Again, thanks for the input. Your comments have given me cause to reflect and consider what exactly it was about my experience that caused me to get upset. And you are right... a suggestion to talk to a competitor, if delivered in the correct manner could be seen as good customer service.
Unfortunately, the way I was told was more along the lines of "we really don't care - if you want someone to help you, or a decent level of service, go to Telecom" rather than "this situation is unfortunate. as much as we would like to be of assistance, there is nothing we can do - perhaps telecom can help you out". I would have still been surprised to be told the latter, but agree it would be unreasonable to take offence at the suggestion. Delivery matters.
If Mr Brislen (sorry if I spell the name incorrectly) reads this and wants more information, I will provide it. Otherwise I will chalk the experience up to being a lesson in how not to deal with customers.
Happy New Year