Thursday, August 15, 2013

Telstra in dispute with customer over costly landline installation

Would you pay $5931.90 for the installation of a landline in a suburban area?

That's what Telstra was attempting to charge small business owner Sonia Turkovic and her landlord son-in-law, Marc Edwards.

On February 17 last year the pair requested Telstra install a landline at Mrs Turkovic's new office on Moreland Road in Coburg, Victoria, where she runs a financial planning business.

At first everything seemed to be running smoothly, but then the quote arrived: $5931.90 for installation plus a $299 connection fee.

To make matters more frustrating, the pair couldn't get a third-party quote from an electrician because Telstra said the type of installation required a Telstra technician.

"It blew my mind," Mrs Turkovic said. "The quote was out of this stratosphere."

Because Telstra has a monopoly in the fixed-line space, there was virtually nothing she could do about the cost but complain.

The initial quote included Telstra digging up the pavement outside her office to run a new conduit to the premises (containing copper wire) and then reinstating the pavement.

This confused Mrs Turkovic because about 30 centimetres away from her office's front door was a cable pit with the marking "PMG" on it. PMG (Post Master General) was the organisation which ran Australia's copper network before Telstra.

Because the pit was so close, Mr Edwards disputed the installation cost on behalf of Mrs Turkovic and had it reduced to $2639.62. But even after it was reduced, he still believed the cost to be "ridiculous" and unreasonable.

Despite this, he agreed to have the installation completed on the condition that he and Mrs Turkovic could dispute the $2639.62 cost with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and Telstra.

But now, almost 18 months after the initial request for a landline, and 14 months since the installation was completed, the two are still disputing the cost and Telstra isn't budging, requesting for payment to be made.

In a statement, Telstra said the installation involved more than a standard landline connection, "including commercial works and project management of internal Telstra and civil contractors".

"A complaint has been raised and we're following our usual complaint management process," it said. "This is also the subject of an open TIO investigation and we are working with the TIO to reach a resolution."

Mr Edwards said the actual work done took a technician just under three hours to complete. He said it wasn't completed until June 18, 2012, about four months after the landline was initially requested.

"We had to push Telstra really hard to get a second quote and [it] was a lot lower but it was still $3000 to push one cable through a bit of conduit, drill a hole in the wall and use $80... worth of parts," Mr Edwards said.

Because of the delayed installation, Mr Edwards and Mrs Turkovic have attempted to claim compensation worth $12,080, saying Telstra broke its legislated Customer Service Guarantee.

While waiting for the landline to be installed, Mrs Turkovic said she was without a business number for at least two months after moving offices in April 2012.

She said she had stationery, signage and advertising printed with her Telstra-assigned number and that customers were being told it was disconnected when they tried to call, putting her reputation at risk.

The Customer Service Guarantee states that a "new connection without infrastructure or spare capacity" should be completed "within 20 working days (equivalent to 1 month) after request".

If the work isn't done within the time specified, the CSG tells business customers they may be entitled to $24.20 for each working day that Telstra misses, for the first five working days of delay. After the initial five working days, they may be entitled to receive a payment of $48.40 per additional working day of delay, it adds.

Telstra said that as part of the complaint process it would "be determined if the customer is eligible for CSG payment or compensation".

Mr Edwards said he wanted to bring the delayed installation and cost to light so that "maybe someone else won't have to go through this".

Mrs Turkovic described her overall experience with Telstra as "exhausting" and "frustrating".

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another Telstra horror

I have had difficulties with both Telstra and Optus, though Optus has undoubtedly been the worse.  I became an Optus customer in the year 2000 and have only very recently given up totally on them,  which could make me qualified as a hero of patience, I think.

What the guy below obviously didn't know is that talking to phone hotlines for either Optus or Telstra puts you in contact with some juvenile who knows nothing and cares less  -- that's if you can get to talk to a person at all. 

For real difficulties you have to write to the CEO of the company.  He doesn't care either but he does employ people to act as if they do.  I have had some success with that approach.

But that process is slow and the guy below obviously was moved by the amount involved to regard the matter as urgent.  I feel sorry for him.  It is obnoxious that he had to go to the media to get help but is very much what I would have expected.  Basically they just ignore you in the hope that you will go away.

The episode below also shows why I never now give anyone permission to debit my credit card. I always use prepaid services.  I am guessing that the guy below will be doing that henceforth as well

A man who lost his mobile phone, and told Telstra to cancel his account, still had $28,000 deducted from his credit card for calls he didn't make, after the telco delayed blocking his phone.

