back to article Orange mounts sneaky Freeserve accounts purge

Orange has started summarily deleting email accounts tied to old Freeserve and Wanadoo pay-as-you-go dial-up accounts with no warning. For years, accounts would be deactivated after 90 days if the dial-up number was not accessed. Customers would then receive an error message when trying to access their Freeserve email via …


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  1. Rob

    Orange + Explanation = WTF! x more confusion = worse off than before you asked

    nuff said

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Company ditching loss making free loading customers shocker!

  3. Dabooka

    I lost my old .fsnet account ages ago

    And I couldn't do the old reactivate trick either. Never found out why, no reply to my emails (and yes it was a different address!)

  4. Matt

    if you stop 'paying' for a service, what do you expect!

    im bound toy rub a few people up the wrong way with this, but....

    Freeserve/Wannadoo email accounts arnt free, they are part of a pay as you go service, you pay via the telephone connection, if you stop using that and migrate to another ISP its a bit of a cheek to expect Freeserve to continue supplying you with email... If i decide to stop paying my Sky Subscription, id kinda expect to loose my right to the service! odd that!

    if you are after a free email providor, there are many to choose from... Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, all spring instantly to mind...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Orange Customer service = 0

    As someone who has battled with Orange customer diservice, I can happily say this is excatly the sort of attitude they have, so long as they get the cash, they don't give a toss.

    This is why they always come bottom of customer surveys.

  6. Andy Pellew

    ISP e-mail accounts ...

    Why do people still use these?! It's been years since the likes of Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, etc. have offered a "free" service not tied to your ISP.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If you want a vision of Orange's customer service...

    .. imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PAYG = free email service?

    On this occasion I can't say I really blame them, they're not in the business of providing free email accounts to the great unwashed. I used a Freeserve PAYG mailbox for quite a while on an account which of course I never, ever dialled up to so it was just costing them money to maintain; this was done with the expectation that they would pull the plug on it whenever it suited them. Unless I'm missing something, isn't it a little hazardous to entrust "years" of email to a service that's essentially just an act of goodwill or an oversight? The lack of notice is a bit unprofessional, though.

  9. Ron Eve

    "It's on our website"

    I've witnessed this many times. ISP's posting changes on their home page and expecting everyone to read it regularly. Then dealing with the inevitable flood of complaints.

    I've never really understood why they can't email changes to everyone who has an email account with themselves... Oh wait. That would assume they care about customers...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i wonder if the webspace will be cleaned up too

    I cancelled my account nearly 3 years ago, and immediately lost access to manage my webspace, is still up now, i just can't change it. Its been hosting about 150megs of forum images ever since :)

  11. Tim

    no loss

    Last time I reactivated my account it had several thousand spams in it an nothing relevant so no loss.

    To be honest I was surprised they kept it going this long really when they didn't have to for those not bothering to dial up. I long since abandoned mine after moving from dial up.

  12. bertie bassett

    Why oh why don't people use their own domains..

    its' not hard or expensive to setup and then use that for your email address. You can then move access provider as much as you want withouth running into any issues...

    Personally whilst the freebies as noted above generally are good, there have been cases of hotmail closing users accounts if not accessed after a period. Provided you pay for your domain name that's not going to happen.

    Is the problem that users don't understand computers or the services they get.. or is it the marketeers making life to complicated for joe public?

  13. Stu

    Orange Customer Service = -1

    Don't worry, this was probably just another in a long line of crap decisions made by one of their many technically unqualified staff.

    Do they employ anyone in the UK with more than 2 braincells? I've actually had better luck getting information and assistance from people in their offshore call centres than their UK-based ones, which I have to say is a first in my experience...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the telephonica curse

    Orange were good, once, a long long time ago when they were a new company no-one had heard of and getting cutomers was important to them.

    Now they are owned by Telephonica, Spain's incumbent telco.

    Speak to any ex-pat in spain and they are likely to tell you how appalling telephonica really are. They are after the money and nothing else. They have some of the most ostentatious offices in the world at their Madrid headquarters and it not unusual to wait more than 12 months for a new line in Spain!!!

    Now they are applying their tricks to Orange, but they have forgotten that competition in the UK market is fierce and people (like me) have left orange and wont look back.

    Orange? Orange who?

  15. Fluffykins Silver badge

    The folk talking about free accounts.

    The article starts with a mention of the Pay as You Go aspect of these accounts.

    Remember, Orange will be getting a cut of the call charge. OK, it's not a lot per minute, but stay on long enough to do something useful and the revenue mounts up.

    If someone knows where to get free ISP, please tell us.

    The rest of the comments seem pretty accurate. Witnessing Orange customer service as supplied to a close friend is the reason I would never entertain using any Orange product or service.

  16. rob

    The used to do that to PAY Accounts as well

    I had that happen to my subscription account from fsnet when I first got unlimited dialup from another provider.

