Telecommunications fun and games

My partner and I both have Orange phones and have done for nearly a decade. So between us that’s nearly twenty years of customer loyalty. Unfortunately, we’ve just moved house and there is virtually no Orange signal in the area which makes our mobile phones pretty useless. This was particularly awkward as it took Virgin Media 10+ weeks to get our landline/broadband connected so for a while we have effectively been incommunicado of an evening, but that’s another story. Anyway, we phoned Orange to say sorry, but after years of happy service, we would now have to move to another network, one which can actually provide a service.

“No problem, you’ll just owe us for the remainder of the contract” came the response. Huh?

“We’ve been with you for years, we’d just like to leave” we pressed.

“Yes, but you have an 18 month contract which you will need to complete…”

Now I have some experience of such ridiculousness, having formerly been a customer of the devil spawn that is British Telecom; they once tried to tell me that I would need to pay a cancellation fee for moving house, which received short shrift, my previous house move having counted as a renewed contract in their eyes rather than simply a different location for my previous longstanding contract (a very similar argument to this current Orange debarcle… ). They refused however to acknowledge mis-selling a broadband contract or refund some exhorbitant charges, insisting that they had fulfilled their stated notification requirement by writing to some random .bt email address about excessive usage rather than the email address I provided them with; conveniently, any recordings of the salesperson stating this had been ‘lost’ and of course, being a phone based contract, there was no paperwork to speak of. BT will never recieve a penny from me ever again; I refuse to deal with such companies.

Anyway, I digress into another tale of woe with a telecommunications company (ie there a trend here, given experiences with BT, Virgin and now Orange…?).

Back to the case in hand and Orange are insisting that despite our long-standing patronage, we must pay up the end of our contracts. Now there is a lot of dicussion online on this topic (eg here and here) but there does not seem to be a consensus. I appreciate the argument from the phone companies that folks just can’t leave contracts early but there needs to be some form of escape, especially in rural areas where there is simply little coverage (remember 99% coverage means coverage of the population rather than geographical area ie big cities and some other bits). And the idea that I would choose my house based on mobile phone coverage is simply laughable!

So, to conclude, I do hope Orange show some decency and accept that sometimes people sometimes need to leave for good reason. And longstanding loyalty deserves some recognition. My partner and I are not trying to profit by our moving network, we simply want to move to a network that works where we live. The saga continues…