After months of trying to get a refund, Rayden Crawley finally got his money back from Telstra on Wednesday. But only after he recounted his experience to radio station 3AW earlier that day.

Mr Crawley was in Barcelona, Spain, in late September when he lost his mobile phone. He reported the loss to Spanish police and phoned and emailed Telstra later that day to request the lost phone be blocked.

But when he returned to Melbourne on October 15, bad news was waiting.

"I rang Telstra because I hadn't received the bill, and I nearly fell over when they told me it was a $28,000 bill," he said. The money was automatically debited from his American Express card, $27,385.16 of which was for calls made after he lost his phone.

"It wasn't chopped off for some reason until 36 hours later, despite it being confirmed by the Telstra centre in Melbourne East that they would have it barred," Mr Crawley told 3AW.

For the past two months, Mr Crawley engaged in "telephone tag" with Telstra trying to get a refund.

The Telstra complaints officer he was dealing with said "she was still looking into it" on the occasions he called. After a while, his calls just went to voicemail.

"I tried 20 times to get back to her to find out what was going on and there was no reply, just a recorded message," he said. "There was no correspondence back from Telstra whatsoever."

After going on talkback radio on Wednesday morning, however, the refund came through.

Telstra spokesman Jonathan Rose told Fairfax Media that all of the bill would be refunded.

"We have contacted Mr Crawley to apologise and advise that we will waive all charges on the account," Mr Rose said.

"We are most concerned about his experience and will review the case, including to determine why the payment was debited while the matter was still under investigation and a credit was in the process of being approved."


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ombudsman hits phone companies for a record $28 million as complaints soar

PHONE companies paid a record $28 million in fines to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman after the worst year for complaints against mobile, fixed and broadband operators.

The biggest phone companies contributed $24 million of that total. The TIO's annual report for 2010-11, released yesterday, revealed it received about 200,000 new complaints in the period, an increase of 18 per cent. This was despite a TIO campaign in 2009 to improve customer service, which saw a mild decrease in complaints in 2009-10.

Individually, Telstra received 78,950 complaints, Vodafone Hutchison 54,600, Optus 28,323 and iiNet 2974. The increase in iiNet's complaints was attributed to its acquisition of AAPT's residential customers.

The Ombudsman, Simon Cohen, singled out Vodafone for increasing the overall number of complaints after it recorded a 222 per cent increase in complaints against it during the financial year, at 35,563, up from 11,040 the previous year.

A Vodafone spokesman yesterday said it had improved network performance and service since late 2010 when it was flooded with complaints about coverage.

"Some of the network issues at the start of the year, and the ensuing rise in the number of complaints we received, impacted customer service," the director of customer service and experience at Vodafone Hutchison, Cormac Hodgkinson, said yesterday.

"This was difficult for our customers to endure, so we changed the way we operate to make things easier for our customers."

The company added 300 call centre staff, improved self-help portals and fast-tracked a significant upgrade to its overall network infrastructure.

Mr Cohen said he would like more powers to report companies to the communications regulator if systemic issues arose out of customer complaints.

Mr Cohen said the TIO was "actively exploring" whether it would report each company's customer numbers, which would give more meaning to the volume of complaints recorded against the company.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority may be more successful at tackling poor customer service through its threats to introduce court-enforceable standards if the telecommunications industry does not voluntarily improve customer service standards.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Telcos' customers put through the wringer when they complain

PHONE and internet customers are spending more than nine hours battling their providers to resolve serious complaints.

Half of them are shunted between four or more departments in the process, an ombudsman's report will reveal today, the Herald Sun reported.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman survey of more than 500 customers who lodged complaints with the watchdog last year found that 100 of them were forced to endure more than nine hours of pleading their cases.

A third of customers surveyed spent more than six hours trying to resolve their problems. More than half spoke with their provider five or more times before going to the ombudsman, and 31 per cent of problems dragged on for more than three months.

Findings included:

MORE than half of respondents asked to speak to a supervisor but 65 per cent were refused and most were told one wasn't available.

ALMOST 40 per cent said their telco promised to help but did nothing.

ABOUT 60 per cent were not told when their problem would be resolved.

Customer service and complaint handling overtook billing and payments as the most common of the 170,000-plus complaints to the ombudsman last year.

The ombudsman, Simon Cohen, said the time telcos took to deal with complaints was a concern, but nine out of 10 cases could be resolved quickly once customers were referred to the right person.

