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I am an Orange Mobile pay as you go customer and I recently got a new (second hand) phone. I've been on their fixed rate all day tarrif for as long as I can remember and I figured that since my "new" phone had an HTML browser, I'd see what packages I could add to take advantage of that. I've been aware for some time that they offer a reward system whereby you can get free texts, minutes or Internet access if you top up by at least £10 a month.
This isn't something I've taken advantage before as up until as I barely spend more than a £5 a month. Orange do these animal packages now (what the hell is that all about anyway??) and there's a range of different options depending on your needs. Some people need more talk time while others want music, texts or the Internet. The problem is that Orange's advertising both on their website and on their automated messaging system is quite ambiguous almost to the point of being downright misleading.
For all you fun-loving, sociable types, Dolphin plans give you unlimited free texts and free Internet on your phone.
For example, I was interested in the "Dolphin" package and on their website it says "Love Facebook & Bebo? For all you fun-loving, sociable types, Dolphin plans give you unlimited free texts and free Internet on your phone." That implies that you get access to the Internet right? I then rang orange on 452 and the message said "If you're a bit of a Facebook, Twitter or Bebo fan you'll get free unlimited Internet." Well this just sounds absolutely fabulous I thought.
I thought I had better dig around a bit and find out as much information as I could before I changed my call plan. On the Orange shop website a different page said "unlimited free texts plus free access to Facebook, Bebo and MySpace". I then dialled 450 and went through the various options to get to the orange shop that way and for the dolphin package the lady said "free texts and free Internet". This was at the point where I could actually change to the new tariff and I was warned that once I moved I wouldn't be able to change back.
I started to get suspicious and decided to call Orange customer service to find out the truth about the "Dolphin" package because by now nothing was clear to me and to me, free unlimited Internet means just that - not three websites that I never use.
I spent a while stuck in the automated menu system again before making it through to an option that said it would transfer me to Orange customer service... with a one off charge of 25p. Naturally I hung up and used the land line free phone number instead. With about 15 to 20 minutes of being passed from department to department and of course being hung up on at least once I finally made it through to the pay as you go customer service desk.
The customer service representative I spoke to didn't try to hide the information from me, although I had to explicitly ask whether or not the free Internet access with that package was only for certain websites. She confirmed that it was and it was only for Bebo, Facebook and Myspace (what happened to Twitter as mentioned on 452?). Internet access outside these sites would result in additional charges. Interestingly enough, I was even told by this person that other customers had been complaining about the lack of "free unlimited Internet access" with the Dolphin package. When did Bebo, Myspace and Facebook become the Internet anyway?
So what do we think... misleading advertising? Trading standards anyone?
By: An Orange pay as you go customer