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Come on Telstra, Dont be a mean!

By PBO 14 January 2009 39

Today i recieved a call from a friend of mine who is an invalid.  He is stuck at home and cannot leave the house due to a medical condition and he had a pre-paid mobile that we could call him on to see if he he is alright.  When i recieved the call it was from a number that i did not recognise, it was my friend,  He told me that Telstra had cut off his phone and asked if i could get it reactivated (Credit ran out and had not been recharged in a year but calls were still recieved and there was no notice of disconnection) to which i said yes and off i went at lunch to get it done. 

Prior to going to the Telstra shop i phoned up their help line and explained what had happened and they said that it would be not problem as all i would have to do is get the number transferred to a $10 casual plan as the number was now in quarantine(?).  So having all the appropriate paperwork i went down and tried to get it reactivated and they said that they could not do it.  After some brief explaining that Telstra had advised me to get the number transferred and reactivated they informed me that the number was locked in quarantine and it would take six months for it to be reactivated again.

This annoyed me so i rang the Telstra people again and told them what had happened and i was told what the people in the shop had said, so then i  asked if i could speak to a team leader, after being on hold for 10 minutes I finally got to speak to someone with a very strong Indian accent and a very western sounding name who told me it would take at least ten days to fix as it was now a software problem.

My issue is that my friend could die at any moment and having a way to get in contact with him is very important.  I know some of you will say that the credit should have been topped up but my friend is on a limited pension and cannot always afford this.  I am going to get another number for him from a different carriage service as this has really given me the sh!ts.  It is a real hassle as many people have this number and it will be costly to inform them of this change.  I thought that i would share this with you all as it seems a bit weird.  Has anyone else had this happen to them?

What’s Your opinion?


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39 Responses to
Come on Telstra, Dont be a mean!
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stace8383 10:43 am 20 Jan 09

Don’t even get me started on Telstra… we’ve just moved everything over to another provider, and I’ve sworn never to use Telstra or Bigpond for anything ever again as long as I live!

SadMushroom 8:33 am 19 Jan 09

I don’t deal with Telstra any more.
A few years ago my landline went dead.
I rang Telstra from my mobile and the rudist woman answered.
I explained what was wrong and she got me to check a few things.
As I had been working from home I told them I needed it fixed ASAP.
She told me I would be charged at $60-$90/hour for someone to come and check it.
She said obviously we had somehow broken the line and any repairs would be charged to us.

A guy turned up within an hour and checked the lines in my house. Then he crawled under my house and checked again. He double checked as he had no idea what was wrong.
He then went to the junction box on the next corner and while checking it found that my line had accidentally been unplugged. Apparently another worker had gone to connect someone elses phone and my connection was in the way, so he unplugged mine and forgot to plug it back in.

Telstra sent me a $468 bill for repairs!!!!!
I refused to pay and there was a hell of a fight getting them to cancel the bill.

Granny 4:27 pm 18 Jan 09

You’re right, Tylers. I misunderstood what you were saying. I wasn’t upset with you or anything, though, so perhaps you have also misunderstood me somewhat? Posts can sound very different depending on what tone you read them. This post was written in a gentle tone, not an aggressive one. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, and I’m really sorry if I did.

tylersmayhem 9:02 am 16 Jan 09

To both PBO & Granny:

I just re-read, then re-read my post again. Sorry if you both feel racist due to my comments – but I don’t recall nor can read any “label” or reference to “racist” in my comments.

WTFU?!

dexi 5:40 pm 15 Jan 09

Where would RA be without labelling.

People in the comms industry come from all over the world. I’m not sure why but its the most culturally diverse industry I’ve worked in.

PBO 4:57 pm 15 Jan 09

Tyler, How do you know that i am not Indian, Bangledeshi or Thai? Look at yourself before labelling others mate.

Granny 4:46 pm 15 Jan 09

Nobody is being afraid of anything, Tylers.

You must be aware of the problems with overseas outsourcing of call-centres as well as anybody else. And if you’re not, it’s only a matter of time before you too have a really frustrating experience.

It’s got nothing to do with being racist and everything to do with the fact that people call a call centre because they need a bit of help not more problems. I really don’t think it’s fair to insinuate that PBO holds racist attitudes when they are just trying to be a good friend to a person who is dangerously ill and incapacitated.

tylersmayhem 4:19 pm 15 Jan 09

My point on that is that i was eventually transferred to a Call centre overseas to speak to a Team leader who was obviously an Indian and is using a western sounding name to give people the impression that the call is being taken in Australia. It does happen.

There are plenty of dudes from Asia working in my company, some of whom are from India and Shri Lanka whose names are Chad, Michael etc. So assumptions that you were transferred overseas based on peoples accents and names are ludicrous. We live in a multicultural nation last time I checked. Don’t be afraid of the “coloureds” mate – they won’t bite and the skin colour won’t rub off – so don’t panic!

Granny 4:18 pm 15 Jan 09

It happens all the time these days, and it is really frustrating when you can’t get help from a helpdesk either because of a language barrier or they have never had any experience with the relevant product in their country and don’t really have a clue what you’re talking about.

PBO 3:48 pm 15 Jan 09

tylersmayhem said :

…I finally got to speak to someone with a very strong Indian accent and a very western sounding name…

Your point being?

