Rant on TelstraClear

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I feel the need to document my frustrations with my ISP, and rant to noone in particular. My blog is a good place to do so. Here goes.

Recently I’ve moved into a new flat. Our ISP at our old flat was TelstraClear, and we rang them the week before moving to arrange transferring our connection to the new location. We were only moving a couple of blocks, and everything was arranged for the connection to go through without a hitch. Cue moving in, where we quickly discover that there is an existing connection at the house that is still connected from the previous tenants. A bill in the mail reveals that the previous tenants were also on TelstraClear. We weren’t scheduled to have our line connected for a week from the date that we moved in, but because the previous tenants were connected using the same ISP, our modem was able to connect and authenticate fine, meaning (in theory) that we could use the internet over the old line, while we waited for our proper connection to be put in.

Ever the cautious one, my flatmate suggested that we should double-check it would be ok, as he had a feeling we might end up paying some sort of fee if we used our account over someone else’s line. And so I decided to ring TelstraClear customer service to find out what the deal was. After waiting on hold for literally an hour (I wish I was exaggerating), I was informed that no, in fact, we could not use our internet account over someone else’s line, as they would be charged for the internet usage. This seemed odd to me, but I took their word for it. Long story short, we didn’t have internet for the first week of being at the flat.

So the day rolled around that we were supposed to be connected with our proper line… And, nothing much happened. The old line was still connected. (This was established by calling out to a cellphone from the line, and checking the caller ID). Cue another 30 minute wait for TelstraClear customer service. After explaining the situation in full to the technician and waiting around on hold some more, it eventuates that the old line was unable to be disconnected on the scheduled date due to a hold being placed on the line. Apparently the previous tenants had rung up and done something because they were moving out (which was apparently “the right thing for them to do”), and TelstraClear was waiting to hear back from them about something (which they were never going to hear back about, because the tenants had MOVED OUT, hello?! how does this make sense at all?!), and this waiting period resulted in a hold being placed on the line. Fortunately, that hold expired a few days later, meaning we could finally be connected on our proper line and start using the internet, 3-4 days after the expected switchover time. Not too terrible. In passing, I decided to pose the same question I had waited an hour on hold the previous week to ask: Can we use our internet account over someone else’s line without incurring fees or charging the other person? Imagine my surprise when the technician gave me the opposite advice — that we could, in fact, use our internet login without any issues whatsoever, and it would appear on our statement as normal. So in a nutshell, I waited an hour on hold the week before, to be told something that was incorrect, and ultimately meant that we were without internet for a week when we could have been using it the whole time. Got to be shitting me.

I wish the story ended there, but no.

3 days later, the old line was disconnected as expected in the morning, and the line (presumably the correct one) came up again later that afternoon. We were good to go. I joyously connected and caught up with my downloading. All seemed right in the internet world. But then, DRAMA.

About a week later, I was curious as to what our new number was (as we had been told we would be getting a different one to the one at our previous address). I rang my cellphone from the landline, and what do you know? The number that came up on the caller ID was the same as the number on the line from the previous tenants. So, in a nutshell, they had disconnected the old line, then reconnected the same old line instead of setting up our proper line. Got. To. Be. Shitting. Me.

Cue more waiting on hold to TelstraClear customer service. An aside about their customer service… When you finally get connected to where you need to be, the technicians are helpful and friendly, however, everything else about it sucks. When first ringing up, you get a computerised voice that “understands what you say”, and a menu of options. However, even after I had learnt which department I needed (thanks to having to make so many phone calls, and being told repeatedly “let me transfer you to X”), THE DEPARTMENT ISN’T IN THE LIST OF OPTIONS! Meaning that I would have to pick an option sounding close to what I wanted (in the end I was pretty much picking one at random), hope like hell that it didn’t have a long wait time, then ask to be transferred to the actual department that I needed. The department I needed invariably had a 30+ minute queue. On my first call, I made a poor choice at the first menu, meaning I was waiting on hold for 30 minutes to the wrong department, and when I finally got through, I had a 30 second conversation, and was promptly transferred to the end of another 30 minute queue to the actual department. Total wait time: 1 hour. Surely if you wait for 30 minutes to talk to one department, they could have the decency to bump you up a bit for the next queue. I eventually learnt that their “sign up for a new account” department was well staffed and never had any queues (surprise, surprise), so I would just pick that option and pretend I did it on accident, and get them to transfer me to the actual department I wanted.

Anyway, where was I? Ahh yes, someone’s failure (presumably TelstraClear’s, although they do outsource the connections to another company called Chorus) resulting in the old line being reconnected. Long story short, they needed to re-disconnect the old line, and finally connect our line. So, on Monday (3 days ago at the time of writing), the line (and our internet along with it) was once again disconnected as expected. I don’t really understand why they couldn’t have connected up our line at the time they disconnected the old one, but here we are on Thursday, still with no connection, and with no idea (even after two more excruciating calls to customer service) when we will be reconnected. So, in a nutshell, due to no fault of our own, we are once again without internet or a phone for an indeterminate period of time.

I’m not happy.