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5 posts

Wannabe Geek

#112246 2-Dec-2012 11:35
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My father passed away a few months ago. He love finding old jazz music on Youtube. My parents changed from a dial-up service to a Broadband plan, continuing with TelstraClear having been customers for over a decade.

My mother makes little use of the Internet and, now with a reduced single-personpension, would like a lower cost way to connect to the Internet.

When she contacted TelstraClear all they ended up doing (after the usual, long  phone delays) was posting out a lengthy form to have the name of the account holder changed.

I rang again on her behalf to explain the situation. I was advised that they don't have a lower cost plan than the 40GB 'special'. When I suggested that it might be better for my mother to change to a different provider I was advised that Telstra would chase my mother, as beneficiary in the will, for a $199 cancellation fee.

The contracted year is more than three quarters finished so it would seem that seeing it out is something my mother will have to endure.

But, is this something that others may have experienced with Telecommunications providers?

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Hawkes Bay
8476 posts

Uber Geek

Retired Mod
Lifetime subscriber

  #725717 2-Dec-2012 11:58
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Sorry to hear about your father, and welcome to Geekzone - I hope we can give you advice that helps you.

In similar circumstances I have simply wiped all contract term and disconnection fee, and let the bereaved party choose what they would like to do, at the least possible cost, and with all artificicial restrictions removed (contracts/fees etc), in some cases (early in a contract) this included a request to return the free router that was provided, to offset costs of helping out (but only if the service was being disconnected altogether).

However, the deceased's legal obligations I believe do continue until their estate is all sorted from a legal perspective (and possibly even further than that).

If your mother wants to carry on the contract, and is already on the lowest plan, I actually don't think TCL are being unreasonable. If your mother doesn't want to carry on the contract, then the estate of your father is very likely legitimately liable for the cancellation fee.

It is not normal practice to wipe a persons debts/financial contracts because they have died.

(Note: I don't work for TelstraClear)


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Master Geek
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  #725872 2-Dec-2012 21:00
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How discusting, would you like me to post what you said on their face book page??? or not let me know as I cant do it without asking you.

Shame you Telstra, also was the bill in your dads name or your mums or both?

Regardless they should let her go to dial up with a phone,   BIG MEANIES
NAME AND SHAME, sadly that's the only way to get anywhere these days

I never had such bad service and threathing calls in my life from any ISP

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Ultimate Geek


  #725878 2-Dec-2012 21:16
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I don't think there is anything shameful about honouring a contract.

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Master Geek


  #725880 2-Dec-2012 21:30
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Martin, I'm sure an email to Gary will probably be able to bring things to a good conclusion.

It is one of the sad things that it can often be hard to secure a dial up service these days, as less and less people demand them and the infrastructure to do then cheaply is diappearing.

There is info on the Dial up Internet page. Not sure why the person at the other end of the phone wouldn't be aware of this.

Hope this gets sorted out in a good fashion.

"Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong." Donald Porter – British Airways

The views expressed here are my own and are not reflective of other organisms or organisations.

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Uber Geek

  #725881 2-Dec-2012 21:31
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They can't chase down "beneficences of the will" can they. That sounds like a very odd thing for them to say. It is really up to the estate and lawyer to sort out I would have thought. A contract is a contract but in the case of death companies will usually offer some form of compassion and ending of the contract by the estate. When some in my family died, we were required to send a copy of the death certificate to the telco, to prove death,

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Ultimate Geek


  #725996 3-Dec-2012 09:23
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Hi nameofuser. Sorry to hear about your loss, and my condolences. Please PM me with the account number and a contact name and number and I'll ask the team to have a look at this for you and see what we can do.

All the best, Gary

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Uber Geek

  #726017 3-Dec-2012 10:11
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mattwnz: They can't chase down "beneficences of the will" can they.

It's a very normal process to tidy up someones affairs at the end of their life.

I really wouldn't get alarmed about this.

My brother was killed earlier in the year. 

