In the end, I was told by Telstra to call the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and get their number from them. Huh? Telstra, ie the telephone company, tell me to call someone else ie the Telecommunicatoins Ombudsman, to find the contact for one of Telstra's own departments!
Have you ever heard of anything so ludicrous?
Before the TIC can help me however, I have to first start a formal complaint with them. Once the basic details are recorded, TIC give me that closely guarded secret, the number for the Complaint Resolution Centre.
I call the Resolution Centre and start to have a little success at last. It is confirmed that I should have definitely heard from someone by then. In compensation for all the difficulty and frustration, I am offered a $100 credit on my phone bill. Well that is better than a slap in the face with a dead fish, so I accept. But what about the actual technical assistance that I want. I am told that I shall have to continue to wait. No, they cannot give me a number to call the Level Three technicians myself. No, they cannot put me through to them direct. But someone will call me in a couple of days.
That isn't bloodywell good enough, I exclaim. Telstra staff have a distinct habit of not returning calls to me, so why should I trust you now? Besides, I need that goddamned mobile connection working properly for tomorrow - that's why I bought the stupid bloody thing 1.5 weeks ago to ensure that I did have it up and working.
You guessed it, I was put on hold....................................... while he tried to see if he could talk to a tech somewhere. Eventually he returns with the dubious news that I have been appointed a case manager and he would now attempt to put me through to the next step in this interminable chain.
Another looooong wait on hold until I eventually find myself talking to a receiptionst. Once more through all the identification waffle. And put on hold again while she tries to locate my case manager.
Finally, I find myself talking to my case manager. He assures me that he is there to ensure my properly resolved. I shall spare you the full details of the conversation but the highlights included:
- suggesting that I go pay for my own technical support
- suggesting I buy another dongle and hoping to get a refund or credit for the existing one (note - not exchanging the unit but buying another one)
- suggesting I buy a new laptop to see if the unit works on that - I shall reiterate - buy another grand's worth of laptop to see if a $160 dongle will work on it
"Why can't I talk to someone now?" He waffles rather than explain
"How do I know that he will actually call - nobody else has when you lot have made those assurances before?" He gives me his 'guarantee'. Yeah right, like that means anything. I can 'guarantee' you that the next time I fart, it will produce a shower of emeralds, but that doesn't mean I actually will.
Not surprisingly, I am becoming increasingly frustrated but managing to hold onto my temper - just. Then he made a crucial mistake.
"I am now closing the complaint."
What? I congratulated him on Telstra's ability to only hire psychics who are able to see the future and know beyond any question that things will happen as he says they will. What business did he have declaring the case closed, up to two days before a technician even calls me?
He hastens to assure me that a technician will call and will be staying on the line until we have resolved my problem. Again I ask, how can he make any such assurances? More blather.
I become increasingly cranky and mouthy. Again not surprisingly, he starts to a bit as well. He goes off on a lengthy explanation that may be safely summarised as they have so very many complaints to deal with, that they cannot afford to leave any open indefinitely.
Bingo! Telstra has just admitted that they are getting more complaints than they can deal with!
My suggestion - rather than just declare the case closed, if the technician is able to resolve things, then he should surely be able to enter something into their systems to indicate that the problem has been fixed and then it could be safely declared solved.
To my surprise, I am hit by a counter-offer - that if the problem is not resolved, then it is up to me to call them and get the case 're-opened'.
The moral of the story is do not believe any performance statistics from Telstra as they are obviously utter crap. Trust me - I worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics and I know how to massage figures to get a pre-determined result! What's more, I know the signs of someone else doing it only too bloody well.