Smarting over a Smartphone

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Samsung Galaxy S2Dear Mr Orange, or EE or whatever you want to call yourself now, I’m not a happy customer so listen up…

I have a very lovely smartphone. The ‘smart’ bit is important, I’ll explain why a little later. I’ve had my very lovely smartphone for the last 20 months, without the slightest bit of trouble. A rarity in the ever upgrading world of smartphones I’d say. Usually after about 12 months things start to slow down, crash or break and you’re left desperately counting down the months until your next upgrade date. Well not me. I’ll gladly keep hold of mine until the end of my contract… And then yesterday happened.

My lovely smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy SII and until yesterday it was still running an older version of the Android operating software. Unlike every other UK phone provider, Orange have been rather slow/careful in tweaking their version of the latest Android Jelly Bean, which has led to the very painful delay in getting the software upgrade delivered. I guess Orange were making doubly sure that all of the bugs had been ironed out. Well yesterday I excitedly noticed the software upgrade was available ๐Ÿ™‚ So after backing up all of my smartphone’s data I began to install the latest software. It took a while to say the least…

Eventually my newly upgraded smartphone sprang into life. Everything looked shiny & new so I had a quick play around before heading out on the school-run. The first problem I encountered was the battery. The upgrade & data back-up had taken so long the poor battery had been drained almost down the nothing. It was also really hot. The second problem I hit was a little more terminal. After removing, cooling & charging the battery I booted the phone back up again… But it wouldn’t start ๐Ÿ˜ฏ I tried and tried and tried, but every time the smartphone just flashed the word ‘samsung’ repeatedly until eventually the battery died again ๐Ÿ™

I called Orange… Here’s the abridged version;

‘Hi, your software update has killed my phone.’

‘It’s not actuallyย our software, it’s Samsung’s.’

‘Orange tweak it and Orange send it to my phone.ย Yourย software has killed my phone.’

‘OK as you’re still in warranty we can offer you a free repair. Just pop your SIM into another phone until yours is ready.’

‘I haven’t got another phone.’

‘No problem, get yourself to an Orange store and we’ll loan you a replacement… It’s a very basic calls & texts phone though.’

‘That is not a replacement for myย smart-phone!!!’

‘I’m afraid you’ll have to pay ยฃ50 deposit if you want a smartphone.’

‘But I shouldn’t have to.ย Yourย software caused the damage and I’m still in contract.’

‘Sorry… The repair will only take a few weeks. It’ll fly by…’

‘What!!!’

‘Do you use your a phone a lot?’

And this final question pretty much epitomises my annoyance with Orange. Who, by the way, are a company I’ve had the utmost respect for in all of the 15 years I’ve been with them. I’ve had some shockingly shite phones in those years, but Orange have always been amazing. Well not so yesterday… So, do I use my phone a lot? To be honest I didn’t really know where to begin. My ‘phone’ is my Sat-Nav, it’s my Email client, it’s my diary, it’s my Web browser, it’s my music player, it’s my radio, it’s my calculator, it’s my Social media tool, it’s my camera, my video recorder, my torch, my bank account client, my shopping list, my book reader. It’s my watch, my alarm clock, my weather forecast, my address book, my TV guide, my tourist information guide, my holiday planner, my entertainment centre for a bored 6 year old. The list is endless… Oh and ever so occasionally I will use my smart-phone to call or text someone!!! So as you can see, offering me a ‘basic calls & texts’ phone is a bit like being offered a type-writer while your laptop gets sent off for repair!!!

A phone is a phone. A smart-phone is a million miles away from being a phone. ย I can appreciate that maybe stores no longer stock my exact model any more, but please don’t insult me by offering me a ‘basic calls & texts’ phone to replace a Galaxy SII. And just for the record, the deposit for a smartphone replacement is actually ยฃ60, not the 50 that I was quoted yesterday. And why do Orange require the deposit? Well obviously just in case I break their phone. Mmmmm… So Orange break my phone and yet they ask me for ยฃ60 just in case I break theirs. Seem fair?

Out of principle I refused to give Orange any money and instead I’m awaiting a call from a nearby Samsung repair shop who have offered me a free repair that shouldย (fingers crossed) be done today. And before I end my rant… Yesterday in my dead smartphone panic, I tweeted Orange, EE, Vodafone & O2 for any help and advice. Only Vodafone and O2 responded. What’s going on Orange/EE? Where’s your usual excellent customer service?

Last week Orange/EE sent me a ‘special birthday message’ from Kevin Bacon and this week they send me a corrupt software update that kills my beloved smartphone, and then ask me for ยฃ60 ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Not impressed Mr Orange/EE