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Mobile phone misery


AnneMarriott
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Until yesterday I was happy in the possession of a simple Orange pay-as-you-go mobile phone. Then I gave my mobile number to an organisation offering to provide quotes for decorating but the promised call to validate my number failed to appear.  When I tried to investigate it turns out that Orange has handed its service to something called EE (or is it ee?) and neither Bruce nor I have managed to fathom out how to get reconnected on the same terms as Orange provided.  So I now have a mobile phone that doesn't receive calls!  And only makes them intermittently, to boot. 

 

I don't want to take photographs or play games or check my bank balance or send emails.  I don't want any packages or apps, nor do I even want to text - all I want is a mobile phone that makes and receives calls.  Is that really too much to ask?

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It's confusing. Orange, T-Mobile and EE are the same group though I think they offer slightly different services. I don't use my mobile often and have an EE plan called Talk and Text for which I pay £1 a week and get 35 mins of calls and 50 texts. Seems good value.

  

 

The trouble is I only use the phone once in a blue moon so I don't want any predetermined minutes of calls or texts, I just want to pay for the one call I may make in six months or so. It may seem miserly but I am reluctant to pay for 35 minutes of calls I don't make!

 

Try Giff-Gaff.  DD has used this for some time.  There are various options some of which are very cheap.

Thanks for this - I'll investigate.

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EE did take over Orange but if you call the helpline you should be able to get back to a normal pay as you go that you had before with Orange.  My youngest still has a pay as you go mobile with them, although I 'upgraded' as they offered me a deal on a monthly plan so I now pay less than I used to spend.  I doubt you can do this online as I know they are converting all orange accounts slowly onto the EE system but you should be able to phone and get your phone account restored to what it was.

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EE did take over Orange but if you call the helpline you should be able to get back to a normal pay as you go that you had before with Orange.  My youngest still has a pay as you go mobile with them, although I 'upgraded' as they offered me a deal on a monthly plan so I now pay less than I used to spend.  I doubt you can do this online as I know they are converting all orange accounts slowly onto the EE system but you should be able to phone and get your phone account restored to what it was.

I haven't been able to achieve anything online or get anywhere with the help line. I'm going into the local shop tomorrow to throw myself on their mercy. If the worst comes to the worst I'll ask for the considerable credit remaining to be refunded, throw the phone away and start again.

 

I just HATE technology.

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Giff gaff do have pay as you go as well as their set packages and we found this to be the cheapest pay as you go option for light users. When we got dd a phone we got the phone fron Tesco using clubcard points and have the giff gaff payg. Martin Lewis' s website is good to look at your options.

 

John - you may do better on payg if you rarely use phone.

 

The other comment Anne is that credit does have a time limit so you may not be able to get a refund.....

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I sympathise, Anne, really I do (aren't we good at feeling each other's pain today?!).  My PAYG mobile broadband is also now with EE - was T-Mobile - and quite frankly it's a real pain.  Depending on what browser/computer I happen to be using when my monthly allowance runs out, I may really really struggle to renew my monthly payment (I've nearly torn my hair out on several occasions), and if EE text my dongle it comes out as a continuous stream of Greek characters, whereas messages from T-Mobile are still legible.  They were trying to communicate with me about something the other day, and it was just total gobbledygook, so I hope it wasn't anything important.

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Until yesterday I was happy in the possession of a simple Orange pay-as-you-go mobile phone. Then I gave my mobile number to an organisation offering to provide quotes for decorating but the promised call to validate my number failed to appear.  When I tried to investigate it turns out that Orange has handed its service to something called EE (or is it ee?) and neither Bruce nor I have managed to fathom out how to get reconnected on the same terms as Orange provided.  So I now have a mobile phone that doesn't receive calls!  And only makes them intermittently, to boot. 

 

I don't want to take photographs or play games or check my bank balance or send emails.  I don't want any packages or apps, nor do I even want to text - all I want is a mobile phone that makes and receives calls.  Is that really too much to ask?

These days? I'm afraid it probably is. When we had problems with some lowlife hacking our mobile phone account and helping herself to it, and upgrading all the phones to smartphones and leaving us without service (but with a gigantic bill), we asked to be put back on our old plan when it was finally sorted, only to find the old plan no longer existed because, after all, who uses phones just for making phone calls any more?

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I really sympathise after having this conversation with mobile phone operators on behalf of several people (including my mother) who also use their phone only for calls. The companies typically insist that you can't possibly know what you really want - Deep down, you have a burning need for thousands of texts and emails. And if you don't want a plan with a 2-for-one film deal - well you must have really lost it. I sometimes have to escalate the call to a supervisor who will confirm that if you had an old plan and were switched without giving your ok, it is sometimes possible to get it back, even though it is no longer being offered to new customers.

