Thursday, April 8, 2010

Telstra Conclusion

Hi All,

I came across a few old comments that said I hadn't concluded the Telstra saga. Lo and Behold, they were right. It's quite old now so it's not gonna have the detail that my other posts did, but here's the gist.

They did in fact write off the amount. Though to say it was as simple as that would not do this finale any justice whatsoever.

So what the geniuses (genii?) at Telstra did was take Account A) that was in debit to the tune of $1800 odd (due to the wrong charges) and do absofuckinglutely nothing with it. They then created Account B) and credited it for $1800!

I'm a simple fella and I'd a thought you'd just frikkin' credit the original account back to zero, but clearly I'm a dumb fuck and have no clue what I'm talking about. So, I rang Telstra to see how I go about resolving this conundrum. The moron on the line tells me I need to pay the account in debit. I just roll my eyes and tell her to check the other account. She informs me its in credit. I told her that I no longer have any Telstra services, so I'd like them to transfer the credit from one account to the other.

They can't do that.

I tell her I want her to send me a cheque for the $1800. (I then won't pay the account in credit, will be rich beyond my wildest dreams and will leave the country!)

They can't do that either!

I asked her why not and no word of a lie she tells me that even though they are two completely separate accounts (and she can tell this new account in credit has never had services attached to it) they can't issue a cheque while another account in the same name is in debit...

I asked her how I would solve this particular problem seeing as they won't transfer and they won't issue a cheque so I can pay the debit account. She couldn't tell me. Never come across the problem... She offered to put me through to a supervisor. I declined.

I made one further phone call to get this resolved.

I called The Ombudsman.

Telstra magically fixed the problem.

The End.

P.S. One little kicker is that years ago I set up a Telstra faxstream. So my faxes go through Telstra (no clue which account) and get sent to my email address. I cancelled my services what? 2 and a half years ago now?

Those faxes still come through!!! Every time I get an email that says it's from I chuckle and remember what a bunch if incompetent cunts they are.

Good day!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Real Estate Agents...

I was clearing out some old files and found this little puppy. This was actually the first time I wrote a letter like this after being pissed off with a customer service experience.

What you need to know is we had a dispute with our landlord about some services (gardening among others) that they did for about 18mths and then stopped all of a sudden stating that it was our responsibility, despite the lease saying otherwise.

We took them to the relevant tribunal (and won ultimately) but there was some magic stuff throughout. When I invoiced them for doing the gardening work ourselves (we're talking literally weeding, mowing the lawns - but a shit load of it...) they came back that we were "Not experts in the area of weeding and gardening maintenance"

The next day I responded with the following:

facsimile transmittal
To: XXXXX, Ray White R/E Cronulla Fax: XXXX XXXX
From: XXX XXXXX Date: 17/8/06
Re: 7B Orient Ave, Cronulla
Pages: 4


As per our conversation yesterday, I include here the breakdown of costs and remittances that we seek.

Please send me a copy of the sheet shown yesterday outlining the grounds maintenance.

Facilities paid for, but not working: $20/wk X 18 weeks. 18 weeks is from the first time this was reported to your office in writing, (not the verbal notification months earlier) to the date of the tribunal notification.

$45 X 3 people X 7 hours = $945.00
This is based on a $45/hour quote from Jim’s mowing. We have not charged for transport and use of a Garden Shredder.

Total: $1,205

But say



In our meeting yesterday you expressed some concern at the level of professionalism with the gardening work conducted by myself, my father and my wife compared to a “professional” from Jims Mowing. I felt it necessary to explain in agonizing detail the experience of the three of us which undertook the gardening work at 7B Orient Ave, Cronulla.

