Thursday, September 01, 2011

A 4 week nightmare with Telstra

I was convinced by a door-to-door salesman about a month ago to move our home phone and Internet to Telstra after 10 years on Optus.

He assured me the cable Internet was very fast and very reliable.  Unfortunately, Telstra and their cable Internet are not.

If you are thinking of moving to Telstra, I recommend you don't.

If they don't sort their mess out, they will lose most of their customer base and the business will continue to decline.  Let's hope they wake up before end-game.

Below is a summary of a letter I sent the David Thodey, the Telstra CEO, advising him of our tales of woe.

David Thodey
Chief Executive Officer
Telstra Corporation Ltd
242 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3000

Dear Mr Thodey,

I wish to express my extreme dissatisfaction with my recent dealings with Telstra.  I recently moved back to Telstra on a "cap bundle" after 10 years on Optus.

Over the last 4 weeks I have spent more time on the phone (over 10 hours) to Telstra than I spent with Optus over 10 years.

  • Major issues getting Internet service provided.  It took over 12 days and several telephone calls to get it connected, even though it was part of a "bundle".
  • I rang the Complaints Department and lodged a complaint that I was without the Internet for a 10 day period, and that scheduled commitments were not met.
  • The Internet connection was the booked for next door, which a required another phone call to Telstra and further rescheduling.
Ongoing dropouts not resolved
  • Over the next week, we experienced several drop outs, and spent hours on the phone talking to various people in the Call Centres
  • A couple of time I was able to restore the service, but it was running very slow with DNS timeouts, then dropping out again.
  • Several more phone calls, then technicians came twice and said "there was no signal in the street", then it started working.  But they did not log a problem with the network department.
  • I lodged another complaint, then got another modem.  The problems appeared to be fixed. 
More service disruption
  • The Internet then functioned OK for about a week and was OK, but still not fast.  
  • Working from home, the Internet dropped out again. I couldn't restore it by resetting the modem.
  • Further lengthy calls to Telstra, more diagnostics (turn modem off, reset it, reboot PC etc) which did not fix the problem.   I lodged another complaint about the service and lack of problem resolution.
Backup Telstra Wifi Modem failed and not replaced.
  • The Telstra Wifi Modem I had for backup Internet also failed - I could not connect to it via wifi.  After more diagnosis over the phone they told me what I told them - that the wifi connection was not working.
  • Telstra Camberwell said they had no technician there so they couldn't do anything. I told them I had been advised by the call centre that the modem would be replaced.  They said they would have send it to Sydney to get it looked at, and they could not give me a replacement until this happened.  They gave me a loan USB modem, which does not work.
Service restored, but widespread problems apparent in suburb
  • Another Service Stream technical came and after fiddling with the modem as able to get it working again.  
  • He said there was (still) a weak signal in the street, and the network people would need to look at it (apparently the same problem I reported about 2 weeks ago).  He said the there were also problems impacting Surrey Hills, Canterbury and Camberwell.
  • Telstra complaints told me that may complaint yesterday was "not recorded as a complaint" despite my specific request for it to be.
  • I advised the previous complaints manager that  I was completely frustrated by Telstra's appalling customer service, inability to provide a  basic Internet connection service, and inability to resolve problems, and that I was changing to another provider for the phone and Internet.  Telstra them offered to not change us exit or cancellation fees.
Network techs visit for the first time
  • Advised me that "the readings were too high and the hub in the street was out of alignment and needed adjustment, and once that was done the service would be restored".  And it was.  Hallelujah.  They had only just been notified of a problem!
  • The next day another Network tech came and replaced the box/plate in the street outside are residence, and the speed improved.  He was capable and friendly.
  • I was contacted by a new Case Manager who apologised for all the delays and hassles and said that David Thodey and received my letter and that steps would be taken to resolve the service and escalation problems I had encountered.  
  • I advised that we have decided to move to another phone and Internet provider (iiNet) as we have little faith that Telstra will be able to provide ongoing reliable Internet or resolve any future problems.
Telstra must be spending an excessive amount on foreign Call Centres and complaints staff to deal with ongoing occurrence and escalation of service issues that are not resolved.

As a Telstra shareholder, I consider this to be gross mismanagement of the company.  Telstra has been unable to provide me with a basic functional Internet service, and the customer service has been extremely poor.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Campbell.