Telstra and Phone Lines

Stupidity of Telstra Business Practices

Telstra needs to look closely at how it does business. No longer can you take a broken
phone to a telstra business office to get it replaced. You see they have leased out the
management of this institution so it is much harder to access non-profitable services.

One of those services is replacing a phone. If you want to replace a TELSTRA OWNED phone
you need to ring up the callcenter and then once you have been authorised you return the
phone to the local POST OFFICE.

Yes. That is the Post Office, the same one that has been cutting down on their public service
activities for years. You can no longer get a replacement phone book at the Post Office (Telstra will post them out), or
an income tax form (You get them from a News Agency), but you can get a replacement phone there.

Notice of Complaint

  1. Failure to meet agreed appointment.
  2. Failure to meet agreed connection time for new service
  3. Anticipated Failure to meet maximum service time
  4. Provision of misleading and/or inaccurate and/or deceptive
    information regarding failure to meet agreed connection times.

This letter sets out to document the facts with my attempts to connect a basic
phone service at xx xxxxxx Place, Ingleburn. It also sets out to document what
I believe I am entitled to in compensation resulting from Telstra’s inability
to meet minimum performance standards. It also attempts to document the action
that Telstra should be immediately undertaking to rectify this situation.

Contacts with Telstra

	Ordered a new phone line (02 9618 xxxx) by calling 132200 after I tried to
	order the phone at the business office and was told that was not possible
	due to a localised computer failure. The employee taking my call was new to
	ordering new phone lines and neglected to get a contact phone number -
	although there was an existing service in the house in another name and
	this service was to be in my name. I told the employee I wanted the line to
	be connected as soon as possible. The employee gave me an agreed connection
	date of 13th January. I agreed with this date.

	Contacted Telstra on 132200 to confirm the time of the appointment. The
	appointment was confirmed as an all day appointment - most probably being
	between 10:30am and 5:00 pm. As a result I planned to take the day off.

	Took time off work to stay home waiting for Telstra. They did not arrive.
	Contacted 132200 just after 5:00 pm, and was informed that the appointment
	had been cancelled, and that a notification had been sent out on Tuesday
	11th January in the mail because no customer contact number had been
	recorded. [Note: This was a second line so there was a number for the first
	line; also my mobile number is in the phone book].

	Contacted Service Order Management Team on 1-800-352-579. Spoke to Darren
	after a while. He informed me that there were no cables from the exchange
	and that it was most likely mid-march before this service could be
	connected. I attempted to make a claim under the Customer Service Guarantee.
	My arguments appear below. He was not helpful. He felt that the letter was a
	notification under the Customer Service Guarantee of a cancelled
	appointment, and also declared that the agreed connection date was not an
	agreed connection date.

	Contacted  Telecom Customer Referral Centre on 1-800-011-333 with my details
	of the claim. They informed me that it would be 5 working days before I
	heard back from them. Also they advised that no claims could be made until
	the service was connected.

	Contacted Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman concerning Telstra not
	meeting Minimum Service Levels.

	Letter sent on 11th January arrives. Telstra is providing misleading and/or
	inaccurate and/or deceptive information regarding failure to meet agreed
	connection times.

In their letter dated 11-Janruary-1999 Shannon Sant, Customer Service
Co-ordinator for the Sydney South Region stated that ‘Construction is currently
underway to rectify this situation, and you will be notified as soon as this
cable upgrade has been completed. He also noted that there is a ‘Shortage of
underground street cable available’.

In conversations with the Customer Services Order Management Team it was stated
that they had no idea when work would be started, but had an anticipated
mid-march completion date. This indicates approximately 8-9 weeks until a
service will be available.

They also stated that there was not a single unused pair in the cable from the

I have examined the path from the NetPop (Network Point of Presence /Exchange)
in Ingleburn to the termination point at the corner of xxxxxx St and xxxxx
Place every day for the past few weeks. I have not seen any evidence of works
along this route. If any external plan work were being performed I would have
seen evidence of this work. Further it cannot be argued that the cable has been
layed and is being terminated in the exchange for a couple of reasons – Firstly
the cable is layed before being terminated in the exchange; and secondly it
does not take 8 weeks to terminate a cable – even a large one.

It seems to me more likely that the planning is underway for this new cable –
rather than actual construction.

Therefore Telstra are giving incorrect or misleading information in their
communications with customers. Obviously this letter is a form letter and
should be corrected.

Also, by definition shortage means that the availability is limited. The letter
from Telstra notes that there is a shortage, whereas phone conversations noted
that rather than a shortage there was a total lack of availability of pairs.

