Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Deliberate Deception

So, my mobile phone has a data pack, which I can't auto refill, I need to manually do it every month, or the data drops to an extortionate rate. I got a text to say my data pack was expiring. I still had $50 or so in credit, I am a casual phone user, so I have opted for a plan where my credit lasts a long time, but I need to pump $10 a month in to data. I did this, I bought a data pack. It said it was successful, on my screen. Next morning, I have 0 credit, because it's all been used up. My data pack was not applied and so just checking my mail automatically, used up $50 overnight. Which is an insane cost, who would actually want to pay that ? Of course, they don't care, I can get some platitudes in broken English if I spend an hour on the phone, but my best course of action is to accept I've been rolled by Telstra again and just suck it up. W Why have a credit that lasts a year for phone, and nothing similar for data ? Why not allow me to set it up to auto refill every month so this never happens ? Because they want to rob me, that's why.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And on it goes

I've not posted here for a long time, for a couple of reasons: 1 - a friend of mine worked for Telstra 2 - through him, the CEO of Telstra called me, which I thought ( and still think ) was very decent of him. Sadly, my issues have continued, I've just not blogged them. My wireless internet has become more and more useless as the local tower gets more and more congested and is not being upgraded. I cannot use the internet after 5 pm weekdays, quite often on the weekend, and it drops out intermittently ALL THE TIME. I have considered hiring an office in the local town to stop depending on wireless to do my job, for now when it's really bad, I grab my notebook and go to a local cafe ( or did, until it burned down, something I hasten to add, I do not blame Telstra for ). I complained to the ombudsman and I got a letter offering to release me from my plan, as they have no plans to upgrade my tower any time soon. I recently bought a prepaid mobile phone. I was clear that I would use it almost entirely for data. I was sold a 12 month data pack for $80 on the basis that I rarely use it. I had the phone at home on my wifi network for 2 days then I had to go out and took it with me. I did not use it. The silent data transfers that took place meant my $80 was gone within an hour. Apparently, they will sell you a $80 credit that lasts 12 months, but, if you want a non extortionist data rate, you need to pay $10 a month for it, thus your 12 month credit is a flat out lie. And it seems the stores don't tell you this, they prefer to rob you once before you work out the plans for yourself. On top of that, my wireless modem recently blew up. I called support, and got someone in the third world who had no idea about anything I was asking about. They told me to go in to a store to get one, and it would connect to my existing account. I went in and asked for a router style modem. The only one they would sell me, was a tiny one that is a 5 station wireless hub. I got it home, and found I had to create a new account with it ( thus putting me on a two year plan ), despite my being told otherwise. I did this, and it worked OK for a while. Eventually ( within 6 months ), it would overheat and shut down ALL the time. It also has a rechargable battery in it, but the charge only lasts an hour or two. It's clearly not designed for constant use. Eventually, I had to upload a 10 MB file for work, and it was giving me speeds so slow, it was saying it would take 2 hours, but every 30 min, the modem would overheat and die. So, I called and asked for a replacement. I was told I had to go in to a store to get one. The store told me no, I had to call. I called and was told I'd be sent a 4G replacement modem. When it came, it was a 3G modem, the same useless model I had before ( although it's not overheated yet, I do have to keep it plugged in or the battery dies in no time ). The other thing that gets me is, the hardware they supply blows up, it takes a week to replace, and in the meantime, they make me pay for a prepaid modem so that I can keep using the internet, instead of giving me the bandwidth I've already paid for and cannot access !!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blow me down

Well, I've had a bit of an ongoing problem with my broadband of late. Namely, I've had issues that relate to my aerial not working smoothing sometimes. There's two things I want to post about here:

1 - the issue is not one of incompetence, it's just one of those things that happen, because of where I live

2 - Telstra have been SUPER helpful, I've spoken to locally based tech people who know what they're doing and can give me real advice, and they've pursued me to make sure that everything is working OK.

I also read in the paper that the new CEO has been looking to make the organisation more customer focused, and I also got a letter recently telling me they've made it easier to make a complaint if you need to. I'm a long way from loving Telstra ( they've caused me too much grief for me to forget it overnight ), but I definitely feel like I can see a difference and that things are headed in a much better direction. For the first time, when people call and say 'thanks for using Telstra', I don't think 'I wouldn't if I didn't have to'. If I had an option to change my internet provider, I wouldn't do it without careful consideration, at this point.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prepaid Wireless Warning

As I posted, I got a call from the CEO of Telstra. He seemed like a decent sort of bloke, and he seemed to accept that there's a lot of problems with Telstra, and he seemed committed to fixing them. I'm sure he still is, these things do not happen overnight. Either way, having spoken to him, I've had a number of things happen to me that are very much on the scale of the things I had blogged about, and decided not to blog about them, out of respect for the fact that I believe the guy at the top knows about the issues and is trying to fix them. But, I'm going to blog about what happened to me this week, b/c I hope it might help someone.

As I am being shaped by Telstra on both my wireless accounts now, I went out and bought a prepaid device. I told the people in the store I have a Bigpond account, and I want it for overflow when I get shaped. I got it home, the memory stick slot in it is missing, which means the software is missing. These devices now come with a mini SD card that has the installer you need on it, usually.

