Level 1: Cadet

Feedback relating to recent issue with sudden disconnection of home phone and broadband

Hi there.
There are two support cases opened recently (131212-002286 and 131212-000039) which asked where I could best submit some feedback regarding our sudden disconnection of our home phone and broadband (after only six weeks within opening account).  As I haven't received a response from either of those yet, and this feedback is too large to be accepted by the online feedback form, I hope that this feedback will be received via this forum.
While our broadband was finally reconnected on Tuesday 17th December, when it was advised it would be, and we are thankful for, I wish to submit the following details to convey our recent experiences with Telstra, and in the hope it can prevent frustration for new customers in the future.  From our research, it seems that there were two broadband orders erroneously processed for our address, and this caused the existing phoneline (and newly created broadband connection) to be disconnected, in order to set up the second order.
I have documented the recent events below in the hope it conveys the frustration we recently experienced with Telstra, and hopefully receive a reply.
Friday 25/10/13  Telstra home phone line was connected.
Monday 28/10/13  Set up home alarm system monitoring with our chosen security company.
Thursday 21/11/13  Rang Telstra sales and ordered 50GB $49.95/month ADSL broadband plan.  I was sent two emails - one confirming the order along with address and username details, and one advising the password for the broadband connection.
Thursday 28/11/13  Set up modem with ADSL connection, using the username and password provided.  We were up and running with our new Internet connection.
Friday 29/11/13  Received letter from Telstra welcoming me to Bigpond, and that my monthly bill will be $79.95.  I rang Telstra to confirm this was correct, as I had ordered the $49.95/month plan.  I was told that indeed we have a $79.95/month plan but we get a $30/month discount due to having our home phone with Telstra.  This was very confusing, because at no time during ordering the ADSL plan was a plan of ($79.95 with $30 discount)/month mentioned, and nowhere on the website did I find a plan that was $79.95/month.  Both the phone call and the website only ever refer to 50GB $49.95/month plans.  While I am satisfied that I will only be charged $49.95/month as I expected, I think it is very confusing that signing up on a 50GB $49.94/month plan is actually signing up to a $79.95/month plan that is not, and never was, mentioned anywhere.  When I spoke to the Telstra consultant on the phone, she said it was her fifth call that day regarding the same issue, so I was obviously not the only one confused by this.
Wednesday 4/12/13  I noticed two Telstra technicians working on the telecommunications pillar near my residence.  Had I not been in a car on my way to work I would have stopped to say how happy I was with Telstra with setting up the home phone and broadband smoothly and quickly.
Thursday 5/12/13  I noticed the broadband was not connecting when I tried to use it in the evening (it was working in the morning).  After spending around an hour working on the settings on the modem, I thought it would be worth checking the phone line to see if that was affected.  There was a problem with the phone as well, and a call to the home phone from my mobile phone informed that our number "could not be connected."
Friday 6/12/13  Rang Telstra in the morning to report the fault.  I was told it would be passed to the programming technicians, that it would be fixed in 12-24 hours, and that I would be called when it was fixed.
Saturday 7/12/13  Around 27 hours after reporting the fault and still without a phone line I rang Telstra again.  I was told the problem was still being investigated and I would get a call within two hours as to the status of the problem.  I was called within two hours and told it was a fault with the external Telstra line and that it would be fixed by the evening and a technician would not need access to the premises.  A few hours later I received a text message saying Telstra would commit to repairing the fault by 1900hrs on Monday 9/12/13.  This was followed up with a phone call saying that a technician would resolve the issue on Monday (without needing access to the premises) and it would be fixed by 7pm Monday evening.
Monday 9/12/13  A technician visited and left a note saying that everything outside the house was tested and working correctly.  However at 8pm we still did not have a connected phone line.  I rang Telstra and explained the problem was not resolved.  The consultant said that a technician would need to visit our premises to fix the problem, and the earliest appointment would be Wednesday 11/12/13.  I asked if it was likely that a disconnected phone line fault would be at the exchange and not necessarily at the house.  I was told that there was a fault at the exchange, and that it would be fixed, but a technician still needed to visit our house.
Tuesday 10/12/13  Telstra rang in the morning to check if the problem had been fixed, as a technician had visited the telecommunications pillar in the street and apparently repaired a fault with it that morning.  I confirmed our phone worked by calling a number, and dialling the home phone number from my mobile.  At last we could also get our home alarm system monitored again.  I was informed that the Telstra case would be closed, and I asked if the technician appointment for Wednesday needed to be cancelled.  I was told that closing the case will cancel the appointment and the technician will no longer be visiting.  I checked the ADSL connection in the evening and after trying many different configurations of the modem was not able to connect.