When Telstra finally dealt with my complaint they confirmed that

  • Construction was not underway when I got this letter.
  • The letter was being sent to the legal department to be re-written more
  • Claim

    1. Telstra did not notify me that the appointment was cancelled.
    2. Telstra is required to pay the Customer Service Guarantee from 14th January.
    3. Telstra is required to expedite pulling new cables to meet the service

    4. Provision of misleading and/or inaccurate and/or deceptive information
      regarding failure to meet agreed connection times.
    1. Telstra did not notify me that the appointment was cancelled.
    Under the Telstra Customer Service Guarantee [Telstra CSG], as well as the ACA
    Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee) Standard 1997 [ACA CSG 1997]
    unless reasonable notice is given of a cancellation of an appointment is made
    then a payment of damages is payable to the customer under section 235 of the
    Telecommunications Act 1997 [Telecom Act 1997].
    Whilst the [ACA CSG] does not define 'Reasonable Notice' the [Telstra CSG]
    defines it as 'One Working Day'.
    Whilst I can find no definition of Notice under the [Telecom Act 1997], the
    [Telstra CSG] or the [ACA CSG 1997] I have been able to locate a definition in
    another Telstra document. This document was also from Telstra (CAN 051 775 556)
    and relates to their Big Pond Direct Internet Service. It states that notice,
    in the absense of proof to the contrary, in the case of mail shall be '…3 days
    after the date of dispatch'.
    The first I was NOTIFIED of the cancelation was when I spoke to the Telstra
    Employee after 5:00 pm on 13th January.
    Since this notification was not Reasonable Notice since there was not One
    Working Day prior notification I am entitled to a payment of one months line
    2. Telstra is required to pay the Customer Service Guarantee from 14th January
    until the service is connected.
    When I contacted Telstra on 6th January, 2000 I was given an agreed connection
    date of 13th January 2000. This was the data proposed by Telstra and I agreed
    to it. Some time on or before 11th January, Telstra determined that they did
    not have the physical lines to be able to install the service on 13th January.
    However Telstra had agreed that the 13th January was the Agreed Connection
    Date. Since this date is on or before the limit imposed by the [Telstra CSG]
    and [ACA CSG 1997] this should be the date that the CSG starts. Nothing in the
    [Telstra CSG] states that Telstra is unable to bring forward their Agreed
    Connection Date to a date before that required by the CSG.
    In fact the [ACA CSG 1997] states in 7(2) that a 'Carriage Service Provider may
    offer a shorter connection period than the maximum connection period'. Also
    7(4)a states that a carriage service provider must comply with an arrangement
    with a customer for a connection to be provided 'ON THE AGREED DATE'.
    I am therefore making a claim of one months line rental from 14th January until
    20th January 2000, on the assumption that the line remains un-connected. I am
    further claiming $40 per working day from 21st January.
    	14th January - 20th January	$11.65/Day
    	21st January - Connection	$40.00/Day Subject to connection after 21st January
    3. Telstra is required to expedite whatever means necessary  to meet the
    service guarantee
    The [Telstra CSG] states that it is the aim where there is no available network
    infrastructure or spare capacity in a community of more than 2,500 people that
    Telstra will '…Aim to connect a standard telephone service…within certain time
    periods…1 month from application' . The [ACA CSG 1997] further states that 'A
    carriage Service Provider must comply with a request by a customer for
    connection to a specified service within the guaranteed maximum connection
    period, unless Telstra have agreed with the customer to connect on another
    The guaranteed connection period is further defined as 'the period within which
    a carriage service is provider must connect the customer to the standard
    telephone service under the relevant planning document having regard to the
    nature of the site which the customer is located and the degree of access to
    the communications infrastructure at that site.' In [Telstra CSG] the inferred
    period is 1 month.
    Under these requirements Telstra have no option but to make all reasonable
    efforts to finish this new connection within the 1 month specified in the
    However since Telstra agreed to an earlier connection date, they are now in
    contravention of the standard and need to make all efforts to expedite any work
    A complaint has been lodged with the Customer Referral Center on this matter.
    It has also been lodged with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. This
    document will also be forwarded to both parties.

    I have included details of the damages that Telstra paid me.

    Cumulative Cost Failure to keep Appointment of 13-Jan $11.65
    Failure to Supply Service on 14-Jan $11.65 $23.30
    Failure to Supply Service to 20-Jan 4 Days $46.60 $69.90
    Failure to Supply Service from 21-Jan to 27-Jan 4 Days $160 $229.90
    Failure to Supply Service from 28-Jan to 3-Feb 5-Days $200 $429.90
    Failure to Supply Service from 4-Feb to 10-Feb 5-Days $200 $629.90
    Failure to Supply Sercice from 11-Feb to 15-Feb 3-Days $200 $749.90

    When Telstra finally connected the service and calculated the CSG they did not
    include an ammount for the cancelled appointment. I decided to stand my ground and
    the CSG person stated that they would need to talk to their supervisor. I
    cannot actually remember hearing back from them but I know they did decide to
    pay me what I was owed under the CSG.

    When the line was connected their was concern by the linesman that there was
    not going to be enough pairs in the street for the connection. It was with some
    luck that someone had a line disconnected and I took their line. I have never
    worked out who that was.

    When I receieved notification of this credit on my bill I requested that Telstra
    refund this ammount so that I could pay a Telstra Bigpond Direct account of about
    $500. The customer service representative aggreed to this on since they were not
    able to transfer the ammount between accounts. They were under no obligation to
    do this, and their rules say that they cannot.

    Basically Telstra lost money on this job.