Why I loathe mobile phone providers (particularly Orange)
I say ‘come to loathe’. What I really mean is my vitriolic hatred for their crafty, subversive ways has returned with a vengeance.
I know millions of others out there feel the same. Not just about mobile providers, but all sorts of companies that don’t put customers first.
TalkTalk was the very worst of British firms in 2010, you told us. So we gave them our Wooden Spoon Award for their pathetic attempt (euphemism alert) at providing good service.
My particular issue is with Orange. My two-year-old contract finally comes to an end today. Instead of renewing it, I want to switch to Pay As You Go. So earlier this week – a full three days before my contract officially expired - I phoned Orange and told them.
All went fine. They’re going to send out a new SIM card, I’ll switch it over with the old one, and hey presto, Pay As You Go.
Great, I said. So when I receive this new SIM later in the week, all I need to do is…
‘Later in the week?’ the kindly-spoken geordie Orange rep interrupted me. ‘Sorry sir, I don’t think you’ll get it that fast. You’re looking at 20 days plus.’
Now I’m sure you’re as puzzled as I was. Sure, we all know Royal (snail)Mail is slow, but 20 days is plain ridiculous. That's on a par with the weather-infected pre-Christmas delivery chaos. What’s the hold up, I wanted to know? What did Mr Orange suppose I used for a phone in the meantime?
‘Oh you’ll still be able to use your old mobile. You see, you have to give 30 days notice if you want to cancel your contract, so it’ll keep running.’
‘But I don’t
want to cancel. I want to switch to Pay As You Go.’
‘You still have to give 30 days notice, sir. It’s in the terms and conditions.’
‘But hang on. If I was going to upgrade to a new contract, you’d do it immediately. What’s the difference? I’m upgrading my phone aren’t I?’
‘Well in our eyes you’re downgrading to Pay As You Go. You’ll have to give 30 days notice to do that.’
Right. Deep breath. I could go on recounting the tale – my heated debate (euphemism alert) with Orange dragged on. But readers with little more than a coffee break to flicker over this blog need not fear, it was much of the same so I'll spare you the details.
What transpires is this: I will have to pay another month’s worth of contract AFTER my official contract end-date just to transfer to Pay As You Go with the SAME mobile provider. Unbelievable.
As with most things, to understand this lamentable mess, I must put it into simple layman’s terms: Mr. Orange is willing to screw me over to boost profits. It’s all take, take, take. Of course it’s possible to send out the PAYG card right now. If it was a brand spanking new contract, it’d be zipping along with the next available Special Delivery DHS 24-hour service. But by holding onto it, helpless Mr. Hyde must pay through his nose for a service he no longer needs, having already done his time locked into a fixed-term contract.
It beggars belief that some businesses like Orange still haven’t cottoned onto to the secret of longevity: putting the customer first. Building products and services around them is the key to lasting success, not in spite of them. This is yet another an odious example of the latter.