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Orange's contract credit checks - what a laugh

Bought a new Orange handset on contract from, the discount operation of Carphone Warehouse, the other week.

It's a great deal - 30 quid a month on Orange for 200 minutes plus 75 text messages and a 360 quid rebate over the year, effectively making the deal free of charge if I don't go over the bundle.

The phone got delivered on Tuesday of this week, with our next-door neighbour's address on it. Fortunately Il Postino Pat knows the mad journalist that is moi, and delivered it correctly. I thought the mis-addressing of the package was a simple clerical error.

My next-door neighbour kindly brought round the welcome letter from Orange last night - addressed to me, with my direct debit details, and his address.

This suggests to me that Orange `credit checked' me on his address rather than my own. I rang Orange to correct the address.

The humourless foreigner on the end of the phone told me that she needed all manner of security information to change my address.

"But I'm not changing my address - I'm correcting your database information," I said.

Date of birth, mother's maiden name, inside leg measurement, shoe size - loads of information. Yes Mrs Orange lady, it really is me.

Suitably persuaded, she gracelessly amended the address.

Next time I think I'll use one my cat's names (Itchy & Scratchy) and local boozer address to get a mobile package. France Telecom will probably just wave the deal through on their `credit checking' database...