Company help line operators lying to get you off line

Has anyone experienced this? I have with Foxtel and Samsung. A friend has with Qantas. Calling their help lines are absolutely worthless. It appears they have a new policy of ‘tell them anything but get them off line.’ They will lie, lie, lie - and promise you anything: ‘Yes, we’ll call you back.’ “Yes, we’ll give you that discount.” “Yes, we’ll provide you with that rate.” They don’t call back. They don’t give you a discount. They don’t give you a better rate. It appears to be a widespread and accepted practice by large corporations. In my experience this practice has only started in the past couple years but it appears to be spreading.


Corporate ethics is arguably rare. I was once a customer of AGL for gas only. About 10 years ago they sent me a renewal offer by post. I was happy to accept their offer but they refused to honour it since I did not also have electricity with them. They obviously knew that, and there was nothing in the offer stating anything about both accounts being required for their offer. I waved goodbye to AGL forever after that fiasco.

It is not just help lines, it is endemic in some companies. It could be sheer corporate incompetence, non-functional business systems, or as you say, a policy to try and push customers around.

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“Now I’m going to need a reference code for this transaction, in case I need to refer the company back to it, and I may also need your operator code number.”

“If you can’t give me a reference number, I will need to speak to a supervisor who can.”

And into the diary, plus onto my notes for the problem/product, they go.


In my experience, QANTAS these days evidently has too small a call centre staff. Frequently (mostly?), when you phone, the recorded message will tell you the waiting time is 2 hours or more, and they offer to call you back after first encouraging you to go to the website. A couple of times I did not receive a callback. Then I realised that they only callback if my request is confirmed. I forget the exact process now, but I think that after providing my number etc., I had to wait for a confirmation. Then I did get a callback. At least, in my experience, QANTAS staff have been based in Australia and I could understand them! I appreciate that and would rather wait for a callback than struggle to communicate with the overseas workers now used by so many companies. (Those workers are usually polite and well-intentioned, but important arrangements can go badly wrong with miscommunication!).

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If you are referring to overseas call centres, and staff cutting off the call with nonsense there is a perfectly rational explanation.

First understand that these call centre staff mostly all have degrees and are paid double the salary of a nurse. Often enough to support the while family. So keeping this job is critical.

Next, understand that they are under enormous pressure to meet “metrics” (targets) of x calls per hour. Miss targets two months in a row and its instant dismissal - no right of appeal, no union etc. ( ie about $600 per month)

On top of that, a lot of Asian cultures have an aversion to telling you bad news - or even saying “no” … so even in their own culture they tell you what you want to hear. They see this as being kind. I see it as lying.

The bottom line is that when AU pty ltd, hires PH Co the contract is written in metrics - and on that the staff are strictly controlled. And that is why we all get the awful service.

Do what I do - and record the call using an App. It was a joy once to type out the precise words in my complaint letter. Yes i got 100% satisfaction - quickly.

And to anyone who think that’s illegal - nonsense. I refer you to the legal case of Byrne v Byrne. And if anyone tells you "its against the Privacy Act’ clearly hasn’t even read the Act

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We had that experience with Telstra. Two different operators offered and double confirmed that the offer we were getting would come with a dongle for our laptop, so that we could use our own WiFi wherever we were. That one added bonus was the ONLY reason we signed up with Telstra again.
I asked them to confirm in their own words and to confirm my understanding of their offer so that we were all on the same page.
Not only did we not get our dongle, we did not get our follow up phone call to see if we were happy with our service. Hmmm, I wonder why?

You might ask Telstra to play back the recording of your sale as used for training. :smiley:

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The customer service officer on the Help Line of IINet recently fobbed my husband off after he rang because our new Broadband connection was not working. My husband was told there was an outrage in our area and it would be up and working within the next hour. When I checked online there were no outrages in our area and our internet was definately not working within the hour.

Hi walrusk, I think you just have to accept that the phase “help
line” is a misnomer. Generally they do not want to help you; they want to placate you and hope you and your complaint go away. In my experience they are well trained and adept at stalling the resolution of the problem. I’ll give you an example. Recently I received my Telstra account which listed an overdue payment from the last invoice. I had set up automatic payment though my bank. When the bill is emailed to me it is also emailed to the bank. The bank then pays on the due date. So in my conversation the Telstra rep came back and said yes"we definitely sent an email to you in that month". I replied if this was the case the bank would have also received the email and paid the due amount. The rep then asked me if my email address as correct. The email I was given was incorrect as one letter was (deliberately?) omitted. I replied that although the address he had given was incorrect their email system would be automated & I was recieving other emails from Telstra. At that point he agreed to not to pursue the issue. I asked for this in writing and within about about 60 seconds I received a pro forma letter via email with my name & refund amount inserted.

So that’s the “shut them up if you can technique”. Don’t expect you can expect this result all the time, again in my expieience this is the exception not the rule. All the larger companies have a dispute resolution processs. Contacting their call centre is the first step in this process. Don’t expect resolution; accurately record the time and data of your call; how you explained the problem and the opererator responses. The next step is normally to write or email the company’s dispute resolution centre outlining your issue and how you have attempted to resolve it without satisfaction. Generally you’ll get a much more reasoned approach from this Department because they know you are serious and most probably move to the next step of complaining to the relevant ombudsman or tribunal if the issue remains unresolved.

In summary, the call centre will generally not resolve your issue and possibly cause you some quite justified frustration, but it is a necessary first step if you wish to conitinue with the dispute resolution processs.