Cellular Agony

Dealing with Phone Companies

Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

A Prank Worthy of Orange

Posted by Paula on January 30, 2011

Someone who knows of our cellular agony posted this video to their Facebook page and recommended I watch it. It is brilliant. It is funny. I so would love to do the same here in Israel. Of course, it would likely cause a major security problem as police would break in to confirm it was not a terrorist attack but you can’t help but smile when you watch this.

If you ever dreamed of frustrating a company as they have frustrated you, here’s a point for the little guys!


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Mother Russia

Posted by Paula on January 23, 2011

A song has been going through my head for the last few days. It is a song I remember from long ago, when I was involved in protests against the injustice of the Soviet Union. I joined thousands demanding that they let the Jews emigrate.

As Anatoly Sharansky was finally freed to come home to Israel and become the Natan Sharansky we all respect, the song, “We are leaving, Mother Russia” was released. It is so silly that such an important subject and song should be the tune that goes through my head as I think of Orange and our cellular agony, but there it is.

We are leaving Mother Russia,
We have waited far too long.
We are leaving Mother Russia,
When they come for us we’ll be gone.

After 11 months of cellular agony and more lies that we can count, today we successfully pulled part of our lines out of Orange.

We didn’t pull out all the lines and we still have a long fight ahead of us, but no one can say we didn’t try to resolve this; no one can say we lied, forged, cheated.

The numbers are coming in of how badly Orange tried to cheat us. They promised to reimburse us for the exit fees from Cellcom. These amounted to about 33,000 NIS. Of this amount, Orange has paid us only a bit over 1,500 NIS.

They promised us a rate of 27 agurot per minute (we have just signed a deal for 25 agurot per minute with another company), but even the 27 agurot was a decent rate. Only, Orange didn’t honor that fee from the  start. No, they charged us over 70 agurot per minute – an absurdly high rate for anyone, let alone someone who supposedly had 66 lines.

All this is to be sorted out in the future and likely in court. For now, I have been liberated. I am free. I can call anyone; anyone can call me. It is my company that has succeeded after weeks of damage to liberate ourselves. The damage continues on some of the lines, but at least mine is free; my parents’ numbers are out.

My mother and father will no longer be alone and unable to call someone when they leave their home. We are awaiting confirmation whether we succeeded in pulling out younger daughter’s phone out. One son is clear – we don’t know about the other lines.

And one last frustration – our Orange phones are still useless to us. In violation of the law, Orange is still refusing the codes to unlock them. On Thursday, we were told we would be called on Sunday. That they did not have the codes and had to get them from the manufacturers.

On Friday, we took 15 phones to Cellcom and got them unlocked within an hour.

Today is Sunday, and as expected, Orange did not call us with the codes. When we called them; they argued and transferred us from department to department.

Agony and lies to the end.

And the tune goes through my head – I am leaving, Orange. I have waited far too long. I am leaving. When you come for me, when you realize what damage you have caused, I’ll be gone!


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Reputation Management

Posted by Paula on January 12, 2011

I attended the SphinnCon conference this week in Jerusalem at the beautiful Inbal Hotel. The location was ideal, parking was quickly found nearby, the food was great. There was only one problem. The Internet connection arranged with the services of Bezek, the local carrier, kept falling.

The hotel staff worked tirelessly and by lunch, we were online and enjoying the benefit of being connected to the world while listening to some great presentations. One presentation was very appropriate for this blog.

It was a panel discussion on Reputation Management from various perspectives. One presenter, Shira Abel, spoke of how her company stays on top of its reputation and thus responds quickly, politely, and accurately to criticism…especially ones that are unfounded and based on misunderstandings.

Another excellent panelist was Sam Michaelson of Five Blocks spoke of how his company works hard to make sure that their clients’ reputation is positive on the web and how they track down unfavorable content and work to lessen its impact. The concept intrigued me, especially given my current cellular agonies with Orange. After the session ended, I made my way over to Sam (am I allowed to use first names with a person I met for all of 5 minutes?) and quickly explained about my blog, Cellular Agony, and my struggle with Orange.

