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Bloody Telstra!

For those not in the know, Telstra is the Australian phone company. They own almost all of the cabling, the exchanges, etc.

Two weeks ago (Monday the 19th) I went to ring someone after work, and discovered my home phone wasn't working. No ring tone, no nothing. I didn't get around to ringing Telstra to get them to fix it until the Friday (23rd). Ringing them and letting them know involves remembering while I'm at work (it's a bit hard to ring someone on the phone to tell them the phone isn't working!).

I talk to them, they say that there seems to be a problem, so they'll get someone to fix it. In the mean time they set the home number to divert to my mobile. Due to me calling late on a Friday (first time I actually remembered while at work) I am told it may not be fixed until close-of-business Monday.

Not really a problem. I don't tend to use the home phone all that much so not really an issue. Telemarketers use it more than me.

I don't worry about it, and time passes.

I go to use the phone late last week, and it's still not working. What?

Again, I tend not to remember the phone while I'm at work (because their phones work, so why would I remember).

We get to the weekend, and Aaron (gene_machine) comes over as he threatened, and rearranges my phones!

The way the phones in my house are arranged is weird. There are three phone sockets in the bedrooms, one each. They are each close to a power point, but not useful for a communal area phone. The other phone socket is in the "dining room" (you'd understand if you'd ever seen my place), no where near a power point, and not really in an area that suits having a phone connected to it.

And then the Foxtel Digital people came in and had to connect the main Foxtel box to a phone line (don't ask, old technology), so they connected to one of the bedroom phone points, and ran a line inside the house from one side to the other, so they could put a phone connected near the Foxtel box. This line ran from the point in the middle bedroom (on the east wall of the house) along the skirting board of the room, up the wall near the door way, out near the ventilation window thing (can't remember what it's called) above the door, further up the wall to the picture rail, then along the picture rail to the front, and again along the picture rail along the front of the living room to the west side of the room, and then down the western side of the pelmet, and then back a little bit east to run down the front door frame till it gets to the bottom.

The wire was visible in a number of places, and looked horrid.

So, what Aaron did was run a similar wire to what the Foxtel Digital people had done, but under the house, with an outlet next to the Foxtel outlet, and another outlet in the living room near the power point, so I could actually have a phone in the living room (yay)!.

We then took great pleasure in ripping out the inside line that the Foxtel Digital people put in.

Yank, ping, yang, ping, yank, ping, rattle! Oh, going to have to find that later. Yank, ping, yank, yank, yank, YANK!, ping, ping, ping, That one didn't want to move. Yank, ping, yank, ping, mind the network cables, yank, ping... You get the general idea.

After that was finished (and he'd finished his cup of tea) he did a little bit of searching around to try and discover the cause of the phone issue. Eventually it was discovered that no signal is even reaching the house, so the problem is definitely at Telstra's end. We have a quick look in the pit (the pit on the foot path that houses all the interconnections of the cables before they go off and go into individual houses) and there seems to be no issues there, except...

There is an item in a pit that Telstra guys a grease bomb. It's a black canister, about the size of a stereotypical bomb. There are a lot of cables going into it, and a lot of difference cables coming out, and inside are the connections between the two lots of cables. The entire thing is filled with silicon grease to make it as water proof as possible.

Now, on the grease bomb is what Aaron calls a blame tag. It's a sticker that says who was the last person to deal with it, and when that was. This blame tag said 19th of July, which just happens to be the day I noticed the problem. Hmmm, I wonder...

It's handy have Telstra contractors as friends.

Today I ring up Telstra and inquire about my fault. Well, surprise, surprise, it seems that someone had a look at the exchange, couldn't find anything wrong, so assumed it must be my problem and not theirs, and closed the defect item.

Well, was anyone intending to tell me this?

