Cellular Agony

Dealing with Phone Companies

Archive for August, 2010

And I’m paying insurance…WHY?

Posted by Paula on August 28, 2010

The thing about small cellular phones is that they break. Here. There. Often. Not often – eventually, they break. If you are smart (and you don’t belong to Orange), you pay for insurance. The thing about insurance is that it is supposed to mean you pay a set fee and with all the profit the cellular phone company makes on you…PLUS the insurance you pay each month, they figure they’ll at least break even on the fixing phones deal.

So you pay – they fix. You make more calls with the fixed phone. Everyone’s happy…unless, of course, you belong to Orange. Their concept of insurance is about as bad as the rest of their service.

The screen on my middle’s son’s phone broke. He went to Orange to have them fix it. The problem, of course, they told him, is that we haven’t been paying the bills. Well, that’s true. After months and months of their taking money without explanation for lines we didn’t have, we sent several emails asking for explanations (nothing), threatening to stop payments if they didn’t explain (no response), begging them to meet with us to explain how they managed to assign 66 lines to us when all we brought to them was 16 (no response, nothing). And so finally, after email after email threatening to stop the automatic payments (a way that allows them to take any amount of money they want from our account without justification or explanation), we ended up stopping Orange’s free ride.

So my son went to get his phone fixed. And they refused to fix it. They will fix it – if we pay them 200 shekesl (about $60). Anyway, they explain, the screen is not covered by insurance.

When my older son was in the army, (read M16 vs. N95) he accidentally dropped his M16 on top of his Nokia 95. As one would expect, the gun smashed the screen. To their credit, Cellcom immediately fixed the N95, and the service people actually laughed when they heard how it had happened.

We left Cellcom after 14 years because we felt we were not getting good service and there were accounting problems (they continued to charge us for several items we had canceled months before – total “mistaken” fees amounted to 8,000 NIS, which we eventually got back from them). We were tired and Gal and his Orange cohorts sounded so positive that we thought we were finally going to get decent service.

Who would have thought Orange would actually make Cellcom look like paradise? Ah well – another test for Orange; another failing grade. If you are dumb enough to buy into Orange, don’t expect to get your phone fixed if you pay for insurance.

My son returns to the army tomorrow with a broken phone – thanks, Orange!

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Even the Kids Know…Orange?

Posted by Paula on August 26, 2010

I just got off the phone with a client that we have worked with for several months. They have new management and a new accounting system and without warning, they want to change the terms of the agreement we made months ago.

In this case, they want us to give them a heshbonit mas (a tax invoice) in advance of payment. What this means is that we will now have to pay various taxes before we even receive the money from them. I called to speak to their accounting department to explain that this runs counter to our agreement.

After several frustrating arguments back and forth, the woman explained that if I wanted to change the terms of the agreement, I had to speak to someone else. But, I explained, I don’t want to change the terms, I actually want to follow them. More accurately, I said, I want YOU to follow them.

In that case, she said, you have to speak to someone else – and she gave me their name and phone number. Can you transfer my call? I asked.

He’s on the other line, she said and so we said goodbye and I have to call back in 10 minutes. As I hung up the phone, my youngest daughter asked, “Orange?”

Isn’t that funny, I thought to myself – already she associates long, frustrating, telephone calls in which we try to make a company comply with the agreements made – with Orange.

If she sees her parents arguing on the phone – it must be Orange.

If the company isn’t listening and has changed the conditions – it must be Orange.

A frustrating phone call, but at least I know it will be resolved in 10 minutes – if only Orange could be as reasonable….as we enter our 10th month fighting with Orange, we have some progress to report. After 10 months, they have reduced the 66 lines they created from our 16 Cellcom lines by 17. They also credited our account for 11,800 NIS (about $3,100).

They still owe us more; they still have so many errors to fix, but there is some progress…and some long-term damage as far as they are concerned.

Even a 10-year-old knows that dealing with Orange is frustrating, annoying, and difficult. If the company is trying to change the agreement, it must be Orange, thinks my young daughter.

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So That Others Know

Posted by Paula on August 23, 2010

I have never been one to sit back against injustice and our ongoing battle with Orange to be treated honestly and with respect simply continues to cause us great agony.

One of the things I feel strongly about is offering my opinion when someone asks about a cellular phone company in Israel. A new immigrant, here only a few days, posted a question about cellular phone companies to two large email lists in Israel.

I felt it was my right and my obligation to warn him. Here’s what I wrote when he asked about purchasing an iPhone and data plan:

Hi Yosef,

Most phone companies now offer the iPhone and most have data plans, including unlimited data plans.

However, just because a phone company has a plan, doesn’t mean you should take it. Investigate the “worthiness” of the company, check the agreement and make sure EVERYTHING is in writing. We are currently in the midst of a “wonderful” almost year-long agonizing battle with Orange for the many lies their salespeople told us (no less than 10 to date). You can read all about it at: http://www.cellularagony.wordpress.com.

