Dear Telstra Complaints,

April 26, 2012 by
Filed under: All posts 

My name is Matt Watson.  My Telstra account number is 2000 XXXXX XXXX.  This number is important.  Open up my account.  You will see what has happened.


Please indulge me here, for I cannot provide the dates of recent written and verbal communication.  All that information is at work and I am not.  However, as mentioned above, you can use my account number to discover what I am about to tell you.


I am sure a major company like Telstra logs each interaction with customers.  You would have file notes.  When you check my account, you will see in February I somehow entered into a two-year contract for a T-Box. 


You can imagine my surprise when I received your letter, congratulating me for choosing a T-Box.  There were problems, though.  I didn’t know what a T-Box was and I did not approve the upgrade to my account.


After reading the letter, I called your helpline.  A man told me on 21 February (please forgive me if the date is a day or two out) I approved a contract upgrade for a T-Box. 


The information your man had was wrong.  The following day I took the letter to a Telstra store in the Queen Street Mall.  I told one of your employees I did not order the T-Box nor approve the contract upgrade.


During the consultation, I was assured the T-Box order would be cancelled.  Your employee said a supervisor had to approve the cancellation, and a few phone calls would be made to find out what happened.  


One of your employees made those phone calls.  About two days later the manager of the Telstra store at Brookfield Shopping Centre called me.  The bogus T-Box contract had been traced to his store.


After telling the manager I did not order the upgrade, his question surprised me.


‘When was the last time you’ve been to Brookfield?’ he asked.


It seemed the manager didn’t believe me.  I live at Banyo.  There are three major shopping centres within ten minutes of my house, Chermside, Taigum and Toombul.  I have no need to drive half an hour to shop at Brookfield.


I told your store manager it’d been years since I’d been in Brookfield.


‘Well,’ he said.  ‘Somehow the T-Box has been linked to your account.’


That somehow your manager referred to represents a major security blunder.  I would assume, and correct me if I’m wrong, that a contract upgrade would require various sorts of information and identification.


I’m kinda guessing, but if I fronted to your store at Brookfield, or any of your stores and requested a contract upgrade, I’d have to provide proof of identity. 


Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve made a list of information I consider necessary, had I fronted in one of your stores and requested a contract upgrade:


  • Proof of my address – a current drivers license is useful here
  • Photo identification – again, a current drivers license is useful here
  • Important numbers, like my mobile and home numbers or my account number
  • A credit card – preferably one that isn’t expired and preferably one with the same name that appears on the license
  • A recent Telstra bill – preferably with the same name that also appears on the license and credit card


Given I did not provide any of the above to an employee at your Brookfield store, I’m quite sure my privacy details were somehow breached, as your manager indicated.


I’m wondering how this could happen.  Perhaps it was simple, an incorrect number entered into your computer system.  However it happened, I seek reassurance that my personal information is safe with your organisation.


Thankfully the T-Box didn’t arrive.  Despite the security breach, I was pleased with the efforts of your employees.  I thought all was right with my account until I received my next bill, which included a small charge, just over three dollars, related to the T-Box.


I took the bill into the Telstra store in Queen Street.  Three dollars is not a lot of money.  I felt embarrassed asking for a three dollar credit.  A Telstra employee looked at my account and said the charge would be reversed. 


Though I was aggrieved with your organisation, I was willing to forget it all and move on.


Unfortunately, on my last bill, you charged me a penalty, $260 for the T-Box contract termination.  You can imagine my surprise.


Now, as written above, I did not approve the contract upgrade to my account.  Somehow one of your employees at your Brookfield store added a T-Box to my account without sighting any of the information I consider necessary.


It has been at least six weeks since I made your organisation aware that your security protocols had failed.  Charging me $260 for terminating an upgrade I did not approve is insulting and infuriating.


Your organisation knew I did not order an upgrade, yet your organisation isn’t organised enough to prevent me being charged a contract termination fee on a bogus upgrade.


By now I am sure you realise that your processes, in relation to my account, are manifestly flawed.


On Monday 23 April I called your helpline and told a woman about the contract termination fee.  I am sure your organisation records those calls.  Listen to it.  She asked me the same question several times, now Matt, you’re saying you did not order the T-Box.


For the last time, I did not order the T-Box.


I have now told this story to six of your employees.  That’s a lot of people.  Somehow, after telling five of your employees this story, I was still charged a contract termination fee.


You are now the seventh Telstra employee I have told this story too.


