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Telstra "Guiness Book Of Records" Billing Stupidity


An (almost) unbelievable screw-up by Telstra billing which would almost make Optus seem competent.


Worst case of bill shock I’ve heard about. Technical error or not, it’s surprising there isn’t a fail-safe for this.


Sifting through the Grimshaw drama seems to reveal that the customer knew all along they weren’t responsible for the bill (one would need to be a little naïve to say the least to think it was ‘real’), they didn’t avail themselves of the services of the TIO, they were not aware credit reporting issues can be fairly easily corrected, they seem rather interested in compensation and less than impressed with an unreserved apology … and “Tech guru Trevor Long”? interesting …

I can’t help but wondering if some more detail of the bill breakdown and plan would be ‘telling’ - of course it could easily be an error, they happen, quite believable …

I think the real damage is done here if you suffer through the whole pantomime of an “A Current Affair” segment. The only positive outcome for me being validation of the mental health benefits of unplugging my television antenna :wink:


Perhaps there was, and the human factor was either too busy or perhaps saw an opportunity to create some mischief. Hopefully Telstra provides a more complete explanation?

Until relatively recently one of my Accounts with Telstra sat in a legacy business system. In finally getting into the current billing system it became apparent there are issues within Telstra’s systems. In particular with customers caught between changes or updates to Telstra’s account management and billing systems. Who knows, Telstra doesn’t?

It appears simpler just to close an account and start all over again with a new contract and possibly a new Telco! :thinking:


I have a decent set of ad-blockers on my browser so I couldn’t even read the story. The headline was enough - what kind of idiot needs to go on TV to complain about an obviously messed-up invoice! I suppose they need some sort of drama to keep the plebs watching.

Don’t assume that a new provider will automagically fix everything. I had problems with a bill from another phone provider for three months in a row - invoicing the wrong amount, then crediting the wrong amount, then forgetting what they were doing…


You are forgetting that TIO wants you to deal with the provider on first instance. It appears that the woman had difficulty in getting past the Telstra call centre onto someone in charge and with authority to investigate further.

Telstra billing obviously does not have any exception reporting to alert itself to instances such as these cases.

i have learnt with Telstra billing to do everything via email and not by phone after Telstra denied promising me something over the phone only to deny the phone-based promise later on.


What about the recording that they make “for quality and coaching purposes”?

@BrendanMays, do you know if the consumer can ask for such a recording to be made available? It seems unfair if Telstra could choose to use the recording if it supported them but withhold it if it backed up the complainant.


I have developed a habit of saying “Okay, hold on while I start my recording” after being read this script. While I cannot remember exactly which company it was, but there was a phone company representative who responded “Oh, I don’t know that you’re allowed to do that” - to which I responded “then neither are you”.

No, I have no idea how to record the conversation on my phone - but they don’t know that.


Just in case,if you use an android phone go here and for iphone here.



Tried that. Telstra wanted me to go on contract; I was one of the first signups. I agreed to go on a contract; Telstra agreed for me to remain on my current and lower rate for a year. Six months later Telstra said I needed to pay the higher rate and disavowed the agreement. I escalated but Telstra claimed no record of the agreement and any recording was no longer available. I haven’t forgotten. Intend to ditch Telstra once NBN arrives.


As long as you notify the other person (this is to meet federal law) and in some States and Territories they must have the right to not agree then yes you can record the conversation if they agree.

For a better briefing on these points read the following links:


I’ve dealt with the TIO on a number of occasions for both myself and as an agent for others, all with successful outcomes, so I’m not aware of anything I’m forgetting (pun intended) - in this story she did deal with the provider in the first instance, then went to the media when she could have quite legitimately gone to the TIO. In two of the cases I’ve been involved in, both billing issues, the first step the TIO took was to put my case to what was effectively a TIO issue tasked ‘rep’ in the telco; in both cases they resolved the problem with no further interaction from the TIO other than me confirming the issue was resolved. It was my understanding from the ‘rep’ themselves that they were not someone normally accessible through the telco direct, their job was TIO complaints.

She got an outcome of course, with the inherant ‘media coverage’ - not the kind of public exposure I’d like …