Level 1: Cadet

DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Firstly an apology for the long-winded nature of this comment.  I don't usually post but feel I should for the sake of those about to make the same mistake I did.  Also my cousin is a journo and has agreed to draft an editorial piece featuring my case. Has anyone else experience this?


The story so far...


I have been an Optus cable broadband and home phone customer for 6 years. Following some extremely poor technical support I decided to switch to a 'better priced' cable offering from Telstra.  I already have FoxTel so already have the Telstra/FoxTel cable connected to the house. As the house is a recent reno there is no Telstra phone service to the house (although I am led to believe the pre-reno house did have a service connected). I placed the order via a link in myAccount (for transparency I already have three mobile services with Telstra; phone, post-paid iPad and pre-paid iPad.  I have had these for 4+ years).


I placed an online order for the Medium Broadband and Home Phone Bundle for $95 per month entitling me to phone + cable broadband at 500GB/month on a casual plan.  Three days later I recieved the self-install cable modem (Gateway Max) which I was able to install successfully (not hard).  I noticed that the modem did not have the telephone socket that my old Optus modem did and quickly concluded that there was likely to be an issue. I mistakenly assumed the bundle would use an integrated VOIP telephone like Optus but, realising this might not be the case, called Telstra.  Then it all went to s*%t.


Day 1 - call 1 (40 mins).  I explained my situation and provided the order number in the order confirmation email.  The agent responded that the order number must be wrong as they don't usually start with letters... 'Oh dear' I thought, 'here we go'.  When we finally established that the order number was an online order number (not a provisioning number or whatever, for which I was chastised) the agent sighed and made some half-joking comment about 'online orders' being a pain.  He confirmed that our phone service would be 'provisioned' in 5 days time between 8am - 12pm.  I said we would prefer a time after 9am as my 10 month-old son would be sleeping.  He responded that it would be 'remote'.  When I questioned him on the mechanism by which the phone was connected he sarcastically told me I would need to 'plug it into the socket on the wall'.  I politely told him we needed a physical connection installed from the Telstra exchange further down the street as none existed for the house.  He said I would need to talk to the home moving team (I have lived at this address for 6 years but can see why that team might be relevant...). He then put me on hold for 20 mins while he spoke to them.  1st appointment available in 20 days time (not good enough).  We finally agreed for the engineer to attend on the original provisioning date 5 days hence. 


Day 5 - provisioning day - call 2 (30mins). My wife waited all morning for someone to arrive.  Nobody did.  I called Telstra and an agent explained that the service was active (the broadband that is).  When challenged that there was no phone yet the agent responded 'you want phone also?'.  Yes.  Clue's in the title "Medium Broadband and Home Phone Bundle". I'm told this team only do the broadband. If I want the phone provisioned I need to talk to the phone people. Eh? Bundle? Telstra? Also I noticed that the working broadband was showing on myAccount as a 100GB/24-month contract service, not the 500GB/casual I had purchased. I was advised that the 'online' team would sort that out once the phone line was 'active'. 


Day 5 - provisioning day - call 3 (1 hour). On the phone to the phone line people.  Apparently there is a provisioning order but it is delayed due to 'technical difficulties'.  I asked whether that could be because there is no physical connection to which I was told 'er... could be? But then you need an engineer to come out and install the line'.  I know - I was expecting one.  'Oh... well there's no record of it here. Would you like me to organise an engineer visit?'.  That might be a good idea if we're going to get this solved don't you think?  'First available is 20 days away...'.  Not good enough.  I managed to get agreement for the engineer to come two days hence.  


Day 7 - line install and phone provisioning day - call 4 (1hr 20mins).  Another no-show.  My wife cancelled two appointments to wait in for the engineer and by 2pm had given up and called Telstra directly.  Apparently she can't access the account being a) my wife and, b) living at the same physical address as the service is being installed. I get called out of a meeting to get her set up which involves saying 'yes' 3 times without having to identify myself (proving that the ID checks really are quite useless). The upshot is that the 'technical team' have no record of an engineer visit being arranged but that we shouldn't need one anyway because we already have a line (see previous). Wife gives up as she really doesn't understand what's wrong. 


