Posts Tagged ‘Telstra’

Telstra resolved – at last

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was supposed to be receiving a promised call from a Telstra technician yesterday, hopefully to finally resolve my issues with their mobile broadband.

Things did not get off to a good start by receiving a form letter in the mail, commenting that my concern had been resolved (it wasn’t) and assuring me of all the wonderful things that Telstra had been doing to improve resolution of consumer complaints. That rubbed me up the wrong way – big time.

The telephone rang at roughly the appointed time. During my conversation, I soon realised that I was talking to yet another Level Two technician, rather than the semi-mythical Level Three that I supposedly needed to talk to. He soon determined what had been worked out back on Day One, roughly a month ago – that there was a hardware issue rather than a network issue. I was then given the jolly news that the three previous Level Three requests that had been raised in relation to this matter, had all been directed to the wrong area. By now I was thinking “Yeah, Telstra – you’ve improved things no end – NOT.” However he actually put me onto a real, live person. What’s more, this was someone that actually had some idea of what they were talking about.

In considerably less than five minutes, we had done some troubleshooting and voile – problem solved. At last. It only took a month, repeated formal complaints, a complaint to the Office of the CEO and starting action with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to get that point. Not to mention well over fifteen hours spent with a telephone glued to my ear, most of the time on hold listening to the same infuriating tunes over and over, that made me just want to hurl the telephone receiver at the wall. But we got there at looooong last.

The Telstra saga over… sort of

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have now settled for a refund from Telstra that has been paid direct to a bank account, having confirmed that has been received.

Several days ago, I found a contact for Telstra’s CEO and sent a very strongly worded complaint. I have received a reply this morning.

On behalf of our CEO, David Thodey, thank you for contacting us about your prepaid service. I apologise for the service issues you have experienced. Your loyalty to Telstra is valued. We are committed to a prompt resolution of this matter and a member of our team will be in contact with you.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns.


Executive Customer Contact Team

Yet another assurance of ‘prompt resolution’. However I have received my refund. No doubt this will be written up as a successful resolution of complaint action. As far as I am concerned, it was anything but a successful resolution. It is staggering to realise that Telstra’s complaints and higher levels of tech support are so overwhelmed that they cannot cope. Surely that should be a sign of things being anything but right?

At the end of the day, despite more than two weeks of trying I was singularly unsuccessful in having any contact with the mysterious Level Three technicians, despite it being determined on Day One that this was required. There were repeated attempts to offload the blame onto my equipment despite products from Telstra’s competitors working on the laptop in question. And after Telstra staff refused to accept the product for forwarding to technicians unless I coughed up a bond, their only suggested solution was to have me wear the cost of mailing it in myself. Like hell I was. If the purchase contract had specified me wearing costs of ‘return to base’ servicing, then perhaps that would have been fair enough. But that was not mentioned anywhere.

For some reason, Telstra seem to feel entirely justified in charging a premium for certain products while providing an utterly sub-standard level of service and support. Not to mention my previous rant about how well they manage to hide the presence of their Complaint Resolution Centre from its customers.

I have been a customer of Telstra’s for more than twenty years. During my long-distance courtship of the great love of my life, Telstra could have probably paid an extra dividend to shareholders just from my international phone calls to her. I really think I deserved far better treatment than I received. Needless to say they are losing all of my business from now on.

If David Theody and his staff are genuine in their remorse, then there would be an immediate major overhaul of the way that they do business. But that would cost money so it is a pretty safe bet that this won’t be happening. Instead it is just we poor slobs, the users, who have to wear the consequences.

Warning – ‘3’ are trading under false pretenses!

Posted: April 9, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Following the latest ludicrous display from Telstra, I headed off to the competition that I have used previously, hoping to be able to obtain a unit with better receptors such as the Telstra unit supposedly had. However the store manager burst out laughing when I showed him the delinquent Telstra unit that supposedly had better receptors in it.

“They’re all made by the same company,” he laughed. “It has nothing to do with receptors in the unit but is all about strength of the signal from the network you’re on. Telstra have had you on, mate.”

Just as I thought. Telstra staff pulled a fast one on me to sell me a more expensive unit that did no more than their cheaper one. Yet another instance of Telstra being scam artists!

At this point, I expected the manager of that shop to be trying to sell me another one of his products. He didn’t. Instead, he sympathised with my problems and admitted that he has difficulty in getting a signal at his home as well. Like me, he lives just next to the CBD of Australia’s capital, Canberra. Also like me, with networks other than Telstra, it has proved normal to not be able to get a 3G broadband wireless signal inside a building. The best he could suggest was investing in a lengthy USB extension and drape that outside in hope of getting a better signal. For God’s sake – are we that backward in Australia??

I wonder how long the modem would last in the weather outside my window? As for any warranty after that treatment? Forget about it.

As I was stalking through the shopping centre in high dungeon, I stopped at yet another of Telstra’s competitors and was checking their product out. It seemed promising. This was ‘3’.