    The didn't want to listen to me whan I asked for it back either

  17. Alan


    Orange are not owned by Telephonica, they are owned by France Telecom. ..and its spelt Telefonica.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like another good argument for mail forwarders...

    Many professional organizations, such as the IEEE, provide mail forwarding accounts; you tell folks to e-mail you at, e.g.,, and the mails get forwarded to your present ISP. Change ISPs, and you only need update the forward-to addy in your membership profile.

    Of course, this requires you to have an ISP you can trust more than you trust the ISPs, but so far I've had no trouble except being unable to unsubscribe e-mails from a computer retailer that insisted the unsubscribe message come from the SAME address they sent the original e-mails to. Which seems tolerable, all things considered.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double the rate per minute dial up "pay as go" customers

    On 2 October 2007 we'll be increasing the price of the call charges to our Dial-up Pay As You Go service.

    From 1p min to 2p min etc...

    Do search for Article


    Dial-up Pay As You Go price increase FAQs


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sounds like another good argument for mail forwarders...

    So you change your outgoing email address, no big deal! Part of the problem with SMTP is that you can pretend to be anyone you want, hence spam is such a big problem. OK, so SPF is trying to foil that, but it also foils the forwarders too.

    Simple enough, Tools -> Email Accounts -> Select account -> Properties -> Email address

    I have an account set up on my machine called 'outgoing only' which only has the smtp server details and I change the from address as needed to unsubscribe from various mailing lists. (With my own domain, I subscribe as

  21. James

    The futures not bright - its bitter!

    As a disgruntled ex-orange customer I have danced to this merry song before with them through various types of ill informed endeavours - a lot of the time their front line staff had no idea Orange had even made changes to the service plans. I fondly remember one member of staff advising "I know we aren't charging you for GPS access on the web as we are only trialing the service at the moment" to have the decency and call back later to advise "Oh I am sorry - there seems to have been a change of policy and the memo has been misplaced!"

    This does however highlight just how useless OfCom are :0)

    Orange Customer Service Example:

    1) Complaint about wrongful charging

    2) Escalate as service desk cannot deal with payment disputes > Manager

    3) Escalated to manager as per escalation procedure - referred to 3rd party

    4) 'Third party' - no access to Orange customer details

    5) 'Orange' - third party DOES have access

    6) 'Third party' - require Deadlock ref from Orange for access

    7) 'Orange' - you must follow our escalation procedure to gain a deadlock ref

    8) 'Ofcom' - they cant do this - ask again

    9) 'Orange' - referred me to third party

    10) 'Third party' - we need the deadlock reference

    11) 'Orange' - you must follow our escalation procedure

    12) 'Ofcom' - they cant do this - ask again

    and on... and on... and on... and on...

    .......You get the picture & this is every area of Orange I have had the displeasure of having to contact. Needless to say I went to Vodafone (Outstanding customer service) and 8 months into contract was contacted by an Orange rep and advised I was entitled to a free upgrad of my phone (brilliant)

  22. Ian Hutchinson

    deleted email addresses

    I had an account that was deleted without warning. I had used this account for over 7 years, I have other accounts but used my freeserve one for personal email. I saw no reason to get a new address for this as long as I could still access this account (avoiding hours of work changing website registrations etc.). I also kept this pay-as-you-go account as backup to my broadband connection.

    Most people still using freeserve email accounts are home users like my parents with little Internet expertise. Its a scandal that Orange are deleting these accounts without warning, and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

  23. Matt Brigden

    Why are people complaining ?

    Any ISP has detractors but complaining they deleted a years old email address you didnt bother changing seems a whine too far n my book . The onus is on you to move your email not the isp to do it when you stop paying .

    As for the Orange bashers . I find them very easy to deal with . Bypass india and go for the uk teams . They spend most days sorting out grief the outsourced centre causes . Ive had 2 problems in 18 months . Both of which were sorted out with the minimum of fuss and rectified .

    Maybe its the way people talk to them .......

  24. Paul Westerman

    No sympathy!

    I have no sympathy for these people expecting to keep their old Freeserve accounts forever when they're not using the ISP. Many of them have permanently lost very important mail, which should at least teach them that data doesn't exist until it's in two places.

    I note with wry amusement that my Freeserve account is still operating perfectly and I haven't used it in years..

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Mike

    The MX dissapeared ages ago...... and wannado don't even have MX records any more.

    Infact, i know of people blocking mail from these domains on the basis that there can't be any legitimate senders using them.....

  27. Law


    "I's handy sometimes - I'll take Horde over the rubbish "custom" interfaces which the "major webmail providers" insist on."

    Ugh... I have Horde on my webserver, can't stand it! lol.... best email account ever is Gmail.... I just hope they switch to "unlimited" within the next year - would be a shame to be forced into using yahoo's outlook-esc interface for unlimited storage, because at my current rate with gmail I will be reaching the "unreachable" limit of 2GB+.

