Storin
Level 3: Gumshoe

Forcing Direct Debit

So I recently made a change to account with Telstra. After months of trying resolve an issue, Telstra sends me email and says I need to set up direct debit.

I then get a call from Telstra representative stating that must set up direct debit. When I refused, I got, “ or else” the or else was he stated I will not be able to operate my account, make changes or receive assistance unless I did.

I have lodged a complaint to the TIO and ACCC for harassment and being threatened by Telstra.

Don’t let Telstra bully you ... 

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21 REPLIES 21
Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

It is actually a condition of the new plans so you may not get very far.

 

Other companies have already been down the compulsory Direct Debit path and the ACCC hasn't batted an eyelid.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Storin
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

They moved one line over without a DD.. but they decided the other line required a DD. 
When the representative asked me if I had a reason why I didn’t want to set up direct debit, I laughed so ..

The TIO is actively pursuing my case.

Thor369
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Today I was going to get myself my first Apple Watch. During the process of purchasing via a 2 year payment plan, I was asked about creating a direct debit account, I said my Telstra account does not use direct debit, and I didn’t want it. I was informed it was “mandatory” and I couldn’t have my watch unless I submit to Telstra’s direct debit. 
I am a longtime customer and have an excellent payment history with Telstra, they have no issues with me or my handling of my account or bills, which I manage quite well myself, always have done. I am not comfortable allowing anyone access to my private bank account! I also found it insulting that they felt they need to do this, considering I’m a proven good customer. 
I said I’m sorry to waste your time, because I changed my mind about the Apple Watch if I can’t have it without setting up direct debit, and left the Telstra store. I still want an Apple Watch, I’ll just do it the old fashioned way and save up and buy it from Apple instead of Telstra. I just refuse to do direct debit. 
I’m currently paying off my iPhone through Telstra, which is not via direct debit. Apparently it’s the last product that I will be purchasing through them.

Rhettles
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Soon (April 2021 I think)  ALL customers will be required to set up direct debit, and become actual Pre-Paid customers.   I'm APPALLED that Telstra would make this move.   This will inconvenience millions of Australians, it could potentially collapse businesses, and cost millions of dollars in overdrawn fees and fees for failed transactions.   This is not ok.   There are plenty of regional areas in Australia where Telstra is the only network available.   They can't even choose to abandon Telstra for other providers. 😡😡😡

JayVee1
Support Team
Support Team

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

We have been slowly moving our customers onto direct debit since announcing it as our preferred payment method back in 2018. It's a big job and our goal is to make sure that we manage that transition carefully, especially with our older customers and those who are less digitally savvy. We know some customers might have concerns about moving to direct debit. So at the moment, we’re just making this change for new or recontracting customers so they can agree to costs upfront.

 

We know that there will always be customers who prefer to pay their bills in person so we are working on a solution to enable customers to continue paying over the counter at Australia Post.

 

If you have any further questions around this, feel free to reach out to our teams in store, over the phone or via our online platforms.

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Rhettles
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Leave it to Telstra to kick people when they are down.   This is simply Telstra trying to better their bottom line at our expense.  

Telstra has admitted it breached Australian Consumer Law and acted unconscionably when sales staff at five licensed Telstra-branded stores signed up 108 Indigenous consumers to multiple post-paid mobile contracts which they did not understand and could not afford between January 2016 to August 2018.   

Telsta has been forced to pay $millions in fines for ripping off Australians and now WE the consumers are paying the price.  

If plans are month to month without contract's why remove the convenience of post paid accounts?  Telstra are holding Australians to ransom. Telstra is saying  "Give us access to your bank accounts or we'll cut you off".    

This is not ok.

Thor369
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Hi and thanks for your interest in my post. A few days ago I made a complaint against Telstra and Direct Debit with the ACCC. I could understand them placing customers with poor credit ratings on Direct Debit accounts, but not good reliable longtime customers with excellent credit ratings. I thought Telstra were required to offer a choice of payment options? Am thinking of also contacting the Telecommunications Ombudsman on this issue. I find Telstra’s bullying that I experienced, and I’ve heard of with others, to be unnecessary and quite offensive.

Jupiter
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

For mobile phone service there is no legal compulsion to make Telstra offer non-direct debit forms of payment for plans (they do offer it however in the for of PrePaid services). It is only for services that come under the Universal Services Obligation that they must provide an in-person payment option (ie for Home Phone services - and since all Telstra Home Broadband Services include a Home Phone, they must still have a non-Direct Debit option available).