So I get the person I was talking to to re-open it, and let them know that a friend of mine who is a Telstra contractor had a look at everything from my end, and discovered that no power is getting to the phone wires inside the house, therefore it has to be a fault at Telstra's end. I did not mention that we had a look in the pit, but I did mention that it was his opinion that the fault was in the pit.

The lady I was talking to seemed quite happy to get this information, and she added it all to the defect report, and then re-forwards my phone to my mobile (because the previous forward had been stopped when the phone problem had been "fixed").

I have been told that the phone will be fixed by close of business tomorrow. As a result, if the phone isn't working when I get home tomorrow night, I will be ringing Telstra on Wednesday and ripping someone a new asshole.

I'm glad I don't use dial-up internet anymore!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
Our ADSL, which should have been transferred automatically with our phone line (except that Telstra refuse to do it that way), was to be connected within 7-10 days. It is now 3 weeks later, and Telstra have yet to acknowledge the request from our ISP, let alone action it.

I am going to contact the Courier Mail. You want to be in on it?
Aug. 2nd, 2004 08:13 am (UTC)
Not yet, I'll wait until I find out what happens tomorrow first.
Aug. 2nd, 2004 04:38 am (UTC)
If the pit is right out the front of your house and it is an open circuit fault then it is not surprising that when they did a line test it looked exactly the same as if you don't have your phone plugged in.
The real problem was that you weren't informed that it looked like a fault at your end.
As the turnover of people in front-of-house areas is high mistakes like this happen all the time.
Aug. 2nd, 2004 08:16 am (UTC)
When I spoke with the first person over the phone a week and a half ago, they said that they did a line test and it came up faulty. As a result it doesn't surprise me that I wasn't told. If they think they have fixed it, they have no reason to tell me they have fixed it, because I'll find out myself when I pick up the phone.

That said, a little follow up call would have been nice, at least to tell me they had removed the call forward because it supposedly had been fixed.

I'm not sure whether I am annoyed at Telstra or not over this.
Aug. 2nd, 2004 06:21 pm (UTC)
Follow up calls are going the way of the Dodo.

To minimize costs they are reducing staff in call centres, setting higher intake call limits, and pushing for efficiency on the Grade of Service, which is measured solely on how many incoming calls are answered and how fast.

Call backs impact negatively on the GoS, and that looks bad in a report, so they don't do them.

It is not about the customers, it is about looking good in a report. Remember that companies are forced to work in Share price, even at the cost of everything else.

The privatisation of Telstra will make things worse. The TCIO and ACC both bitch about Telstra and they pay little attention. The only reason they pat attention at all is because a Government owned (mostly) company can't really look good if it is ignoring the government regulators. If it every goes private, they are big enough to ignore the TCIO and ACC while holding anything up in legal appeals.

Basically Telstra will function like Microsoft.... "Have we been bad? OK you tell us to do something about it.... We won't and fight you in court for a few years, by which time the thing that you are fighting us about will no longer be relevant and we will be appealing the next thing." All during this time, it is the customers who will get the shaft.

The only thing keeping them in check is the fact that a 50.1% government owned company can't ignore the government; A 49.9% government owned company can.
Aug. 3rd, 2004 01:49 am (UTC)
Gah. I'm with Optus. They seem nifty enough, except that Telstra have control of the lines, and Optus can't do shit about it.

I moved in. I got the phone line 'connected'. It worked for three hours before my neighbour's telstra line got fixed. My phone got cut off... for a week. That very night, Adelaide got really sick and had to be rushed to hospital. Possible menangitis, although she didn't have it, thank christ. But I spent fifteen minutes on my mobile trying to get through to yellow cabs, because I had no phone book, and couldn't remember the number for Black and White. Now, I would have spent the same amount of time on the home phone, but it would have cost me a hell of a lot less.

My phone also cut out during the heat wave. When I had the child again, and hence wanted at least a fan on to cool the house somewhat. When the electricity cut out, and I needed to call Energex. I hate hate hate telstra.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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Sweet desert rose
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