Hello…and Help! Have just received our latest France Telecom (Orange) invoice for our landline which included some additional charges for 8 calls made to “services spéciaux” in September which we did not recognise. Just to explain there is only myself and my husband living in the house, we had no visitors or other people during that time and we never use the FT landline to make calls (just keep it going for business reasons only!). All we ever use are our mobile phones with the monthly Free package. Having rung FT to query, they gave me a breakdown of dates and numbers rung (allegedly) which are all 4 figure numbers such as 3223, 3252 etc. Neither of us have any idea what these are and definitely did not make these calls which relate to weird things such as ‘France Television’, ‘Media Technologies’ etc. Having contested these with the lady at FT, she categorically stated that the calls had been made from our landline and could not be disputed! We are at a complete loss to understand how this has happened and although it may sound crazy, is there any chance that someone could have ‘hacked in’ to our phone somehow and made these calls?! I feel really stupid asking this question but starting to doubt my sanity…has anyone else ever had a similar problem? Does FT have their own Gremlins?! -
Is it possible that you responded to a message, sms etc etc…
the 3252 number starts at 2.99 euro just to connect…
Hi Stella. Thanks for your reply. Neither of us ever use our FT landline at all for outgoing calls so this is not a possibility. We literally only get incoming calls on our landline. I have been on to the Orange Customer Forum and it appears there are loads of people who have experienced the same problem! I am just in the process of sending an official complaint to Orange via email so will be interesting to see what they say. Some people are talking about a ‘piratage de ligne’ …so maybe the ‘hacking’ possibility is not so weird and crazy after all! Worrying though as how on earth do you stop it happening again.
Mmm… we have the same arrangement… works very well… but even so, I’ve just checked our bills… phew… we are OK…
Hope you get this sorted soon.
Thanks, Stella. First time this has ever happened to us in all the 19 years we have been in France! Have just sent a detailed complaint email to Orange so I guess it’s a question of watch this space! Will let you know what happens out of interest just in case any other members are faced with the same dilemma. On croise les doigts…
emails to people like orange, sfr, Bouygues etc just disappear in a cloud in the sky
Hi Jane - Although you don’t make any outgoing calls on your landline do you receiveand ANSWER unsolicited calls from an unknown source or from numbers you do not recognise? Until recently we were receiving up to 6 calls a day. My sister-in-law who works in a Parisien Mairie warned us that if you answer some of these you can end up being charged for the call. I know that sounds slightly unbelievable but maybe, just maybe that’s what happened to you. We are now using the Governments free call monitoring service BLOCTEL which, fingers crossed, is being very effective.
We’re already on this… but here is the Link for anyone interested… it is easy to use… We’ve put on both our landline number and our internet number
Hi Dan. Now that is interesting because we have been plagued with what we presumed were sales calls where we answer the phone then the caller just puts the phone down! That could possibly be the answer (outrageous though it obviously is) although it is strange because we have been getting these calls regularly for years now and have never had any charges appearing on our FT bill. Most of the time we just let the landline ring and it goes to answerphone so if it is a genuine call we can then pick up. Just unfortunate I guess that during September we had family ringing us from the UK regularly due to an important family matter hence our answering the phone during that period. I did subscribe to BLOCTEL when it was first set up but it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference. They may have upped their game now so will revisit. Thanks for the heads up on this. I have had an acknowledgement email from Orange (FT) re my complaint so will see what transpires.
Hi Stella. Thanks for this. As mentioned in my reply to Dan, we already subscribed to BLOCTEL when it was first set up but will revisit again in case we need to update our information. Never a dull moment! -
Have you looked at your internet browsing? I googled train times to Paris, found a site and re-visited it several times to work out best routes/times. It apeared on my bill as 40euros charge. When I queried it, they said it was a website that charges for use and costs are detailed at the foot of the page! They said the default for chargeable websites is billing on your phone bill. You can opt out by requesting Orange and all future visits to any such sites will start with a banner requesting bank card details before proceeding. They eventually conceeded to reducing my bill by 20 euros.