 

It's like Gas and Electricity retailers. They all have plans that require direct debit as the payment method (some retailers don't offer plans now that have other payment options).

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Hansolo
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

JayVee1, your last paragraph with regard to your answer to Rhettles is just a textbook cop-out answer. Telstra are not listening to their customers and for them to contact Telstra with their direct debit concerns will only fall on deaf Telstra ears. I have already walked ref my NBN and when my 2 mobile contracts are done, for one will be walking once with those as well, after a 30 year plus association with telstra it's time to go.

Bronwyn3
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

This is such a bad and disgusting thing to do to your loyal customers not everyone likes to use direct debits and I certainly won’t ever use it.  Stop forcing people to do what they don’t want to do especially to the elderly.  I heard of an incident today that really floored me and made me so angry.  A male staff member had a go at an older lady today in-store because she said she wants to receive her bills by mail, not email and was astounded by his rude reply’s to this lady.  Not everyone has the internet or email address to have their bills sent to them.  Many can’t even print them off so they can go to post office or nearest Telstra shop to pay their bill.  By forcing customers onto something the don’t or won’t do is unlawful and should stop.  You are going to lose customers very quickly if you keep this up.  Oh and this guy had the hide to say when asked about the elderly that we don’t want those type here!  Where do you get off in talking to such in this kind of manners.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

When you say “I heard of an incident today”, how did you come to hear of it?.

 

Which Telstra store was that behaviour supposedly displayed at?.

Bronwyn3
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Does it really matter?  I was in the room at the time. Point is the guy shouldn’t speak to a customer the way he did.

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Forcing Direct Debit


@Bronwyn3 wrote:

Does it really matter?  I was in the room at the time. Point is the guy shouldn’t speak to a customer the way he did.


If you were in the room and overheard it then you have firsthand knowledge, and it is not simply hearsay.

 

You are correct in your assessment of the behaviour.  Telstra are serious about improving staff culture within their stores.
If you identify the store then the manager can be instructed to address staff conduct.

Toriee
Support Team
Support Team

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Hey @Bronwyn3

 

We aim to provide the best service. Can you tell us more about your in-store visit so we can address this matter (For example, which store and do you happen know the names of the agents involved etc)? 

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Bronwyn3
Level 3: Gumshoe

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Hi the store was in the Sturt Mall in Wagga Wagga and no I don't know the agent's name only that he is a male


@Toriee wrote:

Hey @Bronwyn3

 

We aim to provide the best service. Can you tell us more about your in-store visit so we can address this matter (For example, which store and do you happen know the names of the agents involved etc)? 


 

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

That particular store is Licensee operated.

In February 2021 it was announced that by 2025 Telstra will acquire full ownership of its retail network.

 

Bronwyn, as I stated, Telstra are serious about improving staff culture within their stores, so thank you for identifying the store.

peelydeb
Level 2: Rookie

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

They tried this with me today ... as far as I am concerned they can get stuffed!  I have had an account with Telstra for more than 20 years.  We spend over $600 a month on phones, internet and foxtel and we will gladly walk away rather than be bullied by them.  This is no acceptable behaviour and everyone has other options.  They need to get over themselves.

 

qlderpat
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Well that is a stupid response, you are forcing people into a direct debit but you state you are looking into being able to allow some to pay at PO's, how is that possible if ALL accounts are direct debit.  While we are on the subject, surely this interferes with the terms in a current contract, so Telstra can change a contract any time they like but the customer cannot do so without penalty, hmmm, as soon as mine runs out it will be bye bye Telstra for this 40+ year customer whom you have never had to pursue, I have always paid even when times have been tough.  This latest move is the lowest of the low.

Xxvpn
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

The only solution is to get an ABN and a business mobile plan. They do not require direct debit and are the same price.



 

AntoineA
Level 1: Cadet

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Telstra’s representative Response is condescending to say the leas! As an old time Telstra customer with perfect payment record , I will never approve to anyone access my account, let alone a corporation with many flaws to say the least! And thanks for the classification of “non tech savvy” , as a matter of fact I am more tech savvy than most Telstra staff, and I pay my Telstra bill automatically through my NAB ebill. The response shows how much you care about customers and I am sure taking 5 mobile numbers somewhere else. 

Dowser
Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Forcing Direct Debit

Let us know where you take your “5 mobile numbers” and whether you avoid Direct Debt.

 

Set it & forget it

With direct debit there’s no need to give paying your bill another thought.

Avoid queuing up and never worry about late fees again.

Setup direct debit