I’m not saying Cellcom is any better – although having been with them for 14 years I have to say their lousy service and overbilling us for 8,000 NIS is still preferable to the tens of thousands of NIS that Orange has taken, the 50 or so telephone lines they “manufactured” for us (including data lines, so be careful there), and more.

All in all, I’m beginning to think Bezek offers honest, good service…and THAT is scary!


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Orange Makes Mistakes – The People Pay

Posted by Paula on August 19, 2010

A recent news clip on Channel 2 in Israel reports on a number of cases in which Orange made mistakes on their bills, and their customers ended up paying.

Oh, how I wish I had known they needed people for this documentary clip. We may well have been a featured part. It is so hard, at this time to believe that anyone has been cheated more than us.

If you can read Hebrew (or use Google translate), here’s the link:


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Well, Optimism Yes, but

Posted by Paula on August 19, 2010

As I indicated in my previous post, Orange called us back! This was the first time I had actually spoken to Carmit – previously, it was all by email and my husband’s conversations. I’d emailed them, of course – including one on August 4. I believe they promise to get back to you within 24 hours, perhaps 48. I can honestly say this was the longest 48 hours of my life!

Now, 15 days later, Carmit writes back. I can see she is as enthused as I was and yet…and yet, I’m confused by what she means. She “was glad to learn, that i could offer you a proposal to your satisfaction.”

What proposal was that? What advanced Orange services? I mean – getting back to a customer, even 15 days later is great, but I wouldn’t call that “advanced” services. We still cannot speak on our cell phones in portions of our home because there is no reception. This despite promises from Orange almost NINE months ago that they would give us a Repeater Device (hope that’s what it is called) – which would enable us to have reception.

I’m all for optimism, really Carmit – but I’m just so confused by this concept that you thank me for an email two weeks later and think that in light of a single conclusion-less conversation that we have reached the proposal state.

Ah well, life with Orange is nothing if not interesting…

Here’s Carmit’s message of August 19th.


Dear Paula,

I thank you for your e-mail.
In reply to your request, and after our conversation on the 19/08/10 I was glad to learn, that I could offer you a proposal to your satisfaction.

For further information, please reply to this e-mail, or contact our customer service center by dialing *054 from your orange handset, or 074-7054054 from any other phone, and one of our representatives will be glad to assist you.

I hope you will make the best out of orange’s advanced services .

kind regards,
Customer Relations

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Progress? A Journey Begun?

Posted by Paula on August 19, 2010

Can a starved person understand that a feast set before him is actually for him? Can a blind man suddenly given site handle the many views the world has to offer? sounds melodramatic and yet this is to some extent where we find ourselves.

Orange actually called us back! Can you imagine. We are in the hands of two women working for Orange – Adi and Carmit. They seem as confused by the Orange bills as we are. They seem as interested in resolving it as we are.

I cannot speak for what they know – but for the first time, they are actually asking US to explain rather than telling us what they think might have happened.

They want to know what equipment we have – an excellent first start. This is indeed the first step in determining how Gal and his cohorts managed to take 16 Cellcom lines and turn them into 66 Orange lines.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Resolution of 8 months of lies and dishonesty begins with a single line. Line by line we must understand what Gal did, how Liron and Eliron and Anat and David and Meital and Shelli and so many others covered it up and get to the truth of what we were promised.

Since we are speaking in such platitudes, I’ll continue – we stand on the edge of a new dawn with Orange. It could be yet another storm, yet another direction for lies and deceit. We must have answers to how it was acceptable to forge our names; how things we did not order were put under our name? Who handled the SIM card that we never received and yet thousands of shekels in phone calls were made?

Why were we charged top rates after being promised lower cost because we were so many phones? Why did Gal begin charging us for things he gave as promotional gifts?

How did he take 16 phone lines and multiply that into 66? Seventeen lines have miraculously dropped away…what of the others?

On and on – this is a long journey. It is one we will have to take before it is resolved, before we finish with Orange – or before we take them to court. The journey begins with a single positive note. Orange actually called us back!

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Don’t go this route – Sound Advice

Posted by Paula on August 18, 2010

Our ongoing mission to report the agony suffered by other cellular phone users continues. This one comes from Nurit, who was giving advice to another Orange customer.

Here is her story:

Based on advice I received when I had a never-ending issue with Orange,
send *faxes* to their managment office in Rosh Ha’ayin and to their
secretive “Customer Relations” department, (which you only get to if they
have driven you insane). You can get those numbers from a rep at Orange
service. If not, let me know and I’ll look for them among my papers.
Threaten to take further legal action and to write about it in every blog
and forum on the Internet.

I had a huge issue with Orange overcharging me month after month and, even
though they admitted several times that it was their error and promised to
fix it and reimburse me, I had to phone countless times, only to have to
repeat my story each time and to wait for “managers” to phone me back who
didn’t, and when they did, they promised to return the money by xxx date,
and never did. It took them 8 months to stop charging me and to return my
money and that’s only because I was a noodnik, but it cost me a lot in
nerves. *Don’t go this route.*

They will tell you that you didn’t receive the refund because of a technical
problem.They are masters at deceipt and their representatives have been
well-trained to lead you around in circles and drive you crazy until you
give up.

