Saturday, April 20, 2013


I am feeling down and badly let down too.  We have been with Telstra for well of 45 years and for some stupid reason one feels that loyalty to a company should  bring results if we have problems.  Unfortunately that is not the case these days.  I feel that some of these companies just want to make money for their shareholders and the people that spend that money with them can go jump in the lake.  Why do I feel like this?  Read on if you have the time and the patience to do so.

The telephone we are hoping to be able to use again S O O N if someone will just stop the bloody noise on it.  I am suffering from severe frustration that is verging on nervous exhaustion.  I can usually find something funny in everything but right now my sense of humour is wearing very thin.

Just over 2 weeks ago we reported to Telstra a noise on the line which appeared to be interfering with the internet connection.   The noise had been there for several weeks but was quite faint so no problem hearing or being heard so we had not bothered reporting such a minor problem.  The noise had increased to some extent but still didn't interfere very much with our hearing people or being heard.

We received a text message on our mobile (cell) phone that the problem would be fixed by 19.00 on 10 April and anther text on 10 April to say the problem had been fixed on that date.  The Telstra technician also arrived at our place to say he had found the fault 'up the road' and he 'thought' it should be OK which in itself was not all that reassuring.

During this time I discovered my ISP was having problems at our local telephone exchange and that appears to have been the problem with the internet connection which worked fine from then with a few hiccups along the way, reason for which is unknown but it seems fine now (touch wood).

Two days after the phone line was 'fixed' the noise returned but this time so loud that people cannot hear what I am saying nor I them.  Telephoned Telstra to report the fault again (of course we don't get to talk to anyone in Australia but rather in the Phillipines or some other overseas place).  Was told 'she' would ring back on my mobile so we could hear each other which I appreciated her doing.  Fault reported and another text message that from Telstra that they were committed that this fault would be fixed by 19.00 (love that time don't you?  always the same time) on 19 April.

I had explained that we were two elderly people in our 80s and couldn't afford to be using our mobile phone for everyday and sometimes lengthy calls and needed our landline to be in working order.  Was told it would be marked 'urgent' and the fault should be fixed before the 19 April.

At 12.45p.m. on 19 April I felt fully justified in asking how the work was progressing in fixing the fault so I telephoned Telstra and asked if the fault would definitely be fixed as per their commitment in their text message.  The young woman said "Yes it will be fixed OK.  A technician is currently working on your landline and the problem will be fixed before 7 p.m. tonight".  I now know that was a straight out lie.  (This is obviously part of their training....keep the customer happy by telling lies).  Nothing more I could do so said "thanks, that will be great" mean time keeping my fingers crossed.

19.00 on 19 April came and went and guess what?  You've got it right.   That damned loud noise was still on the line so I telephoned again and this time speak to a very polite (they are trained to be that way of course) young man who immediately called me back on our mobile and then told me that the fault had been corrected on 10 April (we knew about that and that it really hadn't solved the problem which was now so much worse) but no work had been done today (19 April) at all which proved what I had been told earlier in the day WAS a lie.  I mentioned this to him and said "so I was actually told a lie about the work being done" to which he reluctantly said "Yes it would seem so."

I explained once again that we could not afford to use our mobile phone for general use but needed our landline to be in good working order.  I also asked to be put through to either a supervisor or perhaps speak to somebody in Australia but that just sort of gets ignored.

Once again I was promised the work would be marked as 'urgent' to which I replied that I doubted anyone worked on the weekends in Australia so not much hope of immediate results.  I was then told he hoped to have this work done ASAP and would keep checking each time he was on duty to see what was happening.  There was nothing else I could do so had to accept that result.

He then gave me the date by which time this noise on the landline should be fixed and I couldn't really believe my ears when he said it should be repaired by 29 APRIL!!   We have of course received another text message saying 'REMINDER FROM TELSTRA.  COMMITMENT TO REPAIR FAULT ON (our number) BY 29/4/2013 by 19.00.  This after the text that said they were committed to remedy the fault by 19 April which commitment had not been fulfilled.

