Orange - my 12 month contract that they say is 24 month

30 Aug 2006
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United Kingdom
In April 2005 I took out a mobile phone contract with Orange via one of their retail stores in my local city. Just recently I decided it was time to change my phone, and move my contract to another provider.

I telephone Orange who inform me that I have a 24 month contract and if I want my PAC code I have to pay a termination fee of £54.00 At this point I decline the offer so I can check my original paperwork.

My original paperwork has a tick in the box '12 month' and also hand-written note '12 month' at the side of it. So I ring Orange again who tell me to go back to the retail store and they can verify this and sort it out for me. they also say they will try and match the deal I was going to take up with T-Mobile.

I return to the Orange store who agree with me and telephone Orange themselves. After some time I am asked to speak to the call centre operative who says 'no - you have 24 month contract we will not do anything', and also 'you were given a discount for your contract so you would also have to pay us that back too'. After almost an hour of discussion with the call centre operative, the store assistant (who also spoke to 2 different managers on the phone at Orange) faxes a copy of my original contract to them and says 'speak to them tomorrow as they will have the fax to prove the details'.

I suspect that since the contract activation was phoned through from the store, that somebody at Orange made a mistake when inputting the details.

I am now due to telephone Orange tomorrow (Wednesday) and as far as I can tell these are the relevant facts of the case:

I signed a 12 month contract and Orange cannot unilaterally change the length nor the terms of the contract without my express (i.e. signed) agreement. If they refuse to resolve the situation then it is breach of contract or possibly falls foul of the 'unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations 1994'. As far as I am concerned, I cannot be held responsible nor penalised for mistakes made by Orange.

If I don't get the matter resolved, and if a letter doesn't help either, then I feel that my only option is to seek reasonable restitution via the small claims court.

:evil: :evil: :evil:

Anybody come across anything similar, or any suggestions?
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ok the way i see it you have sighned a contract with orange or there agent acting on there behalf

as you and there agent agree on the details the problem is now not your problem

there may however be a termination clause required in writing or otherwise the need for so many weeks or months notice :(
I'm a great believer in the short, businesslike letter with copy (never original) documents enclosed.

Far better that talking to some dummy in a ""Customer service"" centre which may be in Hartlepool or Bangladesh.
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One simple way to resolve the problem VERY quickly.

Put down everything in writing, email orange customer service, cc to Ofcom (communications ombudsman).

If not dealt with then contact Ofcom directly and ask for their involvement.
JohnD said:
Far better that talking to some dummy in a ""Customer service"" centre which may be in Hartlepool or Bangladesh.

At least I can understand the Bangladeshi call centre worker... :LOL:
always head the letter "without prejudice" and add a line at the end that if a satisfactory response is not received within 7 days you will pass the matter on to your solictor. It tends to concentrate the mind somewhat
Thanks for all your replies which confirm that I am on the right lines in my action.

However, whilst I'd love to write a letter (recorded delivery) to Orange I can't find an address for them! I spoke to their call centre and the person there wasn't willing to assist in progressing the matter. So I asked if the postal address for a written complaint was available on their website 'yes it should be' was the answer, 'do you mean it definitely will be' was my response, 'yes' was the next answer and guess what... it's nowhere to be found.

I'll be trying their call centre again later today to see if they have received the faxed copy of my contract and are able to act on it accordingly. Either way I am not at all impressed with the 'service' (is this a mis-nomer?) they have offered up to now.

I have a fair amount of experience/knowledge when it comes to customer service, particularly when industry regulators become involved. This comes partly through personal experience of dealing with problem companies, and partly through my job.

The fact that they won't give you a postal address is probably because they get monitored on the number of written complaints they receive.

The address is: (I got it by ringing Orange and asking for it, be polite and assertive and they will cough up what you want).

Correspondance Department
PO box 10
BS32 4BQ

I would advise you to call Orange and confirm this address, because you should never send personal/account info to an address you get on an internet forum.

Before sending stuff off you should call Ofcom for free advice 020 7981 3040, they will give you a good idea of what to put in the letter.

This number (for you to check) and details of what you should do if you wish to make a complaint is here

Are you billed online or by post? Details of how to make a complaint (and that is what you need to do) should be on the back of your paper bill. It should certainly be on the back of any contract docume

The very fact that they do not make it clear how to complain is wrong, and Ofcom will take your side on this. Ofcom will more than likely allow Orange the chance to put the problem right, but will put a lot more pressure on them to do so than one individual consumer.

Let us know how you get on whichever route you take.


Hi BoxBasher and thanks for the advice... I too have a good deal of Customer Services experience (I used to have 24 staff working for me before a complete career change) which is why I am appalled at the way this situation is developing.

The only 'industry regulator' I used to have regular involvement with was our local Trading Standards office and I got to know them quite well. They knew that if I was aware of a situation then the correct action would be taken.

I'll keep you posted on what happens with Orange...
I've updated my post to add the address and so that I don't get in trouble with Mods for posting addresses or phone numbers, it is all information that is in the public domain anyway.
make sure you send the letter registered and keep copies and proof of the posting
Recorded delivery with AOD card will do the trick and is cheaper than Registered.
OK... latest info is as follows:

I have spoken to Tanu (line supervisor) at the Orange Call Centre who tells me that there are no specific notes on the account, and that they have not yet received the fax... So far so bad...

However, I have been promised a call back tomorrow afternoon by Tanu who will speak to the Orange retail shop directly.

From my own experience I know it is difficult to get staff to follow-up 100% of the time so I can only keep my fingers crossed. So tomorrow is their last chance via the telephone to sort this mess out. Otherwise it may well be time to send a recorded delivery letter with a notice of intended action.
Even if they do resolve it I would still make a complaint about the way things have been dealt with.

I think 18/24 months contracts are a bloody cheek. I always insist on mine being a 12 month. If they ever insist I move to 18/24 I'm going to cancel my contract completely.
I'm with my provider for price, not customer service. I can deal with any customer service problems myself. If I was looking for service not price I'd be straight back to voda in a flash.
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