I am a Telstra mobile customer. However, I am getting in touch not about my Telstra service, but about the service for my next door neighbour. She is an elderly widow, who doesn't use e-mail and doesn't have a mobile. Her landline is her only means of communication with the outside world. It's been dead for 10 days now, and she's asked me to help her get it repaired. She's getting annoyed, frustrated and worried that she has no phone service. Both her and I are at our wits end trying to figure out how to get in touch with Telstra to organise its repair, and deal with Telstra's protocols that simply don't fit with this situation.
What I've done so far (to no effect whatsover):
- Last Monday (5 days ago) I tried to get in touch via the chat support line, but no agent was available to talk to me. After waiting for 1/2 hr I had to go out, and whilst I was away an agent did come on, but he closed the call because I wasn't home to answer.
- Also on Monday I submitted a complaint via the website, but apart from an acknowledgement I've not heard any more about that - Request Number SR 1-1733498499582.
- This morning I went to the Telstra shop at the local shopping centre. The helpful and sympathetic assistant there advised that they are a just a retail outlet, and could not assist with landline faults.
- Today I tried the chat support line again, but this time was able to get through to the agent. After a long session with him, numerous visits to knock on my neighbour's door to ask questions, and, eventually, a visit inside her house, to check her phone hardware, he advised that he couldn't help me, and I would have to ring the 132200 number. There was an afternoon of my time wasted with no result.
- After that session I rang the 132200 number, and after answering the questions I was put on hold, with no indication how long that would last. Once again my available time ran out as I had another appointment to attend, so I hung up - another significant chunk of my time used up with no result. Before I hung up the automated voice advised that I should be in the premises with access to the telephone hardware. This is very difficult to organise in this situation because:
1 - My neighbour is somewhat reluctant to allow my entry to her house, which I respect. She'd be happy to grant entry to a Telstra technician, but I'm not one of those. During the Support Chat call this afternoon she did eventually let me in to check her phone hardware, but it was hard to negotiate, and uncomfortable for both of us. If I need to go in again, it needs to be agreed well in advance, at an acceptable time when she is home, and for a short period. That means I need a rock-solid, firm committment that a knowledgeable and competent Telstra person will on the 132200 line when I call, and that's never happened yet. If there a mechanism whereby I can book a time on the 132200 line in advance, Telstra is doing a superb job of keeping knowledge of it hidden.
2 - Telstra has (understandable) rules re only dealing with the person responsible for the phone service or their "authorised representative". I understand the need to protect customers from frauds and fakes. I've not been barred by this yet, but am expecting it at any minute. However, Telstra needs also to facilitate solving the genuine problem I'm trying to rectify. In the situation I describe, where the owner is completely isolated from Telstra, how can this be rectified? How can she authorise me to act on her behalf - particularly when a- her phone doesn't work, and b-it's impossible to pre-arrange a time to talk to someone at Telstra on my phone to get her to authorise me? Once again, if there is a protocol for this situation, I (ironically) congratulate Telstra on keeping it so secret.
So I'm at an impasse. How do I get in contact with Telstra to get some action to rectify my neighbour's landline phone? At our last conversation we speculated that perhaps the best course would be to contact our local federal MP - she probably has the numbers of real people in Telstra who could help.
If anyone reading this has any ideas, please let me know.
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