TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

What's wrong with Telstra?

Just wanted to recount my recent experience trying to buy a couple of prepaid Telstra Essential Tablets.

 

My wife has decided she wants to switch from paper books to eBooks so I took a bit of a look around for basic tablets.  I noticed the Telstra Essential Tablet which has adequate specs for this purpose and good battery life so I decided at $129 I might as well give it a look.  For us the prepaid SIM was a bonus as the tablet will be used mostly with WiFi but the price/performance ideally suited the task.

 

The tablet arrived very quickly and worked very well - I set it up for my own use initially intending to wipe it and rebuild it for my wife once I'd convinced myself it was going to meet her needs.  In fact, after a day of using it I thought it was so good for this particular requirement that I decided I'd retire my existing eBook tablet and keep this one and buy an additional one for my wife.

 

This is where my troubles started.

 

The web site appears to have broken for this item shortly after I purchased the first tablet - it enters some sort of redirect loop and never displays a purchase page.

 

At this point I'm feeling pretty well disposed towards Telstra and after more than 30 years in IT I figure I owe it to them to do the right thing and report the web site problem so they can fix it and I can complete the purchase of a second tablet.  So I sit in the chat queue for quite some time.  After some initial faffing about (to be expected) I convince the agent that I've done the appropriate tests (different browsers, different IPs, different connections) and that there really is a problem and that they should escalate it - they go off and report the problem to the web site group who I am told will sort it out in between 4 - 24 hours.

 

OK, done my civic duty by calling it in, will wait a couple of days and place the order - will still be well before Christmas so that's kinda nice.

 

Days pass - the site does not get fixed.

 

OK, I pass by a Telstra Store in suburban Adelaide on my way somewhere - maybe I can drop in and pick one up quickly in person.  Three agents, three customers at the counter, 8 people in the queue and noone showing any sign of being in a hurry.  Fair enough - just be patient.  After 25 minutes NOT ONE customer had been served so I needed to move on to my destination.

 

A day or two later the web site is still not working so I try the chat again.  This time the agent takes a lot of convincing that there is a problem - apparently this sort of thing never happens.  After quite a while I am instructed to try to buy a different prepaid device at the URL he provides (same as the one I've been using) - that item goes through fine.  I check again with the Telsra Essential Tablet but it still fails.  I get the usual story about the possibility of a load related problem but I explain I have tried multiple times over multiple days including at 4:00 am on one occasion.  OK, the agent concedes that something might be wrong - why don't I just call direct to place my order.  I'm provided with a 1800 number and think I'm near the end of my quest but I call and the number is not answered.  I look up the number online and it doesn't appear to be a Telstra number.  Maybe I made a transcription error.  Doesn't happen often but anyone can make an error.

 

Sigh...

 

Its getting close to Christmas so maybe I should give the Telstra Store option another try.  I go to a nearby major shopping centre early in the morning leaving myself plenty of time to complete the task - by this time I have spent about six hours and 15 km of driving trying to get this $129 device that I previously got online without the slightest hitch.  The shop is one of the new look places with a swarm of a dozen people buzzing around the small number of customers in the shop at that time.

 

I get someone to talk to (and a trainee to sit in on the sale) in a few moments.  Great!  This is really going to happen!  I explain what I want.  The agent wants to discuss all the other wonderful Telstra offerings I may not be aware of.  At this point I'm still calm and explain that I'm aware of their offerings, that this tablet really IS exactly what I want and can we please proceed with the sale.  After a further desultory attempt to upsell/crosssell me the agent agrees to see if they have any in stock.

 

Wonderful - they have one!  Same box as the one I already have.  I TOUCH the box briefly.  The agent then grabs his notebook and tells me it will only take a moment to activate the tablet and I can be on my way.  Say what now?  Why do I have to activate the tablet before leaving?  I have no immediate use for the 4G data and am happy to use the tablet on WiFi for the next month or two.  I can activate the one I bought online any time up to 25 Feb and it will be good for 60 days and as we plan to be travelling in March this seems like something I'd want to delay until then.

