Cellular Agony

Dealing with Phone Companies

Posts Tagged ‘Orange’

Sad and Expected Update

Posted by Paula on June 23, 2011

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. The fact is, we moved 8 lines to Pelephone and have been immensely satisfied with their service. What a refreshing break from the horrors of dealing with Orange and Partner!

Pelephone made an accounting error – they took about 4,000 NIS from our account without permission. It literally made my husband sick. Not again. Oh God, I thought, not again! We called them up – we sent emails – no one got back to us. This can’t be happening again, we thought. Do I need to add a page for Pelephone here?

And then – they answered. They came to a meeting – and even before they did, they admitted they made a mistake and credited us for the amount. No, this is not Orange and no, this is not happening again.

See, there is life – and justice – after dealing with Orange. We still technically have 8 lines with Orange, but since they cut them off, we have yet to understand why we should have to pay for them – and, in fact, Orange can take those numbers and do whatever they want. All the people have replaced their service with another and gone to the tremendous inconvenience of telling everyone their new numbers.

Orange – you are such a failure!

As to the update – we got a letter from a lawyer from Orange. When we called, we were told we could not speak to the lawyer, but could talk to Stella. She handles the letters.

“Are you a lawyer?” we asked her.

“No,” she answered.

“Fine, we want to speak to the lawyer who sent us the letter.”

A week later, the lawyer finally called and I told her to read this blog, to read the emails, to be prepared to explain why on the same day we got a letter from the lawyer saying we owed 85,000 NIS, we got a bill from Orange saying we owed 48,000 NIS.

Be prepared, I said to her, to explain how Orange took 16 lines and turned them into 75 – and billed for all of them long after they were told about the dishonest of their representatives.

Be prepared, I told her with anger, to deal with the fury for the agony your client has caused, the damage.

Be prepared to explain the forgeries – the illegal use of electronic signatures and the straight outright forgery of my name on one document.

Be prepared.

She called back to schedule a meeting next week with a representative of Partner.

They will come to our offices – hopefully prepared – I know we will be. Prepared with all the facts, evidence, and anger.

Posted in Orange Harassment, Towards Justice, Towards Justice, Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Day This Goes to Court

Posted by Paula on February 10, 2011

I keep imagining having to explain this whole situation with Orange in court.

“So what happened?” the judge asks.

“Well, we decided to move to Orange. We had 16 Cellcom lines and when the smoke had cleared, we had 74.”

“I’m sorry,” the judge says, “I didn’t hear you. Could you repeat that?”

And so I explain again, that which we cannot understand ourselves. The judge sits there for a moment staring at us. He turns to the lawyers for Orange, sitting there looking so serious with their stacks of paper and their black suits.

“Do you have something to say to this?” the judge asks.

“Your Honor,” says the Orange lawyer, “they signed the contract. Surely they must know what they signed.”

The judge looks at the Orange lawyer. Having signed his own share of these ridiculous contracts, he says, “have you ever read one of these contracts? No one can read them. Did your client take an order for 16 lines and turn them into 74?”

“Well, your honor, there does seem to be 74 lines on the bill and it could be…”

But the judge cuts him off and turns back to us. “How many lines do you have?”

“Well, we have 8 lines and my parents have two lines and a former employee of ours has 5 lines and we have one spare. So 16 lines. And we got phones for all of them – but they are charging us for 49 pieces of equipment.”

“FORTY-NINE?” the judge shouts. Already he turns to the Orange lawyers. “FORTY-NINE? For 16 lines?”

“Your honor,” the Orange lawyer starts again but the judge has already turned to us and instructed us to continue.

“Then there’s the line that was billed thousands of shekels but we never even got it. We don’t have that number. And we agreed to 27 agurot per minute and they charged us 70 agurot.”

The judge looks to the lawyer but before they can say anything, the judge holds up his hand and turns back to us. “go on.”

“And we signed up for a virtual network so there would be limited free calls for everyone within our group, but they never gave us credit for that.

“And they told us we could have 10 free numbers – that would be included in the virtual network and we gave them the numbers, but they never credited us for those calls.

“And they billed us for machines we never got – the proof is that in 16 months, we never used them.

“Oh, and they took my husband’s signature, the electronic one, and they cut and pasted it onto more than 40 pages of a contract without telling us.”

The judge looks at the lawyers as he speaks to me, “they did?”

“Yes, your honor,” I respond. “And they signed my name for me.”

“Really?” says the judge.

“Oh yes, just look at the papers, it’s so obvious even a child can see the obvious fraud,” I continue. “And when we tried to settle it, they shut our phones without any warning.”

By now, the entire courtroom is staring at the Orange lawyers. “No warning?” the judge echoes.

“None – not to our son who is a soldier!” I hear a collective gasp from the people in the room; even the judge looks angry.

“And my elderly parents were cut off and my youngest daughter.

“And my older son is an ambulance volunteer and they need to call him if there is an emergency.

“And my youngest son learns away from home and I couldn’t call him.”

“What did you do?” the judge asked.

“What could I do? I asked Orange to at least open the phones for incoming calls so that we could call the person from another line. Or if my father got separated from my mother, we could call him. But they refused. So we went out and bought new phones for the most critical lines. Then we found these amazing guys who convinced Orange to open a few lines for two weeks while they figured out the accounting and we sent them a letter from a lawyer telling them exactly how much damage they were causing our business and our family – but Orange never even bothered to answer that letter. Finally, we got someone on the line and they agreed they’d open those few lines in 30 minutes. Of course, they messed that up too.”

“Of course they did,” agrees the judge. “What did they do?”

“Well,” I say with my first smile of the day, “they opened one line completely by mistake – in and out calls; and the other lines it took them 3 hours to open for incoming only. But they shut them again after two weeks even to that.

