Seeing Red with Orange

I’m cheap.  As in .. I really don’t like spending a lot of money on unnecessary things.  Obviously some of the stuff I deem as “necessary” differs from a lot of other people, but I really can’t justify spending silly money on a mobile phone just because of the name and a few “features”, when I can get a perfectly adequate phone for a lot less.

That doesn’t mean I don’t lust after an iPhone though .. and have done for some years.

One of my friends recently took pity on me and, in a huge fit of generosity, gifted me her old iPhone when she upgraded to a new one.  The only catch being that it was locked to the Orange network.

I’ve never had anything in particular against that network – I’ve just for a long time been a Vodafone customer, not had any problems and saw no reason to change.  But I had been a little hacked off with Vodafone last time my contract was up, when they managed to reel me in with a “super special long-term-customer-only” offer – and only later I realised that they had completely fibbed to me and I could have gotten the same deal anywhere else.  So I felt no real commitment to them.

Anyway .. I looked into my options and decided that I could get a better deal with Orange, than I could if I paid to have the phone unlocked and moved it to Vodafone.

I bit the bullet and decided, at least for a temporary measure, to buy a pay-as-you-go sim card from the Orange website – some deal where you paid £10, got the sim card, £10 worth of credit plus enough freebies to keep me going with texts, data, etc for a month (the freebies running out after a month).

The Orange website was a little slow on the payment side of things, but eventually it stated it had received my order and that I would be getting email confirmation shortly.

Now … I’m usually fairly good at these things.  I really don’t like unnecessary paper lying about .. I have enough as it is.  So generally I keep the website open on a confirmed purchase, until I receive the email with all the details.  But I waited some time and it didn’t arrive.  I left the browser page open whilst I did other things .. got distracted, completely forgot about it and the page got closed.

I waited two days .. checked my bank and saw no withdrawal had been made by Orange.

I rang them up – got a call centre manned by foreign-speakers.  Explained the situation to the first person, wanting to confirm the order had gone through.  He couldn’t tell me until I gave him my Orange phone number (?!).  He eventually said someone else would have to deal with it .. he would get them to ring me.  So I gave my home number and sure enough, someone rang me back 10 minutes later.

Unfortunately, foreign-call-centre-person number 2 was also completely in the dark and gave me exactly the same rubbish as the first .. took my number, told me someone would ring me back.  No-one did.

I then tried twitter – I’ve had some success with customer services of various companies in the past via twitter, so had high hopes.  Unfortunately they just gave me the phone number to ring.  Tried that already!

In the end, I gave up.  I decided to simply order another sim card.  I would either get and pay for only one, as I was hoping, or would receive two and I’d just use the credit on them one after the other.  Pain doing it, but no big deal.

Conveniently, when I went back onto the Orange website, I had a “live-chat” box pop up, asking if I wanted help – so I “spoke” to someone there who advised that, if no money had been taken out of my account, the transaction can’t have worked and I should just go ahead and re-order.  So I did.

Several days later .. in the same post .. two arrived.  *sigh*

I opened one, stuck it in my “new” phone and it worked straight off the bat.  No problems.  I left the second in the packet so it was easy to keep track of, and then Red Nose Day arrived – hey … there’s a use for that extra £10 I accidentally spent .. instead of donating via my bank or normal phone, I’ll put the second sim card into my phone, activate it and send that tenner direct to Comic Relief.

Well .. apparently that was too easy.  I spent HOURS trying to get the bloody thing to work.  I tried putting it into the iPhone but it wasn’t having it, as the phone was already registered with a different sim, I tried putting it in an old phone that was originally handed down to one of the kids – until he left it in his trouser pockets, where I discovered it AFTER it had been through the washing machine.  Surprisingly (although it has had a month or so to dry out now) the phone actually worked – but the sim only worked partially.  It initially refused to connect to the network and I had to manually activate it on the Orange website, and then it just refused to send the text.

I visited the Orange website again and registered my account with them, which allowed me access to my usage history, account credit, etc.  Only to discover that I only had 1p credit.

I checked my bank account .. two lots of £10 had been taken out – one the day that I purchased the second sim card, another two days later.

I checked the paperwork that came with the sim card and noticed an option to “activate your credit” on the website .. so went there, filled in the form, got an error message saying my sims mobile number wasn’t recognised and to ring up.

*double sigh*

I rang them up and finally got someone who at least sounded like she knew what she was doing – she accessed my account and could see immediately that I hadn’t had the £10 credit added, nor the extra related “freebies”.  So I’m now just waiting for her to contact their “billing department” to get the credit added.

Whether or not it goes onto the correct account, or if they decide to charge me for it again, I don’t know – I guess that’s something I’ll discover pretty soon.  I’m really not expecting the “freebie pack” to be added but, to be honest, at this stage in the game I’d just be pleased to have the credit on there in order to send it out again!

At the end of the day .. brand new customer for Orange is NOT impressed so far.