Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Back from the dead

Telstra - what can I say?


Friday 26

I phoned sales and activation to discuss a letter received in the mail from Ramon Gregory, regarding the upgrade of my account from Bigpond ADSL Liberty (12GB) 1500/256 to Bigpond ADSL Elite Liberty (12GB). My plan was apparently due for renewal, and I called to speak to a consultant who was in the midst of telling me about the various plans available when I was disconnected.

I made another phone call (after waiting or ten minutes on hold) and was connected to a different consultant who then proceeded to tell me that I could renew my plan to a 'bundle including home phone.

I completed the new plan details with him and then very soon after, on Friday afternoon at about 5pm, my internet connection went down.

Following that moment ot truth, I made several phone calls to activations and tech support, each time waiting for extended periods on hold to be put through to consultants who, although they did attempt to be helpful, kept me bouncing back and forth between the two departments.

1. Phoned tech support who informed me that there was a problem with the codes, and referred me back to activations.

2. Phoned activations who told me that the codes were fine, and that it was a tech support matter.

It wasn't. And by now, really too late to do anything much, I went to sleep.

I shouldn't have.

Saturday 27

3. Several more of these calls back and forth between departments were made until I was eventually told by an activations consultant that the codes on my line were for ADSL 1 and not ADSL 2, which apparently is what was in the bundle, and I asked her to drop the bundle and retain the old account codes. She spoke to tech support and then told me that I should turn the modem off, wait half an hour and it would all be restored.

It wasn't.

4 I called tech support again and was told that he could 'guarantee that probably, the activation would take effect the next day'.

It didn't

5 The next call was to activations to tell them that this hadn't happened, and the whole process began again until I was told that tech support had found that the codes were alright and all that needed to be done was to reset the password, but the system was down and this couldn't happen till later in the afternoon and that I should ring back then.

I politely said thank you through gritted teeth, and went off to see if I could entice the neighbour's dog into my yard so I could kick it. Somehow it gauged my mood and stayed on its own side of the fence.

Sunday 28

No joy - bitter disappointment.

Monday 29

5 Monday morning and still no joy. I call to find that but that bigpond's system is still down and monsiur supervisor couldn't access it to reset the password, and that I should call back in the afternoon. Which I did at about 2:30pm to be told again that the system was still inaccessible, but that having done a line search found there was a problem with the codes, not the password, and now I'm wondering what the hell is going on, and if in fact this whole thing is one elaborate April fool joke.

7 I called back tech support to tell them that they needed to reset the password, but in conducting yet another line check, they ascertained that the codes were for ADSL 2, and that I can't access that (yes, I know, I'd already been through all that with a previous consultant ) but this did not seem to move them in their assertion that it had not been changed and that the codes were still incomplete and that it would take up to three working days to recover my connection thanks to the bigpond help desk to where my problem had apparently been elevated. When I tried to tell him that no, this was not the case, that I'd had the codes removed, he hung up or I was disconnected.

8 Again I called activations who again referred me to a tech support consultant who consulted with his supervisor who told him that the 'codes on the line are incomplete' and I asked him to speak to the activations supervisor and get verification from them that the codes, as far as they were concerned were complete. When he came back on the phone he told me that there was some problem out side his control and I was told yet again that the problem had been 'escalated' to the bigpond help desk, which may take 2 working days to rectify - even though no one seemed sure what 'it' might be.

9 Then I found John from Woolongong who was extremely helpful and managed to isolate the problem, get in touch with his supervisor, think creatively and figure out that this whole mess had been because some overzealous sales consultant not only sold me a plan that I could not access due to available speed in my area, but also entered an incorrect activation date throwing the entire order and my internet access into the vortex.

John very kindly assured me that I'd be able to access my internet account 'tomorrow' (29 March) by about 1pm. In the meantime, he set me up a dial up account. However, just as John was telling me how to access dial up, I was cut off (again, again) .

10 Another interminable hold and I got through to tech support at about 5:50pm, havnig been at it since 2pm. However, due to the bad quality of the line, I was unable to actually hear the dial up tech support consultant on my first attempt to set it up, after hanging on and being shuffled (finally) to the mac support section.

11 Then I found myself there again, on hold for 30 minutes to the worst hold music ever, guaranteed to turn any sane reasonable person into a raging lunatic after a five minute hold. To date, I'd spent a total of four hours on hold to telstra bigpond, not including the time spent on hold whilst connected as consultants consulted with each other.

Still on hold but thankfully, the music stopped (but fearful I was about to be disconnected for at least the fifth time in my overall attempts to obtain support) - no, there it was again, just to make sure I was entirely demented by the time I actually got connected to a dialup consultant.
40 minutes later ( and I don't have a speaker phone,) I was also getting a crook in my neck and would have visit the chiropractor at some stage to rectify that.

12 Having finally got through at about 7:30pm, I found that the dial up connection was useless because my hardware is incompatible with the mac support consultant's solution, and therefore, the last hour on hold was for nothing.