What was interesting was that most of Five Blocks customers don’t seem to fall into the category in which someone is intentionally trying to damage their reputation. Of course, I can’t really say that I am trying to damage Orange. Personally, I think they are doing that themselves by the way they react…I mean DO NOT react  to their customer’s needs.

Reputation Management – what a concept. It seems that the best way to manage your reputation, not that I am trying to put Five Blocks out of business, is to simply practice logical and good business ethics.

No company is perfect. But the fact that Gal Morad continues to work at Orange long after even people at Orange admit he cheated us (off-the-record of course…well, other than the taped conversation we have of Eliron saying he would have had Gal fired), shows that Orange doesn’t care.

This blog is growing and getting more hits – I wonder if some day Orange will be smart enough to go to a company like Five Blocks and ask for their help. Then again, probably not.

In the meantime, some statistics for Orange.

When you google:

  • “Orange complaints,” you get over 4 million hits.
  • “Orange bad customer service,” you get over 3.5 million hits.
  • “Partner overbilling,” gets you almost 27 million hits.
  • And…”cellular agony” gets you 239,000 and most of the first page comes to this blog.

That’s some tremendous amount of reputation management Orange is going to have to deal with and if they don’t start soon, it seems like the trend will continue.

Posted in Orange Partner Agony, Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Legal Battle Begins

Posted by Paula on January 11, 2011

Not only did Orange ignore virtually all of our emails requesting meetings and resolution…

Not only did Orange ignore all of our questions and complaints about Gal and the original representatives and their lies…

Not only did Orange lie repeatedly in their endless promises to call us back…

Not only did they shut our phones without warning…

Not only did they attempt to blackmail us by demanding we pay them 10,000 NIS before they would even agree to turn a single phone back on for incoming call…

Not only do they ignore the needs of my elderly parents, my children, my workers, my business…

Not only have the continually ignored not just our demands for explanations, but our more recent requests for missing records…

They are even dumb enough to ignore letters from our lawyers.

More than 10 days since we sent our letters to Orange.

More than 7 days since they received our letters.

More than a year of cellular agony.

But now, finally, I know we are on the right path. Soon, very soon, Orange will be held accountable for:

  • The lies
  • The forgeries
  • The fraud
  • The overbilling
  • The refusal to answer our requests for meetings, phone responses, information, explanation

Soon…the legal battle begins.

Posted in Orange Partner Agony, Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Resolutions and Predictions

Posted by Paula on December 31, 2010

I’ve never really been one to get into this thing about resolutions and predictions. I figure I’m going to do what I do, try to do better, but there’s no use talking about it. As for predictions for the future, they typically are akin to fortune telling. I have no idea what the future will bring – I have enough to deal with today and what it promises.

But I’m going to break that this new year of 2011 with the following:

Resolution 1: I will not let another cell company cheat me as Orange did this past year. I will not trust their representatives who lie with such pleasant faces and smiles. The nicer they are, I have learned from the pleasant and charming Gal, the more insidious they are.

Prediction 1: I believe 2010 marks a turning point in the cellular consumer, if not the cellular companies. A recent poll showed Israelis by and large distrusted the cellular phone companies more than any other industry. A lead article in several newspapers this week covered another family that was also misled by Orange – and told their agent had died in a horrible traffic accident and his personal computer with their records was destroyed. We too were lied to constantly and are still fighting.

If 2010 was the year consumers learned to watch the cell phone companies, I believe 2011 will be the year we, the consumers, will finally be compensated for all the agony they have put us through, all the lies, etc.

Happy new year – and stay tuned.

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A Promise is a Promise is a…

Posted by Paula on December 30, 2010

Latest update – 5 days after shutting our phones without warning…Orange promised to open 7 of the lines within 20 minutes. We refused to give them the 10,000 NIS they demanded – after all, by our accounting, just using common sense, never mind the additional promises they gave us, they actually owe US money. They steadfastly refused to open the lines or have a manager call us – until we paid.

Our wonder workers got involved – they know the system. They know the people. They understand the numbers and how it works. Shamed into it, the Finance Department got permission to turn 7 of the lines back on – this still leaves 9 people amongst our group with no phones at all. At 7:45, they told me 20 minutes. I told people 8:15 p.m.

So, thirty minutes later, at 8:15, I checked. Nothing.