I have sent a polite but forceful email to Telstra in Australia (have received acknowledgement that they will attend to it within FIVE working days) so will be interested in seeing if anything comes from that. I have also written a long letter setting out all the above to Telstra Corporation in Melbourne.  That letter will probably be passed on to some underling who will pop it in the TOO HARD basket to be attended to when he gets around to doing it.  As you can see the faith I once had in human beings is wearing very thin.

There is a big contrast between the service one gets from a huge company like Telstra and a smaller one like Tap Doctor.  Yesterday I sent an email to Tap Doctor outlining the problem we were having with our bathroom toilet and we had a call back on our mobile within half an hour and an hour later the plumber arrived, fixed the faults and gave us a one year guarantee on the work.  No call out fee and what we considered a reasonable charge for the work done.  At least now we have the convenience of using our bathroom toilet when we get up in the night but are left wondering if we will have a usable landline come Christmas.

This is the toilet (or one very like this one) we will once again have access to overnight thanks to some very efficient people at Tap Doctor.....bless 'em.

If I don't get a result of some kind from somewhere in the next few days I will telephone Telstra's Melbourne head office in the hope of being able to talk to someone there who will listen to my concerns and take them seriously.


  1. After all that run-around, I would be insisting the a Telstra official visit my house and arrange for someone to phone you while he is there so he can hear the noise for himself. Then tell him if the problem isn't fixed you will be calling on A Current Affair to expose their shoddy treatment of long-term elderly customers.
    I've learned too that company loyalty means less than nothing to those big, big, companies.

    Is it possible the fault may be in the actual phone itself? Try plugging in a different phone, (borrow one) and see if it makes a difference.

  2. Thanks River for all your helpful comments. The noise is on both the phones in the house so I know it is actually on the line itself. We have a good chap on 6PR that may hear from me if this matter is not resolved soon. He goes to bat for people at times and does it very well.
    I have sent an email to Head Office and also written a long letter setting out all the problems. I am not sure if there would be any point in going to a Telstra place here as most of the people there don't even know much about telephones but it may be worth a try to go in and stamp a foot or two.
    I stay with Telstra 'cos if you go with other phone companies and there is a fault Telstra (although they say they don't) put you to the bottom of the list until their own faults are dealt with. This has been confirmed to me by a few people who should know what they are talking about.

  3. And another avenue for getting Telstra (or indeed any company) to get off their lying behinds is to tell them that you will be going to your local member. The local member like to be contacted about things they CAN solve and are generally listened to - unlike the poor consumer.
    I so hope it is fixed soon. We had a similar problem (again with Telstra) years back. Any time we had heavy rain the crackle on the line meant that we could hear nothing. We would report it, and they would wait until the weather had dried up and tell us there was no problem. Grrr.

    1. Thanks EC that is an excellent idea. Although I didn't vote for him we do have a very good local member. I would have voted for him but wrong party for me. If it was a government department I would go to the Federal member.
      Kakka had the same problem a few months ago and they kept them dangling for a couple of weeks too.
      A few years ago when we had problems the Telstra chap was here the same day but not any more and of course then too you were dealing with someone IN Australia.

  4. Wishing you the best with this Mimsie, it's a pity that companies are all going this way, customer service is useless now days. Even our banks are becoming automated here, and one branch really doesn't care that the older, dedicated customers don't like that. But they don't give a damn. I hope they fix it soon.

    1. Hi there Wicked Writer. So glad you could pop in for a visit.
      We are fortunate in having a bank branch that looks after us even though we have very little ins savings but I must admit if you ring them you don't always get your call answered when they are busy which is annoying.
      I feel not many organisations care for or worry about the elderly any more. Sad but so true.

  5. Should have had the Tap Doctor look at your phone lol. What a miserable run around you've had. Is Telstra a monopoly over there? Are there no alternatives? Fingers crossed that they start to give you better service.