@telstra #fail rant!

OK, so it’s easy enough to mock @Telstra, they are a pretty big target, but this most recent episode pretty much ticks all the bumbling, idiotic, boxes, so I’m going to write about it. It’s long, but I hope it’s worth it for a smile or two.

Last Thursday Aug 2, a few strange things happened, we got some wrong numbers calling us, and our broadband connection died. I was pretty sure our ISP had somehow screwed up the broadband, my router clearly showed it was failing at the authentication server – did all the usual password checks etc. no joy.

I really didn’t have time to follow it up properly until the weekend, but by Saturday morning we were getting so many wrong numbers, we lodged a call to Telstra. Lo and behold, our lines were crossed! We were getting all the calls for the local Post Office, and they were getting all our calls! How does this even happen?
Oh well, the helpful lady with the weird accent told us that it was a programming error, and that it would be fixed within “9-15 hours”, which seemed a reasonable explanation, and timeline.

24 hours later, and we’re still off the air. You don’t realise just how much of your life relies on internet access. Study, travel plans, birthday wishes, workplace issues, they all go on hold while you thrash around trying to troubleshoot. Thank you Live Connected… your no nonsense approach to mobile data and personal hotspots helped us scrape by!

Anyway, I ring Telstra back, go through the tragic/comical voice prompts, and get another totally bizarre accent telling me that “a technician has been assigned and will be at the front of your house”, but that it may take until “Tuesday 7pm”! What?! …another 3 days? This does not tally with the programming error story, in fact, it sounds like complete nonsense – very angry now, but what can you do? Oh, I know, there’s going to be a satisfaction survey at the end of the phone call, I’ll be able to vent a little there… Phone call ends. Line goes dead. Hmmm, well that’s the second time that’s happened. I’m guessing they avoid a lot of negative feedback that way!

OK, so I try bleating about it in public… to Twitter! To their credit, @telstra respond promptly, and offer what assistance they can. Eventually pointing me to this URL: http://www.telstra.com/24x7help which loads on the iPhone in a reasonably friendly manner, and I proceed to tap out my complaint and hit submit: “Server Error”. Back to complain again on Twitter, where I get the utterly unbelievable response from Telstra: “Sorry form does not work via a phone”. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

OK, so I wander next door, and my lovely neighbour happily gives me their wifi password, so I’m at least properly back on the net. Out of curiosity, I try that 24x7help URL again on my desktop – this time it’s all: “Duplicate headers received from server. This problem is generally the result of a misconfigured website or proxy. Only the website or proxy administrator can fix this issue.“. So at least they’re not just blocking phones from their 24×7 help line, no, they’re blocking EVERYBODY! Win for Telstra!

Eventually, they get my email via DM and I send off the full story, hoping for a positive response, or even better, a resolution – you know, some actual help! Too much to ask?

Sadly, it seems so. The word is now steadfastly: “I am unable to have this appointment for tech visit moved forward”, Tuesday 7pm is, apparently, not negotiable 🙁 Any wonder people get upset!