I get online, go to the Telstra site and download the prepaid software for Mac and PC. On the Mac, it runs, but says there is no device installed, and I can't make it detect it. In my network settings, the device is there but not configured, so I assume the installer just doesn't work properly. Great. I boot over to Windows. On Windows, the installer freezes when it's installing the device. I try several times. I call support. The support guy kept asking me how many bars of signal I have in the software. I kept reiterating that I can't install the software. Naturally, he can barely speak English.

He told me he spoke to a level 2 support person, and that they said my download is corrupt. I told him that level 2 were incompetent, because if the download was corrupt it would have neither unzipped, or installed. I further said I wanted to talk to the level 2 person. The amusing part was when she asked me if I could uninstall and reinstall, and I said no, and reiterated the problem, she asked if the modem was installed. I asked her if she meant just the hardware. She had to get off the phone to ask someone/look up how to get to control panel. Of course, when she got back, I was there. The question is, how did a level two support person not know how to find if a device is installed ?

They said they still blamed the download from the Telstra site, and gave me a URL to download the software from instead ( not Telstra ). That is when I found that the prepaid software had removed the Bigpond program, and that the Bigpond installer gave me the same error, so I could not get online. That is, if you install a prepaid wireless modem, it will remove any Bigpond software you have for wireless connections. I pointed this out and was put on hold while she organised a higher level support person to call me.

While I was on hold, I went to another PC and installed the software I downloaded from Telstra, and it installed fine, and I was able to get online. So, this person who I was told was level two, both did not know how to use a computer, thought that it was possible to download a zip and have it unzip, and then run an installer from the zip, which would run and freeze during the install process. That's just all sorts of clueless. Also ( and this is the point of this post ), not the people in the Telstra store, not the support people I called at first, not the alleged level 2 girl, no-one knew that when you have Bigpond Wireless broadband installed, you cannot install a prepaid modem, because you'll break what you have, without the new system ever working. So, if you're like me, and sometimes find you get shaped by your Bigpond, if you buy a modem to use as an overflow device, you need to either buy the same modem ( I did this once, and it's it's own problem, I was sold it as a prepaid device, then later told that it's not a prepaid device at all, although I was able to make it work ), or use a different computer, which has never had Bigpond Wireless software on it, to connect to the web.

Oh, and the person who promised to call me back, never did. I spent an entire day on this, I fixed my own problem, and trained at least two Telstra staff on some basics about how computers work, and why their advice is bogus. I actually did get a call, but it was in relation to the other issue that I have open with the Ombudsman ( my wireless died, and I called several times over the space of a week, actually the people I spoke to there also suggested software I had downloaded and installed must be corrupt, and the level 2 support they promised me did not occur until 4 days after I called the Ombudsman, which I did a week after I was first told I would get a call ). They are sending me a new antenna, the one that they told me to buy last time, turns out to not be good enough. The call was because the job had been closed, because the antenna dept claimed I never answer the phone. I work from home, and I have a message service. You'd think a Telstra employee would know how to use a phone and/or how to leave a message.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Could the times be changing ?

Well, it's been a very interesting couple of weeks, culminating in my taking a call from David Thodey, the CEO of Telstra. He called in response to my recent complaints and also this blog, to express his frustration at the issues that lead to customers being as disgruntled as I have become. I've always wondered how there could be a disconnect between management and the various departments that have mistreated me in various ways over the years, because I'm sure no-one set out to create Telstra operating the way it has for me. Nevertheless, it was definitely an eye opener that the CEO takes such complaints seriously enough to call me to discuss them. I've had several other follow up calls from support people to make sure that various issues I've raised in this blog have been resolved. Might this be the start of a brand new day ? I certainly hope so. I don't think Telstra's problems are going to be fixed overnight, but I'm certainly convinced by the events of the past few weeks that the people at the top are aware of the issues, and are focused on resolving them. I've had several people call me to say 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating', these have been people telling me they know they have work to do, not people offering platitudes, and that gives me a lot of hope. Telstra was once something we all owned and took pride in. Nothing would make me happier than for it to be viewed that way again, by both clients and shareholders.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You're a valued customer

I spent $300+ a month with Telstra. I recently got a call from them telling me how much Telstra values my loyalty, and what a valued client I am. I don't like to be rude, I did not tell him that I use Telstra because I have no choice. He discussed a few things he thought they could do for me. I really was only interested in one. He said they could roll my five bills in to one. I asked if they could be rolled in to two ( one for the two internet accounts, one for the three phone accounts ). Sure, he said. Give it a month, but that's done for you. That was about four months ago. I still get five bills a month. So, he called to tell me they'd love to do something for me, because I am a good client, but the thing he offered, he couldn't actually do. It's kind of ironic, in a lot of ways....

The Broken Modem Part 3

I realise at this point, this is not about Telstra, but it's related, so I'll post it here. I went away for 2 weeks, after calling Sierra again and being told that despite their belief that the issue is physical damage, they would send me a bag to send the modem back. I got back from my holiday and called them, the woman on the call said 'there's a note here that it's physical damage'. I reiterated all that I'd gone through and that I'd been told they would send a bag. She said she'd call me back after she spoke to a manager. It's been several days, they have not called me back.

At the core, the issue here is that Telstra sold something, and refuses to help me when it breaks and I need to get it fixed, they leave me to deal with the manufacturer directly. I can't recall the last time I bought something from a reseller and they did not offer to help me when I needed warranty service.