Day 7 - call 5 (1hr 10mins).  I get home in the evening to pick up the chase (having cancelled welcome drinks for a new-starter in my team).  I call Telstra and we go through the whole debacle again.  'That isn't a valid order number', 'I can see you have an exisitng 100GB broadband service - did you want to upgrade?', 'You want a phone?', 'Yes provisioning is already booked - no it's remote', 'You want an engineer to come to the house?'.  Eventually I get what I think is an install date for 5 days hence.  


Day 7 - call 6 (30 mins).  I give Telstra another call just to confirm what exactly it is they think they're doing on the agreed install date.  It turns out there's actually no engineer available until 20 days hence so nothing has been booked. That is apparently ok though because the phone will be provisioned remotely in 2 days, but wait... there seems to be a delay due to technical reasons (could it be there's no phone line to the house!?!).  Everyone at Telstra engineering has gone home for the night so I'll get a call back the following day to confirm that everything has been sorted. 


Day 8 - call 7 (25 mins).  No call-back (although, to be fair, I missed a call from Telstra so at least they tried).  I finally get back through and, well, it's a carbon-copy of call 5 (above).  Not only that, after 25mins on hold I get cut-off. 


Day 8 - call 8 (40 mins).  I call back. It is a different agent this time and, after a brief  and short-tempered reprise of call 5's conversation, she tells me that she sees the problem.  The request has not been set up correctly and she will need to cancel the order and re-submit it.  This is subject to the standard service agreement and will take up to 20 business days... I loose it (for which I apologise unreservedly to the agent).  I ask her to cancel the order, collect Telstra's equipment (the broadband router) and ensure that I am not charged.  She tells me that I can drop the equipment to any Telstra store 'at my convenience' which doesn't help my mood. I ask her to ensure the broadband product that was erroneously set-up (the 100GB/24-month contract one) is cancelled and that the 'online team' are notified that the order is cancelled (appreciating, as I now do, that they are a completely different entity that have their own unique way of doing things).  She agrees. I ask her again.  She is adamant that she understands - it will all be cancelled. 


Day 8 - call 9 (10 mins).  I call Optus to tell them 'all is forgiven' and can I have my old cable/phone service back please? 10 mins later I have a better deal than I did previously with free 'Fetch TV' (apparently provided by Telstra so I'm not holding my breath on that one).  Install will be in 2 days and the engineer (which I don't actually need but they're sending anyway as standard) will set-up, provision and test the service in one, 15 minute appointment. I know this works because they've done it before.  


Today.  The Telstra Broadband is still showing on myAccount as active so I have to work-up the enthusiasm to call Telstra again to sort that out... 


In summary my experience suggests that :


  • Telstra quite clearly has issues with it's training, operating model and processes.  
  • The online ordering seems to be a quick-and-dirty fix to ensure they have an online presence.  It does not appear to be connected to the other teams in Telstra.  Recommendation : don't ever, EVER buy from Telstra online if actually want something.
  • The customer service is truly, truly awful.  It's 2016 and for any company to have customer service this poor is a crime against humanity. 
  • The products and set-up are totally confusing and misleading.  There are no 'bundles'.  The fact that I was set-up with a basic 100GB/24-month contract product when I ordered a 500GB/casual product because 'that's the way it works' is stupid and has created the potential for further mess-ups.
  • Optus are by no means perfect, but at least they seem to have this bundle thing sorted...


Again - apologies for the long-winded essay. If one person avoids the aggro we suffered then it will have served a purpose. 


Good luck prospective Telstra customers, you'll need it!



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Level 22: Superhuman

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Hey @TonyT1603,


Obviously you have had a bad time of it. I doubt it's the everyday experience.


I've rarely done online bundling, I have always used the online as a"shopping list", then rung a human being.


Never had an issue that could not be readily sorted out (my current bundle needed to get my tablet SIM cost corrected, it took one phonecall).


Your issues seem to have started with the Gateway MAX, not having a VOIP, and the stuff up you got which meant you need a copper telephone line connected. Telstra have to provision that (not Optus, for historical reasons), and seems all of that got messed up as well.


