Thursday, July 15, 2010

Phone Wars

It is Thursday afternoon. In the last ten days, I have made what seems like a thousand phone calls, had messages left by Indian voices I cannot understand; spent hours on hold, listening to muzak and have had no internet or phone line. I have even thrown myself in front of the local Telstra technician’s truck to plead for help.
Three weeks ago it was requested that the second phone line to the granny flat be connected. It finally happened on Monday morning when Telstra in their wisdom, decided to disconnect the house line and connect the new line and number to mine. That meant I had lost my phone and Internet. I would have to wait until my number was reconnected and then request the Broadband be reinstated. My phone company told me it would take 1-2 days to reinstate this line and I would be liable for a reconnection fee.
Telstra meanwhile assured us that all was sorted and the phone to the back would be turned on overnight, freeing my line. Telstra said the tenant would not have to pay a connection fee, to compensate her for the problem. As for me, I wasn’t a customer so they couldn't help me.  I lodged a formal complaint which they said would be dealt with within two business days. I had another call from someone trying to contact the tenant and explained this was not her line. Did I mention I had an active line that is not my number or account and needs to be disconnected so that my provider can reconnect me? I can’t get it disconnected as it’s not my account!
The second phone line was finally connected on Friday morning. The house line was disconnected at 4pm, far too late to do anything about a reconnection. It took my phone provider and Internet provider a day and a half to reconnect me...amazingly fast compared to Telstra.
Living in the country and running two online businesses, we are vulnerable to any communications meltdowns. Telstra still owns the lines, it seems they can disconnect you at will and take no responsibility for their actions. There is still no word about my formal complaint which is `waiting for a case manager to be assigned.’  I have spent hours each day trying to sort the problem, become stressed, angry and frustrated talking to a different voice each time that promised to help and appeared to do nothing. Everyone I speak to have a similar story to tell. Is this what free trade does to business or is it merely incompetence? I had better stop boring you with my woes and get to work. Now I am up again there are a hundred emails to deal with!

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