"If that happened even more often there would be much less need for consumers to have to come to us at all," Mr Cohen said. "And I think that would be something that would be in everybody's interest."

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network chief executive officer Teresa Corbin said mandatory standards for handling customer complaints - such as time limits - were needed.

The measures were recommended in an Australian Communication and Media Authority draft report that is due to be finished this month. "I think the industry almost counts on customers to give up," Ms Corbin said. "They have had years to fix this. Time's up, telcos, it's time to improve your customer service once and for all."

Industry body Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said the industry was aware of the issue and working to address it.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Telstra bungle upon bungle

Toowoomba mother hit twice with $91k phone bill

A $91,372 phone bill has Highfields mother of two Kym Ford at breaking point. Kym Ford is tired of getting the run-around by Telstra over a ridiculously large, $91,372 bill.

The Telstra bill, comprising mainly unknown SMS charges, is a mystery to Ms Ford. She contacted Telstra's complaints department to have the charges cleared and was told the “simple computer glitch” would immediately be corrected. But a month later she received another bill which this time had an outstanding balance of $91,412.98.

Ms Ford again contacted Telstra. “I was told that the first bill would be credited straight away and the complaint was closed,” she said. “But then they told me the second time that nothing had actually been done.”

Ms Ford said it just took some simple maths to shed light on just how ridiculous the charges were. At 25 cents a text message, she would have had to have sent 365,488 messages a month or eight messages every minute.

The ludicrous phone bills were not the last of Ms Ford's worries. After returning from holidays in January, she found an iPhone waiting for her complete with a bill of $1100. Ms Ford said she had never ordered or signed-up for the iPhone. “I sent it back to them straight away as I had only just signed up for this phone that I have now,” she said. “Now I'm receiving late charges for overdue amounts for this mystery iPhone.''

The overdue charges for the iPhone have added up to $340 which Ms Ford said was adding to the financial pressure she was already feeling. “As a single mother of two with a house to pay off, I'm afraid the overdue fees will affect my credit rating,” she said. “I don't understand why it's such a problem; all of the calls were recorded.”

A Telstra representative said the charges applied to Ms Ford were still being investigated and she would be contacted shortly. “It appears that the charges may be a result of fraudulent activity,” the representative said. “The customer may have replied to an email or phone call requesting her details.”

The representative said all of the charges relating to the iPhone would be waived.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Telstra admits to another privacy breach

Telstra has admitted to breaching the privacy of some of its customers only after being contacted by this website. "Most, if not all, affected customers (less than 3000) have been rung over the past week or so," said Telstra spokesman Craig Middleton.

Those affected were using Telstra's Tribe service, a platform which aggregates social media including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Some customers' social networking sites that were accessed using Tribe could be accessed by other Tribe customers, Telstra said.

After being contacted by this website, Telstra published a blog post announcing the breach. "This is just so that people who read [the] story can find out info from us," Mr Middleton said

Telstra recently came under fire for being investigated by both the communications and privacy watchdogs after it sent out 220,000 letters that contained account information belonging to other customers.

It also came under fire in April, when technology website ZDNet Australia reported it breaching the privacy of 700 customers.
Advertisement: Story continues below

"I’m accountable for Telstra’s approach to social media and all that goes with it. The good, the bad and the downright unfortunate," said Telstra's Kristen Boschma in the blog post.

"So I need to tell you something went awry with a service we offer called Tribe," she said. "We found a fault in the security for our Tribe service. Some customers’ pages could be accessed by other customers. We discovered instances where customers would have had the ability to access other customers’ Tribe accounts. In a couple of cases we were also contacted by customers to say that they received a Tribe alert meant for another user.

"To Telstra it is unacceptable that a customer’s privacy might be breached."

Boschma said Telstra has taken "direct and immediate action" to rectify the problem. "We suspended Tribe for a couple of days while we fixed it," she said. "It’s now back up and working like it’s meant to and we’ve already tried calling most affected customers directly. We’re continuing to contact all remaining affected customers. "Sorry for any inconvenience, this is not want we want for our customers but I’m glad the service has been restored."


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Phone and internet users lodged millions of complaints in 2010

As the big gorilla of the industry, Telstra would be responsible for most of these

MILLIONS of angry phone and internet users with hang ups about their providers are struggling to get problems fixed, new research claims.

