Monday, 5 January 2009

The Trouble With Telstra

***ETA - I wrote this post over a week ago, and for some reason never posted it. Anyway, here it is***

We've had possession of our new house for a couple of days, but we haven't been able to move in yet, because we're waiting for the phone to be connected.

It seems that Telstra, the Australian phone monopoly has been taking lessons in efficiency and customer service from India, because after 2 weeks of hassling them, we still don't have the phone connected.

Purple first called Telstra on the 11th of December, well in advance of when we were planning to have the connected on the 23rd. They said they couldn't find the address of the house in their system, though they could see that there was a phone connected on the house already from the previous tenants. Apparently it would take 48 hours for the address to be confirmed and we were given a reference number.

Two business days later (so after the weekend), we called back, but it transpired that they had no record of us having called before, and they still couldn't confirm the address. And we should wait 48 hours with a new reference number.

Another two days later, still no joy. The person Purple talked to said that the first person had put the request in wrong, but now he was doing it right, gave us a new reference number and promised to call us back the next day.

The next day no one called, so Purple called them again and spoke to a different person. She said that the other guy had done it wrong, and it takes 48 hours, and gave us a new reference number.

We didn't trust them anymore, so we called them again later and spoke to someone else, who couldn't see what the problem is, but that she would "escalate" the problem and phone our request through rather than emailing it. She promised that we'd be contacted the next day (Friday) afternoon.

Friday no one called us, so we called them. Purple talked to someone else, who said the address is not yet confirmed and there's nothing we can do about it. Purple asked to speak to his supervisor. The guy said "okay" and hung up on him!

Purple called back and spoke to someone else to complain. She said the address still wasn't confirmed but would get her boss to call us back to our cell phone, since we weren't home. Of course, she called the home number, and left us a message that they need the planning number of the house.

We called them back and spoke to someone else, who said we need to be transferred to a different department. Purple didn't believe him, and made sure he was being transferred to the right department, and they would be able to help us. the department was closed.

Monday Purple called the special department again, after being on hold forever, we explained the problem and were transferred back to customer enquiries. Yep. right back to the beginning.

Purple spoke to a woman who couldn't find our reference number (none of them) and said our request was never submitted. She didn't need the building plan numbers, had no problems whatsoever, she gave us the new phone number and said the phone would be connected the following Monday (a week later).

Purple freaked out at her and went over the whole saga, saying that we need to move into our new house, we can't move without a phone and explained that I'm a health care professional on call for urgent care. She transferred us to the complaints department.

Eventually someone in complaints said our request was escalated, and the phone would be connected in 48 hours.

Since we didn't trust them at all, and by that time we were approaching Christmas Eve, we called again the next day (23rd), for an update. The person we talked to said our request was pending and someone would call us back after lunch. they didn't (of course).

We called again in the afternoon and spoke to some guy who promised to solve it all and call us back the next day. Purple didn't believe him and he promised three times to call us the next day (24th) by 10am.

When he didn't call, we called them back, only to find out that this guy wasn't even in the office that day. So we spoke to someone else, who said the case would be "escalated", and he would call us back.

And still we wait.

India, anyone?


***Update*** The phone ended up being connected after Christmas and amazingly enough, it only took 2 days for the internet to be connected :)


  1. So you were lucky in the end! LOL! We were offered out of our deal if we paid them $300 more! Argghhh! (They had already overcharged us by about $260. Im surprised they are still in business!

  2. Oh my goodness, I would have popped a blood vessel in anger. What atrocious customer service.

    Congratulations on moving into your new house. I haven't commented in quite a while, but I've still been reading :-)

  3. Arrgh Telstra bloody Telstra, I was on the phone to them for 1.5 hours today and I spoke to five different people and listened to countless minutes of the bloody Telstra song. They've lost me, I'm going elsewhere...

  4. Telephone companies. Ugh. I guess it's the same in Australia as it is in Canada! Up here it's Telus, and we have exactly the same troubles. They are all totally hopeless!

    Been reading your blog for a bit now, and I'm really enjoying it. :)


  5. I recently moved to a new home and had almost identical problems! is really incredible that they even think to call this service! I had to use my mobile phone for all calls and didn't have internet (and I run on online business) and to top it off they are still sending the bills to my old address!! after many phone calls to change it!
    Glad to hear you are all moved in and have the phone now though!!

  6. Wow, that's absolutely atrocious. Especially after you played the urgent health care profession card - that one's always worked for my sister!

    But on the bright side, you're finally in your new house! Congratulations, I hope the rest of your move went smoothly, and that you are now able to relax & enjoy your new home.

  7. Here it's BT. and we deal with an indian call centre too. it'd make a nun swear! My ex actually works for Bt in the repairs and maintenance dept and you wouldn't believe what goes on! (well, you probably would...) they're told to lie about times and charge for as many things as possible. if the fault is on the line BT are liable but if the fault is inside the property then you are , even if it's equipment they installed! AND they're supposed to ensure that there's at least one internal fault, which is a nice fat £200 call out charge. It's absolutely disgusting. When the staff think it's totally out of order then it must be bad!

  8. The same thing happened to me ten years ago. It took them over a month to connect us. In the end a kind Telstra employee told us that we could claim a penalty from Telstra for every day they were late. We got a couple of hundred dollars. Perhaps you should check and see if this law still exists?


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)