Telstra Fails – Thanks Support Outsourcing

Telstra was historically Australia’s monopoly telecommunications provider until it was semi-privatised some years ago. It used to be founded on doing the most possible for the customer, but that has changed in the last 15 years or so as more and more of their support staff have been moved off sure to people unfamiliar with what they are doing, people who follow scripts like trained monkeys.

Over the last decade, I’ve had over 30 different dealings with Telstra relating to my landline, broadband and mobile services. Due to coverage issues, Telstra is my sole supplier for these services – leaving me going through literally over a thousand hours of contact hours with them sorting out endless mishaps, mistakes and disasters.

As a way to vent, and to share I figured I’d go through a couple of the bigger disasters.

  • My New iPhone – I decided to order a new iPhone 6s via Telstra and got all excited and hyped along with everyone else. The order was in, my confirmation was sent. Then Telstra’s special kind of nasty took hold, they mistook my iPhone order for a mobile service cancellation. That’s right folks – they cancelled my phone service, along with the number I’d had for 20 years. To rub salt into the wound, they then cancelled my iPhone order because they couldn’t contact me to verify the order – because, wait for it, the number they were calling was disconnected. I had to take a full week off work (annual leave) and spend over 100 hours on the phone, online chat trying to undo the disaster. Two weeks later – all was undone.
  • Moving into my new house – So, I moved house and placed an order for a new landline and internet service – a cable internet service. Telstra of course started off by delivering an ADSL modem instead of cable modem. So, I spent the required 10 hours convincing them of the mistake and they sent out a cable modem. Seems ok doesn’t it…. Until I send back the errant ADSL modem. Telstra took my return of the modem as a sign I wanted to cancel my account and proceeded to start cancellation. Spent another excessive number of hours trying to undo that damage.
  • My Free iPhones – not all the screw-ups are in Telstra’s favour, twice in consecutive years I decided to get iPhones on contract, and both times Telstra lost my contact and they were forced both times to leave me with free iPhones.
  • How much do I owe – for 18 months I spend a couple of hundred hours trying to find out how much my bill was for. Each month, the bill was a different amount – each month with incorrect values on it and no idea how much to pay. Telstra couldn’t tell me what my actual bill was for 18 whole months.
  • Welcome to your new contract – So, my Bigpond cable was out of service for a few days, rang up Telstra and they gave me 10 Gig of free data on my 4G device (iPad) to tide me over. Quite generous wasn’t it – except they signed me up for a $100/month contract for 12 months for the pleasure. Guess what – another 15-20 hours on the phone.
  • How about buying a cordless phone – Telstra’s web site was advertising a Motorola IT.6 cordless phone, after 6 hours of arguing with their staff and 4 different staff members – I finally convinced them that they did in fact sell the phone, and bought one. Received the phone and had a problem – another 6 hours later before I even convinced their support staff that they indeed sold the phone, and that they were obliged to give me support. Finally got a refund rather than spend another hour.

So far – after around a decade, the 30 or so occasions I’ve had to deal with Telstra – they have stuffed up totally around 45 times.

To be clear – Telstra’s technical quality is excellent, beyond reproach. Every mistake and blunder they have made has been in support, billing and account related issues. But in those areas – they currently have a 100% failure rate with me.