Orange axes ‘free broadband’, can you reclaim yours?

by , Acting Deputy Home Editor Technology 1 November 2012
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Is Orange trying to take away your ‘free home broadband’, after promising you could keep it if you renewed your mobile phone contract? Here’s how I got Orange to give it back…

Orange logo

Many Orange customers aren’t happy, as they think Orange has gone back on its promise of free broadband. You’ll now have to sign up to Orange’s line rental if you want to keep it.

Orange says the deal was axed as it was a ‘time-limited offer’ and that your contract’s T&Cs ‘reserved the right to replace, amend or withdraw this offer on reasonable notice’. I don’t think that’s good enough.

Orange told me I’d get free broadband

I’ve been a loyal Orange customer for as long as I can remember, and have benefited from its ‘free broadband’ for at least my last three contracts.

So, when I signed up to a new two-year contract in January, finally succumbing to the lure of the pricier iPhone deal, I made absolutely sure that I would be able to keep my free broadband if I agreed to the contract. I reasoned with myself that the broadband element was worth around £10 a month, so with that taken into account I was getting a good deal. Orange agreed I could keep my free broadband.

Naturally, when I received a letter months later from Orange, politely informing me that it would be withdrawing my free broadband (unless I paid an extra £14 a month for an Orange landline) I was quite surprised. And angry. How could this be allowed?

The fact I can clearly remember Orange’s salesperson stating that I could keep the free broadband, which is what convinced me to take the deal, makes me feel I was mis-sold my contract. There’s no indication yet that Orange will change its mind completely, but if you’re in the same situation as me – you might be able to sort it out yourself.

Can you reclaim your free Orange broadband?

Here’s how I got my free broadband back:

  • I called Orange every afternoon for three days using 150 from my mobile – each time I explained my situation and was promised that a ‘team leader’ would call me back. On the third call I said I’d rather hold and I was soon put through to the team leader. Don’t wait for a call back.
  • I explained that I had clearly been told I’d be able to keep my free broadband with my new contract. I said that, in my opinion, if this was taken away I would have been mis-sold my phone contract.
  • I asked whether I could be sent a recording of the call in which I had agreed to my contract, to prove what was promised.

And that was all I needed to do. The ‘team leader’ told me that I could request the recording, but that I’d need to go through another customer services department. ‘To cut all of that out,’ he added, ‘after listening to what you’ve said, I’ll make sure you retain your free broadband for the remainder of this mobile contract’. Result.

I imagine this technically falls into the category of a ‘goodwill gesture’, and so I can’t guarantee it’ll work for you. But since it’s worked for me, I don’t see why Orange can’t do the same for you.

Ofcom has said that it ‘expects Orange to deal sympathetically with these complaints’, so why not give it a go? If you don’t have any luck with Orange, you can also go to the independent complaints body Cisas. Make sure you let me know how you get on and what Orange tells you.

13 comments

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Sponglepants

CISAS won’t help, not when the decision to amend the BB offer is classed as a ‘business decision’. Makes you wonder what else you got wrong…

Hello Sponglepants, it is a business decision so Cisas cannot help there. However, Cisas has told us that it will accept complaints from Orange customers who feel Orange’s customer services mis-sold them their contract and the ‘free broadband’. This does come with caveats, to contact Cisas you have to have been complaining to Orange for 8 weeks, or your complaint was officially rejected by Orange with a deadlock/final say.

As Hazel explains, you’re best bet is to go to Orange. Thanks.

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xrayspex

I’ve heard from other Orange Free BB users that Orange refuse to issue deadlocks in these cases just as it is a business decision. So you do need to wait the whole 8 weeks to contact CISAS, thereby overrunning the month’s notice Orange gave to withdraw this facility.

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Mischa

Thanks for the tip. I just phoned them and when I pressed them, pointing out that Orange were in breach of contract, and asking how Orange was going to deal with me sympathetically, it was suddenly possible for a manager to give a commitment to run the free broadband till the end of my mobile phone contract!

Great work Mischa! Glad you had success.

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Brian

Good post , and it works.

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goldenwonder

Hi do you call orange broadband or orange mobile – I have been passed from one to the other since the end of september.

Hi Goldenwonder, I called 150 from my Orange phone (free) and then went through the options to go though to Orange Broadband (lots of pressing option 1). And after waiting for a couple of callbacks that never happened, I asked to stay on hold until the right person to speak to (the team leader) could take my call – and within 15 mins the issue was sorted. Let me know how you get on….

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Ann

My son was recently successful in retaining free broadband for the remainder of his contract.He used the 0800 294 4747 number and chose Option 1 broadband. He chose to be put on hold and wait for a manager to become available, this took about 15 minutes. He explained he had checked at the shop and on the phone before he renewed his contract and had been assured that the free broadband would be for the life of the contract. He also said that he was locked into a line rental agreement with his phone company and had paid upfront.He had an email confirmation that he would be getting free broadband for the remainder of his contract.
My advice to others is be persistent but stay calm and polite.

This debacle shot Orange up the most complained about broadband providers table… http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/mobile-phone-networks/top-5-complained-about-broadband-pay-tv-and-phone-providers/

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Stephen

Orange or is it EE are at it again, axing my £5.11 broadband putting it up to £20.43 if I don’t take their line rental

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David

This is ridiculous why is everyone letting them get away with it. The contract was for life not till the end of your next contract.
If i swap it the best offer I have at the moment means I will pay at £14 per mth, which i don’t expect to continue for long, a total of £3360 over the next 20 yrs my life expectancy. If interest is factored in this becomes at least a 5 figure sum i suspect but not being a mathematician ! However what ever its an enormous amount of money that Orange/EE are creaming in for themselves after giving back word on this deal which they offered because THEY WANTED TO GET BROADBAND OFF THE GROUND.
I will fight them all the way even though they have only given me about 6 wks notice. I have already complained and had an escalation call back today 5 days after I rang them having been told they were giving back word.
I will today write to the Cisas top instigate a complaint about this.

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Keith

Absolutely A Breach Of Contract .. I have been a loyal customer for approx 10 yrs .. When I took out my contract Orange Clearly Stated Free Broadband for LIFE !
After 2 rather vague calls to Orange I finally reached a guy who was a real conspiracist an Apostle OF EE !
Never heard of Broadband for life: Never heard of B.T. Basic for low income £14.99 per quarter !
What Rubbish and lies !
So now the Russion Mafia want £14.99 per Calendar Month for the privilege of 10 yrs loyalty !
Top Marks e.e. Your a credit to Satan !
I also enquired as my contract has 1 month to go on renewal (this is what the Orange apostle said) you do not have to renew your contract just let it Roll if no changes ?
Me thinks wind is up issuing new contracts !
Just let it roll with No Broadband after several yrs of Free Broadband for Life ..

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