  28. Nano nano

    Different this time

    What was different this time was that I could continue to access email right until the account was "deleted".

    Usually the account would go inaccessible, which would then require a 'retrieval' operation via the FreeserveXXXWanadooXXXOrange website.

    Have now fired off a "Data Protection Act" email requesting my message folder contents be sent to me. After all, doesn't the Govt require ISPs to hold data for some period before deletion ?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The future is not bright!!

    I am surprised that people are defending Orange and their arbitrary deletion of e.mail accounts. We run Broadband via Cable and, as such there is no dial up but the account is used daily. After the alert sign came up, I tried to retreive the account online but it would not recognise my e.mail address or password. I thought that I would get on the phone and sort it out but the young lady advised me that it had been deleted and could not be retrieved. I pointed out the effect it would have on my business, she was polite and apologetic, but she had clearly been on the "brick wall" training course and armed with her T's & C's gave not an inch. Customer Service and Duty of Care mean nothing - it is obviously about money!!!

    I run a small management consultancy, which for the last seventeen years has operated a email address. It appears on all of the companies business cards and all of the stationery. We undertake reviews of the phone services to large organisations such as Health Service NHS Trusts for whom we have been successful in saving them millions of pounds. Our e.mail address is logged with many customers and they now get an error message when they try to contact us. This action has cost both this company and our customers money, and I am extremely upset by their action.

    I logged a complaint with Offcom and I suggest that all who are affected do the same - especially if you are a large organisation. I was somewhat surprised to find that my company seemed to be too small to be of consequence to Ofcom, despite the fact that we are generating huge savings for Government organisations - Our company headcount failed to be significant enough for any action by them. What nonsense - who is protecting the smaller companies and individuals rights!!! I was advised that they are "monitoring the situation", so I would commend all who are affected to contact them 020 7981 3000. Trading Standards, Money Mail, Watchdog, The Times and finally my MP are all on my list of things to do about Orange! I hope others join in. We simply must not allow Orange to get away with this without a fight!!!!

  30. Ian Thomson

    They didn't think very carefully about this one did they?

    First my sympathies go to the chap above whose business has been affected. Please keep trying, and good luck.

    I am personally inconvenienced rather than badly affected - occasionally I get emails from people who only used my old address. Or I used to. Also I have a few buying accounts that I now need to re-register, but that's all.

    However my family has 4 Orange phones. But not for much longer.

    And did they not realise that the old system of retrieving my account meant I had to visit their website. When I did, I often had a browse, which is good for business and reinforces the Orange brand.

    Well this stupid action has certainly reinforced their brand in my mind and I shall go out of my way not to spend money with Orange ever again.

    If anyone hears anything, can they please tell us if anyone at Orange loses their job for this cock-up? If they don't then the company is even more arrogant than I could imagine.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I run a small management consultancy, which for the last seventeen years has operated a email address."

    It's an unfortunate loss for sure. But... whenever I see a business email address that is akin to, it just smacks of amateurism.

    Spend the tenner and the one-off hour of your time to get a proper, paid for domain name and then set up your address. Forward it and run it through Gmail if you want.

    That small piece of "management consultancy" was fee free.

  32. Dafydd Lawrence

    Beware of your e-mail when changing contracts

    I used to use an e-mail account as it was realy handy at sending me a text for free everytime I got a new e-mail (luckily I didn't get any spam!). Everyone had that address and I also had some documents stored in it.

    I then went travelling around the world and changed my orange contract to orange pay-as-you-go. I kept the same telephone number.

    However on changing me over they delete (without warning) your login account and e-mail account. All my e-mails were lost including ones that stored some info for my travels and I was now in Thailand. All my friends e-mail addresses were lost from my contacts folder and all my e-mails with information for my travels were lost.

    Worse still I couldn't go back and re-register my old e-mail address as it kept showing that it was still in use.

    I tried in vain many times but could get absolutely no help from Orange - even to free up my address so I could use it again (which of course must be possible).

    I know I should have everything backed up, but I was travelling without a PC and didn't think my account would be deleted. If I was moving away from Orange then I would have backed up. I was annoyed!

  33. Lucinda Rowe

    Where's the communication

    I have had a freeserve account for 7 years which was deleted last night with no warning (despite the fact that I was using it yesterday). I have just set up my own Virtual Assistance business and have been in the process of transferring all my contacts to a new email account with an appropriate domain name. This process is not complete - I was not aware I was working to a deadline. As with everyone else in the same boat, I have received no help or support from Orange. This level of service and lack of communication is appalling. I intend to tell everyone I meet (and have just told the window cleaner!)

  34. John Jameson

    RE: the telephonica curse

    Orange were bought by France Telecom, O2 were bought by Telefonica.

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