I attended the Highly Regarded Academy of Weeding and Gardening Maintenance (HRAWGM) at their main campus located at Kareela, in Sydney’s south. I am proud to say I am one of their longest attending students (1976 - 2004). There is also a smaller campus in Wollongong and HRAWGM’s headmaster, Giovanni “John” Lenzo (also for clarity, the fearless founding leader of the Orient Avenue Gardening Troupe) has been seconded to many locations throughout the Sydney region and has some 35 years of Weeding and Gardening experience, as well as some landscaping and garden architecture to his credit. No doubt, I’m sure you’ve heard of him.

As I may have mentioned during our meeting, my own personal skills in the garden are not the best. Sure, I became Treasurer and Secretary of the Orient Avenue Gardening Troupe, but frankly the odour of bovine or chicken excreta is not good for my sensitive nasal passages. I was often picked on by the other students at HRAWGM for my lack of skills and was left to do the simpler tasks like mowing the lawn (a real sort of gardening 101, if you will. With the HRAWGM flare however – I did pick up a few things), or picking up the leaves from around the faculty pool or picking up the vines that had been trimmed from the monster long wall vine thingamagig (see what I mean, I could never remember the names of these things) on the HRAWGM quad and jamming them into the shredder. Actually jamming is the wrong word, ‘cause they can actually jam if you put too much in it at once, but I digress.

One of my forced servitudes was to Shell Tennis up at Gymea. They had a massive lawn out the back that must have been 12 feet high if it was a foot! I made the mistake of saying “Hey Mr Newman, I’ll mow that lawn out there for $100.” Now, at the time $100 bucks was a big amount of money. I think I bought a Transformer (you know the one that changes into the plane – I forget his name) and a space lego from ToyWorld at Jannali. I remember that lego sucker cost me 52 clams and was a big ticket item at the time. Took me ages to put it together, but I was the coolest kid on the street. Sadly after that I became embroiled in a lawn mowing for tennis lessons scandal that I fought hard against, but my mother wanted to instill a decent work ethic into her only son.

Although I was not the best graduate of the fine institution that is HRAWGM, I did not feel this would hold me back in life as gardening was really not one of my interests, This kind of thinking comes in handy say for instance when you sign a lease for a duplex at Cronulla that says you don’t have to do the lawns and gardens. Despite turning my back on my training, it did kick in during my field expedition at 7B Orient years later. ficus elastica of the moroceae family. That’s what it is in Latin. That thingamagig I mean. Or Edra in Ital… Sorry, where are my manners? Fig Leaf is the English word for it. That’s one thing I did like at HRAWGM. Languages. I suppose I did retain more than I thought. This fax has really made me nostalgic. Thank you.

I remember my best friends mother at the time, circa 1988, (Graham Smith* was his name – moved to Melbourne, embraced God and went a little off the rails, let’s not dwell) used to stop by the HRAWGM grounds all the time to marvel at the wonderment of our garden. She was also my piano teacher and told me that she had passed other people walking past the Academy that had stopped to comment on the garden. Charming woman to be sure and while I love her dearly, there was a time when she took up the organ instead of piano and put in some stain glass windows in her lounge room and just went a little wacky in general. Come to think of it, perhaps she’s not the best person to bring up. I don’t really know why I did…

You’ll have to excuse my verbosity. I’m sure you won’t think I’m rambling or anything like that, it’s just that I feel it prudent to allay any fears you may have with regard to our training and professionalism in all areas of Gardening. With that off my chest, I’ll press on.

A sister school of HRAWGM, the Oft Maligned Gardening Institute located at Sylvania was where my lovely wife Kim (and the third member of the Orient Avenue Gardening Troupe) attended class. OMGI had a very good reputation in years gone by, but were forced to change their name (to include “Oft Maligned”) after a nasty incident with some “weed” killer (or “killer weed” as the students – and some of the faculty staff - called it) a pair of doves and a banyan tree. Suffice to say, that although this once fine institution has fallen on hard times in recent years, I can assure you that at the time my wife was attending, the school was regarded in the same category of distinction in gardening circles as HRAWGM.

