Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dear Orange.....

After three months of absence where I've been utterly bereft of any desire to blog due to the pace and complexity of life, it was going to take a special situation to stir me from my self-imposed writing exile. Thankfully the telecommunications industry came up trumps again.......

Dear Orange Customer Service Manager, 

I am writing to let you know about a complaint which has annoyed me so much that I nearly lost my composure a couple of times and smashed my own face in with a toffee hammer. I’m hoping that won’t be strictly necessary but I can tell you, after the morning I've had -  it’s not looking good.

In November I rather carelessly dropped my iphone into the toilet whilst attempting to multi-task. As you will be well aware, men are not renowned for this ability but I thought it within the realms of possibility to send a text whilst ‘feeding the fish’. (I’ve seen my wife do similar things, she’s amazing she can watch telly, text and glare at me in a disapproving way all at the same time)

But I was wrong, in fact so wrong that within seconds I’d dropped my phone into the bowl and was forced to plunge my hand into my own urine and rescue the said device from its ‘golden grave’. No man should ever have to immerse any part of his body into his own wee, it's primevally abhorrent but I know I only had myself to blame. (It could have been worse if you think about it for long enough......).

Naturally, the device was not keen on working. I’m not sure any device would. I’d had a couple of nights out previously and whilst I’m no chemical expert I think the contents of the bowl could have stripped rust from metal.

I tried all the usual barmy, crackpot internet gleaned remedies including storing the phone in the airing cupboard, inside a bag of dried rice and sacrificing a small animal to the Roman God Mobilius but my mind was always filled with the certainty that I was wasting my time. I did manage to get the phone to make a couple of warbly bleeps at one point but it was the kind of noise that an engineer designed the phone to make, purely to inform the user that it is never going to work properly ever again.

In desperation, I called your customer services department and without necessarily telling them about the pissy bit, I informed them that my phone had sustained water damage and was now deader than the Manchester United Premiership homecoming victory parade last season.

I was informed that for a princely sum of £150 I could have it replaced but I had to ensure that the old phone was returned via the same courier. Sure enough, it arrived the next day, delivered by a man who smelt worse than the phone I handed to him, but I gratefully received the new phone and thought nothing more about it.

Ten days later the old phone was returned to me in a tatty old envelope with my name and address scrawled on the outside in the kind of handwriting that suggests you may have outsourced your administration to a mental asylum. The kind that houses people who write their names on walls with their own shit.

The fact that the postman managed to deliver it to me is a testament to the service of the Royal Mail and I have suggested that this particular postman be immediately despatched to Egypt to examine the latest hieroglyphic artefacts. He is clearly a man of great talent.

I was perplexed at receiving the phone back and wondered if it perhaps had boomerang qualities but on inspection it was just an iphone that smelt vaguely of urine. (....and dried rice, not a brilliant combination in truth).

Two days later I received a very sternly worded letter advising me that I was to return the phone in the envelope provided (this time typed, nice touch...) as a matter of urgency and that failure to do so would result in an additional £300 being charged. I travel a lot with my job and tend to be stupidly busy but obviously I enjoy unnecessary trips to the post office as much as the next man, so off I went.

Again, I thought no more of it. Job done. Phone returned. A bit like last time, only this time with a bit more effort involved on my part.

You can imagine my delight when I opened my post this morning and found another package containing my old piss sodden phone, this time inside a jiffy bag. Tthis one had my name and address on it which appeared to have been written by my doctor. I’ve seen his prescriptions and god knows how anybody deciphers them but it was a lovely personal touch that I certainly appreciated.

I was still a little bemused at having it sent back to me again, especially as it arrived without explanation (or indeed a return envelope this time) and I even wondered if it had been condemned and returned to me due its unfortunate odour. So I called to find out......

Having negotiated the 4,678 options on your telephone system I realised that there was no option for ‘If you are constantly having a piss stained, broken phone sent back to you press number One’ option, I just pressed some random buttons and got through to some chap in the Philippines who couldn’t have sounded less interested even if he’d been practising for the ‘2012 Couldn’t give a shit award’. After a painful conversation he informed that I’d returned a different phone to the one issued to me and had been charged £450 instead of £150. I explained this was impossible and he then went on to tell me that he knew this because of some IMEI number or something... (I confess I was too busy looking for my toffee hammer and getting ready to spontaneously combust so I didn’t hear his explanation properly). I explained, in calm tones that this was impossible. The phone I had returned was the one provided to me 9 months previously. He asked if he could put me on hold and then promptly cut me off.

I immediately called back and through another sequence of random button presses I was put through to a lady who explained that she could do nothing as the ‘engineer’ was adamant that I had returned the wrong phone although he wouldn’t talk to me as he didn’t speak to customers and in any case he was busy writing names and addresses on the outside of shoddy envelopes.

Several phone calls later, I am still £300 down though I have spent the majority of the day talking to exceptionally polite and nice people in the Phillipines who are utterly devoid of any ability to help customers. So, you know, not all bad in all. All of this work stuff will have to wait.

I’d really appreciate a conversation with someone who is able to discuss my situation with me and resolve it to the point where I no longer want to spend the rest of my life wholly dedicated to persuading customers not to sign up with you. There are other things I’d still like to achieve in life but if that is my only course of action I’m fully prepared to commit.

It’s not about the money, it’s the principle. You have treated me like I’m dishonest. Which boils my piss. (though I won’t be dropping my new phone in it – You’d only send it back to me). 




  1. Laughing like a drain here, Alan! I did the same before Christmas but, luckily, the water was as yet uncontaminated! I tweeted you a link earlier to the story that appeared in my ramblings feature of our weekly members' newsletter -

    Nigel (hants_bluepants)

  2. Hi Al,
    Glad you are back ranting, I was getting worried and I thought you were softening up in your Forties. What you need is Virgin Media for all your comms needs (shameless plug)

  3. Hi Jimmy, No chance. If anything I'm getting grumpier. History suggests once I start ranting I can't stop so I'm sure there will be more soon. I'm awaiting a response from the exec at Orange.....


    1. I notice on your BT rant that you are contactable on your "wholly reliable Mobile phone". so in the past the future was orange, so what is the present?

  4. Hi Al did your letter get any results

  5. Just this morning Jimmy, new phone arrived accompanied by a call from the Chairmans office. They said they'd had a good laugh at my letter and would be replacing my 'piss sodden' phone for a new one and a credit for the whole amount. job done!

    1. Good result, the sarcasm gene comes in handy from time to time.

  6. Your letters are fantastic - a bit of humour is always good to soften the rantiness, and get results :)