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Customer Relations…Not

Posted by Paula on August 4, 2010

Yet another email after yet another lie from Orange. Another meeting scheduled and not met. Customer service called us after receiving one of these emails. They understood, they said. They were surprised by how badly things were being handled, they said. They wanted to help us, they said.
They would set up a meeting this week – get someone from “Top Business” who would be “neutral.” Okay, I admit, I was wondering how exactly someone who works for Orange could be considered neutral, but we are anxious to end this and so we agreed.

Then they called back and said, not this week, next week.

Now they simply aren’t calling back. Needless to say, Top Business hasn’t called back. This clearly doesn’t say much about their customer service, but then again, we have yet to see much good about their sales, their accounting, their honesty so, what’s another failed department?

Here’s today’s email – August 4, 2010 – Still Agonizing

Three weeks ago, after hundreds of attempts (emails, phones, meetings, etc.), we were FINALLY contacted by Customer Relations and told that we would get someone they called neutral to review all the problems in our account and attempt to finally resolve all the open issues. We were told we would be contacted shortly – it took a full week before anyone contacted us. They said they would set up a meeting…they canceled that meeting and said it would take another week.

They told us NOT to speak to Eliron or the Jerusalem Business offices but that someone from Top Business would contact us…it is now three weeks in which we have still waited. On Monday, someone called my Lazer and said they would call Binyamin to move this forward. Surprisingly (to none, actually), they did not call. Sadly, it appears that your Customer Relations department is as serious as your Jerusalem Sales office, your Jerusalem Business office and your Givat Shaul center. We are still waiting to hear how Orange will resolve all the money they took from us, the fraud they committed and the mistakes in all the bills. In the meantime, if perhaps you are missing some of our old emails, please feel free to catch up on everything on a special blog we have opened in your honor.

It is called Cellular Agony – for all the agonizing attempts we have made to deal with your various people – from Gal, the lier, to Eliron, the procrastinator, to Meital, Liron I and Liron II, Anat (who managed to give birth twice in one month), to Eliav (who threatened to use confidential information from our account for personal reasons), and on and on and on.

Still waiting for Orange…still agonizing, 


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Another Week Lost, Another Delayed Meeting

Posted by Paula on August 2, 2010

Carmit seemed so understanding, so anxious to help. She said she was going to get a meeting set up this week with a “neutral” party. Well, that neutral party was going to be an Orange worker, so we were wondering how that was going to work, but at least some progress was hoped for. Certainly, she said, we should not be dealing with Eliron any longer. Someone from “Top Business” was going to call us and set up a meeting this week.


No, this time, they mean it.

Yes, really.

Or not…

It turns out, Carmit wasn’t able to set up that meeting. We explained that in our home office, we have no reception for Orange lines. We were promised a special device back in January that would help receive the signal and improve connection for us.

Carmit told us that she could only arrange for this device AFTER we paid our bill. But we have been asking for this since January, my husband explained to her…you know – January when we were still paying our bills while asking Orange for an explanation for the 8,000 NIS (about $2,500) they were deducting monthly for 66 lines they somehow managed to assign to us from the 16 lines we asked them to create from our Cellcom account.

Carmit had no answer for that – but she’s hoping to set up a meeting…soon, real soon.

Here’s our latest email to Carmit – August 2, 2010 – can you believe we have been fighting Orange for almost 8 months?

Sent by my husband———————–

Hi Carmit,

Thank you for calling me this morning. From this morning I understood that you will be calling Benyamin immediately after we spoke to get the serial number of the computer that is at HP. I just spoke with him and he did not get you call. PLEASE CALL BENYAMIN.

During our discussions, you also said that you will give me FREE service to do call forwarding to a landline until you install the repeaters that were promised in January. You said that you would send me an email that would state that this was free. We agreed that this email would be sent, since every time I was told from Orange that something was free, I was charged. I have not received this email. PLEASE SEND ME THIS EMAIL, SO I CAN RECEIVE CALLS FROM MY MAALEH ADUMIM OFFICE.


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Orange won’t let me ….

Posted by Paula on August 2, 2010

NR writes on twitter:

Orange won’t let me use the unmetered GPS I pay for because I didn’t buy my handset from them. Yes, they support the model.

And did you know they closed all labs, & any repair equires not having a phone for 2 days!?!?!

Yes, NR, we do know that. Several times, we’ve had to have a phone repaired. First it was my son, who is a soldier. The speaker on the phone wasn’t working. It had to be sent to Orange several times. The first time, the wiped out all his memory and programs. My older son also had a problem with his phone. Orange insisted that the only way to fix the phone was to wipe out the phone’s memory and reformat it. They did that – still has the problem…and no memory – and the two days was wishful thinking – it took more than 3 days to get it back.

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