Wednesday  11/12/13  Embarassingly, the Telstra technician turned up at our house in the morning, without anyone to greet him as we were of the understanding the appointment had been cancelled.  Not only that, he rang and left a message while at our house while I was on hold to Telstra to see if they could contact him to let him know there wouldn't be anyone there to greet him (he left a message on my mobile earlier in the morning to let me know the approximate time he would be arriving, so I thought I would do the right thing and try to let him know not to worry as the problem with the phone had been resolved).  Instead he was probably frustrated that he committed to an appointment that nobody else had, and unfortunately there is no way I can contact him to apologise and let him know we had been informed he wouldn't be coming.
After ringing the manufacturer of our modem during the day to see if it might be that which was faulty, I rang Telstra in the evening regarding our inability to connect to ADSL since the day the phone line was disconnected.  I was absolutely astonished to learn that they had no record of our connection to ADSL the week before, and they seemed surprised that I was able to connect to ADSL as it apparently hadn't even been set up yet.  I was then told that it takes a week after a phone line is connected to connect ADSL, and because our phone was only connected yesterday, and the ADSL contract was only activated today, that ADSL won't be connected until 17th December.  So after having ADSL for a full week, we then had to wait from 5/12 to 17/12 before being able to use it again.
Tuesday 17/12/13    Our broadband was finally connected again, and I was able to set up the modem in minutes to once again have access to the Internet.
In addition, since the home phone was disconnected, my mobile phone is now displaying my phone calls to other mobile phones as "Private" which  it never did before this all happened.  I am unable to amend it on the phone's settings as it is greyed out, so I can only expect something has changed with my caller ID settings for my mobile account (which is a work phone).  I suspect this occurred when Telstra enabled a setting on my mobile phone to press * at the end of a call to get it billed to my home phone, while the home phone location was disconnected.  I did not use this function, so I hope it does not turn up on my home phone bill.  Interestingly, although Telstra cannot help me as the phone account is not in my name (both calling and visiting a Telstra shop), they were somehow able to enable the ability to bill to my home phone without asking if it was my mobile account or not.  It is annoying that I have to bother my work's management to get this investigated and sorted when it is evident that it has been something that Telstra has changed, and not ever requested by me.
In the meantime I paid a bill for the home phone that was due during this period, in good faith, but I expect to receive some compensation for the services that were being paid for but not received, ie, phone, home alarm monitoring and broadband.
I trust with the information provided above you can understand my frustration with Telstra, namely for the following reasons:
  • I was continually given time frames for the problem to be resolved, which were never met.  Shifting expectations so frequently does not fill me with confidence in my service provider.
  • I was never given a reason as to why our home phone line was disconnected, even after asking.
  • There doesn't seem to be any record of my ADSL contract from when I was using it.  Then I found out the order had only been mysteriously activated on Wednesday 11/12/13, two weeks after I was actually able to use it.
  • Nobody seems to know what is going on!  I get different explanations and reasons depending on who I talk to at Telstra.  And they don't seem to communicate clearly with each other, e.g., the technician still turning up after the case had been closed.
  • The ADSL plan pricing is confusing (well, it wasn't until the letter arrived).
  • Things began so well with Telstra, with the sales and connections side of things, so it is a shame that good work has been clouded by the latest drama.
In addition, I would like to mention that the consultants I have been speaking with on the telephone are generally a pleasure to speak with, and I think they do a very good job.  Unfortunately I expect they cop a lot of angst and negativity from annoyed customers who aim their frustration at them.
While I think of it, is there a purpose behind typing one's phone number using the phone's keypad when calling Telstra, as when put through to a consultant, they always ask for the phone number anyway.  If the consultants still have to ask for the number, then wouldn't it be easier to remove the step to type your phone number into the phone at the beginning?
I am thankful that the home phone and broadband issues have now been resolved (now just need the mobile phone caller ID issue resolved) and I hope we don't have any further issues with Telstra's services.  On the upside, a lot of my friends and family have tales of misfortune and woe with Telstra, and at least now I can join in.  I was hoping I wouldn't, but unfortunately it seems so for now.
I am happy to discuss any of this if convenient, and can supply evidence for any of the above points if requested.

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