Forty minutes…nothing.

An hour later, at 8:45, I called…nothing.

Two hours and another round with Orange…nothing.

Now, almost three hours later, the phones became to come back online. All but two. A bit later, even those work – again, for incoming calls only. So, I can’t call anyone, but hey, people can call me. Til they close it again, that is.

Of course, they promised they wouldn’t do that without warning us…on the other hand…when did they ever keep their promises? So – I can be reached at my regular phone number…until I can’t be.

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A New Day

Posted by Paula on December 29, 2010

It’s a beautiful, partially sunny day in Jerusalem and for the first time in months, I feel like I can breathe; I finally believe we are going to resolve this. No, Orange hasn’t called. No, Orange hasn’t opened our lines. No, we are still technically suffering all the harassment and abuse. Yesterday, in a meeting with a group that has experience with dealing not only with cellular phone companies, but cellular phone company abuses, our guests sent SMS messages to some of the top people at Orange with whom we have dealt with over the last many months of agony.

Would you open their lines for two weeks while we work this out? No, Orange answered – we won’t open anything unless they pay 10,000 NIS.

But you know that they might not even OWE Orange 10,000 NIS – you said so yourself, our new friends wrote to Orange. No, Orange answered – we won’t open anything unless they pay 10,000 NIS.

At least allow them to receive incoming calls. That doesn’t cost anything in Israel and by blocking their phones, you are damaging their business for nothing. No, Orange answered.

At least, on the bright side, Orange has responded. The answer to all that was requested was no – and that’s fine. We have already re-activated one Cellcom line and purchased two Talkman phones – not Orange, thank you very much.

One of the people in the meeting yesterday suggested that we purchase Orange Talkmans – there was a deal, he  explained. No, I answered. I will not give Orange my money. No. There is, in the Israeli culture, the concept of being right and the concept of being smart. Being smart would mean buying a Turkish-made washing machine on sale; being right would say so long as that company makes itself an enemy of my country, I won’t support it in any way.

Being smart would mean purchasing the Orange Talkman – but all my life, I have sided on the side of right. No, not while they abuse us; not while they are vindictive and abusive and intentionally damaging our business. No.

Today, in a few hours, Orange will receive a letter from a lawyer detailing why they are so wrong; what they promised to us; and demanding that they open our telephone lines while these people do a full accounting and determine where this all stands – something Orange has refused to do for the past year. Orange will release to these people – because they have to – the necessary forms in the necessary format – something they never gave us. With this information, these people can really calculate what has been done to us – something we have been unable to do and something Orange hasn’t bothered to even attempt to do.

Open the lines, the letter will demand, for two weeks while we do this accounting.

We will wait to see what Orange does but already I feel so much better, so much lighter, so much more optimistic. Orange and Partner are huge corporations who care nothing for their customers but amazingly enough, we are not alone.

Yesterday’s news was filled with another couple whose contract didn’t match the promises made to them, whose Orange representative lied to them, who was over-billed by Orange. And comment after comment on the news sites where the articles were listed, detailed the “me too” comments of others.

With each one, I feel less like a fool. With each one, I believe more and more that Orange will be stupid enough to not settle our account. If they were smart, they would offer us the out I have been demanding for months. Ah, but Orange is not smart.

They are so dumb, in fact, they are missing the single most important rule in business…if you cheat your customers, you won’t have any.

Today starts a new day on this blog, a new path in our lives – because today, the burden of trying to get Orange to listen has been passed to people who know how to fight a corrupt, lying corporation like Orange. And their weapon, the one we have given them with detailed accountings, the emails we have sent, the recordings we have made – is unbeatable.

We have given them the truth…and in time…perhaps a short period of time if Orange is smart, more likely in quite a bit of time, they will give us justice.

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I think he’s fighting with Orange

Posted by Paula on December 28, 2010

My young daughter just called to say goodnight. With all the time we’ve wasted trying to reach Orange, we are all seriously behind in work and I just need time to try to catch up.

So, here I am at 9:15 p.m. – and still at the office. My youngest called to say good night – house line to office line, thanks to Orange. What would have, or should have been a free call within the family network, just cost a bit of money – not a lot, just the principle of yet another promise broken.

