A win with Telstra!

Recently I bought my 80+ year old mother a new phone. She previously had a flip type one for many years with a keypad but had found it increasingly difficult to use due to how close together the keys are. So I decided to get her a smartphone without a keypad. I picked up a Telstra branded pre paid one for $24 as she was already with Telstra (post paid $20 a month) and this would make the change over easy. I set up the phone without its sim on my wifi at home. And as nothing other than calls and SMS were required I deleted or disabled all the other apps except OS android ones and the Telsta one. After taking it to my mothers in putting in the sim card and checking that she could make and receive calls and messages which all worked fine. I tied the Telstra app to see if I could set up the account. The app requested the turning on mobile data which I did. Within in a few seconds a SMS came in saying I’d used $10 of credit and the next few seconds another saying $50 of credit. Slightly concerned I then turned off the mobile data after about 30 seconds and gave up setting up the account left the phone with her and said tell me when you next get the phone bill (home and mobile are combined).

A few weeks go by and the bill comes with an extra $95 (for data charges of 45MB!). She took the phone and the bill it to the nearest Telstra store where the salesperson said, your phone has been hacked by someone and stole your data and you need to get another one and then took the SIM card out. This caused her some distress and confusion because of the amount on the bill and thinking that someone had stolen her number.

The following week I went with her to another Telstra store to try and sort it all out. The first sales person we met happened to be the manager and quickly identified that the account was very old (more than 15yrs) and the legacy data charges were $2 per MB. He suggested changing to a prepaid account with a long expiry time. This we did for $30 for 6 months (previous $20 month X 12), he also changed the current bill to remove the extra $95 for the unexpected data charges saying that she was a long time Telstra customer. The new prepaid acc also has a data block on (my mum doesn’t need it and I can do everything else with wifi).

So Telstra can be good it seems.


It appears that back a while ago Telstra had an epiphany that read that as the market was saturated by being good only to potential new customers you were losing existing customers. They now realise that existing customers who are happy tell others and can actually stem the leak and attract new customers

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It obviously depends on the individual you are dealing with

Telstra is a great company to deal with BUT - you MUST stand your ground if you do they’ll back down.
Another one with Telstra is with their computerised voice ‘menus’, you know press 1 for lingerie … press 22 for more crap… Use the ‘best’ expletive you can think of and you’ll get a ‘human’ operator…

Yes, that can be a critical factor, but much of the background here sounds depressingly familiar.

For years, or decades, it seems they’ve had a corporate meme of screwing customers where possible, and only relenting in the case of (a) some limited disability/disadvantaged users, or (b) those who have been able to follow through with action.

Their much-publicised “support” for (a) meant most welfare bodies backed them publicly, which empowered them to gouge everybody else - though a 10 per cent discount on an excessive price schedule isn’t really a discount. And it seems to need an extraordinary degree of consumer determination to get past the gatekeepers in (b) to get a reasonable resolution.

True, you must not give up. When I recently moved address and had my land line phone account moved to the new address (band new un-lived in rental dwelling) there was an issue making the connection for a few weeks. I complained that I couldn’t use the internet (with a non Telstra ISP) as I had no phone line for ADSL so I had to use my Telstra mobile broadband which I have for holidays. They agreed to pay for the data I used whilst waiting to be connected, was about $100.

Another win!