My point on that is that i was eventually transferred to a Call centre overseas to speak to a Team leader who was obviously an Indian and is using a western sounding name to give people the impression that the call is being taken in Australia. It does happen.

tylersmayhem 2:11 pm 15 Jan 09

…I finally got to speak to someone with a very strong Indian accent and a very western sounding name…

Your point being?

fox 1:59 pm 15 Jan 09

Perhaps they could set up an auto-topup – either when the balance of the prepaid credit reaches a specific amount, or on a specific date each of each month/year…

Generally speaking, all prepaid accounts (regardless of carrier) are active for up to a year once the credit has been exhausted, and then the number is disconnected and moves to quarantine for 8-24 weeks before being repropagated to the number pool and assigned to a new sim. Plans on the other hand will be suspended after 28-30 days of non-payment towards a bill.

Having worked for three different phone retailers in Canberra (and the three different carriers associated with them), I recommend that people shop around for the best deal before signing up to any old plan (or giving in to particularly pushy salespeople). Every phone store in Canberra works on commission/connections, so salespeople will nearly always push for people to connect to a plan (either on a casual basis or on a 24 month agreement). More often than not, prepaid is the best option for most people.

Granny 1:46 pm 15 Jan 09

If the friend needed to ask PBO to perform this service on their behalf then topping it up obviously isn’t as simple for them as it may be for others. It may even have been humiliating and somewhat galling to the friend to be dependent on outside assistance.

In any case, my daughter has had a mobile for years with another provider – topped up only very intermittently – not because of any ‘game’ but just because we’re not terribly organised and sometimes we just can’t afford it. We have never had a problem with our service provider at all. That phone has never been disconnected.

I think the general level of derisive commentary and dissatisfaction with Telstra’s customer service culture is hardly accidental. It takes a consistent contempt for the customer and their interests to achieve that kind of widespread loathing within a community.

Well done, Telstra, as usual. You’re a pack of legends.

dexi 12:29 pm 15 Jan 09

Agreed Pre paid Vodafone for Canberra and the coast. Best poor person option. Best service.

MissMoniker 12:20 pm 15 Jan 09

Agreed. A Vodafone prepaid sim will cost you a whole $2 and they are available everywhere, even supermarkets.

fox 11:56 am 15 Jan 09

If it’s a prepaid mobile that your friend needs, you’re much better to with the Vodafone Prepaid 365 option. $20 of prepaid credit will last you a year, and you also get $20 of free calls to other Vodafone mobiles too. The more credit you buy, the more free minutes you get, and as always with the 365, a recharge will renew your account for a year.

There’s info on the VF website here – http://store.vodafone.com.au/nokia-2760-20-365-days-plan-offer.aspx – and you don’t have to get a new phone with the sim card (unless your friends mobile is currently locked to Telstra).

Just go into a local Vodafone shop and ask for a prepaid sim card – you can even ask if you can check out the numbers beforehand to make sure you get one that’s easy for people to remember. The sales assistant should explain to you how to set up the prepaid account for 365, check that your friends mobile will accept a Vodafone sim card, and then you’re on your way.

@MadameWorkalot – Virgin customer service is ok…but I do think having to wait on the phone for upwards of 30mins is excessive…I do however like their email support option.

One last thing…personal experience with Telstra…

My Nan (now 98, at the time was 95) had troubles with her Telstra home connection. The line went dead one day for no reason or fault of her own, and was out for 18 days. I rang Telstra on her behalf about when she could expect it to be working again, citing the fact that she needed to have the phone line working so her security system could dial back to base (as well as the blindingly obvious fact that she was 95 years old and needed to be able to call out if she needed help). They told me that it would be two days, but of course it was a lot longer than that…

In the end, Telstra tried to charge my nan for the 18 days that she didn’t have an active line as well as a $59 reconnection fee. They said that they didn’t consider her case to be more important than anyone elses because they had not received in medical advice that she suffered from a life-threatening condition or disability.

Telstra = rubbish.

peterh 11:55 am 15 Jan 09

wishuwell said :

Oh I see. There’s a land line in perfectly good working order. Reminds me of Mrs Richards not using her hearing aid because it made the battery go flat.

And the land line not being used is Telstra’s fault how?

if the bills don’t get paid, they disconnect your phone.

why doesn’t your friend get a phone on a plan, link it to the landline bill, and pay the bill online, or over the phone?

prepaid phones were never meant to be a service you didn’t top up, have you considered that Telstra may have allowed a bit of leniency for your friend, after all, they let them make calls for 12-months… dodo would have cut the connection after a week.

Mr Evil 10:22 am 15 Jan 09

I am genuinely surprised that the phone was still active after a year of not having any credit put on the thing, so quit whining!

“My issue is that my friend could die at any moment and having a way to get in contact with him is very important.”

That statement makes no sense – if he dies, it wouldn’t matter if his phone worked or not, he ain’t going to answer! In fact, if his condition is so bad he should be keeping his phone active for outgoing calls so he can contact his friends if he feels unwell, or something bad happens.

It’s not that expensive either – I think Telstra only expect you to top up your account by 20 or 30 dollars every three months.

Yeah, Telstra are useless – but so are all the rest of the telcos; just in different ways.

wishuwell 10:15 am 15 Jan 09

Oh I see. There’s a land line in perfectly good working order. Reminds me of Mrs Richards not using her hearing aid because it made the battery go flat.

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