Wow… what a cheek on their part…
Unlikely, I know, but worth checking the possibility of technology you might have around the place that could be making automatic calls. Normally, if this happens, the tech is set to act benignly and not trigger charges. But it’s nice to know what they’re doing all the same.
Sometimes TV systems (like Sky in the UK) make phone calls to authorise access to films and do other mysterious stuff.
Answer machines can ‘call back’ to check phone numbers etc.
Routers can also access your phone line.
Also (as you are no doubt aware) when you leave a call to go to answer machine the answer machine answers it on your behalf, so it’s logged as a ‘received call’ by the telecom provider whether or not you then pick it up yourself.
Good luck with chasing a more useful response from Orange.
When we received our first FT bill some 13 years ago, we were charged around €400 for hundreds of calls to (I think) directory enquiries, and also having made no outgoing. These included calls through the middle of the night and bursts made only seconds apart. Clearly not made by us. It took a long lang time and much aggro, to get them to concede a fault at the exchange affecting our new line.
When I got my first Deutsche Telekom phone bill in Germany I had a huge shock, it was a lot of money, far more than I had in my bank account which would be paying the direct debit. I rushed down to their office and attempted in limited German to explain it could not be correct. It turned out that they had billed me for 32 phone lines and I unit not 32 units and one phone line. Even after that the man behind the desk asked me if I was sure that I only had one phone line.
The following morning I started a new job and on3 of my new colleagues came over to introduce himself. He explained that he had already seen me, yesterday in the Telekom shop but as I seemed to be a bit stressed he had decided not to come over to sa6 hello!
I signed up with BLOCTEL a few years ago. The landline was inundated with telemarketers, but what was worse was the calls that were dead lines when picked up. Nothing there and would disconnect automatically after a few seconds. I was getting 6 or 7 of these a day. BLOCTEL did reduce the telemarketers slightly, but not altogether. The dead line calls weren’t reduced at all. I presumed that the dead line calls were an autodial system that allowed marketers to know that someone was home. Not sure that is true though.
Thinking that I had possibly timed out with BLOCTEL I went to their site to renew, but was told that I was currently enrolled and active. BLOCTEL has been a complete waste of time for me. Just got another marketer call about 10 minutes ago.
The answering feature on my phone died after an electrical storm a few years ago. Looks like I am going to have to replace it. The unwanted calls keep coming and the holiday season seem to have increased the sales efforts.
Thanks to all of you for your helpful comments. I can now provide a final update on this whole sorry saga so if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin… Our official complaint to Orange (FT) re incorrect charges for calls never made resulted in nothing, as you would imagine! They refused to accept our complaint despite further time wasted on follow up emails and phone calls. That in itself is outrageous but the best is yet to come. We found out in early December that our landline was (yet again!) not working via friends/family who had been trying to ring us. As we were completely fed up with Orange by that time, we never bothered to report the fault, partly with the mindset that at least we could not be charged for any dodgy calls and partly through sheer lack of interest and motivation in bothering to contact Orange (as we never use the line for outgoing calls as previously mentioned). In addition, we were away on holiday from mid-January to the beginning of February. During that time, everything in the house was unplugged (phone line, computer, TV etc. etc.). Despite this, those very clever people at Orange actually managed to charge us for 4 calls to Services Spéciaux numbers during our holiday!!! Now that takes some beating. Needless to say, I put in a further official complaint which was again rejected despite being able to prove we were away so I have now cancelled our landline and told Orange in no uncertain terms what we think of their service. Are they bothered? Of course not. They just take people’s money and turn their backs. This must be a complete and utter scam on their part as how on earth do they charge for calls made when a) the phone line is out of order, b) the phone connection is unplugged at the house and c) the people allegedly making the calls are thousands of miles away at the time. Anyway, we no longer have to deal with them, thank goodness, but as you can imagine it has left a very sour taste in our mouths. RIP Orange!!