A staggering one in two customers have had a telco gripe in the past year, a survey has found. And one in three who experienced a problem - equivalent to 2.3 million Australians - were unhappy with how their complaint was handled, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

Technical glitches, sloppy customer service, billing and complaint resolution topped nominated telco problems. A huge spike in complaints to the industry ombudsman has triggered a major federal inquiry that is due to report in early 2011.

But ACCAN policy director Elissa Freeman said the record 230,000 annual complaints that sparked the probe were just the tip of the iceberg. Ms Freeman said most frustrated consumers gave up on taking unresolved woes further.

Communications Alliance chief John Stanton said the industry was working hard to improve customer service, and was revising consumer protections. Mr Stanton said complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman fell 23 per cent last financial year after a peak a year earlier.

The New Galaxy research commissioned by ACCAN polled 1100 people early this month.

ACCAN is pushing for new mandatory standards to force telcos to respond to customer complaints sooner, reduce call waiting times, and help customers in financial hardship.

Upset customers who have made submissions to the Australian Communications and Media Authority inquiry include a businesswoman who said her Telstra number was shut down and given away because of an ``inexplicable error".

She then reportedly spent one to two hours on the line and was repeatedly transferred to different operators in a vain attempt for assistance.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Telcos try to shift blame to customers

TELCOS are blaming technology-challenged customers for the surge in complaints about phone and internet services. The Communications Alliance and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association - representing the nation's telcos - have admitted to a government inquiry that "there are problems in areas of customer management".

Gold Coast software engineer Kim Holley [above] has no trouble keeping up with the technology; her beef with Telstra BigPond is over a simple billing error.

Every month since March, Ms Holley has been charged a late payment fee for her internet account, even though her bills are direct-debited to her credit card. "I've probably spent at least two hours per month on this issue and I really would love to bill them for my time," she said yesterday.

"It's more the annoyance because I have a very busy travelling schedule for work, which is why I set up direct debit in the first place, and the bigger risk is they could turn off my service while I'm overseas."

Ms Holley said call centre staff assured her each time that the problem had been fixed. "Then it happens again, but every time I phone they have no record of me having called about the problem previously. I shouldn't have to explain the entire problem to them over and over and over again."

Telstra's director of customer service and satisfaction, Jules Scarlett, yesterday said Ms Holley's case would be investigated urgently. [Isn't publicity wonderful?]

Complaints against Telstra fell from 31,255 in the three months to September last year to 21,270 in the three months to June, she said. Telstra's share of industry complaints had dropped from 51 per cent to 45 per cent during 2009-10. "But this number is still too high so we're focused on making the improvements needed to simplify our business and better serve our customer," she said.

Industry-wide, complaints about phone and internet services fell 6 per cent last financial year, ending a seven-year cycle of soaring complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The Ombudsman fielded 215,154 complaints from consumers in the year to June, down from a record 230,000 in 2008-09, according to confidential data provided to the industry.

Despite the fall, complaints have more than doubled in three years, and quadrupled in a decade. And as customers often complain about more than one problem - such as the failure to rectify an initial billing error - the number of issues totalled 481,418 in 2008-09.

ACMA has threatened to regulate unless the telco industry improves its customer service through the existing voluntary self-regulatory code of conduct.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Telecommunications regulator tackles telcos over poor service

Telcos are threatened with binding standards as customers make four complaints every minute. And as the big gorilla of the industry, this applies particularly to Telstra

PHONE companies' slack service to customers is unacceptable and they need to "do much better".

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has warned it will impose binding standards for customer service unless the industry improves its self-regulatory code of conduct, The Australian reports.

Authority chairman Chris Chapman said the existing poor standard of customer service was unacceptable. Mr Chapman said telecom customers' "exasperation and frustration" was shown by the "unacceptable trend line" in consumer complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

The ombudsman has been receiving complaints about billing, faults and connections of landlines, mobile and internet services at the rate of 1850 issues every weekday - or nearly four per minute.

"The banks used to be like this, but have lifted their performance over the past 10 years," Mr Chapman said yesterday. "I'm saying to the telco industry, your time has come." The telcos' customer service "is unacceptable and they've got to do much better".

The telecommunications industry is reviewing its three-year-old consumer protection code, which will require ACMA's approval next year.

At the same time, Mr Chapman said, if ACMA chose to impose its standards on the industry, telcos could be penalised for poor service. "We will invoke a standard in the event the code didn't provide sufficient consumer safeguards," he said. The standard would "open up telcos to a whole raft of enforcement possibilities". There would be a dramatic increase and toughening of the sanctions that existed under the voluntary code, he said.

