I’ve used HOW MUCH data? Orange, you are wrong AGAIN

I’ve blogged about Orange in the past, when it scrapped my email account without telling me.

It took a long time to trust the company again (actually, I’ve never really trusted it since).

When I swapped phones and renewed my contract in January (yes, stupidly staying with Orange, against my better judgment), I chose an HTC Desire with 500MB data allowance per month.

I asked for my new contract details to be emailed or sent via post to me. I received nothing.

I know that 500MB is not much data, but when I used 1g in the first month, I spoke to someone in customer services who told me not to upload photos, keep Facebook and Twitter to a minimum and not use apps like Sky and BBC news because they are data-heavy. He even laughed, saying “It’s only cost you £7.93 because of the package you are on, otherwise it’d be thousands.”

I laughed, too.

Not anymore. Today, I received this letter in the post:

(click on image to make it readable)

First reactions? Bewilderment, shaking, tears … How can this be possible?

What?! This is all but impossible. I’d heeded the advice of the Orange adviser and cut down my usage – checking on my phone every so often to see if I was within limits.

After a call to customer services, I must admit I’m still not much the wiser (I was not in the right frame of mind for speaking to them). I was told there is a known “issue” with HTCs as they keep downloading data in the background when you aren’t using your phone. (Really? Has anyone else had this problem?).

I was told I’d used a phenomenal amount of data – 2,000 somethings were mentioned – I thought she said MB, but now wonder if she actually said gigabytes.

I was also told that my paltry 500MB data allowance had been removed and that I had 500MG allowance to access email. How so? I’d not asked for it to be removed. I want the evidence that I did ask for it to be taken off.

The customer service adviser told me to cancel my direct debit, pay the £21.69 I owed for my talk package. A report has been sent to the recalculation department and I was told “not to worry” because it would be sorted.

I’m sure it will be, but it yet ANOTHER error by Orange – don’t even get me started on my daughter’s pay as you go Orange phone (which we are now moving to another provider).

Orange – you are an absolute disgrace.

Sort it. And do it quickly.

UPDATE: March 19

Seems my phone has continued to chew data (980MB in a week), despite my having taken all the advice from Orange on changing the settings so that the phone would not continuously update.

I was advised by someone in a customer services today that they switch off GPRS – hardly a great solution. I might as well have a £5 phone. He also told me they don’t cap data because “they want you to use your phone”. Although he admitted it would make sense if they did so.

As the original query is still with the recalculation department, I have to wait to see what comes back. One thing is for sure, I will be doing what I can get have this contract declared null and void.

25 thoughts on “I’ve used HOW MUCH data? Orange, you are wrong AGAIN

  1. Andrew

    Ouch 🙁 I’ve spent the last year with Giffgaff, which despite the dubious name is wholly owned by 02. £10 a month will get you unlimited texts and data – so long as you don’t try and use your phone as a modem for a laptop and it’s all for “non commercial” use.


    There’s no specified cap on “unlimited” – and according to the T&Cs “we do allow continuous streaming of audio/video content”.

  2. stymaster

    I was with Orange over ten years ago: never again. I got a bill for £700, for calls supposedly made from my handset from Germany, with calls made from the Worcester area 15 minutes later from the same handset, when international roaming was not even enabled.

    It took months to sort out. Baliffs were threatened, I got cut off regularly. Orange customer ‘services’? I had a handsfree kit in the car at that time, so called up as I left home. I listened to the hold music all the way to work- almost an hour’s drive. Every time I get frustrated by Vodafone’s Indian call centre, I remind myself of the useless ******* at Orange, and thank myself for ditching them.

    The second thing here is that I’m feeling less like a luddite by making my phone ask permission before it goes online: a habit I’ve had from before the days of inclusive data.

  3. Jayne Post author

    Thanks for reading and commenting, stymaster, Nigel and Andrew.
    I am calming down slightly and realise that my predicament – while annoying, infuriating and vile (for me) – is small fry compared to what else is happening in the world.
    That notwithstanding, it doesn’t excuse bad customer service, useless communications and utterly shambolic billing systems.
    I desperately hope it will be sorted – and quickly. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    (BTW – I’ve turned off syncing and settings that allow data updates when you are asleep. I also checked my usage via my phone occasionally. Will now be documenting changes when I do go on to see)

  4. Pingback: Got a deal with Orange? Think again… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  5. Kenny cryans

    All my credit has disappeared today £26.61 and all my free internet. Spoken to 450 today but still no answer. thay are crap

    1. Jayne Post author

      Sorry to read you have had problems, too. Keep going with the complaint – my friend had something similar with her daughter’s phone and it was sorted (eventually). If you are on Twitter, ask @Orangehelpers to look into it, too

