Orange UK plumbs the depths of insulting, stupid marketing, finds a new low


Yep, move to a less shit network. I’ve found that no-one can match 3 for pricing and they are now offering free roaming in the US (and a small number of other places) for calls to the UK and data, with no real catches. CS are reasonable- nothing special, but workable.

I’m paying around £35/ Month for unlimited everything and an iPhone 5 back in Feb.

They’re rolling out 4G too, but I expect it will be a long time before it gets to my rural location!


You do have quite a soapbox here. Why not send their marketing department a link to this article, with instructions on how to opt out in three weeks?


There is a logical fallacy that the more targeted advertising is, the more desirable it is for the receiver.


Ask Orange if they have a free SMS blocking service to eliminate these messages today.

That, or switch carriers immediately, and when they claim you broke their contract, you can gently suggest that your contract does not include this SMS advertising thing, and if it had, you never would have taken the contract in the first place.

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Name and shame sounds great!

And change to a decent carrier.

I have one positive thing to say about Orange, though: Some years back, I was looking in central Oxford for a USB connector to a Nokia phone (for my girl friend’s daughter). I’d been to a couple of stores in vain and had even bought a USB charger for Nokia phones before realizing it wouldn’t allow me to connect a computer, when I hit the Orange store in Cornmarket street. I found a cable with a USB connector in one end and a Nokia data connection in the other, asked a staffie what it cost, and he shrugged and said if I needed it I should just take it. I suppose they weren’t selling them anymore, but it was a nice gesture.

Could you forward each and every one of them to the mobile of the president of Orange? That would be brilliant.

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100% YES to moving to 3. Can’t understand why anyone uses anything else.

What’s worse is like CBS EyeAlerts where they never respond to the STOP messages…and I have to pay 20 cents US per message because I refuse to pay US$20 a month for messaging.

I’d also say switch to 3, the pay-as-you go plan is £15 per month for unlimited internet connectivity, and the only spammy emails I get are to top up when my credit runs out.

Well, it does say that the texts are free to reply to. You could reply to each text with great frequency and fill each text with graphic details of what you would like to do to them. Or you could create some sort of spam bot that will text them the dictionary or send them the text of “1984” one sentence at a time


It’s unfortunately common to get “your request to unsubscribe may take up to 10 business days to be processed.” I bet it took a fraction of a second to get added automatically to that subscription list…

Anyway, never seen it at 3 weeks, or with text messages like this. Ugh.

+1 vote for Name and shame.

Popehat has a good mantra for this: When you outsource your marketing, you outsource your ethics and reputation too.


The 3 week thing is especially insidious because – completely coincidentally! – it’s also the amount of time left until Christmas. After which the onslaught of advertising will drop off as part of the normal retail cycle. And EE will get to go cash the fat advertising cheque from those three weeks.


Sack them off, buy cheap HTC knockoff Droid phones from China. You can get a quad-core with GFX co-processor, dual-SIM-with 2 IMEI no.s and gorilla glass, all excellent build quality for well south of 200 quid. Then put a giffgaff SIM in it (ridiculously cheap; £15/mo is enough for most folks) & save a slot for a local PAYG roaming SIM for when you’re abroad. Fuck Orange/Meh or whatever they’re called with a shitty stick.

Oooooh, nice…

What do they mean by “other great brands”? EE is not a great brand at all. Their customer service is lousy. If you do want a reaction from them, sending an old-fashioned snail mail letter seems to work best.

I was with Orange back in France and the same happened to me. So I did write STOP and was told by a friend that it actually confirms you’re receiving the SMSs. On the day that Jerome Depardieu died (the son of…) I received “news” of his death via those SMSs. In a very confusing conversation with customer service that followed --telling them I didn’t care that Gerard Depardieu was dead and wanted those incessant SMSs to stop at once-- I ended asking for the cancellation department. I told them I was going to oppose any payment taken from my account and even close my account if necessary. The agent asked why I wanted to cancel so badly. I explained that after receiving those SMSs for over 3 months, I just couldn’t take it anymore and that no one at Orange was willing to help me. He then transferred me to a technician who immediately made sure I wasn’t going to receive any more of those texts. I didn’t need to cancel my subscription with Orange and I never received another spam SMS…

Yeah, but you’re still stuck with Orange who are a: shit, and b: sure to do it again shortly.

I work in marketing for a reasonably large UK company; among other things, my job entails advising and guiding the marketing wonks in how to use, understand, and extract customer data from our systems, for use in exactly this sort of thing.

Without wanting to apologise at all for a three-week turnaround, which I agree is too long, or for opting customers into text messages against their will, which I agree is stupid, I thought I would shed some light on why these time periods come to be. It isn’t necessarily because it takes three weeks to process the reply itself, but because of all the other processes that might have to be followed.

If the data for these texts is extracted two weeks in advance of the text being sent, for example, then adding a week to be on the safe side and saying it’ll take three weeks would be eminently sensible.

If it still sounds ridiculous, perhaps a worked example will help?

Week 1: reply received. Unfortunately the text messaging system doesn’t talk directly to the CRM system (the budget for the project was cut and backwards integration was the first thing to go - it’s cheaper to employ a kid from an agency to type it in). It takes the agency kid a couple of days to get around to your reply, when she updates the CRM system. Your preference has now been recorded.

Week 2: marketing decide they want to run a new text campaign. Someone decides who they’ll be targetting, then someone else writes the SQL query that will extract their phone numbers for uploading into the SMS system. The query is then double-checked and run. The results of the query need to be signed off before any texts can go out - since the Information Commissioner increased the fines for these sorts of mistakes, Compliance takes it very seriously. It takes the rest of the week to get the data in front of everyone involved, checked, and signed off.

Week 3: the copy for the text message still hasn’t been agreed, so the now-extracted data sits around until the copy is signed off and finally typed up on Wednesday. It’s decided that the text will be sent on Friday lunchtime, when you will have ample time to check out the website before the weekend.

And presto, there’s a three-week turnaround for unsubscribes. I agree that it’s not good enough, but it’s very easy to end up in these situations if you’re not very careful when you design the process.