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Orange lies to customers and gets away with it?

As the world’s economy lurches nearer and nearer to a double-dip recession, all of us are looking at our expenditure and wondering what we can do to secure our finances.

For people who trusted Orange to deliver a ‘fixed price phone plan’, Santa has a big stocking full of nasty surprises in store.

KitGuru puts a peg on its nose to stifle the smell of bullsh*t coming up from the advertising.

When your economy is in trouble and the press does its best to make consumers panic with scary headlines about the end of the world (economically), then most people will assume they have to knuckle down and adopt austerity measures in the home.

While austerity might work for a nation as a whole, most countries come out of recession as a result of growth in their economy. Consumers putting their cash under the mattress, means that less is being spent overall. Companies are targeting on increasing sales and profitability. When the number of sales shrinks – you’re then faced with increasing profitability from the sales you have in hand.

Not sure what we mean?

Think about the price of petrol – as cars have become super efficient – and you’ll get the idea. Buy less of a product, and the supplier will push the price up.

So what’s the beef with Orange?

Well the company has, as is its right, decided that increasing inflation means that it needs to raise prices by 4.35%. Would be funny if inflation wasn’t falling, but we won’t let the facts (as reported by the BBC) get in the way of a good/dodgy Orange argument.

So far so good. But why the headline?

Simple. Orange sold contracts to customers on the basis that they could fix their bills.

If you were sold the contract on ANY other basis, then KitGuru would bow to the economic arguments presented by Orange. But to dupe customers with the promise of a fixed price plan, then increase the price, is what we old folk used to call the ‘bait and switch’.

You entice people with one offer – and then switch terms on them later. If that’s not totally dishonest and illegal, then it should be. Also, Orange’s rivals can’t be happy. It means that ‘dodgy Orange’ was able to put an offer into the market, use it to entice customers away from Vodafone, T-Mobile, 3, Virgin and O2 – before changing the terms of the offer once the customer is locked in – refusing to accept that they are in the wrong. It’s impossible to calculate how much money Orange has taken from its rivals with this highly suspicious tactic. Can’t believe that they are happy with it.

At KitGuru, we’re old fashioned in our approach to advertising. We like the legal, honest and decent stuff – and the Orange ‘bait and switch’ on ‘Fixed Price Contracts’ smells like week-old fish left out of the fridge. Not good.

If you feel horribly let down and lied to by Orange, then you may want to complain to the ASA and ask them what can be done to prevent companies like Orange from engaging in ‘Bait and Switch’ campaigns – where the offer changes after you have signed up to a contract – and the company refuses to cancel the contract. Complain to the ASA over here.

Any faith we had in Orange has been destroyed with this broken promise. We'd never touch them again. Would you?


KitGuru says: According to the information which Orange has posted, “We can increase prices at any time on giving proper notice”. On a fixed price plan?  Really?  As dodgy stitch-ups go, this has to rank alongside ‘Unlimited Broadband – which is capped’ and ‘£100 saving shown relates to the price this product will be offered at in July 2012’. Surely the Advertising Standards Authority will need to investigate the legality of a major company offering a fixed price contract – which is NOT fixed.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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