  6. Mark

    I have a talkshare business contract with orange and have two phones on it, both phones have a 500mb data bundle, this last year is the first time we have had an android phone. Today i just happened to have a problem with my phone so got a couple of invoices out to get the number for orange customer services, too my horror i have a £600 bill over two invoices (two months) its usually about £60 per month. When i queried it with ornage they said it was my wifes phone an HTC Wildfire which had gone way over the 500mb, he said 744mb i dont know wether he meant plus the 500mb bundle ?? i said that is impossible as we are hardly on it at all. The only thing is that my wife had downloaded some songs (92) of an MP3 app, surely this wouldnt raise my bill from £60 a month to £300 per month ??? I am not very acute with these android phones and any advice would be greatful.
    My case has been referred to another department now but how can i prove we havent used this amount of data?? I was also told by customer services to turn off ‘background data.’ Why didnt they tell us this when wegot the phone!!

    1. Jayne Post author

      Hi Mark,

      I meant to update this blog post, but time ran away with me.

      My problem was rectified after it went to the recalc dept, although it did take about 6 weeks.

      I learned (the hard way!) that the problem with Android phones is the way that they constantly eat data, so your 500mb bundle doesn’t go very far. Even when it isn’t being used, it is updating.

      My advice was to download Advanced Task Killer as this stops the data being chewed. Also, switch off background syncing and switch off the internet (I only turn it on now when I need it). I also downloaded Stats so I can keep an eye on what my usage is (I set my own daily limits for mobile internet usage, so if I get anywhere near my limit I can switch it off again). I use wifi whenever possible (usually in the house, though – still haven’t managed to get wifi elsewhere!).

      When I spoke to Orange about this – several times – it seems to be very common. But why they don’t warn people about this when they sign up to Android phones is another matter.

      Another of my gripes with Orange was that after reading the instruction booklet that comes with the phone, which said that it was very data hungry, I contacted Orange to see how to reduce usage. The advice I was given was basically rubbish, which is why I ended up with the bill I did.

      Is your phone on a business tariff? Mine is. This led to the comment about not bothering to warn customers if they are reaching their data limit (hence the “We want you to use your phone” comment).

      It isn’t good enough.

      I hope it gets sorted – please let me know how you get on.

  7. Mark

    Hi Jayne
    Really glad that your problem is sorted for you. Yes mine is a business tarrif. I have just found out from orange that this is a constant problem from HTC phones and all money is being claimed back from them. Apparently we are talking 100’s of thousands of customers with problems like ours.
    Advanced task killer was on both of our phones from day 1, so i dont know what happened there? Apparently my wifes phone had used up all its entire bundle allocation within 3 days of getting the phone, on the first bill, so this is obviously wrong. we have cancelled the internet on both phones now, we do not want anything happening like this again. And been advised to cancel the direct debit, so the last invoice total doesnt go out, and just pay our normal phone/text tariff.
    I will let you know how we get on, when orange come back to us.

    1. Jayne Post author

      Hi Mark,

      How odd that with Advanced Task Killer installed that something should still go wrong. Orange seems to be wasting a lot of time chasing its tail over Android issues. It’s hardly the best way to deal with the problem, is it?

      I had to get rid of the internet altogether when the problem was being sorted, which defeats the object of having a decent phone, doesn’t it? When the problem was eventually sorted, my usage was tracked for a month by the customer service rep to see if any odd things came up. It didn’t, so I assume everything I downloaded (+ wifi usage) solved it.

      As regards direct debit – good idea. I pay at the end of the month now, especially as I was charged by my bank for not having sufficient funds (I didn’t have £5,500 in my account. Well, I never).

      Let me know how it goes.

  8. helen acock

    Hi Jayne

    Help PLEASE …………..

    £1,232,48 bill requested

    In a way I am feel that at least I can share the pain with others and I will not give in.

    Account in my name but my son is the third party user.

    So firstly:

    April 11 he was asked to upgrade, very nice advisor said he really should get the HTC Desire this is the best phone ever. He is a business customer and struggling at the moment as a self employed builder. Told UNLIMITED data access and he would love this !!

    May 11. £,1,200.03 taken out of his account by direct debit no notive given. Panic stress and tears. For this one Orange admitted that they had forgotten to put the bundle on.

    June 11 £1,232,43 Bill now Orange say he has exceeded what was stated as unimited (750 Mb), he has used it very little and simply does not understand what has happened. He cant pay unless he sells his car and then he cannot work.

    The HTC has a data problem and I am taking this up with BBC Watchdog and the Gov Consumer Advice. I am thinking of going to one of the Tabloids as well. Anyone want to join me?

