Saturday, November 13, 2010

Soviet Union Without the Tanks, and just as Inefficient

Like many, Mine Host is no stranger to the frustrations of dealing with Australia's telephone company. Currently named "Telstra", it is the only nationwide provider of landline, internet & mobile phone services. There is no alternative provider.

In most places options are limited to:
a) Use Telstra or;
b) Do without telephone & internet.

Mine Host longs for the day when competition in the telecoms industry extends to areas beyond the Cappucino divide.

Pre-competition Telstra (then named "Telecom") had a customer service attitude that led to it being known far & wide as "Just like the Soviet Union, but without the Tanks". Little has changed.

When the Diver's Arms took over an adjacent motel wing, the acquired operation had 9 landlines accross Two accounts. Mine Host & the vendor filled out forms to transfer the Two accounts to Mine Host's existing account.

The forms were submitted, time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off. For "non-payment of account".

Extended periods on hold ensued, followed by discussions with the usual round-robin of consultants in various sections of Telstra.
Outcome: Mine Host was requested to resubmit the original forms for transfer of the Two accounts as Telstra claimed to have no record of a change of customer.

Telephone services were restored.

Time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off. For "non-payment of the account". Telstra claimed no knowledge of any change of ownership paperwork & got quite snippy about the bill. Extended periods on hold ensued, followed by discusssion with consultants in various depts. of Telstra...... etc etc etc.
The change of customer forms were re-submitted, everything "will now be fixed up sir".. blah blah blah.

Time passed, the telephones in the new motel wing were cut off.. etc etc etc..... Again Telstra claimed no knowledge of any change of customer forms, & so on............

.........As time passes Mine Host is armed with an ever-enlarging set of Telstra refernce numbers, consultant's names, and list of special teams that his case has been escalated to.

The change of customer forms have now been submitted Four times in Three months.

It would be false to claim nothing has changed, as;
Two of the 9 landlines have been permenantly disconnected. (Guests now have difficulty phoning out)
One of the landlines has been transferred singly to Mine Host's account.
The original Two accounts are still in the name of the vendor (sans the landline that has made it accross to Mine Host's account)
One of the landlines has branched out onto a new account of it's very own, also in the name of the vendor.

At every step of the way Mine Host has spoken to Telstra staff who come accross as efficient, intelligent, and with a full understanding of their product.

The original paperwork is slowly becoming covered with stamps saying "Submitted to X on date X via means X (Mine Host popped into the newsagent & got a rubber stamp that says "Submitted......." with a space for the date)

You couldn't make it up.


Boy on a bike said...

Two suggestions:

1. See if you can record your outgoing calls to Telstra. When you inform the customer service rep that you are recording the call in case things go wrong, you can be fairly certain they'll pay more attention.

2. Scan and email the paperwork - it leaves a trail that can't be erased.

Mine Host said...

Good Points BOAB, however the doors you suggest I close haven't opened to begin with.

1.The problem is Telstra'a inefficiency. Telstra staff readily accept that the forms have been submitted previously, just that they can't find any record of them at their end.
They readily look up the reference numbers I provide, which yields lots of notes written about what "might" happen, but nothing ever did.
Often it was the wrong department handling the matter, & I have to start all over again. "Oh, I see it now sir, that went to 'Business Connections' they haven't the authority to take that action, you'll have to submit it again to 'Business Transfers'" (or somesuch)

2.It is not as if Telstra has offices you can just walk into & hand them the forms. All paperwork to Telstra is scanned & emailed. The only other way to submit paperwork would be to fax it. (people still use faxes?)

Kay said...

Oh dear! So sorry about all that trouble. We don't have a lot of choices in Hawaii, but at least we have two or three. You need competition.