Mr Chapman condemned the industry for failing to enforce its existing code of conduct. And he called for a "paradigm shift" in the way telcos treat their customers. "At the moment there is a disconnect between the provisions of the code and the outcomes, and the outcomes aren't good enough," he said.

"The future communications environment is going to be even more complicated than in recent times. "The industry will have to be even more creative and clever in the way it looks after customers."

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network said yesterday the telcos' existing industry code was "not worth the paper it's written on". "We need a commitment from the industry that it is prepared to comply with the code and issue public reports on its performance," acting chief executive Teresa Corbin said.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Telstra fined $19m for blocking wholesale rivals

The claim that this was not deliberate is one of the biggest heaps of bovine dung that I have ever encountered

TELSTRA has been slapped with an $18.5 million fine for blocking its rivals from installing broadband equipment at its telephone exchanges.

An 18-month long federal court case came to its conclusion this morning after Justice John Middleton found Telstra contravened the Trade Practices Act and its carrier licence conditions on 27 occasions between July 2006 and April 2008.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was seeking a fine of $34m to be imposed on the telco giant, alleging Telstra’s senior management ranks had knowingly conspired to deny its wholesale customers such as Optus and iiNet access to install equipment in seven lucrative metropolitan telephony exchanges.

Under standard obligations, Telstra is legally required to allow access to its telephone exchanges so that competitors can install equipment to provide new voice and broadband offerings for customers.

Justice Middleton found that no such conspiracy had existed. “I reject any suggestion that the contraventions occurred as a result of any implicit or express direction from the then chief executive of Telstra to all Telstra employees to make access to competitors difficult,” Justice Middleton said in his judgement.

Telstra admitted in July last year that it was guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct in denying competitors access to its copper network -- but said the breaches were a result of the "chaotic bureaucracy" of the business rather than a deliberate ploy to disadvantage its competitors.

The contraventions -- of which there were 30 separate alleged incidents -- carried a maximum penalty of up to $10m each but Justice Middleton gave Telstra a discount on each breach.

"I have also given a greater discount for cooperation, acceptance of responsibility and for voluntarily implementing a compliance program,” he said.

Telstra won't appeal the decision. The telco vowed to improve business processes.

"Since the start of the case, we have acknowledged that mistakes were made. We accept the judgment which has been handed down. We will not be appealing," a Telstra spokesman said.

"Since these events occurred, Telstra has taken proactive steps to improve our processes in this area, and more generally, to improve service to our wholesale customers.

"We have learned a lot as a result of this process and like many changes at Telstra, we are endeavouring to improve our performance."

He said Telstra had cooperated with the ACCC on its investigation and implemented improved monitoring, processes and training.

As a result, no new exchanges have been capped since April 2008, the spokesman said.

Despite Telstra's penalty the telco's rivals were not entirely pleased with the outcome and reiterated the need for the government to pass legislation aimed at curbing the telco's market dominance.

"This is an example of anti-competitive behaviour from Telstra that the Government’s reform package is designed to stop at its source," Optus director of Government and Corporate Affairs Maha Krishnapillai said.

"Telstra has a very real ability to act unfairly under the present regulatory system, however the damage is done long before Telstra faces any penalties for its actions."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Regulator to get tougher on phone companies

Telstra abuses a big factor behind the change

TELEPHONE, mobile and internet providers will face hefty fines for breaching tough new customer service standards that will replace cumbersome voluntary industry codes.

Amendments to the Telecommunications Act will give the Australian Communications and Media Authority power to write consumer protection regulations and issue penalties of up to $250,000 for corporations and $50,000 for individuals in breach of the standards.

At the moment ACMA can issue infringement notices to broadcasters, but only has power to issue a formal warning to telecommunications companies before pursuing matters through the courts.

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the changes would stem the flow of complaints made to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman; there had been a 118 per cent increase in customer service complaints last year.

The chairman of ACMA, Chris Chapman, said he would begin a formal inquiry into customer service in the telecommunications sector to "shine a strong light on complaints handling and the unresponsiveness of the industry to its customers".

He said codes developed by the industry took too long to develop and were cumbersome to change, leaving customers exposed to bad or deceptive service.

Telstra at work

An overzealous Telstra salesman nearly cost Sue Abbott, of Scone, $1400 after he convinced her to upgrade her mobile phone last year. But instead of the better deal she was promised, Ms Abbott promptly saw her bills double, including charges for a data plan she did not want or need.