 

As sarahw wrote, moneysavingexpert.com indeed has a good resource where you can compare the rates of several companies:
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/mobile-phone-cost-cutting

Skip the first few sections - but see especially Section 10

Even if you decide not to switch, you can sometimes get a better deal with your current provider if they know you are aware of what the competition is offering.

 

Credit already loaded onto mobile phones usually isn't refundable when you move your number to another company. (You may be lucky, but the phone companies don't really have an incentive to be nice to you, as you are leaving them anyway.) But there are ways you can use it up beforehand (e.g. some charities accept phone/text donations, where the money is taken from your mobile balance.)

 

Yaffa

[edited for clarity]

Edited by Yaffa
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I know what you mean, Yaffa.  I got booted off my old plan and put on a new one which includes i) way too many minutes for my needs and ii) 256 MB of data per month or whatever it is.  I have a dumbphone, so am never likely to use all the data.  The only way of making any inroads into it that I can think of is to sign up to the London Underground Wi-Fi system, which is Virgin and payable, but apparently I can use my monthly allowance on it through my phone provider.  So, for those odd minutes when I'm hanging around on an Underground platform and can be bothered to get out my Chromebook and get it to log in and find a page, I'm now all set.  Or at least I would be if I ever bothered sitting round a tube station long enough to get the whole thing set up.

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Update on my tale of woe: called into the T-mobile/Orange/EE shop which thankfully opened only 15 minutes after opening time so the four other customers and I didn't have too long to wait. The five-year old girl who served me was clearly astonished to learn of my lack of interest in anything other than making and receiving calls.

 

The upshot of my query is that (a) I can't have the service I used to have and (B) I can't have a refund of any credit and © coup de grace, my phone has been deactivated because I haven't used it and it can't be reactivated.

 

I declined the offer of buying another phone "with top-up" and came home sadder but not much wiser.

 

I seem to have introduced a little face above. It should read (B). As I have already said, I HATE technology.

Edited by AnneMarriott
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This deactivation of phones that haven't been used is dreadful but standard industry practice now.  My elderly mother has a pay as you go phone for emergencies and doesn't use it regularly.  So I make a call on it every few weeks to keep it valid.  A lot of peolpe don't realise that numbers that haven't been used will be reassigned to another customer and all credit on the phone lost.

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This deactivation of phones that haven't been used is dreadful but standard industry practice now.  My elderly mother has a pay as you go phone for emergencies and doesn't use it regularly.  So I make a call on it every few weeks to keep it valid.  A lot of peolpe don't realise that numbers that haven't been used will be reassigned to another customer and all credit on the phone lost.

 

As well as moneysavingexpert.com, Ken's Tech Tips (a great resource for all aspects of mobile phone use in the UK) has a page covering this well. It includes a table with details of when credit expires and accounts are deactivated for all the major networks. See http://kenstechtips.com/index.php/payg-inactivity-account-termination-and-credit-expiry.

 

Yaffa (with no connection to the resources here - just passing on the info)

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Update: after a lot of tears, tantrums and torn-out hair, and thanks to the kind advice given above as well as to my wonderful husband who understands how these things work, I now have a new mobile phone and a new service provider.

 

I haven't been able to retrieve the credit from my old phone, which is a sadness because I had hoped to donate it to charity.

 

So the three things I have learned from this experience are firstly not to load up too much credit, secondly to use the phone to make a pointless call every month and thirdly not to believe a word they tell you in mobile phone shops!

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I was like you - didn't want to use my mobile except for the odd call and then I got a smart phone and in the space of two years I am totally addicted!!!!! I rarely use the actual house phone, because I don't remember any phone numbers any more - I am so used to pressing a little phone sign opposite someone's name and dialling automatically. Everyone I know is on WhatsApp and I have groups for every class I teach, so that I can notify them all at the same time of timetable changes etc.

 

My sons send me videos and photos of their children all the time, so even if I am not with them at the precise moment that they roll over or sit up or take their first steps or start reading, I still get to witness it! I have free overseas calls so I can call my sister whenever I want. I can check FaceBook on my phone. I can talk for free to the family on skype or viber when I'm away.

 

And the camera is better than any proper ones I have ever had. Not only that but I can immediately share my photos via WhatsApp, email (which I also have on the phone) Messenger, etc etc. The advantages are endless and I really can't imagine being without it now.