So, while I understand that you may have initially thought you were talking to people who were unfamiliar with the detailed care required for gardening and weeding, I’m sure you’ll agree that a Leading Academic in the gardening field and two graduates of highly sought after gardening academies are able to handle the gardening task at 7B Orient Ave. Further, I believe you will find many similar such learning institutions around the world, training the fine men and women who not only go on to tend the gardens in their very own white picket fenced homes, but also those that answer the gardening call and go into the game professionally.

After our meeting yesterday, I have written to both HRAWGM and OMGI. As it seems that you are very concerned with the quality of gardening throughout your managed facilities, I have taken the liberty to acquire the services of these esteemed institutions to Ray White Cronulla for below market rates. HRAWGM is looking to landscape the main campus for the summer and getting money for this sort of things out of the Board can be like getting a real estate agent to fix… Well, you know what I mean. Perhaps some sort of contra deal can be organized whereby in return for work performed, there could be some sort of advertising done. Look, I’ll leave the details to you, just let me know if you want to do anything and I’ll have their people contact your people.

We have not moved into brain surgery ‘cause mum says that after the fiasco of that lobotomy attempt in Queensland the cops might get suspicious and that surgery is for professionals, but I reckon that gardening should still be ok.

Please do not forget to send the maintenance sheet you showed me yesterday. It can be faxed to:

C:- Highly Regarded Academy of Weeding and Gardening Maintenance

Yours Sincerely,
* Some names have been changed to protect the real names of certain persons involved in this story.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Virgin Mobile Accounts Access: Rebooting - A Panacea

Had some hassles accessing my virgin mobile online account. I could log in, but couldn't actually read or download any of my invoices, past or present.

I tried this on 2 pc's and a mac with IE and Firefox... I reckon I've covered my bases.

So I ring Virgin to see what the problem is and they go through it with me. I explain that I've tried it on a couple different machines and browsers, so they try to log in and do it from their end. They can!

So, he tells me to reboot my system. I explained again that I've tried it on 2pc's and a mac with no luck, so asked what he thought rebooting would do? He says that "sometimes a reboot helps".

I asked him whether he thought I should reboot PC1, PC2 or my Mac? Dead silence - after which he said try the PC... I explained again that this would not work, but asked him whether if he could access my account and save the file as a pdf (which he'd already said he could do) he could email it to me. "Sure," he says.


"That will take 14 days."

I shit you not! I went through the palava with him and his supervisor. They both had the actual file, right there, on their systems, and in less time than it took to explain to me why they couldn't do it, they could have done it but no...

The supervisor told me to try rebooting the system as well. I explained again about multiple pc's/browsers and he said he knew that, but I should just try it... I asked him if he felt I should give reinstalling Windows a try too!

Suffice to say, I don't have my bill and after getting off the phone I had to reboot a little later in the day. Just for shits and giggles, I tried getting my invoice again. No joy!

Maybe I should try reinstalling Windows... Naaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Encounter with and Spam!!!

Hey All,

I had an encounter with recently that I thought I'd share.

For some background, many moons ago (years) I bought some flowers through their site. It would have literally been a few years ago. A few months ago I started getting spam. It eventually annoyed me so I unsub'd.

I got another spam mail.

I unsub'd again.

Got more spam mail.

So, realising that the "Unsubscribe here" link was useless I went to their website and sent a polite email (no, really) to their customer service asking them to unsub me. I did state that I'd tried twice before and didn't want to have to do this again. I was firm, but polite. I got an email back very quickly apoligising and assuring me that I was removed from their list. Great!

Until yesterday.

Up and at 'em early in the morning, I get another spam email. So, I shot off another email to customer service, which I will print below.

It begins as follows:

What is it with morons???

I have unsubscribed from you(sic) service several times. After this not working twice, I have sent an email to your customer service explaining that when I want to order something, I’ll contact you. I do not want to receive your spam. I also explained that if I get something again, it would actually ensure that I never, ever purchase anything from you again. I’m assured “IT will fix the problem”.

