Cellular Agony

Dealing with Phone Companies

The FULL Agony of Orange/Partner

Posted by Paula on December 27, 2010

Sent by Fax, Sent by email and blogged:

December 27, 2010


In late 2009, we met with two of your representatives to arrange moving our 16 telephone lines from Cellcom to Orange. The representatives were Gal Morad and Liron (something). There were hours of discussions and promises made. These included Orange covering all costs to move these lines from Cellcom as well as (but certainly not limited to):

  • Excellent service – including regular meetings with our Orange representative to make sure we remained satisfied customers, explanation of any questions on billing we might have etc. This was very important to us because it was a key reason why we chose to leave Cellcom after 14 years of service. Gal assured us that Orange would provide this.
  • Lower bills – this was obviously also a key factor and one that was promised by Gal repeatedly. We specifically mentioned that we had two elderly people on a limited budget who needed the simplest of phones and cheapest service. Gal assured us that Orange was the answer.
  • Perks – Gal offered us many nice gifts above the lines we were offering, including being included in the Premier Business level service, two iPhones for free, some GPS navigators, 5 spare inexpensive phones identical to the ones we were taking and several other items which are not listed here.

We have sent untold numbers of emails explaining these conditions in detail, so I won’t waste even more of my time detailing them here.

We have spent untold numbers of hours trying to get responses from Orange to many key questions including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Double SIM cards: We explained that because of the delay in activating our phones while we finished with Cellcom (something Gal recommended), we were confused as to which SIM cards should be activated. Gal suggested he give us all new SIM cards to simplify the process. He did this and then began charging us for BOTH sets of SIMS – even ones that were never activated and never used.
  • Two lines we ordered for elderly parents. They were paying on a 10 NIS a month plan with two free Motorola V3 phones. After moving their lines to Orange, despite what Gal told us, they were suddenly being charged 70 NIS or more for cheaper phones.
  • Five lines for friends – the phones were never activated because Orange could not finalize the details – and yet, despite not a single phone call being made on these lines that Orange never activated, we have been billed hundreds of shekels for them. One of the phone owners has since died – still Orange demands their blood money without service.
  • Dozens of phone lines we never ordered, never received, never used – and yet were billed hundreds, even thousands of shekels without explanation.
  • iPhone promotional SIMS – a bit before the iPhone came to Israel, Gal came to our office with a handful nicely designed giveaways for the iPhone. Why do we need these, we asked him, what are they – it’s a free promotion – with this, if you want to be the first to get an iPhone, you will be the first to get it, he told us. He then began charging us 10 NIS for what it turns out were  SIM cards inside the envelopes that we did not ask for, did not need, and didn’t even know cost anything.

We have spent the last year or more trying to reach Orange representatives to discuss and clear the situation. Two weeks ago, Orange cut our lines for outgoing calls without warning. We were able to call Orange and demanded two things:

  1. Turn our phones back on and
  1. Tell us how much we owe…if we even owe anything. Explain the bills to us and we will gladly receive a refund due to us (or pay if there even is a balance due).

The phones were immediately turned back on with an apology saying it was a mistake to close the phones. I demanded to speak to a manager, but despite promises from Yishai tha a manager would call within 4-5 business days – no call of explanation was received by us, no SMS, no letters. Last Thursday, Orange took it upon themselves to spam our phones and those of our writers and family and friends saying that we had not paid. No suggestion the phones would be cut and yet we called Orange and we were again promised someone would call us. Again, as usual, nothing.

And then, yesterday – again without warning, Orange completely shut down our phone lines. Our customers cannot reach us – they are being told our phones have been disconnected.

My elderly parents are traveling hours from their home today without phones. My father suffers from the early stages of Alzheimers and my mother teaches at Haifa University. For two hours, my father will be roaming around and if he gets confused, as he often does, my mother will not be able to find him, to calm him, and make her way to him.

My young daughter went to sleep crying because she could not reach me. Her phone did not work. She finally went to a neighbor who wrote to me on Facebook and I was able to call our Bezek line and speak to her. My daughter’s first words to me this morning were, “how will I call you today?”

My son is a soldier – a combat driver. He was cut off yesterday suddenly without warning. He is getting married in April and his fiancée called me yesterday on our office line. She was very upset because she had not been able to reach him for hours. My son needs his phone for his duties in the army.

My husband’s first words to me this morning were, “this thing with Orange is killing me.” He suffers from high blood pressure, can’t work, can’t sleep.