 

The agent will have none of it - its a legal requirement that the tablet be activated before I leave the store!  Really?  How come I can buy it online then?  It must be activated because the agent or store (I didn't ask for clarification) only get revenue recognition on activation.  I should care about this why?  It must be activated before leaving the store because the Manager of the store insists all devices be activated before leaving the store.  Having received three dubious explanations at this point I make it clear that immediate activation will not suit my needs. 

 

The agent once again insists that there is no room for negotiation on this so I thank him and the trainee for their time and leave the store.

 

Has a company ever worked harder not to make a sale?

 

I go back to checking the site every day - still broken.  Obviously Telstra don't monitor their web site logs very closely and don't notice when an item starts throwing errors or unexpectedly stops registering sales.

 

Now I know this is a community forum and I know you can't fix the web site for me but as I have twice reported the problem via chat with no outcome I'm left with this as the only way to provide feedback to Telstra.

 

Fix your stuff Telstra!

 

Still not working...

 

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19 REPLIES 19
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

So my successful order was made on 12/12 on the https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid page where the "Buy Now" button for the "Telstra Essential Tablet" goes initially to https://store.telstra.com.au/_mycart?sku=119643 and then to a succession of pages with URLs of the form https://store.telstra.com.au/_mycart?fn=payment&ts=1546118201780650 where the page just keeps refreshing and the ts= number keeps changing.

I reported the problem via chat and it was purportedly escalated to the web group on 14/12 or 15/12.

So now, after 15 days, the site is still broken.

Fix your stuff Telstra!

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

16 days - still broken. Fix your stuff Telstra!

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

17 days - still broken. Fix your stuff Telstra!
Support Team
Support Team

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Apologies that you are having this experience with purchasing a product on our website.

 

Have you tried another browser and cleared your cookies/cache and tired again?.

 

Let us know what happens when you do this.

 

 

Need help? Check out our Community Wiki or Support Portal || Looking for a new mobile? Order online today || Get help with any Tech at Home with Telstra Platinum || Don't forget to tag answers as Accepted Solutions and give a Like to the member(s) who helped you out.

All moderation actions are supported by the CrowdSupport Community Guidelines

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

As stated in my original post, I used multiple browsers, on multiple PCs and devices and on multiple connections/IP addresses. Different browsers and different PCs rules out corrupted local cache. I have more than 30 years in IT behind me - I know how to identify and report a problem. It also wasn't load related as both chat agents suggested.

Can I ask, did you try to place an order on that page?

Still broken after 18 days.

Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

I have the same problem. The purchase link is broken. When you click on the link you end up in an endless loop of redifections to sites that don't open

Support Team
Support Team

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

I will report this issue you are having.

 

 

Need help? Check out our Community Wiki or Support Portal || Looking for a new mobile? Order online today || Get help with any Tech at Home with Telstra Platinum || Don't forget to tag answers as Accepted Solutions and give a Like to the member(s) who helped you out.

All moderation actions are supported by the CrowdSupport Community Guidelines

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Also, before you ask, the pages doesn't work for me on both my home NBN connection (non-Telstra ISP) and on my notebook using my Telstra 4G broadband Air Card. So its not ISP-level caching (if that's even a thing anymore).
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Thanks for confirming that @cf4.

Its nice that after nearly three weeks at least one person has taken the time to click on the link to establish whether it really is a site problem or is at the user end.

Kudos.
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Thanks @KathleenC !

I very much appreciate finally having the problem escalated.

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Sad to say, still broken after 19 days.

Many companies think their online store is a key driver of revenue and make a huge effort to keep it working correctly by close monitoring and responsive attention to problem reports. Just saying.
Highlighted
Level 21: Augmented

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

I have also tested the link provided in the 2nd post, and yes there is an issue.
Telstra cable Melbourne.
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Thanks @Jagaf for confirming.

TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Really Telstra? You're going to make me post again?

Still broken after at least 20 days. Its now been formally reported three times, purportedly escalated to the web group twice and been independently confirmed by at least two other community members.

Do you really not check your web logs or have them so poorly configured that you cannot detect defects in your online selling platform?

Are you really unable to act on and resolve in a timely manner reports of errors with your web store.

Fix your stuff Telstra!
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Well that's a class act Telstra!

You have "fixed" the problem by removing the Telstra Essental Tablet from the page completely. Genius. I guess that was easier than fixing the root problem.

There's a link to prepaid tablets category there now which goes to a page... with no tablets, only SIMs.

The original fault is still present at https://store.telstra.com.au/_mycart?sku=119643 but by editing the https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid page you can only get to the broken page using the URL.

What a joke.



TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Well there's a thing...

 

So now a couple of days later someone has woken up to the fact that they didn't fix the original problem but just worked around it by removing the info and links to the Telstra Essential Tablet completely.

 

Maybe worried about what they would do about all that unsold stock someone has taken another run at it and got it almost right - the Telstra Essential Tablet info and link are back on the https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid page, so well done for that.  Unfortunately only the "Find out more" button is available - the "Buy now" button is completely missing.  Is there any sort of change control or quality control in operation here at all?  This is the company currently marketing Telstra Platinum to us right?  Not a good look.

 

 

Fortunately you can navigate to the product page with the "Find out more" button and that page has a "Buy online now" button and that leads to <drum roll> a proper working product purchase page that doesn't get stuck in an endless redirect loop.

 

I thank the multiple Telstra and Community people who have been involved in (maybe) influencing the course of the resolution of this problem.

 

I have ordered my wife's tablet and with any luck the rest of the process will unroll as smoothly as it did last time.

 

Not a positive experience overall with Telstra though - they shot their foot at almost every possible occasion.

 

... and the cricket is still a tragedy also.

 

 

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Hi @TragicCricket,

apologies for your experience and multiple attempts to obtain the tablet you require. I was just posting in light of new information i have received to inform you the links below are now working, but I see you have already ordered the device.

https://www.telstra.com.au/tablets/prepaid-for-tablets
https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/prepaid-mobiles/telstra-essential-tablet
https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/mobile-broadband/prepaid#sim-and-device

Hope your wife enjoys using the tablet. Please reach out to the community anytime with any questions or service/product related inquiries.

Best wishes,
Emma.
TragicCricket
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

Thank you @Emmasis - I can confirm that those URLs now appear correct to me also - including the remaining defect I mentioned yesterday.

 

Well done for running all these issues to ground at last.

 

I am confident the tablet will meet my wife's needs - for non-compute intensive work such as an eBook reader or a remote for Chromecast streaming I can give this 8 inch tablet a big thumbs up - the substantial battery life and very attractive price are the highlights for me.

 

Thanks for persisting and getting this right.

 

 

Level 21: Augmented

Re: What's wrong with Telstra?

I didnt look into your web link issue, but i did come across the same issue you did in store except with a pre-paid phone.

"The agent then grabs his notebook and tells me it will only take a moment to activate the tablet and I can be on my way.
It must be activated because the agent or store (I didn't ask for clarification) only get revenue recognition on activation."

given our local store is a Franchisee i would have to say your above assumption is right, although we only got told "it is store policy"
given we had to wait 2 days anyway for the phone to come our direction, because they didnt have 1 in stock, i'm going to assume that the franchisee's work on a consignment basis (if they actually hold the stock), which is why they require the activation, kind of a proof of purchase form their store sort of thing.
Telstra customer 15+ yrs, I am not a Telstra employee and never have been

Kudos and thanks welcomed

If I have managed to outsmart myself and give a Solution please mark it as so.
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