She called and said she was very tired and really wanted a cup of tea. I told her to ask her oldest brother to help her. At 10 years old, she could make herself a cup of tea, but I’d feel better if her brother did it.

“I think he’s on the phone fighting with Orange,” she said. No, it isn’t possible at this hour that he’s on the phone. He was in the office today helping us and left early. He has a headache after days of arguing with representative after representative. On Sunday, he made a list of the ping pong game Orange put him through as he tried to speak to a manager to get our phones back on.

The list has 25 names on it – and the manager never called back as promised.

But what I find fascinating is how this battle with the Dark Force, as I have now labeled this fight, has descended into the depths of our psyche. Even my children speak of Orange as evil, as betrayers, liars and cheats.

And if you are on the phone speaking to someone for a long time – you must be fighting with Orange. This too is damage that may not have a monetary value, but speaks volumes for the agony they have put us through.


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Birth and Death – Just more lies

Posted by Paula on December 28, 2010

We were told at one point that Orange had to cancel a promised meeting (one of many they canceled) because one of the people who was supposed to attend had given birth. What can you do – this is not something that you can control. We understood, canceled the meeting, and waited even longer for the next available chance.  While trying to reset the meeting – we called the woman’s phone. It was a lie. The woman was pregnant, but had not given birth.

Our first representatives were Gal Morad and a guy named Liron. Gal told us after the contracts were signed that Liron was fired for leaving phones in the back seat of his car. Thieves broke in and stole the phones, which should have been locked up in the special safe in the trunk. Later, Gal told us that Liron was fired for lying to the customers – now THAT I would believe…though from what I can see, lying to the customer is more corporate policy than something they’d fire you over.

But here’s a twist – I guess they had told enough customers that they’d fired their representative and decided in this case, it was better to say the agent died…no, not enough sympathy – he was killed in a catastrophic accident.

Here’s the latest story: http://www.mako.co.il/news-money/consumer/Article-179c210f5ab2d21004.htm&Partner=rss – it’s also on a number of other sites, though this one is in Hebrew.

A  rough translation of the story:

Two years ago, a couple signed a service contract with Orange using the company’s employee. Once they began getting their bills, they were surprised to find that the invoices did not match what was agreed upon. The bills were much higher than they should have been. “Most of the promises were oral, but we believed him,” said Adi. The couple…like my company…trusted the Orange representative. Our bills were almost three times as high as they should have been.

This couple called Orange and were told that they could not be helped because the agent who handled them was killed in a car accident, a catastrophic one even. According to Orange, not only was Ricky, the agent, killed, but his computer was destroyed in the accident…and on his computer, said Orange, were the documents from this couple’s account.

A short investigation revealed that it was all lies – the agent was still alive – even answering the phone himself. Adi turned the focus of 144 – Israel’s information directory where they found the agent’s new number. “At first he tried to escape, but then said he no longer works for Orange and asked that we vacate the company,” said Adi.

Partner’s responsed by saying that they have opened an internal inquiry and if they find their representatives gave false information in bad faith, the matter will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

Orange’s statement goes on to profess how important customer service is to the integrity of their…blah blah blah.

So Orange:

If you really care about integrity and punishing those who lie to your customers – why have you lied to us almost every week for the last 11 months. Why did Gal tell us that Liron was fired for two completely different reasons; why were we told that woman had given birth when she hadn’t; why are we being billed for lines we didn’t order; why did Yishai and Meir and Vicki and so many others all promise someone would call us back?

On and on, the lies bury your company in the muck. This story is just one example. The agent might be alive – Orange’s sense of customer service and integrity seems to have died long ago.


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iPhone to iPod Touch

Posted by Paula on December 27, 2010

Several months before I got my complimentary iPhone from Gal (the one he then started charging a fortune for), my youngest son bought an iPod Touch. I was curious as to the difference between the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

When I got the iPhone – I figured it out – he had much of the same features…he just didn’t have the phone part. In fact, he was able to show me many of the secrets of how to use the phone. He made groups of similar items, helped change the settings, etc. We often share the recharger.

Leave it to Orange – they have successfully turned an iPhone into an iPod Touch. I can’t imagine a more talented (and useless) endeavor.

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