Debt-collector Moorcroft Debt Recovery has been sending out letters, on behalf of Orange, trying to collect on long-cancelled contracts and already-settled bills: at least according to their own support desk.
One Register reader who received a demand from the company contacted us; he had left Orange almost a year ago and just received the demand with no bill or invoice coming first. When he spoke to Orange he was told that thousands of such demands had been sent to unsuspecting ex-customers in the last few weeks.
When we spoke to Orange they assured us that our reader was an isolated instance which couldn't possibly have happened: apparently they never pass on debts until the customer has been contacted, invoiced and warned.
Our reader called Orange again, and this time took the trouble to record his conversation with the Orange business support team, where "Paul" was happy to confirm the problem was endemic in the company:
"What Orange has done is they've... it's like spring cleaning for want of a better word, they've gone though all the old accounts and seen any outstanding bill, and rather than go to the customers themselves they’ve given it straight to the debt-collection agency"
It seems spring cleaning at Orange involves more than deleting old e-mail accounts, "Paul" again;
"What's happened is people have ported out [changed networks] ... two years later a debt-collection agency knocks on his door and says you owe Orange this money"
An Orange spokesperson told us that this could never have happened, and never did happen, and anyway they've had no particular drive to recover debts recently: "Paul" was clearly wrong, as were the other support staff our reader spoke to.
Thankfully our reader had his debt cancelled, though if we can take credit for that we don't know, but anyone else in receipt of a Moorcroft Debt Recovery letter from Orange do let us know.