First things first – what is the reception like in my area? The assistant checked on their computer system, down to my actual street address. She assured me that I had coverage at that address. So I spent another $94 (noting that I am still $160 out of pocket from Telstra’s piece of garbage – as a pensioner, that bloody hurts) on one of their modems plus initial data purchase. And headed home.

First things first – activate the unit. Check. Next, call and validate the prepaid voucher – Check. I am told that it will take five minutes or so to replicate through their network. No problems. I find something else to do for half-an-hour.

Time to test the new wonder-gadget. Except I kept getting an error message that I was not registered on their networks. I call tech support. First they check my location and confirm that yes, I should have coverage there. Eventually they had me take the laptop out in the car and drive around for a while, seeing if I could get a signal in the surrounding suburbs. After doing that, feeling like an absolute idiot, not to mention having a householder challenge me, wanting to know what I was doing and telling me that he had called the police because I was ‘acting suspicously’ while parked outside their house, I headed home.

Another call to 3’s tech support, reporting the distinct lack of success. More messing around – and then the bombshell.

They now admit that there is a network problem in my area. And they have known about this since March 20! Nor do they have any idea when it will be rectified. Yet they are happily still selling product to people, assuring them that there is coverage in this area when in fact the network is non-existent. When protested this, I was initially assured that the coverage did in fact extend to my area but the network actually transmitting is another matter. Talk about playing with semantics!

What a load of frog shit. That is nothing sort of trading under false pretenses.

I have successfully argued for a refund and have been given authorisation numbers to provide to the store tomorrow. What’s the betting that the store quibbles over it? Be sure that you shall be hearing about it if they do.

In the meantime, I am still stuck with my existing service from GRLmobile that only works while sitting outside in the company of the mosquitoes, the increasing cold and the dubious company of the passing junkies on their way to visit their friendly local dealer.

Wireless telecommunications in Australia is an absolute farce. The biggest provider with the strongest network, Telstra, is doing nothing short of price gouging while failing to provide anything like technical support. Any why not? Just like the old days, they still have more or less a monopoly on things. But unlike the bad old days, the industry is now deregulated and there is SFA that can be done. Even the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has proven to be more or less powerless.

The moral of this particular part of the story folks, is do not purchase any wireless product from ‘3’ including any mobile technology, unless they have checked the status of the network in your location. Do not, repeat, do not accept their assurances about ‘coverage’. And the theme that has been running through the posts on this subject remains the same: Do Not Trust Telstra! Unless you are one of the shareholders. You lot can rejoice in all the profits being made at the expense of the rest of we poor slobs.

Are you in Australia and thinking of using Telstra for a pre-paid telecommunication device i.e. mobile phone or mobile broadband? Then there are a few things that you need to be aware of. These are matters that I have uncovered over the past two weeks during my extended saga.

  1. There is a Complaints Resolution Centre whose role is resolving complaints over Telstra’s failure to adequately address complaints. They can do things like give you credits on your account as compensation for the difficulties you have been put through as well as elevate the complaint too higher levels. But Telstra are under no obligation to reveal its existence. It is not listed in any telephone directory, Directory Assistance or on the the Telstra website. Their staff will not tell you the number. I even found staff who denied the Centre’s existance. But if you call the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and lodge a complaint, they will require you to contact that Resolution Centre before the TIO can take action. And now (drum roll please) that ever-s0-secret telephone number is 1800 665 376. If you are having problems and Telstra are not resolving it properly, call this number before doing anything else. If they continue to mess you around then call the TIO but note that this entails another ten day wait before they can actually act. But every call that the TIO receives in complaint about a telco provider, that telco provider is billed for the call. So you if you wanted to be particularly nasty, keep calling the TIO to run up the charges being billed to your telco. 🙂
  2. You will be given repeated assurances that a Level Three Technician will call you. But do not expect this to happen in anything remotely like the promised time frame. That is because Telstra have such a backlog of serious technical complaints yet to be resolved, that they are unable to cope with it. But this is not actually revealed unless you elevate the matter to higher levels such as the Resolution Centre.
  3. The ‘Customer Service Centre’ will declare your case closed once they have directed it to technicians for further action. The excuse given to me is that they have so many complaints to deal with that they cannot afford to leave them ‘open’ until the problem is actually solved. So congratulations all round to Telstra for being able to hire a workforce of psychics who can accurately foretell the future and declare matters closed before anything has actually happened.
  4. Telstra charges twice the price for half the amount of data download in prepaid mobile band than does its competitors e.g. GRL charge $29 for 750Mb, 3 charge $15 for 500Mb or $29 for 2 Gig, Telstra charge $3o for 400Mb;
  5. Telstra’s customer accounting systems are not able to tell you what your download limits actually are for pre-paid mobile broadband. That accounting is kept in dollar terms even though you are purchasing a set amount of download capacity that is expressed and monitored by the Megabyte. But the download history is expressed in Bytes making it impossible to work out your remaining download limits unless you create and solve an increasingly complex quadratic equation for ‘x’.
  6. Late today, Telstra staff have made the quite damning admission to me that their interest in customer support is not in looking after pre-paid customers but instead devoting its attention to post-paid customers. Any difficulties requiring technical support that may not be resolved by the immediate technicians (who merely use a prepared script) then it is moved to quite low priority queues. Telstra have virtually no interest in providing real support for its pre-paid products.