To summarise, just for clarity, somehow (as your manager at Brookfield put it) a T-Box was linked to my account.  I never wanted it, yet I’m still paying for it.


Please be aware that in order to avoid paying a late fee, I have paid my bill in full.


The woman I talked to on Monday 23 April said a credit would appear on my next bill.  I am hoping so.  I am also hoping I don’t have to make one more call, send one more email, front up to one of your stores or write one more word about the T-Box.


The T-Box saga has been interesting.


I look forward to your swift and cost-free response to this complaint.




Matt Watson

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22 Comments on Dear Telstra Complaints,

  1. Paul Turner on Thu, 26th Apr 2012 8:38 pm
  2. It seems that Telstra still have processes and systems that simply do not work. How many times does this happen where you have to talk to several people and the message just does not get through. I call this a company that still have many passengers on the train and not many that care too much about making sure a customers complaint is properly dealt with. When companies like this have redundancies and lay offs their is a big uproar. If only everyone that worked in these corporates understand that they are employed to do a job properly. It is not appearance money. Seriously am feeling your pain Matt. I have a story I will share about a bad customer experience with BCF. Wow you should hear that one…

  3. Gary Larking on Fri, 27th Apr 2012 6:33 am
  4. What a topic to start on Matt !

    Telstra service.

    Thanks to the power of the internet, we all have the opportunity to hear about the horror stories experienced by others, not just those encountered personally by ourselves.

    If like me, you have had many more horror stories than pleasant encounters dealing with Telstra, then your story and I would imagine any other, would be regarded as more of the same.

    All I can recommend is any time you deal with Telstra, even for a seemingly simple matter, keep a diary, keep notes, because they WILL get it wrong. They will stuff it up, then you wont have to ask them to indulge you because you will know all the facts, the times, the dates, the duration, because you expect, you know they will get it wrong.

    If it sounds cynical it is – like a boxer getting hit repeatedly without keeping up his defence – you know it will happen .. !

  5. Lucy on Tue, 8th May 2012 9:05 pm
  6. It seems there is more bad than good with Telstra. From my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that they are incompetent. It seems as though they really just don’t care about their customers.

    My boyfriend organised internet with Telstra. After 3 weeks of not receiving our modem he called to see what the hold-up was. To our astonishment, our modem was put on hold because they couldn’t verify our address. You would think they would of attempted to call us about this, but no..we had to call them instead. When our address finally was verified (days later), we were told that we’d get our modem right away. We didn’t. 10 days elapsed, so my boyfriend called again and spoke to someone. And yes, it’s very annoying telling your story to various different Telstra workers. This lady promised (yes, promised) us that we’d get out modem within 7 days. Those days came and went, and we even gave it a few more days until we called again to inquire and complain. Now it was getting ridiculous! A month had pretty much passed at this point, and we still had no modem for internet. This time, my boyfriend insisted he speak to a supervisor. The supervisor told my boyfriend he’d review the tapes of him speaking to the lady who promised us we’d get our modem and get back to us. He didn’t. Eventually we did receive our modem, but I have a very bad taste left in my mouth due to Telstra’s horrible service.

  7. Shelley Johnson on Wed, 16th May 2012 2:47 pm
  8. I am also fuming over Telstra’s incompetence and the even worse service from their offshore helpdesk. I am also supposed to be paying for Foxtel that I do not have. I have been charged for moving fees that they promised they would waive if I stayed with Telstra. Wish I hadn’t. I have made numerous, lengthy calls, all of which culminate in promises to fix the problem. They don’t. I am going to the ombudsman as I have wasted enough of my time and raised my blood pressure through the roof.

    Lift your game Telstra and provided training for your off shore help desk people who must get very tired of being abused for being incompetent.

  9. Lynne Schembri on Mon, 9th Jul 2012 3:03 pm
  10. I entered a 24 month contract with Telstra for a tablet and 8gb internet per month. Last Thursday this service was disconnected. When I contacted Telstra that night, I was advised it was due to a late payment and as I had no internet to check the due date paid for this over the phone and was told it would be reconnected within the hour. The next morning still no internet, I called again and was told this takes 24 hours to process so accepted this. 26 hours passed and I called again this time was told there was a small problem but shoudl be corrected shortly. It is now Monday afternoon and after a minimum of 10 phone conversations with “customer service”I have been told this is “stuck”and their it have it on a priority list , first I was told would be corrected within 3 days, now am told minimum of another 5 working days. I have been to a Telstra store and they don’t care either. I AM OVER IT. I am seriously making a complaint to the telecommunications ombudsmen to cancel this contract and enter into a new contract with someone who can actually provide me with the service outlined.

