Level 1: Cadet

Suspension of account

Yesterday my home bundle account (phone, bigpond & foxtel) was suspended because a Direct Debit was not honoured. When this has occasionally happened in the 15 years I've been with Telstra it's been a quick fix - pay online or over the phone, account reinstated.

Yesterday - I spoke to 6 separate Call Centre people and visited a Telstra Shop twice. I have now paid the bill THREE TIMES. All of the payments have been taken from my bank. I have received receipts from the shop and an email from Telstra saying thanks for paying your bill. I have repeatedly given the receipt numbers to the call centres I've spoken to.

Foxtel resumed after the first payment. The internet is still not on. The second time I went to the Telstra shop and paid again, the nice girl rang Bigpond directly to say the account was paid and to request reconnection ASAP. 

The original call centre woman was very rude, laughed at me when I said it wasn't convenient to go to the shop as I was ill, refused to give me her name, and hung up on me. This was after she told me that despite having already paid through the app, I was not allowed to pay other than in cash at a shop because I had defaulted on my direct debit. I have now had to cancel the medical procedure I was to have today because I was unable to continue the prep I needed to do, owing to having to run back and forth to the shop. This woman just laughed and said, oh now you say you sick, before you laughing (I hadn't been by the way). She also laughed at me when I asked if I could be connected to an Australian number so that I could understand more clearly what was happening, and refused to let me speak to her supervisor because allegedly she was the supervisor and had no superior of any kind.
This story or versions of it persisted. After I paid at the shop the first time and nothing happened with the internet I rang again to be told my account was suspended for non-payment and I now owed another $168 due today (now yesterday). I pointed our that even if there was another bill due today I surely couldn't be suspended for non-payment before the day was even over ....made no difference. So I had to go back to the shop again and paid another $168. It was at this stage that the girl rang from the shop. 

Went back home. Waited. Nothing. Rang again (I had an onlline class to attend which I have now missed & time was getting short). No, my account was no longer suspended. I would just have to wait. Waited. Rang again. Was told my account was suspended and I would have to pay in cash. Told them I HAD PAID THREE TIMES THAT DAY. Nothing they could do. 

Rang again. Told account definitely not suspended. No explanation re why internet still not working.

This went on until I was nearly driven mad.

There seems to be nobody you can appeal to, if you can't get the Call Centre people to understand you because they seem only to follow their 'script'. Several I spoke to were actually so weak in English that they were using words that made no sense.

The last man I spoke to seemed not to understand that a Debit Card was not the same as a Direct Debit, and kept parroting that I MUST PAY IN CASH because I had defaulted on a Direct Debit. I tried to explain that my visa debit card was a cash card and that the payment had been accepted via eftpos and in fact already gone from my bank ac (I checked) but he just kept repeating I would have to take cash to the shop.

To be clear, it's not so much that I mind having to wait to be re-connected - though this has never happened, ever, before - it's that they keep telling me my account is suspended till I pay it. And I have paid it. Three times.

What is going on here? I have never had this happen before. The shop now says they don't know what else they can do. I am on Newstart and have had to find 3 x $168 in one day and still have no internet. Thank God my mobile is now with Vodafone, and I can at least hotspot until I run out of data. 

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Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: Suspension of account

You are quite right. What happened should never have happened. The way it is supposed to work is that you pay the bill (normally online through the Telstra website) and then you call to notify that payment has been made. The service should then normally be reinstated within about 4 hours or so.

Something has gone seriously wrong in this case and I would recommend that you lodge a formal complaint via so that both the reason why the direct debit failed and the resultant runaround can be investigated.
Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

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