    He has always paid £40 a month what is going on.

    Jayne, how are you managing this, I just dont know what to do, yesterday they cut his phone off. Your advice is most welcome.

    Thinking of you


    1. Jayne Post author

      Hi Helen,

      This is awful. It sounds as if you have been badly advised (as I was, as a business customer). Is the recalculation dept dealing with this? And do you have a named customer adviser who is helping with your inquiry?

      Have they given you a reason as to why the phone has been cancelled? This seems draconian in the circumstances, especially as it is under investigation.

      Call them back, ask for the internet/GPRS to be removed from the phone while the data investigation is carried out. Offer to pay the normal monthly telephone charge of £40 (which is what I did, so I wasn’t in debt to them with phone usage.

      Take notes every time you call and ensure you date it and make a note of the time of the call and to whom you spoke.

      I simply don’t understand why Orange isn’t advising customers correctly when handing out Android phones.

      In the meantime, I have tweeted Orangehelpers on Twitter to alert them to your concerns and sent them the link so they can read what has happened to you (and Mark, whose comments are also on here).

      Please do keep me informed as to what’s going on.


  9. Galaxypuppet

    Hi Guys.

    Interesting and distressing reading. I’d just like to elaborate a little about advanced task killer which does indeed help but I thought I’d give some more info.

    With an Android phone you have ‘applications’ (apps) and ‘services’. Most people are familiar with apps these days. The thing is, it’s not necessary by design to have a quit function on apps, which is at odds with how most people are used to using a computer, as the Android system ‘tidies itself up.’ This is great from a system design point of view, and very efficient, but background apps can indeed use data.

    This is where ‘task killers’ come in handy, and they have the ability to ‘kill’ running applications, which can reduce data consumption.

    I would however like to explain about services. If you can imagine a chores list inside your phone what says:

    Check email
    Check Twitter
    Check Facebook updates
    Check Weather updates
    Check SMS messages
    Check Instant messages

    Of course, the number of items on your phones list depends on how hard you make it work (my list includes many more things than this – resulting in a shorter batter life too)

    Of course, the actual amount of data that your phone uses to work through the list is relatively minimal, but depending on the results may result in higher data consumption, for example, if your phone finds that you do have new email it will then proceed to download the first part of them (the headers) and then alert you to their presence.

    Orange (as well as other operators) will advise you to turn off some of these services, such as weather updates and email synchronisation which will dramatically reduce the amount of background data used.

    This can be further demonstrated when using a task killer. If you kill all currently operatinf applications, and then wait a minute or so, you’ll see that some of them have opened again. This may be explained by ‘services’ – whereby the phone has deemed that those apps need to interact with the internet for whatever reason and opened them in the background.

    *This explanation is not 100% accurate, but for the reasons of explaining how data usage works I believe it to be sufficient.


    I would STRONGLY advise that all Orange Android (and iOS) download the EXCELLENT “Your Orange” application which can keep you up to date with how much data you have consumed, as well as any charges incurred not covered by your talkplan, you can find it here:


    (though they seem to be experiencing a few technical difficulties, given the recent feedback on marketplace)

    Hope this helps!


  10. Mark

    Hi Guys

    Helen this is terrible what has happened to you, i know exactly how your son feels, i too am self employed and this last year has been a real strain on finances, so much so to me that i havent been able to pay myself since before christmas. And then this with Orange, its enough to tip you over the edge!!
    Anway this is what has happened to me since my last post: 22nd June 2011 @ 11.53- Spoke to a rep from Customer services. Today i rang back Orange to clarify what they had told me yesterday, as the shock had seriously had an effect on me, and i needed to know which department my case had been referred to, she told me that it said on their system that it had been passed onto another department but didn’t say which??? She told me that she would get back to me later on when she had found out. She also told me that all HTC phones supplied by Orange had a problem with using data in the background, and Orange were in process of claiming back all monies from HTC, thousands of customers had been effected by this problem, and she was sure my problem would be sorted out. She looked at my details and said to me that something had definitely gone wrong as my data quota had all been used up by day 3 of receiving the phone from orange and it must have been a programme on the phone, using all the data mb useage, when we received it. I was also confused with the itemised bill about inclusive and non inclusive megabytes useage, she tried to explain, but i couldn’t understand why i had paid for a 500mb bundle and due to starting halfway through a month had been charged twice for the bundle i.e. £1.98 and 4.25 + vat and used 462.0116 mb and still been charged for 228.6782mb has these were non inclusive m b i.e.
    Data Summary
    Inclusive mb used 233.333
    Non inclusive mb used 228.6782
    Total mb 462.116

    She assured me that this was right and nothing looked out of place on the bill. She said she would ring me back later to tell me if she had heard anything or not for my peace of mind and gave me her extension number just in case.
    I never heard anything that day.

