Dear Orange & EE
Having spectacularly failed so far to address my billing issue, which has been going on now since March 26 2014, I’ve decided to try a different tack. Your customer service, while generally pleasant, has proved astoundingly inefficient – and amusingly, via social media, advised us that customer service complaints should be directed to….customer services. But I digress.
On March 4 2014 I travelled to Turkey. Knowing I’d be staying several weeks, and that I’d need to access the internet via my phone for work purposes, I bought a couple of your Roaming Bundles. One gave me cheaper calls and texts; the other gave me 150MB of data for £75. When it expired, I bought another one. I tracked it daily via your own Roaming Angel app, so I could see how much data I was using. It reassured me that I HAD USED NO DATA THAT WOULD INCUR STANDARD ROAMING CHARGES. (See pic – click to enlarge it.)
Sorted – or so I thought.
I was rather surprised, while I was away, to receive a text telling me I was exceeding my usage allowance. I was completely shocked when I called the customer service line – from Turkey, at some exorbitant charge – to be told my bill stood at around £2,000. Yes, folks, you read that right – around £2,000.
I spoke to a lovely lady called Deborah who asked me to email her a screenshot showing the app was applying the roaming bundle and was telling me no standard roaming charges were due. She agreed on seeing it that there was an issue; it couldn’t be addressed until my next billing date, on April 15th, but she’d make a note in her diary to call me and help me sort it out. In the meantime, she said, she’d unblock my phone and I should continue to use it and monitor activity via the app as I had been doing. This was March 26.
So I did. My phone was blocked again a few days later but, as I was travelling home on April 1, I decided to wait until I got back to sort it out. On Wednesday, April 2 I called the customer service line and was assured by the young girl I spoke to that it was not physically possible to unblock my phone unless I paid nearly £1,000 of the amount I owed. Well, that wasn’t going to happen….. I took to Twitter and also emailed the lovely Deborah, who unblocked it again. She also reiterated that she’d call me on April 15 and sort it out. (Side note – Orange and EE, you really shouldn’t encourage your customer service staff to lie to your customers. It clearly was possible to unblock my phone without me paying a penny.)
On April 15, there was no phone call. Two days later, however, there was a bill for £2,129.50. I – perhaps naively – trusted it was being sorted out so, although anxious, did nothing until April 23. Back to Twitter and another email to Deborah. There was no response from her, but the social media bods said that no bill recalculation had been requested. They’d do it, though, and somebody would be in touch.
On April 30, when I still hadn’t heard anything, I tried again and called both the customer service line and went back to Twitter. Both said the bill recalculation hadn’t been done yet and advised me to cancel my direct debit, which I did. I don’t like not paying my bills, but I couldn’t risk that kind of money disappearing – especially when I don’t owe it. Did I mention that the app said I’D USED NO DATA THAT WOULD INCUR STANDARD ROAMING CHARGES?
This is getting tediously long now, so let’s skip forward to yesterday, Monday May 5 2014. I missed the call, but picked up a voicemail from a cheery-sounding north-eastern chap who said the bill recalculation had been done and £2,129.50 was the correct amount. Hang on – no, it isn’t. What about the packages, the fact they showed on the app if not the Orange/EE system, and that there was clearly a problem that needed sorting out?
Ok, let’s call the customer service centre again. I didn’t catch the girl’s name but she was lovely. Apparently I’d been sent a text saying my attempt to buy a bundle had failed – this was the first I’d heard of that, and I certainly never saw the text. It also doesn’t explain why the app applied the bundle to my account. I explained the story to date and the conversations I’d had with Deborah; the girl said Deborah was working – yes, on a bank holiday – but was on another call so she’d speak to her, find out what was going on and call me back. You guessed it – I haven’t heard a dicky-bird since.
I don’t know what to do, Orange & EE. I am not paying you a ridiculous sum of money that I do not owe you. You might say the data roaming bundle wasn’t purchased, but I have screenshots that showed it was being applied to my account and, let’s say it one more time – THAT THERE WERE NO STANDARD DATA ROAMING CHARGES DUE. If I’d used the amount of data shown – 230.7MB – at your usual rates (£8 per MB) then yes, I’d owe you. But the tracking app says I didn’t.
I want to sort this out. I have no problem with paying what I owe, although this whole episode has been so stressful that to be honest I think YOU should be paying ME something.
I intend to ask people to share this and I’ll be asking the BBC’s Watchdog programme if they’re interested too, seeing as a new series is about to start. It’s the only way I can think of that might see some action and resolution.
If you’d like to contact me, you have my number.
NB To everyone else who follows this blog – I know it’s not technically a post about moving, but given it’s occurred as a result of our plans I think it’s valid to include it. I also hope it will serve as a warning to other people and customers of EE/Orange. If you buy bundles, track any usage and take screenshots. Make notes of calls, emails and anything else. This happens far too often to far too many people. It’s time it stopped.