  11. mattwatson on Thu, 12th Jul 2012 8:59 pm
  12. Hi Lynne,
    Send this story to all your friends.
    Put it on Facebook.
    Let everyone know what is happening.
    I am still having trouble with Telstra.
    They need to be held accountable.

  13. Josee on Sat, 22nd Sep 2012 11:14 am
  14. My husband and I have experienced the very same issues. I even have a new terminology for this trauma. TIP which equals Telstra Induced Psychosis. We have spent many hours on more than several occasions speaking offshore to people that are unable to humanise written scripts. I feel for these offshore people because they are trying to do a job but the system is flawed. What I have found on occasion is that no notes have been taken when I have been told there is documentation on my account.On some calls when you speak to your home country living in the same continent who apologises profusely and assures you that this is unacceptable and will be fixed only to find that your next call the unknown details of this conversation were never documented. It took several calls to find out and confirm the bundle that we was ordered in May 2012. This is yet to be resolved. So we got a four digit phone bill and then after much discussion inclusive of tears and my husband needing to take over the call that we were offered a discount which when we disputed the discount We were told that it would be retracted if we did not agree there and then. After 27 years with Telstra for all services we are extremely disappointing and we feel it is time to change services.

  15. carl on Mon, 15th Oct 2012 6:01 pm
  16. Just had my third complaint with telstra mobile charges including international data useage
    the process is a joke, previously I have had various conversations and been placed on hold and have never been able to get off the phone in less than 45 mins.
    the current call has just turned 47 mins and I have been on hold for 29 of those minutes. i am sure this is a process to make sure people give up
    it sounds like an episode of Mumbia calling where the ‘consultants’ place you on hold while they have a cup of tea and talk amongst themselves hoping you will hang up, all the while making some excuse to ‘talk with the supervisor…’
    getting a reduction is like bartering in a Balinese market – are these guys on commission for the amount they don’t have to give away?

  17. Holly on Mon, 10th Jun 2013 3:23 pm
  18. I have had the same active complaint with Telstra for over a year now. Their well known inability to adequately protect their customers privacy and their incompetent call centers and escalated complaints department are the major contributing factors for the closure of my business and the living nightmare that resulted from their breaches and in action. In short my phone lines were hijacked and calls diverted away through various means. When I asked for technical support to troubleshoot the anomalies they advised me to pay for a telecommunications investigator regardless of the fact that I could prove there were no issues with my devices and that my problems related to management at Telstra’s end. When I complained to the TIO they wrote a letter advising their fraud department (which only investigates fraud against telstra not its customers) had investigated and could find no issues. In actual fact Their fraud team investigated me. They still to this day continue to treat me as though I sabotaged my own business! I now have ample proof to support my case. However this is been at a huge cost both financially and emotionally with no end insight in the short term. There is ample and adequate competition in the market place these days so there is no need to feel you cant access various services elsewhere. Telstra is in my view a large corporate bully which verges on a criminal enterprise…. MOVE YOUR SERVICES…. they are not listening….. And yes they filter out search results. I must use bigpond as a result of my location, however I recently began using tor and now have access to endless complaint blogs etc that I have never seen before regardless of the fact I would have conducted over 100 searches seeking out other reports of similar issues.

  19. Lee on Thu, 13th Feb 2014 4:46 pm
  20. I had a similar experience, I applied for Cable, and due to the service being over subscribed the application was rejected.

    Someone from Telstra took it upon themselves to apply for the same service 8 times. This instantly flagged me as a credit risk with Veda @ Dunn & Brad st.

    It has taken 18 months and over 40 hours of calls and emails to clear my name, and a huge cost. In the meantime I could not apply for a credit card, or any sort of credit facility.

    unfortunately in Australia it is acceptable for companies to offer a service a rapist would be ashamed of whilst posting hundred million dollar profits. The Government part owned organisation tells you more about the lack of morals in Australian business and Government than anything else.