    23rd June 2011 @ 10.07- Rang orange again to try and talk to the rep i spoke to yesterday, the operative could not get through to her so sent her an e mail to ring me back, i did not hear anything for the rest of the day.

    I shall try again today, i am also keeping a log / diary of everything that happens for future use. Something definately needs sorting out with this problem this is just a cash trap for unsuspecting customers!!

  11. helen acock

    Thank you Jayne and all for responding to my comments they are so helpful.

    I do have some good news I think ! after I noted Jaynes and others issues with Orange I decided to contact the CEO Mr Tom Alexander and copy him into all the links above with the same concerns of huge bills. They got things moving very quickly so I recommend that to anyone.

    I have today received a response from him and an expert IT manager who, having looked into the data find that whilst usage was high there were some apps that were constantly downloading onto my sons phone. They also admitted that they used the term ‘unlimited’ and that Orange do not give any information on the risks associated with these phones and/or sites such as utube or video streaming which also eat the Mb’s.

    Their decision is to credit my account in full but I will not feel completely happy until I see this in writing.

    I am keeping a log of all communication as Orange are not good at putting anything in writing. The recalc team still have to agree this. What is going on though, I just do not want this to happen to anyone else. Like Mark, I cannot work out inclusive and non inclusive, Orange must be making millions here. The Android phones need to come with a warning and all risks highlighted before they are sold to unsuspecting customers.

    Mark, it is hard times and this really did tip my son over the edge, he was unable to sleep and as a self employed young 20 year old builder, he found it difficult to cope with. Customers have been late paying him so to have over £1000 go from his account was devastating. Although I think this may be solved, it does not take away the stress over the last few weeks and just hope this is the end.

    I will keep checking the blogs in the hope that everything is sorted out for everyone.

    Thanks again and it shows how we do need to share problems and understand the wider issues.

    Kind Regards

    Helen A

  12. Sam

    I am so glad i am not the only person they have tried telling me i have gone over 5,000 texts on my contract… and i only get 300 texts a month i have had my contract since febuary and have never gone over untill a few months ago which is rather convienent since i still text the same amount of messages.. i have got a friend to try and deal with the case as he is lawyer and they have told him this as i gave him third party acces to my orange account.. and on my contract the guy in the orange store in nottingham has wrote on i have unlimited texts messages in his own hand writing but apprently on the racoon deal they do not do this although the website says different.. i do not get this at all but im going to fight this untill i get some kind of compensation anyway.. and worst of all the first company they passed the debt collection too refused to deal with it after i spoke to them.. and they sent it out to somebody else who they dont normally use which they are not allowed to!! i will probably not use orange again!!

  13. Vincent

    Hello everyone,
    interesting reading indeed. I have a small business and took out a business plan about a year and a half ago. I was very insistent with the Orange Sales team that the monthly amount would suit my needs and that I would not need to pay any further charges, as I needed to keep a cap on my outgoings. I was assured by the member of staff that there was “no way” I would use more than the monthly allowance. All good so far. I liked the handset and the main attraction was that I could access the internet if I needed to and keep in contact with my clients, as one does. In September of this year I was on holiday with my family and went to withdraw some cash from the ATM and realized that the amount in the account was far lower then expected. I drove 30 miles to the nearest branch and found that Orange had taken over £1200 for one month. There was an Orange shop just down the road so I went in and they had no answers so phoned through to Customer support. they told me that this was legitimate use and I had to pay it. My usage was the same as usual, I had not been abroad, not downloaded anything large etc. As far as I was concerned, I should have been well within my limit. I asked whether there could be anything on my phone that could be causing this, such as an app or virus. I was told that, no, that doesn’t happen on HTC handsets. I now realize this was either a blatant lie, or not something the customer support advisor was aware of. She said, and I quote “We have not seen anything like this before”. This, I have to assume, was untrue. I reeled off what I had on the phone and She said of one app, ‘that’s it! that will be using obscene amounts of data’. completely contradicting her earlier statement. I removed it there and then and She advised me to claw back the D/D with my Bank and I assumed that would be the end of it. This week I received a bill for £5020! They have barred all calls from or to my phone, so no-one can contact me for work, the loss of business is huge! In addition, if I have to change my mobile number, I have to have vehicles re-signwritten, new stationary, flyers and internet advertising on literally thousands of websites that advertise our services. At no time was there any indication that this could happen during signup or during the intervening period. The thing that mystifies me still is that this huge data usage is only over the last three months and not at all at any time before. I believe that I have been sold goods that are not fit for the purpose they were intended, and that I have been misled by Orange staff. I have cancelled the D/D, but am willing to pay the normal monthly charge, with an alternative handset.I will be contacting the CEO of Orange directly and referring him to this site and the experiences of you all, and to a host of other sites with similar stories.It is pointless contacting Customer Services, as they neither have the inclination or ability to do anything and they will say literally the first thing that comes into their head.Even though it seems, from this site and many others, such as the Android Forum, that they have known about this problem for some time. We have £2million worth of legal fees insurance as a business and if I have to make this into a test case, I will.
    Best wishes All.