 

A few weeks ago I was walking along the street, when my niece phoned me from England on Skype whilst my husband sent me photos from Iceland, where he was travelling with our eldest son and family and then I phoned him back on Viber. The world is so small nowadays and it's amazing. I think back to when I got a letter from home once a month and spoke to my late parents for a few snatched minutes once every couple of weeks. Then we got email and communication was suddenly so easy. Now that I have finally managed to persuade my brother-in-law to get a smart phone (he also didn't imagine that he would find a use for it)my sister and I can exchange the latest photos and videos of our grandchildren and we can keep up to date with each other's lives. It's miraculous!

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My mum didn't care for mobiles until she got a smart phone. Her friends all have fancy ones too, so they taught her how to use all these cool apps and now she spends time Whatsapp-ing them. I wouldn't say she's very tech-savvy, but she gets a lot more out of her phone than I do (I'm just an occasional call/text/surf-er).

 

Anne I sympathise - I was on PAYG Orange too before they were swallowed up by EE. It's been a rubbish experience since. There's always some network problem so I can't top up or log in, but I can't call customer services without credit, so I have to go for days sometimes without the ability to call anyone. I'm desperate to switch to another network, but my boyfriend is on EE on a long contract so I'm stuck on it too just to benefit from a few free minutes.

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That's ridiculous.  You should always be able to call customer services free of charge.

 

Thanks for the warnings, folks: I'm on PAYG mobile broadband with T-Mobile, and have been for the last 5+ years.  They too have been swallowed up by EE, so I will be mighty careful about what I do should I need to get a new dongle. 

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That's ridiculous.  You should always be able to call customer services free of charge.

 

 

Yes you'd think so! It's a ridiculous catch-22, problems topping up so no credit, can't call customer services to sort out problems without credit! It's just another way for the networks to suck up our money. I gather customers service call are free though if you are on contract, so I usually call them from my boyfriend's phone.

Edited by Sunrise
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[quote name="Sunrise" post="137229" timestamp="1437468143"

 

Anne I sympathise - I was on PAYG Orange too before they were swallowed up by EE. It's been a rubbish experience since. There's always some network problem so I can't top up or log in, but I can't call customer services without credit, so I have to go for days sometimes without the ability to call anyone. I'm desperate to switch to another network, but my boyfriend is on EE on a long contract so I'm stuck on it too just to benefit from a few free minutes.

 

My goodness - that's really awful. I really sympathise! Just thanking my lucky stars that I waved Orange/EE/T-mobile goodbye ...

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I'm new to this thread - being the husband who sorted Anne's phone out!

Never using PAYE before the surprising thing to me is that all the mobile service providers really stress buying (monthly) bundles as a way of paying to use the phone/service. With most it's not at all clear that you can operate the old way of buying credit to make calls as and when you want. Most bundles are £10 a month and more, but Giffgaff do a £5 one. All up that means you are looking at £60 - £120 a year, which doesn't stack up if you use the phone a couple of times a month at best.

It turns out you can operate Giffgaff the old way - load up credit and then add more when you need. They can also auto-top-up if your credit goes below £3. The Sim, like most, is free and we put £10 credit on to get things going.

We got a brand new unlocked Samsung E1200 phone off Amazon for £14 - an absolute bargain and it gets fine customer reviews:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0079JZ4O2?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00

So for £24 Anne now has a solution that is not tied to any one provider and operates cheaply for her very low volume needs. No email or data here!

Finally, although Orange/T Mobile/EE were a pain in not migrating Anne forward as they should, they were good when we wanted to port her old number to Giffgaff. The gave the PAC code over the phone without fuss and it all went through smoothly at the Giffgaff end too. Hurrah!

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How thick of me not to realise your connection sooner, Anne and Bruce! How are you, dear Bruce? This forum has been a life line for so many people and a source of deep enjoyment to us all. I shall be forever grateful to you. Thank you once again.

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How thick of me not to realise your connection sooner, Anne and Bruce! How are you, dear Bruce? This forum has been a life line for so many people and a source of deep enjoyment to us all. I shall be forever grateful to you. Thank you once again.

 

Thank you - you sweet thing!  I'm ok, but like Harry the dog, getting older and deafer!

 

So much has changed since I started BalletCo back in 1996 but pleased that the forum continues flourish and prosper. Bravo.

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Totally agree with the above - love this forum! 

 

Now then horror of horrors!  I just took out my little nokia phone that I only use on trips to the UK.  I last used it at Easter so what 4 months ago - and it's dead - I can't switch it on!  It's an orange Pay as you go with a swipe card to top up and has money on it.  Do you think it's connected to what the original poster was complaining about?  I have had it for years and it is so useful to have in the UK, as I leave my smart phone on airplane mode and just use it when I have free WiFi there.  What shall I do without it?  And it's most annoying to lose the money on it.

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