August 24, 2005
My friend and colleague Johnnie Moore had this experience with Orange mobile: it claimed he managed to download 13 Mbyte in 11 hours one night (and he was asleep for half the time) and has charged him for it. When Johnnie queried it, the Orange rep told him that she could not elaborate on how he managed to do this for ‘data protection’ reasons. What a load of bollocks.
Consumers today are no longer impressed with technobabble-sounding cobblers. And Orange, a company I covered positively in 1995 and 1996, would not have lost Johnnie as a customer if it simply told him, ‘Mr Moore, I’m a lazy f***, and I can’t be bothered getting this ﬁle out.’
For this blog, I can say that Orange is certainly not a beyond-brand, and I urge others never to try them when Orange enters their country—or be on alert for these charges. Given the failure of Orange to provide Johnnie, in its oldest market, any evidence or basis to make this charge, then one likely conclusion is that Orange fakes its charges. Not saying it does, but it’s a reasonable conclusion when you hear the story.
Nonetheless, it exhibits a behaviour so already hated of telcos, and if a brand’s tasks include that of differentiation, then Orange has just failed through its customer service. Apparently, if the matter were ‘escalated’ (what, the ﬁrst person doesn’t have the authority to solve problems?), Johnnie has been told that he’s going to get the same answer.
But let’s talk about some English law. In England, as in many parts of the Commonwealth, there is a Sale of Goods Act 1979. Johnnie has the right to know what he is buying under a contract. Orange seems to think he doesn’t have that right. In England, there are consumer laws that expressly state that he has a right to know, too. Orange seems to think he doesn’t have that right. Now, say Johnnie’s cellphone was compromised by a hacker. He should have a right to sue for trespass or some other law. Orange seems to think he doesn’t have that right.
What if he was being hacked? And what if his cellphone was not alone? Well, Orange doesn’t care if its network is compromised, obviously. And surely Johnnie has the right to see private information about himself? What is ‘data protection’ meant to protect? Users’ privacy. Isn’t Johnnie a user?
So the conclusion I have to make is, whatever Orange is, the choice is either that of (a) a false-charging company; (b) one that does not respect or even care about English law or (c) one that does not take any responsibility for hackers on its own network—which, given the connectivity of the networks, applies to anyone else’s. In any case, it is a bad, bad ﬁrm, based on this experience. permalink
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