We have demanded by email and now by registered letter. We are tired of Orange’s refusal to rectify this issue. In one conversation yesterday with Sharin, she said we owed 62,000 NIS and in another confirmed the amount I told her we were billed only that morning – about 37,000 NIS. Not taken into consideration are all the credits due to us from Orange’s billing mistakes, the promises made to reimburse us for the move from Cellcom, etc. etc. etc.

If we were looking for a cheaper solution, why would we have switched to Orange, which is charging us almost three times the amount per month?

We watched Orange take money from our account month after month with no explanation. We sent many emails (confirmed by your direct response system) asking for explanations. When Orange returned no calls or emails, we explained that if you could not detail why you were taking so much money, we would be forced to stop the automatic deductions from the bank. We sent many warnings about this too – all ignored.

Finally, in February, we stopped this. We assumed that Orange would work to resolve this. We had a few meetings – none of which included the simple line by line explanation that we requested. Rather, Orange dictated to us what it thought was the solution – again with no explanation. We were told we would get a credit of 10,000 NIS if we agreed to drop any further arguments about the bills. We asked how the man came to that amount – no answer.

We were told that 17 lines would be canceled and that the refund for the thousands of unauthorized calls made on a SIM card we never even received…one that Gal probably lost or gave away…was included in the nebulous 10,000 NIS they were ready to credit us (this was Eliron from Jerusalem).

We have spoken to no less than 50 Orange representatives, including the service center in Givat Shaul, which Eliron told us to go to…and which told us that they could not help us and they would call the police if we refused to leave. We spoke to 25 people yesterday in this telephone ping-pong game you insist on playing with us.

We have asked to be released from the Orange contract – we demanded this on December 12 from Yishai and we were told we would get a response or at least a call back within 4-5 business days. That was more than 23 days ago. No one ever called us, though we spent 5 hours on the telephone yesterday trying to call someone.

We were told a manager would call us last night – we remained in our office until 9:30 p.m. – again, no one called us.

We do not understand how you expect us to pay for something that we know to be incorrect. We do not understand how you can explain ignoring our emails and our phone calls while refusing to explain your bills and then, to cut off so many lines and damage our business and endanger our family.

We have had enough of Orange. Attached is just one email showing how hard we have tried. Like almost all our emails – it was never answered. It was sent on February 25, 2010. No one, no one can accuse us of not trying to solve this while Orange continued to take our money and did nothing.

Since Orange is not willing to provide the service it promised; since it seems unable to adequately and properly maintain an account of our phones, we are asking Orange to cancel the contract, collect its phones and end this horrific experience.

Anything less than this will likely result in our having to go to court – which serves no purpose and usually only results in losses for everyone. You have damaged our business, our health, our reputation. Please just end this easily and collect your phones and cancel the supposed service/contract.




One Response to “The FULL Agony of Orange/Partner”

  1. Shelley said

    Hi- Came accross this kind of by accident. We also had a year of battles with Orange (though the amount of money involved was much much smaller). I kept thinking that if I threatened to move to another company (we weren’t locked in by any contracts at the time) that they would make sone effort to keep us as customers- but they showed no sign of caring. In the end, after we had talked to Cellcom & pelephone and had made a decision to switch, the company where my husband works signed a deal with Orange, so at least he had to stay with them. In the end, we got much better rates because of this work deal, and swallowed out pride and stayed.

    A few bits of advice, for what it’s worth:
    1- From what I saw, the threats of action (I’ll switch companies, I’ll go to Kolbotek etc) don’t have any effect on the Oranage reps. Stop telling them what you will do, and just do it (I’m not a lawyer, so i can’t tell you what you can or should do)- whether “it” is the police, the media, suing in small claims court, whatever…

    2- We have always bought our own (unlocked) phones with no service plan, except for the free phones given to chayyalim. If anything gets broken, we simply pay to get the phone fixed or replaced. Most of us do not have expensive phones, so we’d rather “self insure” for breakage. This leaves us free to switch cell phone companies should we ever need to (all our phones are unlocked), and we can get phones fixed locally at our convenience. Remember simple phones are available at eg Office Depot or even the post office for a couple of hundred shekels. Family members who want fancier phones generally buy on the internet from a site called “tikcom.co.il”, We’ve sent phones back to them (in Haifa) by mail for warranty service, and have gotten them back within a week.

    3- It always pays to keep one extra phone at home (without a sim card), so if one of the phones break, you can keep talking. This can be an old phone that someone in the family upgraded, or a cheapo phone bought for NIS 150. We sometimes also keep an extra phone with a prepaid SIM card– good for lending to visiting relatives, and as an emergency backup.

    Hope this helps and that you get resolution.

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