Orange customer service is giving everyone the pip

As phone company takes payment for cancelled contract, we notice the growing number of complaints

I am on a gap year in China. As I was not taking my Orange phone with me I arranged to suspend the contract for six months – at no charge – with effect from January. This agreement was confirmed by Orange in writing.

I left in September, and paid the contract up to December as agreed. In January the suspension was due to take effect; instead I was dismayed to find that Orange had debited £97.89 from my bank account, sending me into an unauthorised overdraft.

After attempting unsuccessfully to phone Orange from China, I asked my father to investigate. He spoke to someone who admitted there had been an error, and said the money would be refunded. This did not happen. In March my father again contacted Orange, but this time they were abrupt and rude and refused to speak to him, as he was not the account holder.

I have tweeted Orange’s customer complaints team, with no response.

My father then went into our local Orange shop, where the staff shrugged their shoulders, and literally said it was nothing to do with them. He then tried writing to Orange, forwarding the original letter Orange had sent me and pointing out that they had broken their agreement. There was absolutely no response.

In April he again phoned Orange and was given a customer services email address. My email to them bounced straight back. Proposed callbacks have not happened and I am still overdrawn.

I have done everything I can to get my money back – money which even Orange agrees should not have been taken. I am now at my wit’s end. AL, Foshan, China

We are struck by the number of complaints we are getting about Orange. Whether it’s the merger with T-Mobile to form EE, or the result of something else, we’re unsure.

Once we became involved the press office swung into action, with a profuse apology and the promise to repay you – with £50 on top to cover your overdraft charges. Astonishingly, however, another month has passed since then, and you are still waiting for your money. Perhaps publishing your letter might finally get you your money back.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@guardian.co.uk or write to Bachelor & Brignall, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

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