Orange’s ‘admin error’ has left us with a serious financial problem

Orange mistakenly withdrew £1,200 from my bank account after I tried to help my partner with his mobile phone bill

My partner was stuck with a £2,200 bill from Orange following a trip home to Ireland. He was caught by mobile roaming charges. Orange agreed to reduce the bill by £1,000 and let him pay the balance at £200 a week for six weeks. I paid the first £200 for him, but the next day my debit card was blocked. I saw that instead of taking £200, Orange had taken the full amount from me – £1,200. It promised to return the money within 24 hours, but didn’t.

Someone then sanctioned a refund on 6 June, but still the money did not arrive. I now have several unpaid direct debits, including a mortgage, and am incurring bank charges for being overdrawn. My partner is still paying £200 a week under his agreement and has had to lend me money.

Orange refuses to speak to me unless my partner is present because I am not the account holder. But it had no problem dealing with me when I wanted to make a payment. RA, London

A simple “administrative error”, as Orange describes it, put you in severe financial difficulties. Soon after contacting me you emailed again to say you had received your money, four weeks after Orange took it. But Orange’s error still left you with £350 of bank charges and the refusal of a personal loan. Orange told you to send in your bank statements. Some members of staff said Orange would refund the charges, while others said it was your bank’s problem. You had already spoken to your bank, which pointed out that it was Orange’s mistake to correct.

Orange has now responded to your plight. It has repaid your £350 bank charges by reducing your partner’s bill, so he can give you the money to repay your overdraft immediately. It has also knocked a further £700 off his bill – the £200 you had paid which was refunded in your £1,200 plus £500 as a goodwill gesture.

You can email Margaret Dibben at or write to Margaret Dibben, Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU and include a telephone number. Do not enclose SAEs or original documents. The newspaper accepts no legal responsibility for advice.

Margaret Dibben © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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