NBN Connection or lack thereof

At my brother-in-laws last night the discussion turned to the fact that there was no home phone hanging on the wall - cause: He was cut off by disservice provider! Approx 3 - 4 weeks ago he had a call from some within Australia identifying themselves being from Telstra (or so he believes as the person spoke with an Australian Accent). This person explained that he was not trying to sell him anything, but just wanted speak with him about connecting to the NBN which is now available in his area. My brother in law agreed that it would be a good idea, and then agreed to have an NBN person come out and explain what would be installed and where, along with just what he would be required to do to finalise the connection. An appointment was made for someone to attend on a certain day, with that same person giving my brother in law his name, employee number, and direct phone number where he could be contacted if things were not to his satisfaction. Arranging time for my brother-in-law to take off is not easy, but he managed to do this, and on the particular day once he was home checked that all was going to schedule, only to be advised that they would need to make another time. He also asked to be put through to the person he spoke with that gave him, his details, with his request being denied. Eventually he was advised that an email would be sent to that man and he would phone my brother - in law back. He is still awaiting the call! You can imagine the frustration that occurred from then on, because of the difficulty for time off from employment, and the non service from the man from Telstra. He has attended the local Telstra shop in the shopping centre where he was told that as has he had agreed verbally to the plan? or connection? he could not get out of it. He said he had agreed to find out more about it, not that he wanted it (right now), but they still insist he has verbally agreed to have it installed. My question (and his) since when does verbal ‘yes’ when he thought he was agreeing to know more about the service become an agreement???


Hi @pforte, sorry to hear about the trouble your brother in law has faced. It’s something hearing about all too often, and especially when it comes to the attitude towards appointments.

Regarding the situation with the verbal contract, your brother should be able to sort this out too. The first thing is to call Telstra with some clear demands and let them know that you will be escalating to the telecommunications ombudsmen if they can’t resolve the situation. You should also let them know that you have the employee numbers and details of the contact so far, and to be clear that there was no verbal contract.

Hopefully, this will be enough to spur on the right result (whether that’s getting your initial appointment or cancelling the whole thing). However, if not, your next point of action is contact the TIO and make a complaint. It’s not a guarantee, but at this stage it’s still an easy and cost-effective way to go about the issue. If your brother-in-law can action this sooner rather than later, it will make the process a lot easier.

Let us know how it goes, and good luck.


Brendan Mays,

Thank you - yes I suggested that last night, but I’ll also let him know I heard from you that this was the way to go.

And yes I will let you know.



Hi Brendan,

Following up on the issue above, the account has now been cancelled. However the questions remains, how can someone tie person the a verbal contract. Does the person receiving the phone call really be held to an unsigned contract under consumer law? I know that there are instances whereby after a discussion with someone, sending an email confirming the discussions can make the discussion ‘legal’ unless there is a counter email returned. How does the law stand on unsigned contracts?


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Yes, contracts can either be in writing or verbal. A contract doesn’t need to be signed to become a binding contract.

Here is a link that provides more info.


I have had trouble with verbal contracts with Telstra where l later disagreed about what was actually agreed to,
so I requested a printed copy of " the verbal contract" and was told i had no right to get it in writing.
I assume Telstra must have kept a recording of our contract as proof of the contract existing, otherwise they can make up any rules they like with no accountability at all on their behalf.
We need consumer protection laws that require all verbal contracts to be followed up with a written copy of that contract provided, with all terms and conditions shown so it is clear to what was agreed to otherwise great confusion can occur down the track when trying to remember what was really said and promised.

John Cooper


I also have had trouble with an extremely aggressive advertising sales person from Telstra who insisted I had placed advertising in Yellow Pages and was invoiced accordingly. After many, many phone calls, the recording of the original sales phone call was finally ‘found’, and of course revealed that I had agreed to nothing and was badgered excessively. The very courteous young lady from Telstra who was assisting me by this time was ’ between a rock and a hard place’ as the original sales person was a recently appointed department manager. However, my account was credited in due course, so a good result after a very harrowing time.