I am a mug, telstra is in control of the universe, and though everyone had been terribly sorry for being unable to help, I was still up shit creek without a paddle.

As this is all apparently not Telstra's fault and therefore must be mine for trying to purchase a service from them, I felt somewhat cowed. I'd lost one day of productivity with the prospect of losing at least another half day, unless of course nice John from Wollongong came up against the same death-star defence shield as I did.

Which (natch) he did.

13 Still no connection and yet another session of trouble shooting, answering the same series of soul destroying questions, in spite of trying, as politely as possible, to inform the consultant about the circumstances of my problem which, despite all my assurances that yes, we were talking about the same lights on the modem, I still had to endure till the bitter end, until he'd run out of amo or trouble to shoot at, relented and, put me onto a supervisor who was 'seeing what he could do'.

uhoh, musicgone…
he's back.
and waddaya know? Still no connection.

14 30min spent waiting on the phone; 'Codes now on the line and up to 70% - loading up'.

I'm almost elated.

In vain.

Tuesday 30

4:4pm Still no connection.

Let's call telstra again!

15 But in spite of being armed with the previous supervisor's insistance that I could be connected directly to a supervisor, again, I was dragged screaming across the field of dead and dying corpses similarly being troubleshot by help desk snipers and had to submit to the process of disconnecting and reconnecting the modem - a process I now know more throughly than any of the children at the call centre.

Finally, I speak to a supervisor who has discovered that there are no codes on the line, despite my being assured in the last call that this was fixed, that my connection was at 70%!!!! However, one large incursion into the depths of the deathstarr had been accomplished - at least now they were ringing me back!

Wow, she called. Who'd have thought?
Still no connection though.

Apparently, the codes were still incomplete and wouldn't be back up till tomorrow.

Two days down on my workload now, unable to meet my deadline. Still, unmoved by my plight, the supervisor assuered me that she would ring me back on Wednesday to tell me when the connection was up and running.

Wednesday 31

Meeting out of my office till midday and , surprise surprise, a message on my mobile from Telstra. Couldn't call back till I got home and was seated in front of the puter to (again again) reset my modem, but hey, I didn't have to sit on hold for a million years, and felt grateful for that small mercy.

16 At 3:15pm Ziza, from a call centre situated on the outer regions of a star system in a galaxy far far away (judging by the quality of the reception on a line apparently run by the telco in question) gave me the good news - I was 'coded' correctly and could now rejig my modem and get access.

Like labour, at the end of the process, I found my self feeling grateful for the delivery of the burden I would now have to bear - further dealings with the most pathetic excuse for a service industry ever devised in the entire history of human stupidity.

Had they simply said at the very beginning of the process, ' Piss off peasant, we'll get to it when we're good and ready, and what, you think you have a CHOICE?' I'd have just sat tight and waited pathetically - as is my birthright - and not wasted all that time and energy trying to fathom the depth and breadth of Telstra's infinite capacity to fuck me off.

What was I thinking?

So, if anyone has any suggestions as to which carrier to switch to, I'd be grateful.


  1. ergh.

    its strange, ten years ago when i arrived in France Oz was miles ahead in terms of internet connections.

    but now I call friends and they've only now managed to get broadband for less than one squillon bucks a month..

    my "provider" (ha ha) bundles the phone with the modem. so when the internet doesnt work the phone is down.

    So Ive had several experiences like yours, except all those phone calls to customer service in bangladesh or algeria were done on my mobile phone or in a cold urine soaked phone booth down the road.

    WHY do they release technology into the wilds when they KNOW it doesnt work? i mean WHY???dont they TEST things?

    (i just knew you'd label this bex and a good lie down", hilarious)


  2. Hughsey, as one of my followers, you must have read my blog that contained this:

    Bigpond farce. 3/3/2010

    Read this story of high farce.
    This is how it came to pass.
    I pay up
    They stuff up!
    Bigpond, Bigpond, ‘Kiss my arse!’

    Your story could have been copied from my blog with minimal change of detail. I have wireless, so that limits my options. However, after almost a month with Optus, I find it twice as fast as Telstra at half the price and help desks are easier to access. Worth a look!

  3. I thought of Stafford when I read your post. Bigpuddle strikes again.

  4. Telstra are corrupt when it comes to hiding all blame and liability!

    When they connected my Internet a small error was made with rushed wiring that left my ISDN system with no phone. When I phoned for repair no technicians were available and a date for repair was not given. After weeks with no repair I asked a Telstra Tec parked in the main street if he could help, he said he could not as I was not on his list but later called in unofficially and done a temporary bodge job.

    This is where the problems really begun: I had made an official complaint about various other matters and because the Telstra Technician had entered my property and fiddled with connection unofficially Telstra decided to deny everything.

