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Beware orange France

Falls Church, VA
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Beware orange France

We bought sim cards for verizon iphone and iPad at satellite Orange store in Paris. Nice people but not much English spoken. I speak French pretty well. The guy gave us wrong number for phone so nobody could reach me. Huge problem is total lack of English on website of orange France. Worst of all was the hideously rude, disrespectful manager at the main store in Madeleine. I will admit I was frustrated after spending literally three hours at both stores, but this man was just appalling. I have always defended Parisiens, saying it is a stereotype. But I would urge everyone to find a different telecom outfit for sim cards. Once I am home will send a paper complaint to headquarters.

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Beware orange France

Why would you expect a French company who operates solely in France to have an English website?

Bedfordshire...
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2. Re: Beware orange France

With respect, that's a bit like saying "Beware Starbucks" because you had a rude server in Plains, Missouri.

Paris, France
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3. Re: Beware orange France

I just used the Verizon international data and calling options, supplemented by the wifi in my apartment.

If a person from France (or any other non-english speaking country) came to your business would you be able to help them in their native language? Is your company website in other languages? I'm sure the employees were just as frustrated as you were.

Did you try calling someone you knew so they could see your number on their phone and then they could have let you know your French number?

To me it sounds more like everyone was just having a bad day.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Beware orange France

Why is it that you believe that Orange/French Telecom should have an English language website? How much French do you think is on the AT&T website?

It´s difficult to understand your specific complaint against Orange; you spent 3 hours in two different outlets, they were rude and gave you the wrong phone number associated with your SIM. At the prices Orange charges, they can afford to spend some time with customers but 3 hours is quite a long time.

Just to clarify, the number of your SIM is not only on the paperwork and packaging in which the SIM is sold, it is also found in the settings of every phone. This is something I check immediately whenever I insert a new SIM into a phone. F1racegirl´s idea about calling someone to confirm your number is good but often with international phone calls, the caller ID is suppressed.

You might want to try Phonehouse. They are the largest independent retailer of mobile phones in France and I generally hear people speaking English in their boutiques each time I visit.

Paris, France
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5. Re: Beware orange France

The Orange Web site for France is in French, since French is the national language of France. Their international Web site is in English, although you can switch to French there if you wish.

France Télécom (the company for which Orange is an alias) has a reputation for abysmal customer service, although their actual telecommunications service is quite good. It comes from the company's heritage of being the monopoly national provider for telephone service (no longer the case, but old habits die hard).

It's routine to spend very large amounts of time at any Orange office in order to get anything done.

More generally, customer service in France is interpreted to mean "the customer serves." I just finished a day of errands, each of which required waiting in line for 20 minutes while the sole employee working (at a snail's pace) spent far longer than necessary with each customer. After reaching my daily tolerance threshold for 20-minute waits, I returned home. I can do the rest another day.

If it's any consolation, French nationals get the same horrible customer service that foreign tourists get. For reasons I cannot fathom, the French put up with it.

Paris, France
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6. Re: Beware orange France

Orange actually started out as a British company before it was bought by France Telecom. It now operates in 24 countries, mostly in Europe and Africa, but obviously in each country you are only dealing with the local Orange company, not the corporate headquarters.

I really cannot imagine spending 3 hours in a store selling any product unless I myself am the worst customer in the world -- if it is the store who is inefficient, I would have walked out long before then (unless I was setting up a total corporate contract and not my personal tourist needs).

I have dealt several times with the Orange store on the Champs Elysées, and every time I was able to get complete satisfaction (exchange of material or whatever) in less than 10 minutes.

It is completely possible not to be satisfied with Orange in France, but they have maintained a market share of more than 50% in spite of energetic competition, including all of the EU decrees that restrict all abusive activities of the various service providers.

In the meantime, I really wonder what is the exact problem of twinster. "Wrong number" is a very weak complaint because the very first thing I do before even leaving a store is to check that the material works in front of the salespeople. And "wrong number" can be corrected in about 5 seconds. Yet we are informed of two visits of 2 x 3 hours with no other complaints. I am frankly quite puzzled.

p.s. I am also mystified at Euromanic's "expertise" concerning customer service in France. I am quite happy with it and I have been here for 39 years. Perhaps he has not yet learned the importance of "Bonjour Monsieur, Bonjour Madame" when dealing with customer service employees.

Edited: 31 May 2012, 19:33
Paris, France
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7. Re: Beware orange France

<<I am quite happy with it and I have been here for 39 years.>>

Maybe you have just grown accustomed to it k2. I don´t think that, on the whole, customer service is an overwhelming concern of many French companies.

Paris, France
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8. Re: Beware orange France

Or maybe outsiders have no idea on how to deal with it. I do not expect French customer service when I am in a foreign country, so how can people from other countries expect the French to cater to their whims?

p.s. I work in customer service.

Tampa, Florida
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9. Re: Beware orange France

You've been here too long, K -- I agree with Euromanic on the utter exasperation of trying to deal with most customer service desks.

There are some notable exceptions...and I make sure I am loyal to those who "get it".

San Diego...
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10. Re: Beware orange France

I agree the people in the Orange store on Champs Elysees are very friendly and efficient. I went to get a micro SIM card for my Ipad and had no problems.

The only problem I've had is they said their system has been down since Sunday and they aren't able to top it off. I'm here for a month and wanted to get the 30 day refill credits but they explained their system is down and it's impossible to refill the ipad SIM card I bought.

Hopefully the system will be up soon. The agent at the store said he wasn't sure when it would be back up. I might have to go to another company if I can't top off my Ipad sim from Orange. Pity as they were so friendly. I'll go back tomorrow to check.

I recommend if you need someone to speak English at an Orange store you go to the location at Champs Elysees as just about everyone in there speaks English.

PS - If anyone knows when the top off credits are available again for the Ipad SIM's I'd really appreciate if you post on this thread. No one at Orange yesterday seemed to know when the system would work again which seemed strange to me.

Edited: 31 May 2012, 20:41