  14. Dave Healy

    Hi I have recieved a huge bill off Orange using my HTC Phone £2000,contracted for around £30 a month.This was because i went to Spain and it was romeing, Orange say. They have now cut my mobile off and i am a self emloyed roofer with this number on all my advertisments eg. Yellow pages, local advertising. I have continued to pay my monthly bills, but they said i need to pay bill or i wont get my buisness number back. Can anyone help!

  15. Alan Severn

    Ended contract for phone and internet. Got final invoice next month and Orange had stopped data staright away without waiting for end of contract – £333 foe 17Mb when I should get 500Mb free for the duration of contract.
    Rang Orange who stonewalled me at their Call Centre. Eventually got agreement that they at fault. They advised not to pay bill and to end DD before next collection date. Ring them next month when all should be sorted; that time is today 16th May. What’s the betting they stonewall me again and create frustration. Dreading the call and their response.

  16. Chris Vaughan

    I am not ever going to be on orange network again, I was charged £2,697 December 2010, my phone was switched off in my suitcase when I was visiting family in Austraila. I came home to the UK too the shock of receiving this bill, I rang orange and asked what it was all about????

    My phone was off. They said my phone connects to the internet to receive emails, facebook, twitter app updates etc even if the phone was off. I wasnt ever told this

    reply from orange you were using your phone whilst abroad, after two months of fighting my case, they offered to knock £100 from my bill —— WHAT A JOKE!!

    Soon after I recieved a letter saying they were going to pass my outstanding debt to a baylifting company and I could get black listed. Also my parents as I lived there at the time.
    Contacting orange to organise a Payment plan they gave me poor options :
    – Still to pay my monthly charge plus £125 + to cover the debt, I told the customer service team I could not pay this amount. They replied their is nothing they could do. basically it is what it is.

    I even when down the route of telling them I would leave my job and pay them a pound a week, and they would’nt and didnt care.

    Over a space of two weeks I must have spoken to 20-30 different people throughout Orange Customer Service and Orange Finance dept.
    Finally, I was lucky that my parents were able to help me out and paid the outstanding bill, but only as they didnt want to be black-listed. I worked Monday-Friday in my job plus any extra jobs that I could get Week nights and weekends. This nearly ruined the relationship with my family and my partner.

    All because My phone was switched off in my suitcase in Austraila, and was contecting to the internet . THANKS ORANGE AS YOU RUINED MY CHRISTMAS 2010 and PUT MAJOR STRAINS ON MY FAMILY AND WORK LIFE.

    I hope that anybody who reads this doesnt use Orange mobile network and if you do I hope this never happens to you.

  17. Andrew Rudd

    I had a £980 bill for data that my htc desire was using when turned off at night, after months of arguing and speaking to 30+ people from orange they finally conceeded and knocked the bill off as a “good will gesture” what a joke. ive just had another bill about 10 months later for £260 that the same phone has supposidly used without me knowing. In the long winded process of arguing with those clowns again, wish me luck. and for the record, if anyone reading this is considering becoming an orange customer I would seriously suggest you have a word with yourself. Orange don’t care about its customers, do the sensible thing and go with another service provider or go pay as you go to avoid all this hassle. wish I did.

  18. Will

    Another shocking aspect is how much the operators are STILL allowed to charge for data. Pounds per megabyte? It’s 2012. Phones can stream HD video.

    The margins for mobile operators are tiny, you know.

    *cough* bullsh*t *cough*

  19. russ peck

    i made the mistake of having a orange business contract,when i asked for my pac code to move to t-mobile! my phone lost it’s signal and my direct debit came out a week early all on the same day? coincidence? i think not! when i rang them they said my phone must be broke? so i put my sim in another phone and guess what it still has no signal!! i wonder if i can take my number to t-mobile now? have to wait till i get new sim then i will find out? luckly 99% of my customers ring on my landline and i only have mobile number on business cards so im not worried!
    i will never use them again thats for sure!


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