  21. Ron Kelly on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 6:37 pm
  22. Basically Telstra are (as far as I’m concerned ) not worth even considering . They sell (in my opinion) “bundles ” which are total bullshit . I wanted a “bundle ” that encompassed the total package . I signed up for the $90 /month package which ever since has cost me in excess of $200 . Then they have a whole raft of reasons why the cost is so much . I am sure even the poor sales consultants don’t actually know what they are selling I am now prepared to pay whatever to pay out the contract to NEVER have to deal with these ” proper descriptive words escape me” again

  23. Ron Kelly on Wed, 11th Jun 2014 6:48 pm
  24. As Stated

  25. Terry Robinson on Tue, 12th Aug 2014 3:52 pm
  26. Can Telstra get any worse!

  27. Ken Drane on Tue, 2nd Sep 2014 12:55 pm
  28. Went to telstra store to pay my account. Was offered a “special deal” new mobile phone for $50. Said OK. Sales person brouhgt me a $70 phone. I said no, I want the $50 phone you offered me. He went away amd brought back a $60 phone. I said no, I want the $50 phone you offered me. He went away and brought back a $50 phone. He then started to generate an account for my puchase and included $120 worth of accessories. At this point I left the store and went to a mobile phone shop nearby and did an outright purchase of a very nice samsung android. Swapped the chip over and left my old push button phone behind. All good.

    I suspect that sales people working on a commission are under pressure to sell unwanted items to unwary customers. By stealth if necessary.

    Today I received a call from telstra to inform me that I am $132 in arrears reharding a mobile phone that I do not and have neber owned. The caller was not able to assist me in finding out what this was all about. She suggested that I ring 13 22 00.

    I rang the number and after several false starts, got through the prompts to a person. After being told that I owed $145 then $250 then that I owed nothing at all and that the mystery phone that had started this chain of events did not actually exist, I had wast3d about half to three quarters of an hour. I note that I am not able to bill telstra for my time.

    Is there an alternative to telstra? Preferrably one that has english speaking call centre employees?

  29. James campbell on Mon, 13th Oct 2014 8:49 pm
  30. Telstra has made my life miserable, I had a moment of insanity and changed over to telstra and found they place all my accounts in my daughters name, I spoke to telstra and they advised me I had to get her to complete multiple page document to sign the accounts back into my name, Telstra have mistakenly cancelled my mobile service and on other occasions over charged me.

    So after many years Telstra free I find my selfie having to use TElstra as they have sole rights on communications in our suburb, and guess what yes they have stuffed up again. I signed up for a bundle and so far I’ve got nothing typical Telstra

  31. wade mcevoy on Sat, 4th Apr 2015 3:12 pm
  32. I wish I had read this forum before walking into a telstra store.

    I took out internet with Telstra in August 2014, I received the modem in about 3 weeks time after signing up, then waited for 2 weeks and they could never connect the internet to my home. I made numerous calls to tech support and they were to useless to fix it. Would be the same story every time, the technician would have a crack at it and once he realised he couldn’t connect it would say another department has to fix this and they will be in touch. Of course no one would then call so I would have to chase them up. Finally I informed them if it wasn’t fixed in 2 days then I am returning the modem to Karrinyup store where I purchased it from and closing my account. I didn’t receive a call in that 2 days so modem was dropped to Karrinyup store.

    I received numerous calls from Telstra once I returned the modem and I explained all this too them and they promised me they would close my account and nothing would be charged. This was never done.

    I never received internet to my property, and now would have explained this story to over a dozen employees and as a reward they have a debt collection agency chasing me for $884 in fees and threatening to give me a bad credit rating if I don’t pay.

  33. tony sheahan on Mon, 10th Aug 2015 9:35 pm
  34. Reading the aforementioned comments makes my blood boil. This telecommunications leviathan, the most corrupt organisation in the country.

    I have been in dispute with these monkeys for nigh on 18 months after it was correctly asserted my iPhone 4 was faulty.

    I took the phone into melbourne’s business centre as requested only to be informed that my phone was in fact faulty.

    The attendant said i would be credited $2900. Telstra asked me to come back in one month’s time to see if problem persisted. I returned to store.

    They then took another look at my phone and said there was nothing faulty with the handset and there was no record of the $2900 credit.

    So i purchased an iPhone 5.

    Problem worsens.

    A $5432.99 arrives due to alleged data usage. Im told to turn Cellular data off. This does not make one iota of difference.

    Also, telstra informs me, no single bill is allowed to reach in excess of $3000 before being paid or suspended.

    i challenge this. Telstra says they credit my account to the above amount. This never happens.

    My partner calls tellers on my behalf. She is re directed to 4 departments only to be told I’m on the wrong plan and that $7300 was credited to my account.

    I am not credited with this money from telstra. Telstra says they will email updated billing accounts for our records. this does not happen.

    They now have cancelled my service with the CEO’s office closing the matter.

    Employees make up information on the run and do not care for their customer. The TIO isn’t much better.

    I am headed in to see the new CEO Mr Andrew Penn to address my situation. Following this, its off to the offices of A Current Affair.

