Ah the saga of trying to become a Telstra customer - I knew I shouldn't have expected anything else than the dismal and offensive lack of customer service!!!
Having experienced massive drama's previously with Telstra landline connections, Telstra mobile account, previous ADSL connections and also with their business cousin Commander services (yes, I know they pretend to be separate from each other) what was I thinking it would be any better this time!!!
Not to mention being badly burnt as a Telstra shareholder, losing significant capital value in shareholdings - how stupid could I be to try and bring down upon myself even more pain!
BUT there was a method to my insanity. For a range of reasons; needing improved internet access for business connectivity from my home office to my business locations I thought to myself - NBN is still several months away from becoming available at my location (despite being literally surrounded on every side by neighbouring suburbs already connected to NBN; and physically just about 800m from the Telsra exchange - at the end of my street)- why not go with a Telstra cable connection for the time being, which will switch across to NBN when the little men in their little vans who park outside my front door every 2nd day work out how to join our suburb to the rest of the neighbouring suburbs.
My wife of course thought I was crazy to even try, but hey, what could she possibly understand about the intricacies of such advanced technology in porting our fully operational ADSL + voice services from a Telstra re-seller ISP over to Telstra ISP, in an exclusively Telstra exchange footprint (No Optus available). – I figured she should stick with the simple stuff like rocket science & brain surgery!
So off I trot to do the deal with the salesperson (let’s call him P218681 - that's apparently his surname anointed by the Telstra gods) at the local Telstra Shop (yes I know they aren't actually Telstra employees, they work for the "shop business owner" as agents for TLS).but nevertheless he was extremely explicit about how well I should rate his services along with the actual Telstra connection services when they send me a survey. He even told me what score I should give him! How helpful is that!
We discuss the current offer, correct my account details (yet again for about the 5th time), confirm my identity (just in case someone else was wanting to go through all this pain and suffering in my name) and confirm the services are available at my address.
Seems all pretty straight forward so far doesn’t it HA HA HA more fool you and me both!!
My good friend P218681 plays with his computer for a while (tells me how bad the interface system is as we wait for extended periods whilst it thinks and eventually I’m “booked in” for a professional connection technician to come and unwrap the box for me next Friday – so I should stay home from 12noon onwards ready to welcome him/her and a 2nd professional technician to follow a couple days later to change my existing fully operational phone outlet into a phone outlet and I should stay at home from 8am to 12noon to welcome him/her as well.
Now with the wonders of all this wonderful technology I received 5 emails telling me about my glorious new service, what my account will be, what my shiny new telephone number will be, confirming my appointments and just in case I’m stupid I even get 3 text messages on my mobile confirming once again when I should be waiting with arms open for the magical technician to come and open the box and plug in the power cord. They even went so far as to tell me what I should do if I needed to reschedule by telephoning/emailing Telstra to make any changes. (one would think they would also do the same???)
Now just in case I am stupid, I made sure to look at my phone and it very cleverly tells me the time and so at the designated time of my “booking” I was ready and waiting.
Then after business hours and the designated 4 hour window had expired I started to get a little suspicious – maybe I was stupid after all – surely I had misread the 5 emails, personal conversations in the store, paper copies and the 3 text messages on my phone. No one from Telstra had contacted me to reschedule they just didn’t bother to turn up.
So I went online to the 24/7 help centre who claim they are there to assist – oops my mistake yet again – they don’t actually assist, they’re in the Philippines (I believe), and there’s no one available in Australia.
After 37 minutes of online chat with Pradeep he tells me to phone someone in Australia tomorrow.
Next morning I telephone and meet my newest friend D868372 who tells me during our 44 minute conversation he can’t help either because no one is working in the connections department, but not to worry he will followup to make sure this matter gets sorted as soon as possible. I thought I should also check if my 2nd booking for the following day was still proceeding and he tells me that appointment has been cancelled and that technician won’t be coming as scheduled.
BUT wait, the 2nd appointment technician, (you remember, the one whose appointment had been cancelled according to Pradeep and D868372) suddenly appears at the door. He shakes his head and says he hears that all the time and that appointment schedules by Telstra are almost always wrong – he’s a contractor and is consistently being sent to wrong jobs. He then looks at the phone outlet and asks why it is he’s actually there anyway – there’s nothing wrong with outlet and changing to a new one will possibly not be as good as what is already in-place.
The following Monday after Pradeep hasn’t materialised again, D868372 hasn’t reappeared or responded I take my life into my own hands once again and telephone the Telstra help desk (idiot I hear you say!!). This time I meet my next newest friend D814880 who, after going through the verification process yet again, looks up my account and after 16 minutes says she can’t help me because she is in billing and not connections, but wait, she will connect me to my next next newest friend D881148 who goes through it all once again. After a further 38min she can’t help either because the connections team can’t give her a reason why they did not turn up last week or why no one made contact or even when they can answer any of these dilemmas.
So now D881148 transfers me to D821286 and away we go yet again with the same explanation and no answers from Telstra staff. After a further 59mins I demand to be put through to a supervisor. D881148 refuses for several attempts saying the supervisor won’t be able to assist either – I hold my ground until finally a “supervisor” D810336 comes on the line with yet again the same story – no one can say why the connection installer failed to turn up, why no one made contact to advise or attempt to reschedule, not one of the earlier Telstra staff have followed up and NO, he can’t help resolve either. They will need to reschedule an installer for later in the week – during a time period when I am no longer available due a trip interstate for next 2 weeks.
Finally I give up at this point and advise I wish to terminate the services/connection (as defined within the terms and conditions I am required to do within a certain time limit).
I’m then transferred to Australia (who knew anyone actually worked for Telstra in Australia – so far no one I’ve encountered!!). So my newest next next next friend D887787 starts to go through everything once more and after poking at his computer for a while confirms that the services will be cancelled, no changes will be made to my existing services with existing supplier, any charges that have or are about to be debited to my credit card will be reversed/credited, he will email all this to confirm in writing and provide me with a reference number for the cancellation.
I’m STILL WAITING 23 days later!!! Never heard from him again.
But no, we’re not done yet you naïve fool you….. I now have my newest next next next next fried D840679 phoning me on an unlisted number advising that my services have not been cancelled as D887787 said and Telstra are waiting for the return of a device they sent out. This is still sitting on a shelf – unopened in its original packaging complete with factory seals in place waiting for the return courier to collect – as previously arranged. According to D840679 the cancellation order had “got stuck”. We go around in circles a few more times as she repeats all the above saga to me (apparently I didn’t realise all this had happened!!!) and again said she would be sending a “recovery bag” for the TV device and I should send the device back in the bag to the address marked, after which I had to go and visit my local Telstra shop where all this started a month ago and “tell him” to mark my account as cancelled. She then hung up.
I’m STILL WAITING – no recovery bag, no courier, no address to send the device to, nothing!!
So D840679 has now started calling me at night to aggressively state there are “various matters outstanding regarding my internet service connection” – specifically the return of the TV device for which I’m still awaiting the recovery bag she supposedly sent 10 days ago.
I’m STILL WAITING – no recovery bag, no courier, no address to send the device to, nothing!!
I still have the unopened device sitting exactly where it arrived weeks ago waiting to return.
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