    Telstra CEO secretary took direct control of all things related to my complaint, called me a liar, fought against me and the truth through TIO for 12months eventually forcing me to sign an erroneous Release and Indemnity against my wil to deny everything, then some months after forcing me to sign the document that claimed no fault ever existed, Telstra sent a technician to my house to repair the original fault, the Telstra Technician and his boss then refused to include repair on the job work sheet.

    No doubt you wonder why I did not just go to another provider or get alternative legal assistance under these circumstances, Telstra was the monopoly suplier in my area, and legal aid refused my assistance claiming they risked reduced funding from Liberal Government during the sale of Telstra were they to help, the TIO ignored everything I said that Telstra reputed.

    Telstra said they would compensate me in Telstra services only and only with a signed Release and Indemnity. Telstra and TIO if I never signed the Release and Indemnity they would close the case with no reimbersment.

    Gary Looney @garyrlooney

  5. Like Stafford Ray above I am with OPTUS and had little difficulties but I will gladly admit that I am in outer metropolitan Melbourne so not the most difficult area to resource.

    Good luck and I am sorry for your trials and tribulations especially since it would keep you from posting and so me from reading.

  6. Satellite is slow. And not particularly cheap. And unless they're doing one of their occasional government-backed free installation deals (like we managed to find), the hardware is brutally expensive. And I expect that when our contract/warranty runs out, we'll discover exactly how savagely expensive it is.

    Satellite also tends to be only mostly compatible with Windows. It drops out now and again for reasons I've been unable to divine... BUT: reboot the modem, allow it to go through the five-minute uplink process, and usually you get back online.

    Satellite: it isn't good, no. But it's mostly reliable. And it's definitely better than Telstra.

  7. OH TELSTRA..just where would one fkn start. OK..That little sesh you just had, beats me...HAND FKN DOWN, I can only exceed what you did by saying my first three months bills for the PACKAGED Iphone resulted....EVENTUALLY!, in over 7K in credits, plus my fkn time, plus plus plus.

    But lets get to ADSL... Broadband. Thats BROADBAND piles of fkn shit IMHO. we upgraded here about 2 months ago. went to the 50GB, 99.00 a months liberty my fkn arse plan, we will screw you over by telstra.

    Before doing this, occasionally we would exceed of limit per month, BUT!, we could run up to 4 XBOX units on line at the same fkn time and have no issue.

    NOW, this new plan is supposedly faster, and assuredly has significantly greater data allowance...BUT THE FKN SPEEDS ARE FKD!!!. telstra have been called on several hundred fkn occasions , spoke with fkn tools, muppets, unwashed and general total brain dead fkn fucktards, some of whom I could NOT FKN UNDERSTAND...and still the speed is fkd!.

    FFSAKES, I upgraded plans and the whole things gone to shit!.

    In another realm..I would grabe the CEO of TELSTRA and fkn CAP THE FKN MUPPET and all the other oxygen thieving fkn gits in that group...

    I hear ya..I really hear ya

  8. As long as you have a telstra phoneline, Internode, is the b/brand service to use!! Keep it really quiet, but they are the best.. no plan, and have great service. Infact they are the first b/brand provider in Aust..Great Book by the way... Chooks are sexy lil beasties!!

  9. Hughsey

    Punch your phone number into this and it will tell you who provides broadband in your area.

    Lists all ISPs etc.

    The forums will give you info on any and all options.

  10. Telstra = Hellstra. I've had so many problems with them over they years and get the run around just as you did. After the debacle that was their mistaken $9500 charge on my phone bill I decided that they give you so many problems getting things fixed so that by the time they do you're so pleased to have it finished that you are thanking them instead of demanding compensation. I am hanging by a thread waiting for some sort of competition to arrive in the town I live in. Please hurry, whoever you may be !

  11. Try ringing Telstra today and you will find yourself conversing with a Phillipina whose accent is unintelligible, and who will have no authority to do anything: the famous Telstra dead end.
    Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I believe that Telstra's handling of customers, and billing of line rentals and calls at 'premium' rates (minus 'premium' service), is a deliberate strategy to offload all loyal customers so that they can get out of the home phone business. Mobiles and provision of infrastructure are so much more lucrative for them.
    I have bundled home line and internet with Netspace, my internet provider for the last 15 years.

  12. PS Netspace are here as I live in Pomona.

  13. Ah! A Local!
    I'm stuck with these buggers till I finish work on the festival - all my contacts have the current email - too messy to change midstream.

    Someone told me the other that that Telstra's deal with their corporate customers (the people they sell wholesale to, like Optus etc, have it in their agreement that Telstra has to attend to their faults first - loyal customers are are at the very end of the conga line.

  14. f@ck telstra. I had a similar problem execpt that i had faulty modems. I am on my third in 9 months.
    Not only did i have months of continual hold music, i have also been charged (now reimbersed) over $600 in service excess charges and "package adjustments".
    When i tried to get out of my deal (the one i didn't break) i was told it would cost me.
    I will be leaving telstra and finding a small company that wants my money. Screw the national carrier.