea, then after few C/P who had patent to listen to me and told me it was wrong, and cancelled it. He also said he will send out the letter to confirm it for me. Well, he definitely cancelled it as I phoned up debt company to confirmed it afterwards. Then I didn't received the letter after one month, so I phoned up, then I suddenly got the C/P from billing department to say I have £58 debt in last June. What a liar! Because if I owed them the bill, would they continued my service for six years afterwards! Then I phoned debt company, then he said the Orange said you owed them £58 on 2 of Apr 2010, I told debt company it's impossible as I got this phone on 4 of Apr, how come I have £58 bill? Then I phoned up Orange, and the lady said the bill on June haven't been cleared, so I sent out international faxes for my bank statement of June. Then until now, still not hear from them, and I really don't know what to do and feel hopeless as I already moved back to my country. I feel like to kill myself as it is so annoyed and I also don't know why am I being a nice person then I got this shit punishment? As some people I know that they just left without paying anything and they are happy and no any shit happened!! SIgh! What an orange!!! I hope if there's someone who knows how to deal with it, please do let me know. Thank you very very much!! A hopeless girl.....

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