Thursday, 31 December 2009

30 DAYS IN THE TELSTRA HALL OF DOOM

It started early in December 2009 after I left Cairns for New Zealand to buy a yacht to sail back to Australia.I had been gone from my locked apartment only a few days when Telstra, unprompted by me or anyone else of my aquaintance, cancelled computer access on my home phone line to my internet provider, TPG. Australia and churned me onto their BigPond system from which I had escaped in April 2009 after an acrimonius dispute over inflated charges in their byzantine accounting system.

I was blissfully unaware that this had happened while I accessed the internet from my laptop in hotels and motels all over New Zealand, sending and receiving email, using online banking, posting on Facebook, making international phone calls on Skype etc.The truth only emerged when I returned to Australia on Christmas Eve, December 24th and tried to boot up the computer in my home office. A call to the TPG help desk eventually established that access to TPG had been cancelled on this telephone line on December 6 after a request for a churn to Bigpond, allegedly from my phone in the locked and empty apartment.

It was now Christmas Day, not a good time to try to talk to Telstra or anyone else, but I tried...and tried... until I finally got a response from a call centre in The Phillipines where all calls to Telstra were being directed. Miguel in Manila was difficult to convince that my problem existed, claiming that I had requested a transfer to BigPond, this had been done, and what was the problem?. I finally persuaded Miguel that my plight was genuine, but he could only advise me to call Telstra Australia after it re-opened for business in three days' time after the Xmas holiday break.

By then, I had established a routine at an internet cafe close to home and used my laptop there to access email, but this was an unsecured public site and other activities including internet banking are unwise and cannot be used.
It is now New Year's Eve, December 31. nothing has changed. I have just spent the by now standard 90 minutes pressing buttons, listening to assurances about the importance of my call, etc, to be told that Telstra's last promise of action by 5 PM delivered yesterday should have read byJanuary 5. 2010 . SIX DAYS FROM NOW I am about to try to reach someone a little higher on the totem pole. Watch this space as my sojourn in the Telstra Hall of Doom continues

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5 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, what a drama to deal with, especially at a time like this in the Oz calendar! Good Luck with it, we'll keep watching for a positive outcome. Stay calm :0

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  2. Brian, that's tantamount to:
    1) break and enter (you didn't invite them in or give them a key to your facility);
    2) robbery (they've stolen your/TPG's account);
    3) cyber-hacking (they've hacked your Internet service);
    4) public nuisance/menace (they've caused you considerable inconvenience and grief over the holiday season); and if they've been trying to get your account for some time, then
    5) stalking (Telstra is notorious for pestering people relentlessly).

    If you decide not to sue them (which they definitely deserve), at least send your story to the various TV current affair programs.

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  3. Hi Warwick
    I've sent a link to the blog to A Current Affair. They may think it's worth an airing.

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  4. The telecommunications industry regulations give companies 30 days from the time you lodge a complaint to resolve it. As you have already passed this unenviable milestone, you now lodge a complaint with the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) at http://www.tio.com.au/ or by phone on 1800 062 058. You should receive a reply from the TIO within a few days with a referral number for Telstra’s Customer Referral Centre, who deal explicitly with high level complaints.

    If you’d rather not wait for a reply from the TIO, some previous disgruntled customers have kindly posted the number for the Telstra Customer Referral Centre that the TIA will eventually give you: 1800 011 333. Once this gets in the hands of Telstra’s Customer Referral Centre, all that was not possible when speaking to the Telstra Customer Service Centre should now miraculously become possible, as if by magic!

    When you speak to Telstra’s Customer Referral Centre, don’t forget to ask about compensation for a) your troubles, b) a full refund for any charges that Telstra/Bigpond may have charged you, c) any charges that TPG have/will charge you and d) your out-of-pocket costs during this fiasco (Internet café fees, petrol to drive there, etc). If they give you any grief, remind them that unless they can provide you with a copy of the phone conversation where you supposedly requested the transfer to Bigpond, this was an illegal churn on their behalf.

    Good hunting!

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  5. Thanks Dave,
    Complaint and compensation claim lodged with the Ombudsman today and with The Telstra Customer Referral Centre.
    Latest promise from BigPond/Telstra is reconnection by Thursday Jan 7. I'll believe it when and if it happens.

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