Monday, 12 July 2010

Telco woes

In one of my previous places of employment, the start of Semester 1 always brought great anticipation. Not because we'd be facing a new group of students, but because we'd be facing a new stuff up. Every year, we would kick off the first day with a different mess. Lecture theatres locked. (Apparently, the start of semester took people by surprise.) No room numbers on the timetable. (An issue waved away as trivial.) And numerous problems, of course, with computers and projectors. (Don't ask.) ( Really. Don't ask.) They would always happen, but the variety and novelty of the stuff ups meant that you could not prepare for them.

Which is exactly the same problem I'm facing with Telstra.

In late June May, my landline began to play up. I had to call the fault reporting line from my mobile phone. But there isn't any mobile coverage at home, so I had to go for a drive in order to get a signal.

Having contacted the fault reporting line, I then explained my predicament to an operator at an overseas call centre, who seemed to be confused by the idea that I had to leave the house to ring. Anyway, after some time she put me onto the service technician … and the call was immediately disconnected.

Eventually, the service techie called me back. He did a check and informed me that the line was working perfectly but he would 'reprogramme' it, whatever that means. By the next morning, everything was tickety boo.

Until last week, when it went to crap again. This time I drove into town to talk directly to the franchise, where they are used to dealing with customers inarticulate with fury over Telstra service. I took the telephone with me, just in case that was faulty.

It wasn't.

The service techie went through the whole 'it's not a fault with the line, but we'll reprogramme it anyway' and said he'd call me on that number. But he couldn't get through. Because the line was faulty.

A local technician turned up unexpectedly at some ungodly hour the next day. He worked on the wall socket and then pronounced the line fixed.

It wasn't.

But wait! There's more. Not only is my landline still borked, but Telstra is also now charging me for phone calls that I haven't made. Since 6 July (which was when the most recent fault began), I've been charged for 14 calls that I did not make, including a long distance to Brisbane. I am looking forward to Telstra offering a supernatural explanation for that one because, as we know, there is nothing wrong with the line.

Oh, did you think that was the end of the problems?

They have also resumed charging me for a BigPond dial up service that I cancelled more than six months ago.

What else can go wrong?


mick said...

Horrors!!! Do you think that smoke signals or carrier pigeons might be more reliable in the long run?

Lulu Stader said...

What else could go wrong...? You could be living in the Scottish Highlands, dealing with the British Telecom, and then you'd be really and truly stuffed. They learnt their stuff from Kafka himself and are really good at it. We get called by BT more than anyone else, are currently on techie number 12 (I know how some of these guys take their tea by now) and there is, of course, still nothing wrong with the line. My partner and I are tearng our hair out. Sometimes each-other's. BT will be responsible for our break-up if we don't last much longer. Or for a nervous breakdown or two. At least when sectioned one won't have to deal with the telecom anymore.

I know all this doesn't help, but there are places that have it much *much* worse. Although it seems that the more remote one lives (and the more dependent thus on telecommunications), the greater the fun these guys can have with us.

[Have you tried making up new words with the word verification? My one here is easy: 'refooke': the repeated messing with telecoms customers by their fun-loving staff.]

Tyto Tony said...

I won't hear a word against St Telstra. My latest (third) modem works perfectly. It's been a fortnight without fault, which may be a world record. I was only 2 hours on the phone getting the Sim activated (another world record?) and in that time was only cut off five times, and twice spoke to someone somewhere who spoke something like English in a dialect I almost understood and delivered almost a little bit of the promises made. Better yet, a wee part of the sales pitch at the Telstra dealer turns out to be almost true. So there! Telstra rules!!! Can't wait for the NBN. NOT!

Snail said...

Mick, I'm doing a deal with the catbirds.

Lulu, I absolutely refuse to believe there's any telco worse than Telstra! But it seems they're all cut from the same cloth.

Tony, a fortnight without a fault? Luxury! I believe there's a verse in Revelations that indicates the Number of the Beast is the same as that of the Telstra billing enquiries line.

Sherryl said...

