Orange Mobile FAIL!!! Part 2

Paris, Île-de-France, France
Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sometimes things go wrong. It is the natural order of life.
Sometimes computers screw up – and sometimes people screw up.
It is how we manage the problem which is the measure of the company or person.

In this case the company, Orange Mobile France, has failed on all levels and this is reflected in the quality of the personnel they hire and their attitude towards paying customers.

If ever you want to read about consumer power in relation to large uncaring corporations, read in response to the Australian telco Vodafone.

Including today, I have spent about 15 more euros on payphone cards and hours and hours on this damn phone problem and still it is unresolved.

I am therefore renewing my commitment to doling out at least 50€ of negative publicity, at every opportunity, using social media (blogs, travel forums, Facebook and Twitter etc) with fresh zeal.

The first part of the rant is here. In short, I bought a French SIM card and topped it up with credit and then all the credit disappeared. When I drove from Belgium to France just to get help, I got a fob off. They promised to ring me in English and fix my problem, but they failed to do so.

After the promise of someone to call me on 11th nothing happened. Nobody called the next day or the next week. On Wednesday I was back in France but nowhere near an Orange office and the free helpline was only for French people, the English helpline costs phone credit that I don't have.

Orange had credited me 5€, but failed to call so I used that 5€ sending 3 sms messages to organise our new accommodation. (As I was in France this should have cost me only about 12cents each.)

By Saturday I was back in Paris, so I looked up the website and found the nearest office. 15 minutes walk and when I got there the young man said he didn’t speak English, no one there spoke English, I would have to walk further to the next Orange shop where they do speak English. Just 10 minutes walk he says. 25 minutes later, I find the next shop and ask the young girl if she can understand English.

Yes she says, but please speak slowly.

How can I possibly explain this complicated problem when she only has limited English.

Is there anyone else here who has better English.

No madam.

I start slowly. I explain that I bought the SIM and bought 35€ credit. She is looking blank.

My credit is gone – disappeared.

Oh you want a recharge

No. I have not made any phone calls but my credit has vanished – I show her my call history.

You have data?

No all turned off. Again I show her my phone history.

You make sms?

Only 3.

You make sms – you’ve used up your credit.

NO. You can’t tell me that 3 sms messages would use up 57€.

You make sms, you must pay for sms.

NO. You are not understanding me.

What do you want madam! You must pay for your phone calls!

Can you call the English helpline for me.

Ok madam – they tell you that you must pay for your phone calls.

She dials the number, listens for a minute, says something to her supervisor in French and is just about to say something to me* when the Supervisor takes over.

What is your problem madam – you must pay for your phone calls.

Ahhh – so she has marginally better English. Lie number one.

I start again. I bought the SIM, I bought the credit. My credit has disappeared and I have NOT used the phone.

Credit expires every month.

No. I bought credit that lasts 3 months.
I wave the booklet in her face.

You have made phone calls.

Oh not this again. I wave the phone under her face and show her all the failed calls and messages – WHERE????

Finally, she looks at my paperwork and rings someone. Hoping it will be the English speaking helpline and she will hand the phone to me. No such luck.

She talks in French for about 25 minutes.

You can physically see her face change as the person on the other end of the phone tells her the story and obviously explains how Orange has screwed up. I wonder if they also told her that the young lad in Armentieres promised that someone would call me back and never did. How another week has gone by and the problem is not fixed.

Whilst still talking to on the phone, she says to me snidely, you made sms messages.

THREE I spit back! I made three!

She talks for another ten minutes and hangs up.

Now at this stage, knowing that Orange is the guilty party here and she has been narking at me for the past half hour and I have done nothing except try to get my problem fixed... knowing all this, any reasonable person would come over and begin with an apology.

Not this sour cow. She hisses at me that Orange will refund 25€ in 8 to 10 days.

In this age of computers and everything electronic, AND the fact that they instantly credited me 5€ in Armentieres, you would think that after the continual screw ups that someone, somewhere would flick a switch and credit me the money they have STOLEN off me.

No... 8 to 10 days!

And then this gem: you bought the wrong card. This is not the card for an iPhone

What – how did I buy the wrong card. The Orange girl in Perrone SOLD me the wrong card. She installed the card into my phone knowing it was an iPhone.

You must buy a new card. This is not the card. You must buy an internet card.

I don’t want an internet card. I just want to phone and text.

You want 3G you need a new card.

Why? What is the difference?

I do not understand what you want madam, Good day.

Wait! what?

I got you a refund what more do you want. I have helped you, now go.

You haven’t helped a damn bit. I get half a refund even though Orange screwed up, I don’t get credit for more than a week and now you say I need a new card.

I do not understand what you want madam, Good day.

Could I please speak to the English helpline.

No madam. I have helped you.

I would like to speak to someone in English.

Here is the phone number – go away and call them.

Could I please call them from here.


Why not? It is the ORANGE HELPLINE for gawd sake!

No. Go away.

What is your name?

No, I do not give you my name. I do not have to.

You know I am going to report you don’t you.

You rude Americans! Go back to where you come from.
(sorry America)

Now I am livid!

I walk across to the train station composing in my head the angry email Orange head office are about to receive, find a payphone and realise I need a phonecard. The one shining wonderful moment in this entire disastrous afternoon, is the beautiful young lady in the newsagents who had halting English but did her absolute best to sell me the right card (7.5€), explain how it works and even asked where I was from. She beamed when I said Australia so we chatted for 5 more minutes about her desire to travel.

I walked out of there calm and smiling. Thank you nice young lady.

I tried 3 phones in the station and all were broken but eventually I found another payphone that was actually working and dialled the number for the English Helpline.

*Thankyou for calling Orange – the English helpline is only available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Part 3 >>

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