    No words can describe these germs.

  35. Kiri Tareha on Wed, 12th Aug 2015 10:22 am
  36. I have concluded by my dealings with Telstra, that their internal processes intend to never be able to give you a straight answer by using ‘THE RUN AROUND’ method. Also employing the ‘WE WILL LOOK INTO IT’ process when trying to finalise information. Very hard though when the ‘EMPLOYEE MISTAKENLY DIDN’T RECORD THAT INORMATION’ and we will ‘ADDRESS THIS WITH MANAGEMENT SO IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN’. Once you understand and accept the above processes, you become enlightened. Yes. The weight of expectation is lifted.

    The key to dealing well with your account is to:
    1) Take notes (time, date, employee name and ID number and call reference number). Incidentally, I’m not sure the employee or call reference numbers have any real meaning. They may or may not just be fairy allotment numbers.
    2) Hang up and call back till you get someone HONEST about your account, Telstra services and who knows what they’re doing.
    3) Try not to think about the time accrued throughout your life that you have spent dealing with issues/accounts/changes.

    All the best!

  37. Jenna Wilson on Mon, 17th Aug 2015 2:27 pm
  38. Telstra’s so-called Customer Service is a farce!

    I won’t bore everyone with the details, we all know how incompetent and uncaring Telstra employees are, gee I’m beginning to think it’s a requirement to ‘not-give-a-damn’ to get employed!

    after complaining about the service and attitude of a so-called Customer Service Consultant, I received a call from a Customer Recovery Specialist, and I must admit I was very pleased with the outcome, even received a credit on my account!
    Within 24 hours I received an email confirming my new order, and noticed in the summary the charges for a tech visit…. Straight away I emailed the CRS just to confirm he’d said all fees were to be waived, and again I received a reply confirming this.
    72 hours later, I received another email giving the date for installation, and as I scrolled through the email noticed a charge for Professional Installation $192 had not been waived. Back to my iPad, I sent another email to the CRS included the copy and asked what was going on.

    Received another email saying he would waive that fee, but asked me to email him if it appears on my bill! ? What the?

    So, after feeling like I’d gotten somewhere, I’m now regretting ever considering staying with Telstra…. Why should it take 2 or more emails to check and double-check on something that had been promised would be done as a complaint resolution in the first place? I’m so over Telstra, no one cares! Whatever happened to follow-up, and follow through?

  39. Raj Clarkson on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 11:51 pm
  40. Telstra’s call centre overseas is absolutely shocking poor English skills dishonest behaviour I would encourage all Australians to boycott this company.

  41. Sue Robinson on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 10:55 am
  42. I spent almost three hours only the phone with Telstras Indian call centre just night and ended up in tears, frustrated and absolutely defeated. All I wanted was to get a landline and Internet bundle. My first order was lost. No one told me. After several days I rang. No order in place. I placed another order. I got email and SMS confirmation and my phone number. Next day a call from the call centre. My order has been cancelled because they can’t give me Internet. I was told first it was due to being outside the transmission area, then I was too far from the exchange. My neighbours have Telstra Internet and the exchange is around the corner. Then started almost three hours of call centre people putting me on hold, hanging up, telling me they will call back and then not. Eventually I rang another company who checked my line while I was on the phone and told me I was in fact only 234 metres from the exchange and I had a good line and my internet access would be fast. I placed an order with them immediately. How does Telstra continue to survive when they treat their customers so badly? It is the worst, most dysfunctional company I have ever dealt with.

  43. Brenden on Sat, 5th Dec 2015 1:10 am
  44. Once again Telstra, you fail.

    Trying to cancel my Foxtel for the third time and still being unsuccessful.

    This is a service Telstra are happy to sell, but now being told Telstra are not able to process this.

    I find this strange as I have never been informed of this the previous two times I spoke with Telstra and successfully (or not it seems) canceled the service.

    On my third attempt now, I am informed by Telstra that there are additional steps I need to undertake, including contacting Foxtel and being available at the property.

    This is made extra difficult as I left the property two months ago and don’t have access to anymore. Also, the fact I have left the country doesn’t help either.

    Shame that when I was in the country, available and cancelled (successfully I was informed and assured) this service for the first time, I was not informed of this. I could have accommodated. I even asked if there was anything else needed and Telstra informed me no.

    Fail Telstra, Fail.

    Some of the people I have been dealing with at Telstra are the following.

    Francis Nathan, Jun, Yra Clea – there were others but I do not have their names.

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