This is a long post but it takes over 1000 words to describe my experience with Telstra.
I've been with TelstraClear since they started cabling Christchurch... but they stopped cabling one street short of where I lived at the time.
Two years ago when I moved, I was happy to be in a Telstra cable area. it took 3 weeks after I moved in to get a phone, after Telstra finally decided my driveway was 20 metres too long for their cable. So I was stuck on ADSL while Telstra kept sending me cable flyers.
This time would be better I thought. I informed Telstra 2 weeks before I moved in. Despite my previous experience, I foolishly asked about getting their cable service since it is in the street and the driveway was short. Big mistake. After many days went by and several promised callbacks never happened I was told that cable would take over a month to organise as they had to get consent from others on the shared drive. That was December 15.
I said maybe it would be a good idea to transfer my old connection in the meantime since, as I had informed them from the start, I was moving in on the 18th. That caught the service person by surprise... "but transferring a phoneline takes up to 6 business days". [Sigh] How will I know exactly when it will get done? "Just keep picking up the phone until you hear a dial tone," I was told. 6 business days took us to December 23. Despite late promises my dial tone didn't arrive. I discovered that from December 24 to January 5, Telstra do not have any customer service. One recording kindly told me to call the number I had just dialled before cutting me off. I say "kindly" because I was spared the excruciating muzak. Telstra have a special kind of muzak, interspersed by fake rings. Every few minutes the muzak cuts out and you hear ringing. I quickly swallow what I'm eating or rush back to the phone only to hear a recording of some jerk saying did I know that I could now get my account balance without speaking to a human. Really?! Wow, that's worth my running back to the phone while choking but as it happens, yes, I did know. I didn't care even if I could in fact use my account in order to charge stuff to it. I clocked up many hours over December and January, during my holiday, on hold, hearing the ring, and giving that recording my full attention. If the man that recorded that message is ever to enter my presence and opens his mouth, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.
Now I am normally a reserved fellow and I like technology. I can happily use the self-checkout at Pak 'n' Save without ever getting flustered. But the other robot on the Telstra help line that I swear at is the woman that "can understand some words and phrases". She doesn't understand most of the ones I use! I'd rather hit a button. And the number of times I told her my phone number and then much later in the call had a human ask me my number! Aaaagh!
I do use the internet a lot, so I was a little bored and frustrated being on holiday with no communications. Luckily, Telstra posted me a letter telling me of the exciting news for me, that my phoneline was going to be upgraded! They gave me a book to read, detailing the wonderful new names they were giving to their plans. This would involve a brief outage(!) of my phoneline but then I would be on their new exchange equipment, and be able to pay them more than before. Oh my, was I excited.
So far this takes us up to week 5 of my attempts to get service from Telstra, 3 weeks after I moved in.
When some customer service humans came back from vacation, I was informed that my phoneline had been connected on December 23 and their test showed that it was working!
After some discussion, and much waiting, and "did your home phone ring during that last while you were on hold?", my situation was deemed to be a line fault. Could they just do the "upgrade" and fix my line in the process? No, they had to fix my line before they could cut me off again. Now the service person didn't know how long a line fault takes to get fixed - not in early January. So I took a day off from phoning my Telstra friends, happy in the thought that I might have internet in a matter of days, before calling back. Muzak filled the air from my hands-free cellphone for much of the morning. I smiled while Vodafone charged Telstra for every minute I spent on their toll-free number. I was disappointed, to put it mildly, to be told that the wait on line faults was two weeks. But I had already been waiting nearly 3 weeks. Ah, but it's two weeks from when they notice the fault. No, there was no way to increase my priority unless there was a threat to medical health. No, my mental health did not count and no, threatening their medical health didn't count either.
Getting a regular line was going to take more than a month. Fine. I was told a cable install would be ready by then. I spent the rest of the morning getting in touch with the cable people (a different department, naturally). Turns out that they had cancelled the cable install weeks earlier as contacting the owners of the other townhouses would have been way too much hassle for them.
I coped for the remainder of the week knowing I was going back to work. Work is a place with internet. I was suddenly quite excited about going back. I looked unusually conscientious in my office over the next few evenings.
The day finally came when a technician was due to come out and check my line. And the day went. I spent a productive two hours at work on hold with that helpful guy reminding me how I could get my account balance, and being transferred through a series of three wrong persons before getting the person who could tell me what happened. They had lost my cellphone number. They couldn't phone me to tell me when a person might be coming to my house, so the job was skipped. My cellphone number hasn't changed in the last 5 years, but I gave it to Telstra for at least the third time in this process. Clearly the Telstra helpdesk don't have caller ID.
A new time was arranged a couple of days later. I got a call at work - the very first time Telstra called me! "Hi, it's the Telecom tech here." Oops, my mistake, but Woohoo! Telstra finally organised a tech to come out. I was ready to jump in the car to go and let him in, "No, I've already fixed your line from the exchange". What!? It has got to be harder than that! I did not believe him but he said he could detect my home modem.
So I have phone and internet again as of January 21. Just like that. A mere 5 weeks after moving in.
Since then, Telstra have sent a letter to say when my line will be cut off for upgrading (after seeing other posts on here I doubt that it will be "brief" like they said). Then they sent another letter to postpone that upgrade for a couple of months. Then I got a call from the Telstra guy who received my complaint letter. He phoned me at home at the weekend on my now working home phone... because he didn't have my cellphone number! He called me back again the next day to sort out all my complaints. This resulted in them not charging for the month in which I had absolutely no connection from them. I said that's not good enough, I spent at least an extra $50 just on essential cellphone calls let alone the other hassles. He grudgingly gave me an extra credit of $15.
Hence this post.