Thursday, 14 June 2012

Telstra: How you wasted two hours of my life.

On our camper van holiday, both children lost their mobile phones. E lost hers near the Rhinoceros enclosure at Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, so I am expecting a phone call from a Rhino sometime soon. 
Photo by Jonathunder used here under the
GNU Free Documentation License v1.2 which applies to this image.
Considering that Rhinos lack knees - let alone opposable thumbs, I suspect that they shall need help with making the call.

X lost his at Warner Brothers Movie World. Interestingly, guest services have found his phone in the lost property, but state that they cannot post the phone due to Australia Post having rules preventing the posting of batteries. My reading of those rules concerning carriage of dangerous goods is that it is fine to post mobile phones, but that the parcel must have a "Road Transport only" sticker attached, or at least a clear marking to similar effect, in red, near the recipient address. The guest services at Warner Brothers Movie World aren't moved by this and have refused to send the phone.

But I digress. The point is that I now have two children without mobile phones. Naturally I have ordered replacement phones on eBay, and today I approached my local Telstra shop in Gungahlin for replacement SIM cards.

On entering the shop I am greeted by a cheery bloke holding an iPad. He begins to assist by pulling out some blank SIM cards, and logs on to his terminal. Upon seeing that the terminal wanted some information which he would have to make a phone call to obtain, he announced that he couldn't help me any further, gave me the SIM cards and told me to call Telstra.

I dutifully call Telstra while doing my grocery shopping. Due to the accent, I suspect my call was taken in Manilla, Philipines. I am asked for the two service numbers, and the serial numbers on the two SIM cards in my possession. A moment later, I am advised that the SIM replacement is complete. I am amazed. This has been the easiest and most trouble free call to Telstra ever!

With my shopping in the car, I send an SMS to A to let her know I am on my way home.

Send Failed.

Hmm. My phone is showing no reception at all. A moment later my phone displays the message 'SOS calls only'.

My phone has been cut off!

I can't go back to the Telstra shop, as it's right on closing time.


Back at home I borrow A's phone to contact Telstra, who confirm my fears: my iPhone SIM has been "replaced" and a SIM card which is replaced can't be used again. There is no "roll-back" for the transaction carried out by the previous call-centre droid.

This call-centre droid assures me that I can obtain a replacement SIM when the local Telstra shop opens in the morning. I prompt him "That's great, but which Telstra store is open NOW???"


Queanbeyan Telstra store is open until 9pm. The silver lining to this news is that I can still have dinner, and I won't have to rush in order to arrive before closing time.

So, after dinner I drive the 30 kilometres, and the nice people in the Queanbeyan Telstra shop issue me with another two SIM cards, correcting the earlier error.

Altogether, correcting the silly error of a call-centre droid has taken 2 hours of my life. 2 hours which I won't get back.

Thanks Telstra! Your Gungahlin shop has demonstrated the heights of customer service, your call centre-droids have demonstrated how well they listen, and how much they take care when making changes which will result in major inconvenience to your customers. I am making a small wager of no money whatsoever that when I receive my bill I will be charged for four replacement SIM cards. When this happens, I will be asking Telstra to not only refund those charges, but also for some petrol money. According to the Tax Office, the correct rate for 60 kilometres is about $44. We shall see.

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