March 9th, 2005


Orange, or "Why I should really have changed mobile companies"

An annual event, along with "losing a watch", for me is to upgrade my mobile handset. Normally I try to do this as a matter of routine in order to get the latest bells and whistles but mainly to keep a stock of vaguely-current handsets for when I lose one on the beach at Whitby (it was found, and got back to me) or for friends (such as when barrettyman dropped his off off some ride at Alton Towers (or maybe he had one stolen - the result is the same - I gave him an old Nokia handset).

Normally this involves me changing service provider and porting my number, but that's a headache, so this year - being mostly satisfied with Orange - I decided to upgrade instead. This is fine in principle, I order it, I pay a nominal amount about the same as the various "admin charges" to move a number across networks, and it arrives.

Only it didn't.

The Royal Mail has a strange relationship with the-address-where-my-post-goes. Many of the postcode databases miss out a key element - instead of "99 Acacia Avenue, Stella Street, Red Light District, Birmingham, Bx xxx" they report "99 Stella Street, Red Light District, Birmingham, Bx xxx". The current trend for "Look, you needn't even remember your address - we can fill it in for you! We're very clever!" websites means that I'm used to checking it, attempting manual override, then picking up the phone and giving up on the whole online thing.

Orange, as one might expect, currently send me bills. These come to me. Occasionally I even open them and see how many premuim rate SMS messages I've been charged for. But the key fact is "Orange have an address for me that works!".

So, imagine my surprise when the phone doesn't arrive on the promised day. It gets a bit "blow by blow"...Collapse )