I know people who use VOIP phones via the Telstra MAX, it takes an adapter and only a little bit of configuration.


To be honest, you would have been better off coming here and posting at the beginning of your issues instead of the end.


Whilst this isn't an official support area,  we get things done, and some of your issues would have been escalated, better explained, and possibly avoided.


Hindsight is 20/20 vision, but there you go.


If I've helped in some way, a Kudos would be appreciated.
Any opinions I express or advice I give are purely my own, and don't represent Telstra.

Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Hi @Wanglese


Thanks for your considered response and the offer of help.  You are right that I would probably have found an agreeable answer if I had posted here initially and you would likely have saved me a whole world of hassle.  


On reflection my real irritation is two-fold, starting with the fact that the product was sold as a bundle (which in hindsight I understand is simply a function of the contract, not the services).  I can understand that the services need to be provisioned separately but surely there should be a clear, simple set of instructions and guidance for customers about what needs to happen.  I can't be the only person to have attempted to switch from another provider onto a Telstra cable bundle.  This is a clear case of failing the 'mother-in-law/grandpa' test.  I am technically literate and able to understand/guide the conversation with the service agents based on my knowledge of what the issue is/might have been.  My parents can't even use email so I can't begin to imagine how they would fare (ok so they probably aren't the core target-segment for high-speed broadband, but the point stands).


Secondly I take issue with the disordered way in which the various teams within Telstra (with whom I am now unecessarily familiar) failed to understand the problem, take ownership and act accordingly.  If I lived deep-country and had a new dwelling without a registered address, etc. I could understand the confusion, but I live in Sydney - 5kms from the CBD. 


This is (somewhat ironically) exacerbated by the fact that Telstra relies on generous customer/advocates such as yourself to provide support and answer questions that are largely a result of its own making (i.e. the products/services are too complex, some staff appear inadequately knowledgable about the products, services and processes, etc.). 


I like to consider myself a reasonable (if not exactly patient) individual.  I really wanted Telstra to work.  I've had Telstra mobile services for years with no problems whatsoever.  However, I cannot in all conscience, allow others to walk naiively into the same issues without understanding the potential challenges.  I'd welcome the opportuinty to speak with a Telstra rep who can explain what went wrong, why and how Telstra are working to improve their services.  


Again, I don't usually do message-board diatribes so please take this as intended - an opportunity for Telstra to learn from its mistakes (and, obviously, a cathartic excercise for myself).  


Thanks again for your advice, 




Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

I had almost the exact same issues as @TonyT1603:

  • Was with Optus.
  • Ordered 1,000Gb Telestra Cable Bundle online.
  • Two days later, I was provisioned at 100Gb. I spent an hour on the phone only to be told "the technicians first provision 100Gb then upgrade it; don't worry".
  • Days later I received a "Wecome Email" telling me my order was complete. I checked 'MyTelstra' and found it still saying I was on 100Gb, so I wasted another hour waiting on the phone. I was again assured that the 100Gb provisioning was interim, and no to worry.
  • Three days later, my broadband was speed-limited because I blew through the 100Gb. I bit the bullet and used one of my three 'free' top-ups to bump my available quota back to 100Gb, just to get the family off my back.
  • I then spent another hour waiting for a Telstra operator so I would find out when my service would be properly provisioned at 1,000Gb. Unfortunately I ended up with a clueless bozo who would not listen to my case background and simply kept asking me if "I wanted to upgrade to 1,000Gb". In the end I agreed to request an upgrade, which she said would occur within 1 hour
  • The next day I found I was still on 100Gb. Another call; more of my time; endless frustration. Finally I got the 'upgrade applied'.

Guess what? 

  • Lsst week I got my second bill since all this happened, and wonderful Testra had double-billed me for nearly $300 worth of the upfront and recurring charges during this transition. I had to make yet another damed phone call to get that sorted out (which, much to my surprise, an very friendly and competent operator did for me very efficiently). 