Lo and frikkin’ behold, if not 2 weeks later another spam mail. Did you fuckknuckles think I was kidding? If I take the time to actually send you a frikkin email telling you I don’t want your shit and you send me more, do you think I’m actually gonna go:

“Well, yeah, they completely and utterly ignored me their past and potentially future customer, but whatever, I’ll buy up big”


“Fuck Off, you’ve been told. And now, instead of just me not buying stuff from you, I’m gonna tell everyone I know, not to do the same, because if you make that mistake, they’ll never leave you alone.”

Take a guess.

If I get another spam from you, I won’t bother sending you an email, I think I’ll start a blog. Done it before. Very successful. Go on send me a spam.



I stand by the sentiment 100%. If you have an unsub button, make sure it works and if you then tell the customer they're unsub'd, frikkin' do it. However, it did lack the more subtle nature of most of my work and just went in fairly hard and with fruity language, which I tend to try and avoid if I can.

What can I say? 6:30am, bit of a nob, I should just get over it. Yeah I get that.

I very quickly received an email apologising and assuring me that I had been removed. Fine!

Today however, I received this:

(Name), personal apology for not having unsubscribed you before you have had to send your last email.

Not sure why this happened. Not our nature to spam anyone.

I know that you have been unsubscribed now.

Best of luck with your business.

James Stevens
Roses Only: Founder & CEO

Well, blow me down! I can't say whether I'll use roses only again or not, but this very quick email from the ceo at least gets them back to even ground. Shows at least someone there cares about what is going on. I still say, get the unsub thing button working 100%, but nice clawback.

Why else am I saying they're back on even ground?

I sent my email from a work address. The ceo sent an email to my work company's public email, addressed to me. So he (or someone at least) took the 30 seconds or so to check the website from my email's domain name and use a public address as opposed to sending me more "spam". Intentional or not, nice touch!

I call out dodgy customer service all the time. I praise good attempts too.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Telstra Story - Coda

Aaah, if only it were so simple as for Telstra to do what they actually say they're going to do.

It's not over.

I'll update in a few days!


Friday, July 4, 2008

The Telstra Story: Part 10 - The Finale?

Hi All,

I present to you what is possibly the last (and you'll see why I use the term "possibly" at the end) post on Telstra. Also, I quote from the conversation. I was making notes at the time and fleshed them all out immediately after my conversation finished so it'd be pretty close to word for word.

So, without further adieu.

On the 20th of June I received a call from Senior Complaints handler at Telstra. She informed me that she had personally reviewed all the material and the letters from the myself and the TIO and that "While we stand by all the charges, we are making a commercial decision that it's not in our best interests to pursue the matter."

ME: "OK, that's great, but just out of curiosity, if you've read all my documentation, do you think what I've had to put up with from your company is acceptable?"

TELSTRA: "Well no sir, it's clear that you've unfortunately had to deal with people who really didn't know what they were talking about and as such it has made things more difficult. But I think there's been some miscommunication from both sides."

Ruh Roh! That's gonna get me started!

ME: "Really? Well I can understand that after months of being stuffed around I documented everything in a unique manner, but how can wanting to get an accurate bill be confusing?"

TELSTRA: "Well as I say we stand by all the charges. We're making a commercial decision that it's not in our best interests to pursue the matter."

Yes, it was exactly the same sentence.

ME: "Well if you stand by the charges, I realize it may be academic, but can you please tell me what they are?

TELSTRA: "Certainly. Aah, when you were originally put on to a different plan, your call usage did go up and you also had some roamin..."

ME: "Hang on. that issue is resolved."

TELSTRA: "Ah, no. In the letter from the TIO it states that the plan change resulted in higher charges."

ME: "No it doesn't. After you ignored the first letter from the TIO, they asked me for some more specific information on the history of the relationship and that's where that becomes relevant. The current issue is that for about 3-4 weeks of usage, you've charged me $1800 odd dollars."

Incidentally, I never brought it up, but I was not travelling (roaming charges) at that time either.

