Orange has cancelled its plans to increase its charges on calls made outside of minute bundles, as reports of churn in retail stores surface.
Orange has been informing its customers via text messageover the past two weeks, it will be increasing its minimum call charge from 5p per minute to 15p per minute for calls which have exceed the customer bundled allowance, from September 15.
International call charges to Europe were also planned to increase from 45p per minute to 60p per minute, with all other countries rising 10p to £1 per minute.
Orange claim its plans have now been shelved due to confusion subsequently experienced by its customers from the text received but refused to rule out any future price changes.
The proposed price increase would have voided the terms and conditions for all contracts signed prior to the September 15 switch, which would allow customers the ability to terminate their contract mid-term.
Orange’s terms and conditions state customers could cancel their contract ‘In an excessive increase in the charges or changes that alter your rights under this contract to your detriment.’
Mobile News understands a number of retail staff in retailers such as Carphone Warehouse have been using this as a way of getting customers to cancel existing contracts, and then re-signing them to a new contract on a different network. Thus giving the sales person an extra new contract to their sales target and the customer a brand new handset.
Mobile News also understands a number of dealers have taken out contracts themselves, and then cancelling them as a result of the terms and conditions breach to obtain free handsets. Orange does not offer a 14-day cancellation period on contracts.
One Carphone Warehouse staffer said: “I had a call from another store telling us we could cancel Orange contracts and it turned out to be true. Since we found out we have been using it as a way of getting new business and so have many other stores.”
An Orange staffer said: “We have had a few customers come in and ask if it’s true they can take out a contract then cancel and keep the handset.
“I know some staff have been using it as a selling technique. Orange has said customers that do cancel will not be able to take out an Orange deal at a later date.”
Orange told Mobile News last month: “Whilst our terms and conditions do allow customers to terminate their contract as a result of this change, we are confident that the majority of our customers will not be affected by this because of the nature of their talk plans and their usage.”
A Orange spokesperson said yesterday: “In listening to our customers it became clear that some of them found the messages sent to announce these changes confusing about who would be affected and how. This is obviously not our intention and therefore we have decided not to go ahead with the proposed changes.
“It is normal practice for businesses to make pricing changes, and whilst we clearly cannot rule out any future changes we know that transparency and consistency in our policies is extremely important to our customers.
“Orange apologises to those customers who found the messages unclear and any subsequent misunderstanding this has caused.”