Level 2: Rookie

Suspended email account.

Not so much a request for help, more a rant and a warning for others. I'm a retired IT consultant, but I stillI provide IT support to a few small businesses and individuals in a rural town. One of those businesses, a Telstra DOT customer, called me to say their email client was asking for a password. Long story short, without warning or notification their bigpond email address has been "suspended". When I attempted to log in to webmail, I was redirected to a page telling me the account was suspended and that I had to contact Telstra to reactivate it. It give three choices; use the app., online chat or telephone: 1/ Online chat. An AI system that goes around in a loop and then says "download the app." 2/ Telephone. A menu system followed by a message saying no operators are available and I should download the app. 3/ Download the app. OK, installed the app on the customers phone and logged in. The app reports no accounts are linked to the email address (userid). I entered all the details, only to be told firstly that it cannot link because the account is linked to another ID, then a "technical error" has occurred. However the app then allows a chat session to be started. So I go through all the nonsense, the customer provides his D.O.B., driver license etc. etc.. The "tech" eventually decides it's a business account and passes it on to tech 2. The new ("business") tech 2 says the account is no longer suspended. Webmail disagrees!! He then says he'll "reset and upgrade the system" (?!) and I should try again in 4 hours. Hmm. Sounds more like "in 4 hours I'll be off shift and it'll be someone else's problem", but OK. This morning it's still not working, We go through the same nonsense again, but this time the "tech 3" tells me the security details are wrong. The customer is standing next to me, but according to tech 3 he doesn't know his own D.O.B. or license number (?!). The "tech" requests details from the last bill, which we supply. Nope, they are wrong, apparently. Because this is online chat, I have time to phone the Telstra store who confirm that the bill details are correct. Tech 3, however, is having none of it and refuses to help me because "the details are wrong". I must assume either he can't read, or he is looking at the wrong account (though he tells me he's not) or that he just can't be bothered to help. I have another go with the app. but it still won't link the account. I try to "find lost userid" by entering the account number, and guess what? It sends a recovery email TO THE SUSPENDED EMAIL ACCOUNT!!!!! So it's the right account, but because the email is suspended I can't get the message. BEAUTIFUL!! At this point I'm close to giving up. Webmail says the email account is suspended, but tech 1 tells me it's not. Tech 3 won't talk to me. The app is useless, and there's no-one to talk on the phone. The Telstra shop can validate all my details (unlike tech 3), but can't actually do anything because "they're only a retail store". Last attempt - register a complaint on Telstra's system. So I type in all the details, hit return and, you've guessed it, "we're sorry, there was a technical problem". At this point the customer is looking up the local Member of Parliament's phone number (I kid u not), and in the phone book we find another number for Telstra Business Support. Worth one last try? And bingo, the phone is answered by a real live person (not sure how this happened, surely a gap Telstra have yet to plug?). This guy can see our details, confirm our identity, and can see the problem. He transfers us to someone in India (hearts sink) who (it's a miracle) can also see the problem. She transfers us to someone in Townsville, who actually FIXES it! We're pinching ourselves, is this a dream? Email is working again! Obviously this informatio does not help those unfortunate enough to be on Telstra "Personal" services, but for anyone on DOT or a business service, just completely forget the rubbish that Telstra's web site or "app" provides, and look up Business Support in the phonebook. You never know, you might get lucky!

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