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ironbru
Level 1: Cadet

Restricted Service - Overdue Account

Hi all,

 

I'm kind of going out on a limb here in the hope that I can find someone who might be able to help directly or provide some advice. I take full responsibility for my personal circumstances, but feel aggrieved and believe more can be done to help me.

 

I have very recently commenced a new line of work after approximately seven months unemployment (with some short term work at times). I have historically had mental health issues, with resulting impact on employment and finances. So I have a long history of payment plans and late payments with Telstra....but have always been able to pay within a month or two of the bill. 

 

On 24/04 I accepted a payment plan as we were around three months behind. The first payment was due 05/05. We forgot to pay it (just an oversight) and Telstra Credit Management called me on 08/05 to ask where the payment was. I explained the oversight and we paid the amount immediately by BPAY. I was advised they would monitor the account.

 

On 17/05 we made our next payment. Early, and more than required. I believed everything was fine. On 25/05 our services were restricted.

 

Telstra are advising me that they cannot remove the restriction unless I pay the full overdue balance (approximately $900) - they have also advised that I have broken the payment arrangement by missing the first pay.

 

Fair enough, but my frustration comes from the phone call I received. I paid immediately as requested and made the next payment. He failed to mention anything about my services being restricted....so this just seems to have happened out of the blue. Surely there is some onus to keep me in the loop if they are going to restrict me?

 

Telstra have told me the system won't let them lift the restriction....but that's a cop out in my opinion and I know enough about systems to understand there are solutions to this kind of problem. So on one hand they are saying they are willing to lift the restrictions and on the other saying full payment must be made.

 

I'm not the best customer - but I've been loyal (must be close to 15 years now) and have been handing out a few hundred bucks a month for a long time. As it stands though, I'm left with no phone services (not even a land line) and potentially 3-4 weeks until I can give them the overdue balance. With a family at home and a new job that relies in me being in close contact with the boss....I'm in a real tricky situation.

 

I'm hoping to get a payment plan reinstated and service restrictions lifted at the same time. I have offered to pay $400 on the 30/05 and then continue with the fortnightly payments of around $200...while they have accepted and plotted the payment plan they wont restore the services.

 

It's also difficult dealing with Credit Management (either over the phone or via online chat). There are some real barriers to genuine customer service, as I'm sure you can all appreciate. A lot of my questions were simply ignored.

 

Is there someone else I can talk to get some assistance....or does anyone have some good advice? (other than to pay my bills on time!)

 

Would like to finally add - getting turned away from Telstra Store after waiting 40 mins to speak to someone was a low point today. I've had so many good experiences over the years, so disappointing to hear "we cant help you with payment issues". I've spent six hours on this so far....so hoping to get an answer soon!

 

Thanks

 

Bru

 

 

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4 REPLIES 4
Level 22: Superhuman

Re: Restricted Service - Overdue Account

Telstra have a specialized dedicated hardship accounts group. Have you been dealing with them.? Stores are not empowered for your situation and most are private franchises. Even company owned stores will refer you.
A "Like" is always appreciated. If my advice is a solution, please mark it. I'm not a Telstra employee.
50 + years exp. in radio comms., eg mobile phones since 1963, two-way radios, base stations, antennas & pagers. One of my mottos: "Believe in yourself, and you can accomplish anything".
ironbru
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Restricted Service - Overdue Account

Thanks ProfessorPhone

Going to my local Telstra Shop was a last resort - after first contacting them with 24/7 online chat and then speaking to Credit Management via 13 22 00. I was just amazed that when I was canvassed by the greeter she didn't think to tell me then - she knew what the issue was.

I didn't know some Telstra Shops are franchises - I don't have a problem with them not offering that service channel.

I also spent another couple of hours online with Credit Management. All along they have been aware of where my financials are and employment circumstances - they have not really probed it further. I will ask them if going down those grounds further may help.

Thanks again.
Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: Restricted Service - Overdue Account

Hey ironbru, 

I'm really sorry for the poor experience that you've had, I can understand your frustration. 

Unfortunately, these situations are fairly black and white. Our credit management team deal with all financial situations such as this on accounts, including handling complaints related to credit management action and financial hardship, when you're speaking with a consultant from that area they are able to assess you for any possible assistance that can be provided by us.

Although I can certainly understand circumstances are not the best, and we could certainly could have provided better customer service on the follow up call(s) to you about this, if an account has an amount owing to us and restrictions are placed, there's not many scenarios where it would be possible to resume these services without first having the full amount paid. 
The only team that would be able to lift these restrictions is our credit management, and it sounds like you have already discussed this in quite some detail with them. 

If you did want to follow this up further, I would suggest speaking with Credit Management further on 13 22 00 ("credit management" when prompted) or, if you would like, you are also able to lodge a formal complaint -  a case manager from our credit management team would then investigate further and facilitate any possible resolution with you. Generally, someone should contact you over the next 3 - 5 business days when lodging a complaint. 
Details for this can be found here: Lodging a complaint with Telstra

My apologies again, if there is anything else we can assist with please let me know. 

Jesse

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ironbru
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Restricted Service - Overdue Account

Hi JesseH - thanks for the reply. I think I'll pass on calling 13 22 00 again...I'd prefer to go without the phone service. I'm pretty sure that setting up Credit Management overseas was a tactical move by Telstra to make people pay their bills on time.

 

I have logged a complaint and to be honest it is not really about having services restricted. While yes, that does leave my family in a difficult situation - I fully accept that outcome and at the end of the day if I had paid by bills when they needed to be paid, this would not have occurred.

 

My complaint is really focused on the pathway that led to this outcome and how I think Telstra could improve the customer experience. e.g.

 

- Sending a courtesy SMS or Email prompting the customer to call if there is a pending service restriction.

- Ensuring calls to a client following a 'missed payment arrangement' leave the customer with a clear understanding of what will/may happen.

 

...and more along that line.

 

Also, I appreciate the apology but you don't need to - you can't be help responsible for what happens in another part of the organisation.

 

Thanks

 

Bru

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