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 another connection, but could reactivate the account before it was deleted by simply visiting the Freeserve, then Wanadoo, and now Orange website.
Orange quietly extended the deactivation period to 260 days earlier this year. Under the new regime however, access to email is not denied when the dial-up account is suspended, so users are not made aware their account is in danger of deletion. The "grace period" has been removed.
The new policy has bitten over the last week, as noted by angry users in this Orangeproblems.co.uk thread. Many say they have lost years of email without warning and are told it is irrecoverable when they contact customer service.
User "Cav" wrote: "I am registered with many organisations, including government bodies, and I'm sure many will not let me change email address without them sending a confirmation email to the old address - which I won't be able to access!
"I'm sure they'll [Orange] say they posted a notice on their website about this - but are Orange users obliged to trawl every page of the Orange website, every day, in order to do business with them?"
We've contacted Orange and are waiting for an explanation. ®