Thursday, March 12, 2009

Arrogance and incompetence from Telstra yet again

Footscray family's Telstra battle lasts 18 months -- and again it was only media attention that got any action

TELSTRA has admitted to double dipping a battling Footscray family's internet account - and 18 months later it has still not paid back the money.

Musician Wade English discovered by accident that the company had been charging him for broadband and dial-up internet services at the same time.

He lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman and was then told by Telstra the matter would be fixed within 24 hours.

Mr English's was one of a staggering 52,304 billing issues lodged against telecommunication, internet and phone service providers in Australia last year.

It took 40 complaints before Telstra offered to reimburse him $646.80 and cancel his dial-up service last December.

At the time of the error, the Aussie telco admitted in writing that Mr English was entitled to a refund. It said it would terminate his dial-up service and hand over the refund within 30 days. What followed was a nightmare.

"They didn't follow up with any money, but what they did do was totally disconnect my internet service, both dial-up and broadband. I went six or seven weeks without it," Mr English said. "I finally gave up and switched to Optus. "But in that time I reckon I lost about $10,000 in work that would've been booked through my internet site."

When Mr English called Telstra to see where his refund was, he was told he did not have an account and so could not be traced on the Telstra computer system.

Mr English said he wanted to encourage other people to challenge Telstra and other large corporations.

In documents seen by the Herald Sun, Telstra acknowledged it overcharged Mr English for two years and offered to pay back $646.80. Only after the Herald Sun contacted Telstra did the company offer to send a cheque.

"We have spoken to the customer and apologised for the inconvenience caused," Telstra spokesman Martin Barr said, adding the matter was being investigated.


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