Why Telstra Sucks

Lets face it, it’s a miracle that Telstra is still in operation. They couldn’t organise their way out of a freakin’ paper bag and have zero idea about making their customer experience worth while. The only thing they have going for them is their great mobile phone network, and even that benefit is starting to fade.

My mobile phone is with Telstra due to some work I was doing with a previous company. When I started the gig, I ported my personal number into the company’s account and had it linked to a new Blackberry. When I left, we tried to get my number back to me and give the Blackberry to another staff member. Sadly, this was not possible as Telstra claimed the phone number & Crackberry were locked together until the 18 month contract ran out.

First black mark – the number should be portable, the contract & phone can stay with the company. Whatever.

So, for another project I’m doing I’ve picked up a Telstra $10 prepaid starter kit (SIM card with associated number) because the phone’s going to be texting my phone and a number of others on the Telstra network. Telstra offer a plan with $0.01c SMS rates when sending to Telstra phones. Nice – more testing for less $$$.

OK – that’s a good thing – they get a tick for that.

Then I set up the SIM and get it started. I try to do it online (being the online kinda guy I am) but I’m registering it under my company’s name (it’s being used for a project) and the online registration wants me to enter two forms of proof that my company exists. What are the options? A fixed line phone bill and/or a rates invoice. Say what? We run a small company that has no office or fixed services or rates or anything. WTF?

Yet another black mark – I guess Telstra’s idiotic legal types have stated that all companies must have these so that’s what they’ll use to verify corporate info.

Right, so I call in and get the starter kit happening. YAY. It’s not that painful dealing with a human and I can register it under my company, just supplying both ACN & ABN (why I need both though is odd as usually the ACN is sufficient).

Half mark there – not a full mark, but OK.

Comes now the fun part – I have no credit on the phone. Say what? Where’s the $10 that comes with the pack? It’s not there. WTF?

So, I go to their Prepaid Portal to register online and check where the problem may be. Bzzzt – the registration fails, telling me there’s a problem with their systems and to come back in 24 hours.

Sorry, isn’t this a mega-corporation? Shouldn’t their systems just work? Yes, OK, I know, I’ve worked in Telstra IT before and quite frankly it’s a miracle anything works in that place.

So, major black mark on Telstra’s image as a credible organisation.

A few days later, I manage to get the registration done and can access my account, confirming that there’s no credit.

I call their voice line and, after going through a few prompts, wind up sitting on hold for 3 to 5 minutes and then get through to a human. Clearly not from around here, she is polite and trying to help. She tells me to call their number on the mobile and press 1 then 1 to activate the $10 bonus credit. Gee, that’s news – it wasn’t listed anywhere.

OK, lets do it while we’re on the phone (good thing I called on the landline, yeah? :). I call it on the mobile and follow her instructions but it doesn’t work. I talk her through what’s happening and she realises her advice isn’t correct in this case. She needs my info to look into it further. I’m part way through this when the phone call drops out. Ummm – WHAT???

Yes, that’s right – while talking to Telstra’s helpdesk somewhere in the world other than Australia, the call got dropped. Oh yes, way to go mega-comms company. I feel so much more reassured about purchasing your communications products – NOT!

So, another black mark.

I call the number again, follow the prompts, sit on hold and start talking to the person I get through to (again, not from around here). They look into everything and then tell me that all is good but I first need to purchase some credit for the account and that will activate the “bonus” $10 credit. Ummm – say what??? Where was that plastered everywhere when I purchased the kit? There is something mentioned on page 9 inside the little booklet but it says:

If you have selected a Telstra Pre-Paid offer that gives you an included bonus amount or value, remember to recharge the correct amount to get the included benefits of your offer.

Ummm, yeah, right, whatever. Slightly confusing and also written in small font. Not clear, not obvious. Good grief…

As of the moment, I’ve recharged the prepaid account but the $10 that was supposed to come with it isn’t showing. I give it a day or two and then if it’s not showing up, I’m going to get *really* angry and will call them again to complain.

All this freakin’ effort just to get a prepaid sim up and running?

Hello Telstra, you are farking clueless idiots who deserve to be broken up and made to compete on a level playing field with other telcos. With luck, you’ll finally “get it” and be able to lift your game, but it is highly likely that you will be beaten by other companies that understand quality & customer service.

As soon as my current contract is over, I’m taking my Blackberry to another provider ‘cos clearly Telstra isn’t worth supporting at all.