Orange could not accept a Sim-ple fact

When my smartphone connections failed, they blamed everything except the obvious – Sim card malfunction

I have a two-year monthly contract with Orange for an HTC Smartphone. In June I began having problems connecting to the network, not just in Bristol where I live, but everywhere.

I could not make calls, send texts or access the internet. I would occasionally get service for a minute or two, then nothing.

Orange suggested I try various things, none of which worked. From its diagnostics it said it could not be a Sim card problem. Customer service was poor and nobody seemed to want to get to the root of the problem.

It suggested there was a problem with the phone and asked me to contact HTC, which I did. HTC was surprised. We went through some basic procedures but with no improvement. HTC thought it was an Orange problem, and Orange thought it was an HTC problem.

Exasperated as the weeks went by with repeated calls for help yet with no solutions, I suggested that it could be a Sim card problem after all.

Very reluctantly, Orange finally agreed to send me a new one – and as soon as I put this in I was connected. I had never touched the Sim and have no idea why it would malfunction.

Orange simply refused to take any responsibility, even though I had been without use of my phone for more than a month, losing me business, money and causing a great deal of frustration. MF, Bristol

Orange denies any liability for your problems. It says that when you first contacted them they asked you to try putting the Sim into another phone and when you did, it worked, leading them to conclude that this was not a Sim issue. It then suggested you contact HTC.

Orange says that it would not replace the handset because it was out of warranty and you did not have Orange Care, its insurance product. Mobile phone insurance usually turns out to be an expensive waste of money, so we can appreciate your decision not to opt for it.

Orange acknowledges it did eventually agree to send you a new Sim but cannot answer why your phone then started working. It suggested you must have got a new handset – you say you hadn’t.

We went back to Orange to suggest its customer service could have been better, and that it could have just sent you a new Sim once you told it HTC had tested the phone and found no problem. This would have, at least, demonstrated Orange’s efforts to resolve the situation by ruling out a Sim issue once and for all.

It says, however, that it will not send a Sim unless a customer specifically requests one and continues to maintain that it was not a Sim issue. Eventually, it agreed to credit your account with £40 as you are a “valued customer”.

It is difficult for us to definitely conclude what the issue was with the phone but we do understand your frustrations with Orange. The volume of complaints about Orange in our inbox relative to other network providers, suggests the company has more issues than the others.

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