TELSTRA: "Well there are some early contract termination fees as well sir."

ME: "If you're completely familiar with this as you say, can you please tell me when I signed a new contract that's now been terminated? I was off contract."

TELSTRA: "Well as I say sir we stand by all the charges and we are making a commercial decision that it's not in our best interests to pursue the matter, as long as both parties agree to release the other from further action. I'm happy to confirm that in writing."

Now, this last one threw me a little. You'll agree to write off the amount you reckon I owe you, if I agree not to take action against you? What, for the invoice I sent you? For being a bunch of dicks?

ME: "I notice you're using very specific words like commercial decision and not in our best interests, but I find it amusing that you would just write off this amount when if you could actually prove these charges are legit as you say, Telstra would just sell the debt to a 3rd party company. So frankly to me it seems as if you actually can't prove these charges and that as a result it really is in your best interests not to pursue it. Fine, you put it in writing and I'll have a look and make a decision from there."

We made our goodbyes and hung up.

That was 2 weeks ago.

I'm still waiting!


So what does this mean for Telstra Woes? Well whether this is the final installment or not, it's become apparent that other people have their own hellish customer service stories and as such, I'll eventually be migrating this blog to a new "generic" blog which will deal with a number of different companies and also draw upon stories from you, our gentle readers.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Telstra Story: Part 9

OK, so I receive a letter from Telstra (dated 7/4/08) from Jai. You remember Jai? She was the lovely lady at Telstra who helped me out last time and made the "goodwill gesture" on Telstra's behalf.

Now, by this stage I have already gone to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and detailed my complaint. They not only wanted details about the current problem (the $1,800 charge) but also the historical problems. So I gave them copies of all the correspondence.

The lovely Jai in the meantime has sent me a letter informing me that they've received the letter I sent them dated 25/2, but that as per their correspondence dated 4/9/07, the matter is closed.

For those not keeping up:

Unable to distinguish between a historical problem and a new one, the newly minted High Priestess of Muppeteering has decided simply that as they've "dealt' with one matter, they've dealt with them all (that'd be nice!). Now had she bothered to actually, I don't know, umm, frikkin' read the new documentation I'd sent her, she would have instantly realized that this is a completely new issue. No such luck.

So as action had already been taken with the TIO, I didn't respond to this letter. It did say however, that if I was unhappy I could got to the TIO or the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner and (although it didn't specifically state as much, I'm sure it was meant) I could go and penetrate my ass with a rather large, blunt object.

As appealing as that last option is, I've already taken the TIO option, but thanks.


Tracking back a little now, I've sent all the info to the TIO, they've logged the complaint, written up a letter detailing my complaint (which is approved by me for accuracy) to be sent to Telstra and we await their response. They've got four weeks to respond or the TIO escalates the issue. The letter is very impartial and states that a claim has been made to the TIO and they've heard one side of the story. They want to hear Telstra's side before forming a view.

As it does, time passes and Telstra sleeps. The TIO contacts me again several weeks later to ask if I've heard from Telstra. "Not a thing," I respond. So, the TIO escalate the issue.

This time the same letter goes out with some additions. Not only does the TIO now want answers to Telstra's conduct regarding the historical issues I had (which were "resolved") they also now ask for answers to very specific questions about the case, as opposed to a general response. Telstra have to (among other things):

1) Detail why they recommended a change of plan (twice) that resulted in bills going up. Provide full system notes and voice recordings.
2) Provide all records of customer complaints and responses regarding billing disputes since late 2006.
3) Provide copies of all responses to written complaints from the customer.
4) Provide an explanation as to why late fees were applied to bills that were in dispute.

They also ask Telstra to confirm that they have complied with the ACIF Code and to supply the information confirming same. They also note that as part of the investigation now, regardless of the outcome with the customer, the TIO requires confirmation that the Code has been complied with.

They give Telstra another four week to reply. Stick around, we'll see what happens...