Telstra. Is it any wonder their share price is the pits, and nobody wanted them to run the NBN?
Not that Optus is a whole lot better (just a bit). And when I enquired about the possibility of moving to ASDL2, I was told that my exchange (owned by Telstra, no doubt) doesn't have anything that can cope with ASDL2.
I live 15 minutes from the CBD of Melbourne, so no wonder you up there can't get anything to work!

And my verification word is dersess which I think is extreme distress caused by der Telstra people.

Snail said...

It's ridiculous! One of the Telstra people I spoke to a while ago was from Chicago and he was perplexed about the crappy coverage in Australia compared with his neck of the woods.

Still, we can take heart from Lulu's comment. It seems that rubbish service is not exclusively ours. We're not alone! (Well, not when the connections are working.)

Russell Constable said...

Bronwen I hate to tell you this but we have had a worse experience.
We live on a large property that has a wildlife corridor running through it which we have fortified with 1500 native trees after cyclone Larry.
While we were away Telstra decided to come in with an excavator and smash a track through our property to access a pit on our property.I'm not talking clear a track I'm talking smash trees and palms all over the place and a contractor sent to inspect the damage could not believe his eyes!
This is after Telstra agreed they would not enter our property without our permission.
A passing Telstra technician who knew us drove up to tell the workers that we would be mightily pissed off at their carnage!
As you can guess Telstra are now looking for all the excuses under the sun as they had no authority to enter.
This is not going to be pretty and may make a very good blog story if They don't start acting right and repair the damage.
Telstra are not your friends and until this is resolved any unauthorised Telstra people found on our property will be treated as hostile entities period.

Russell Constable said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell Constable said...

oops posted twice...dont you hate that!

Snail said...

Oh, my! That is disgraceful. I hope Telstra come to the party over it. (Although I won't hold my breath.)

At one stage, Ergon wanted to clear native veg here to some ridiculous distance back from the lines, but they backed off and recognised the area as environmentally sensitive. Now, clearing is minimal. So at least one company has done the right thing.

But shame on Telstra for that vandalism.

Linda said...

I have Telstra. Landline and ADSL1. Works fine, and is really fast. I have never had an error, on my bill, or a problem. I have never been overcharged or anything. My hubby works for Telstra, so we get a discount, like all workers. We had 9 months free half price broadband, and free connection, etc, etc, and we signed up to the 12GB 1500/256 plan. After 9 months, or more, we changed to 25GB. It went back to half price again, for another 9 months! ADSL2+ is available here, suprisingly, as it is a small town. We are still on ADSL1, though, as it suits our needs.

Anonymous said...

I clearly need a hubby who works for Telstra.

Snail knows my own horror story, including being charged for the changes to contracts that THEY made necessary by making claims that they could not fulfill and which the "broadband guaranteee" people verified through THREE separate ISPs (including their own) .

That was only half of it.
At every step the Telstra personnel were polite and as helpful as they could be.
Goodness only knows how they stand it.
I'll not say more for fear of dobbing in one of their own technicians who explained, in the presence of a techie friend who had come as a witness to the particular data test run on my lines, why I could not EVER get broadband.


Snail said...

Good stuff, Linda, but that certainly hasn't been the case with me. More "Telstra customer service woes" than you could poke a handset at.

They have overcharged me several times, including one hit of over $800. I had to refer that case to the Ombudsman because they were so reluctant to respond to my concerns. That got them moving, but, much to the consternation of the person who was trying to sort it out, the people responsible for the error did not know how it had happened and did not particularly want to find out.

There is no wireless access here --- and I am definitely not in a remote location. It took months before Telstra admitted that I could not get ADSL. Cable? Yeah, right. I was stuck on dial up for ages, which is a completely useless service --- ever tried bringing up Telstra's website on dial up?

The only option was satellite. Because Telstra was unable to provide me with satellite broadband at a less than extortionate price, I do not use their services as an ISP.

If I had a choice of providers, I wouldn't be using their telephone services either.

Russell Constable said...

After reading Linda's comments I am convinced you need to marry into telstra to get decent service Bronwen. Its a small price to pay for a decent connection and plan my friend!

Snail said...

Russ, it's a strategy I've considered in the past!