“Oh, and when they didn’t even answer our letter, we did what we said we would – we moved the critical lines to Pelephone and demanded Orange open our phones to other SIM cards. That IS the law,” I told the judge.

“Yes, it is. Can I assume they did not do that?” the judge will ask me.

“Well, it took them days. First they said “maybe tomorrow or Sunday. Then on Sunday they said they meant the NEXT Sunday. Then they opened most of the phones, but not mine.

“So my son had to call them almost every day. They said they wouldn’t open my phone unless I paid what we owe them. I tried to explain that we don’t even OWE them money and about those 74 lines but they didn’t care. So my son really yelled and finally, after three weeks, my phone was unlocked.”

“So,” says the judge as he turns to the Orange lawyers, “we’ve got fraud, forgery, over-billing, lying. Failing to follow Ministry of Communications laws regarding unlocking phones and apparently a representative who doesn’t know how to count,” he says as he turns to Gal, sitting there next to the lawyers. Gal’s face is all red and for once, he isn’t charming and smiling at all.

I could continue this fantasy, but there’s no reason. Soon enough, Orange will hear all of this and more and though I don’t expect any judge in Israel to act as this one does in my story; I have no doubt that the judge will be as disgusted as so many others have been.

The law in Israel requires everyone to do their best to minimize damages – Orange did everything that they could, in spite and malice, to increase the damages. This is true in how they cut our phones; this is true in how they took three weeks to unlock my iPhone.

“Did your client take an order for 16 lines and turn them into 74?” – oh yes, they did. That…and so much more.

I am confident that when this comes to court, a competent judge will see the fraud, the forgery, the lies.

And I am confident that Orange will be stupid enough to let this go to court without offering us a reasonable settlement.

Posted in Lawsuit, Orange Partner Agony, Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

THREE Weeks to Open a Phone

Posted by Paula on February 9, 2011

That’s right. According to Israeli law, cellular phone companies have no right to hold your phone hostage. They must now open them for free.

So, as law-abiding citizens, we approached Orange and asked them to open our phones. After weeks of procrastinating and giving us the codes a few at a time and dragging it out, they admitted the truth – they are doing this on purpose. They refused to open my iPhone until I paid my bill.

“You are breaking the law,” I told the support person. “Honestly and truly. And we don’t even OWE Orange money.”

Days later. More calls. Almost daily, my son has been calling and spending endless amounts of time trying to get my phone opened while I walk around with an old phone. I have been carrying my iPhone around for the Contacts. Carrying the new phone to call people.

Finally today, after three full weeks, we finally got my phone opened. It is a small victory but I’ll take it as the first of many to come.

When I first started this battle. All I wanted was for Orange to fix the billing and Gal’s lies. After a while and more damage, I just wanted out.

Tell them to take their stinking phones and their stinking service, I told our wonder workers. I don’t owe them; they don’t have to pay me – just end this agony.

As the manager on the phone nastily told my son the other day in yet another lie (he claimed they had offered to cancel the dozens of lines they incorrectly were charging us for) – that offer is off the table.

I have never, in 50 years of living, been so determined. What Orange has done to us is illegal. But more, it is obscene. It is an abomination, a betrayal of our trust.

It is theft of time, of money. And for once, for once, we will sue them, we will beg the courts to understand the damages they have caused to our lives, to our family, to our business.

Just today, my daughter’s teacher said – I was trying to reach you for a few weeks and couldn’t get through. Orange, I explained – but now things are fine. We are will Pelephone.

“WHAT is with your phone?” a colleague asked me. I am in the midst of planning a national conference. “How can you close your phone?” she asked.

I didn’t close it, I explained – Orange did. I told her about the blog; I told her what Orange had done. Two simple words were her response, “Sue them.”

From here to the next world and back again, I responded.

Posted in Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

The Sins I Won’t Forget

Posted by Paula on January 11, 2011

My father has been forgetting things lately and sometimes gets confused where he is and where he is supposed to be. This morning, he drove my mother to one location and they agreed he would pick her up a few hours later.

Around 1:00 p.m., I got a call from a woman at the place where my mother was teaching, “Can you call your mother right now? She needs to talk to you.”

Now a normal person would wonder why my mother didn’t just simply call me, rather than ask someone to have me call her. Of course, a normal person wouldn’t expect the kind of horrible treatment and customer service we have received from Orange. No, my mother can’t call me because Orange cut our ability to make outgoing calls. And even though they still – more than a week later, haven’t bothered to provide us with all the accounting reports we need and didn’t bother to answer my letter or the letter from my lawyer, still, no service.

So I called my mother – more concerned with her than with wondering, why again, a corporation would invite such bad publicity. “I don’t know where Daddy is!” My mother began.

Trying to calm her on one line, I quickly went into my contacts, found the number on my all-but-useless Orange iPhone and dialed it on my second line (thanks for nothing, Orange; thanks, Cellcom and I am SO sorry we ever moved to Orange!).

My father answered right away. That was the lucky break. He had gotten confused and was waiting in a parking lot 30 minutes away – another place where they often meet, rather than where they had agreed in the morning.

How humiliating for my mother to have to ask someone to call me to ask me to call her.

How incredibly dangerous it is that my father was unable to call out and so was left to stand there wondering where my mother was.

How upsetting to my mother that she had to wonder where my father was.

How incredibly like Orange to not care about the damage they are causing so many people.

Who in God’s name would ever choose to deal with a company as insensitive as this one is beyond my imagination. I long for the day I am so done with this atrocious company and their utterly horrendous customer service.


Posted in Orange Harassment, Orange Partner Agony, Towards Resolution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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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