The bottom line is that if you are after a pre-paid telecommunications option, then do not use Telstra. Their service is virtually non-existent and any interest in you as a customer ends the moment they have sold you the product.

Are Telstra just scam artists?

Posted: April 3, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

And the saga continues.

You see, I had managed to get this mobile connection working on a small netbook but that is not my laptop that I use for working purposes and general internet connection. But with no working connection on that main laptop for the foreseeable future, I went to use the netbook again.

The connection is now running at a download rate of zero on this unit that it worked fine on before. But I decide I shall be smart this time and call 125 111 which last night I was informed was the direct line to technical support. Only one problem with that – once again I had been told the wrong thing. This number has absolutely nothing to do with prepaid services. So I had to hang up and call 125 8880 for the umpteenth time and yet another twenty-five cent hit.

After being on hold for a while, I was put through to a ‘consultant’. She asked me for my service number but quite inexplicably put me on hold once more only part-way through my recitation of the necessary digits. Then the call was disconnected.

I called yet again – yet another twenty-five cents. After more delays I finally spoke to a ‘consultant’ who now claimed that I had used up all my credit – more than a Gig! From a unit that isn’t working properly! I was told to check my balance via the Telstra Turbo connection manager. Except that doesn’t tell you anything. I was then told I should have registered online to check such details. First I have been told about that. I was further informed that I would have to validate this new credit voucher via the telephone.

So I put petrol in the car, drive into town, incur a $2 parking fee for the time it took me to get into a shop, purchase a credit and return to the car to go home.

While waiting for yet another interminable time on hold, I read the voucher which was quite adamant that I could do this online. So I tried, while my phone was jammed between cheek and shoulder. It appeared to accept the voucher number but now a message appeared saying that it would be up to 48 hours before this was put through! In the meantime, I am still on hold, listening to an incredibly annoying tune that has me wanting to just hurl the phone across the room.

At last – a person answers the phone. She updates the account. I query my balance. She keeps telling me it is $30. I have a considerably difficulty in getting her to understand that I want to know the balance in download terms ie the download limits. She is unable to tell me anything meaningful. So I ask where I am supposed to be registering online for such information as told earlier today. She is unable to tell me and has to put me through to a ‘specialist’. Someone else takes the call. I ask him where I am supposed to be registering so I can find out what is going on with my account, and he just hangs up in my ear. Was I rude? Abusive? Nope.

I start experimenting with Telstra’s website. I manage to work out how to register. I explore my account. The account balance tells me NOTHING about available data download. The history is meaningless as it shows extensive use when the unit was not working!

I have purchased a set amount of data download. It is not unreasonable to want to know how much download I have left. Instead, it appears that I am supposed to just whip out the calculator and convert $ into Mb by some arcane formula that I first have to work out for myself. But wait – that would also depend on how much my original purchase was for – larger purchase amounts, the price per Mb becomes cheaper. So now my formula for working out what my balance actually is depends on a range of factors in an algebraic formula – solve for X – and just hope that you got it right. What is this – I have I suddenly slipped into a time warp back to 1980 and am studying Higher School Certificate Pure Mathematics once more?

This is an amazing scam by Telstra. Consistently tell people the wrong information so that they have to keep calling back at another twenty-five cents a time – and tell them yet more incorrect information. Set up a system that forces you to call them to sort out updating. Then only give useless information after they have registered, so that you will have to call them back yet again to find out what it actually means. And then leave the poor sods who are silly enough to use their service, now having to go through complex mathematical calculations to work out what their available download limits may be.

At present, I now have to have two computers on my desk: my laptop with everything on it that I need to do the work I am supposed to be doing but which cannot connect to the Internet for reasons still unknown, and a netbook that will connect to the Internet – sort of- but does not have the software I need on it, and as those units come without a CD/DVD drive, I cannot install the software that I require. So I am forced to download information onto a flash drive and keep going back and forth between the two units. And in the meantime, Telstra are still yet to give me a single, sensible, useful response to anything.

You want to know the real irony of all of this? The doctor wants me to avoid stress!

And there is one more aspect to this that I have so far refrained from ranting about. Telstra now have their call centres somewhere overseas. By the accent, I am guessing Indonesia somewhere. But the operatives refuse to answer my question as to where they are. I do not hold it against anyone for being from another country and only speaking my language with a strong accent. I am quite sure they are speaking English far better than I would speak their native tongue. But that accent makes it quite difficult for me to understand what they are saying. And their prepared script is so insincere it isn’t funny. If I hear that accented ‘I am sorry about that sirrrr’ one more time, I shall be looking for someone that I can ram sharp pointed objects into. But where their performance really goes down hill is when they try to spell things. There is an accepted, international phonetic alphabet for English – alpha, beta, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot etc. But these clowns use silly words that could mean anything. For example, telling me in heavily accented English to type B for Bob sounds equally like telling me to type D for Dog.

This is beyond ridiculous.