Ms Abbott complained to Telstra, which caused her to run up even higher bills as she was "either left on hold or shipped around the world". "I would ring and try and explain my predicament and no-one listened. No one ever rang me back when I asked them to, or even offered to."

After a nine-month impasse, Telstra contacted Ms Abbott last week to say the charges would be erased from her account.

She said the inquiry was long overdue. "We're so in the dark about what the telcos can do," she said.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Fleeing customers dent Telstra revenues

And it's no wonder customers are fleeing. Just ask almost any Telstra customer who has had problems with them

TELSTRA is unlikely to meet its current revenue forecasts, analysts have warned as they highlighted a decline in customer numbers as the company's biggest challenge.

Analysts and investors say declining customer revenue is a more significant threat to Telstra's long-term revenue than the proposed national broadband network. They are urging the company to cut retail prices to arrest customer attrition.

Telstra's cash flow was likely to be $400 million less than forecast this financial year, at $5.6 billion, a Goldman Sachs JBWere analyst, Christian Guerra, said in a research note.

His forecast is based on the decline in fixed-line customers and uncompetitive mobile and broadband plans. "The [first half of 2009-10 financial year] result highlighted some of the most concerning operating trends seen in Telstra's recent history," Mr Guerra said.

Its mobile phone plans were the least competitive, and its customer growth declined by 83,000 in the last six months last year. "Telstra's dilemma is clear. It does not want to lower its mobile pricing to accelerate the shift of high-margin traffic away from its fixed network and onto Australia's three mobile networks," Mr Guerra said.

Telstra's recent attempts to improve fixed and wireless broadband packages would slow customer attrition rates, but the prices were still uncompetitive, he added.

On December 18 Telstra warned sales revenue in 2009-10 would be lower than previously forecast because customers were leaving its fixed phone and broadband services faster than expected.

But the long-term trend was a more significant threat to Telstra's long-term profitability than the government's proposed broadband network, said a Perennial Growth partner, Richard Macdougall.

Institutional investors could expect Telstra's share price to weaken further if it does not make a deal with NBN Co, because that would add even more uncertainty to the company's future.

The government has threatened to forcibly split Telstra's retail network, divest its interest in Foxtel and deny it wireless spectrum if it does not migrate its fixed line traffic to the national broadband network.

Mr Guerra said a deal with the government was nearing and this could boost Telstra's share price.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court in Melbourne will hear a case this morning between Telstra and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act and Telecommunications Act.

The regulator alleges Telstra denied its competitors access to seven metropolitan exchanges to connect equipment to customer homes.


Saturday, January 16, 2010


Telstra is steadily REDUCING its services to its Bigpond customers. First they cancelled the webspace they provided as part of a cable subscription deal. That was high-handed enough but they have now cancelled another service.

It was for years possible to access your Hotmail account via Outlook express. But no more. That option has been out of service for months but I thought it must be a result of something I had done. Not so. I eventually got around to emailing Bigpond technical support about it and below is the emailed reply that I got:
"We apologise for the inconvenience that you are experiencing and we understand your concern.

BigPond email accounts use the Post Office Protocol (POP3) protocol.

This protocol is incompatible with Hotmail. Hotmail uses a non-standard protocol for retrieving email, which is not compatible with all providers. Therefore, BigPond Technical Support does not support retrieving email using this method. However, we can refer you to one of our third party industrial partners called Gizmo. They support a wide range of products and services, including the issue that you are currently experiencing. Please be advised that they do charge a fee from a credit card however, will only do so if they fix your problem - if they are unable to then you won't be charged anything."

Do they run Gizmo? I wouldn't be surprised

Sunday, December 6, 2009

letter to David Thodey, CEO, Telstra

Thank you for your response to my letter to you and Ms Livingstone. You did get me some high-class attention from your staff

Sadly, however, most of the problem persists. Your staff did find the conditions under which I COULD upload to a BigBlog photo gallery but they are rather mad. I can upload only if:

1). I use the IE8 browser

2). I have the latest version of Java loaded

There are MANY photo hosting sites on the net and NONE of them have those restrictions. The restrictions are pure BigPond brainlessness.

About a third of Australians use the Firefox browser for a start and that is excluded by your very limited facility

May I suggest that the BigPond programmers need new blood? Someone should be fired if they cannot even manage a photo uploading facility of normal usefulness