To say my on-boarding as a Telstra customer was WOEFUL would be a gross understatement. There is no accountability with most of Telstra's 'customer service' people. Given the similarlities in @TonyT1603's experience and mine, it seems clear that the standard provisioning of Broadband Bundles is fundamentally broken, yet there appears to be no feedback-loop to have the process fixed.




Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

@Wanglese@Grawlix - it gets better...


Today (Day 11) I get a text from Telstra confirming my phone will be activated tomorrow (er... no line?).


Today (Day 11) I also get a voicemail message asking what I want to do with my Internet given that it is under 24 month contract (this is the one set-up to support the bundle that was going to be 'switched' to the casual bundle once the phone line was installed).  


Apparently because I have the internet provisioned and have only cancelled the 'bundle' (eh? that's the internet and home phone thing I bought right?) I am automatically rolled onto the standard broadband plan (100GB / 24 month contract).  I can't cancel that because... wait for it... 'you've cancelled your bundle order already - this is a standard contract'




UPDATE: A nice person from the disconnections team finaly showed some initiative and has chased up what needs to be done to get the Internet service cancelled as well.  Apparently, because it's still in 'provisioning' mode they need a couple of days to sort something out and then they can cancel the service so I have a call-back scheduled for three days hence (fingers crossed).  I asked them to confirm that there wouldn't be any automatically-applied break fees or anysuch other nonsense and the agent assured me that there wouldn't be. 


The saga continues...


@Grawlix - I read your case with interest.  If my cousin decides to write a piece would it be ok if she was to quote your case (obviously depersonalised - no names/usernames/etc)?



Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

A further update (I figured I'd keep a record here as it's getting depressingly funny...)


Day 13 (letter) - Just received a letter from Telstra thanking me for choosing the 'Telstra Voice Light plan' for $15.95 pcm.  Not sure how that relates to the 'Telstra Medium Broadband bundle' for $95 pcm but I'm pretty sure it's not what I ordered (or subsequently cancelled).  Telstra appears determined to share with me every work-aroun, manual process and fudge they apply while trying to first provision, then cancel my order.  


What next I wonder..?

Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Your post made me feel not so alone - I made the mistake of signing up online for a Telstra bundle on 20 May 2016  Without going into too much detail (I have my own 5 A4 page record of it), I have now spoken to almost 30 onlone 24/7 chat people, plus numerous telephone calls, my user name was changed by Telstra after telling me the name I requested was available, my "bundle" was separated and sent to different areas to process, and after much pulling out of hair, things finally seemed to be heading in the right direction after two entire weeks. Yeah - right! I was advised that once my internet was working okay and once I had a telephone connection, to call a particular number and ask someone to bundle it. I HAVE TO ARRANGE THE BUNDLING!!! 


Anyway - I rang the number and was advised by a recorded message that Telstra had attempted to contact me and may call again - and then it hung up. GREAT!! So I rang the number it included if I should have any questions. I was connected to someone who knew nothing about what I was trying to have done and have now been on hold for over an hour while they attempt to have someone from Sales speak with me. 


As you were - I am now wishing I'd never done this. Oh - and apart from changing my email address from what I had requested, they also gave me a different name to sign into my Telstra Account. This has been the most unprofessional business I have ever dealt with and except for the fact that I keep feeling I am close to having my problems resolved, I would quit and go back to Optus. Meanwhile ... I await a person to speak with to beg to have my bundle bundled! <SIGH>

Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Hi Stonefish


This is definitely not an experience we want for you as one of our newest Members. 


You mentioned you were waiting on the phone to speak with someone whilst posting. Were you able to speak with  a consultant and progress your concerns? 


Please let us know where you are at, so we can assist you further if required. 


Kind Regards 

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Level 1: Cadet

Re: DO NOT order Telstra Broadband Bundles online

Hi There,


Thank your for your detailed note. I'm currently going through the exact same problem when trying to order Cable Broadband and Foxtel. I've been given the run around for 14 days now and still no one has come out.


I've had two orders that have magically been cancelled and another running again now. Actually an engineer was meant to be at my house this morning but didn't turn up. I really thought I'd got somewhere  but after calling them again this morning I'm back to the beginning.


At least I'm not on my own.


Hope Optus goes well for you!!




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