As an example, Vodafone cleared his out standing mobile account and sent out a CD of his last voice mail greeting.  The credit card company wiped his balances as well.  However the HP he had out standing on his car had to be cleared after the vehicle was sold.

ACC took 6 months to pay out and the insurance company, while very good, took a very long time to pay out and needed what felt like a lot of paper work for what was a simple enough case.

All of this is very normal. 

People are born every day, and sadly they die every day as well.

With direct respect to TelstraClear, we all here know how poor their phone based customer service team are.

However I agree with DV here, and have no doubt that Gary with ensure a very acceptable outcome.

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Ultimate Geek

  #726049 3-Dec-2012 11:20
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Who's name is the TC account under?

If it was in your father's name, then you should be able to cancel without any problems (i.e. no cancellation fee). Just thinking you could re-sign with a deal more to your liking (?)


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Wannabe Geek

  #726067 3-Dec-2012 12:07
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Thank you all for your input.

I have passed on the details to Gary, as requested, and hope that may lead to a positive outcome.

In regards to some questions raised:
Yes, the account was solely in my father's name though this is not the norm for my parents who usually have arrangements (bank accounts, mortgages, etc) in a joint name. But they would get confused over the technology differences between ISP joint accounts versus, separate email addresses, and ISP vs email domains etc, 

I suppose the hope here was that TC would take a compassionate approach or at least offer a solution to my mother. As others have noted, maybe this is just a shortcoming in call-centre personnel and possibly the training they receive on such subjects.

Perhaps some of you have suggestions on a low-capacity services best suited to a pensioner that we could consider for either this year or when the account term expires. My mother makes relatively little use of her telephone or broadband but appreciate the security of knowing they are available.

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Uber Geek

  #726086 3-Dec-2012 12:29
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nameofuser: Perhaps some of you have suggestions on a low-capacity services best suited to a pensioner that we could consider for either this year or when the account term expires. My mother makes relatively little use of her telephone or broadband but appreciate the security of knowing they are available.

Is it Flip that does the $50 deal with phone and just 5Gb of data?

You should also be talking with WINZ about what she's entitled to as far as extra assistance.  Don't just assume that because your father has gone that she now drops down to only her pension.

There is a whole range of 'top up' benefits that people often don't know they're entitled to. 

You should talk to WINZ but also an advocacy service.  WINZ staff aren't always very good at tell you about everything that she's entitled to.  There was even an article in Stuff over the weekend about just this thing.

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Wannabe Geek

  #726110 3-Dec-2012 12:48
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>>Is it Flip that does the $50 deal with phone and just 5Gb of data?

Yes, that is one we have seen advertised on TV. It would appear to be the modern equivalent of the old phone and dial-up services my parents once had.

Maybe TC will have something similar to offer.


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Wannabe Geek

  #730230 11-Dec-2012 10:09
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Ok, after contacting Gary (plus a follow-up reminder) I heard from TC yesterday.

They agreed that a disconnection fee wouldn't be applied in this situation, and that they will advise the earlier CSR of that being the business model.

Of more importance to my mother; they have also offered an alternate service that better suits my mother's needs and that it will apply as of the next billing period. That is great news and much appreciated by a customer who has been with them for many years and is happy to remain.

At this point I noted that we should also change the account name to my mother, from my father, but that no change in bank account for the automated payment is required as the bank have already adjusted the former joint account. That apparently required a transfer to another department and, before I knew it, I was speaking to a woman in the Philippines over a connection of shocking quality. Not only that, she knew nothing of the discussions that had transpired and it seemed that she couldn't transfer me back.

In summary;
TC have been magnanimous in their service offering to my mother.
My impression after all of this is that TC have possibly never tested what it is like to be a customer needing to telephone them.
I'll take a few more breaths before contacting their 'bereavement' team again - and I'll stick to email.

566 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #730507 11-Dec-2012 14:55
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nameofuser: I'll take a few more breaths before contacting their 'bereavement' team again - and I'll stick to email.

Hi nameofuser, I've asked the team to look into this and get back to you. Many apologies for the inconvenience.

Cheers, Gary

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