CHOICE membership

What happens if I change from Telstra while under contract?

I started a 12 month contract with Telstra in December (Good Guys Promo). I tried to set up my online account so I could set up direct debit but could not. I raised a fault ticket. Nothing. Tried again - they found an old account from 15 years ago blocking (go figure). I had to use my old email. I did. Still could not set up account. Escalated ticket. Nothing. I raised a complaint. I insisted they fix my online account issue because I did not want to pay every month - I wanted to set up direct debit. They called me back - offered $100 compensation, gave me reference numbers and logon pins. Received another bill - did not pay as I thought the $100 would cover. Tried to call with the numbers and details they gave but got ‘code not valid’ from the VRU and could not get an operator. Then my service was suspended. I raised a new complaint. Nothing. I went to the ombudsman 23 Feb. TELSTRA has till 11 Mar to deal with me. At this point still nothing but I have no service, can’t call telstra, cant reply to their SMS (uses mobile data even if Wifi available). I am fed up.

What would happen if I started an account with another provider, say TPG. Once I validate the SM they inform Telstra while I am in debt or dispute?

Will Telstra block number transfer while there is a debt and/or dispute? They do not have my credit card details.

If I went ahead and changed, what should I expect? I do not know the cancellation terms - they were not noted on the contract I signed in store.

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Sadly your experience of poor customer service with Telstra is not an isolated one. I tried to find a decent single topic here that would help address your issues but the search led to far too many. I suggest you search the site for Telstra and note the ones that might seem pertinent to your issues…note they might range over home telephone, nbn™, customer service but many of those would offer some hope of finding some help or answers.

Also try their Complaints Department as it may offer better hope

https://www.telstra.com.au/contact-us/feedback-complaints/make-a-complaint

You could leave them a message on Facebook if you use it as well, or finally if you want the TIO will take a complaint

https://www.tio.com.au/making-a-complaint

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Your patience is admirable. This shemozzle is quite normal for Telstra. You could do much better going to another carrier. If you search the forum there are other threads discussing mobile phone plans.

I am not a lawyer, but if it were me I move and if Telstra tries to block you, I would argue that Telstra has not delivered the service that you requested (and therefore they have not complied with the contract). Under the ACL this is a major fault and you can claim compensation (not a credit) for leaving you without a working mobile phone since December.

If you want to go down that path, go to the Choice website & download the email complaint for a major fault .

For a MAJOR fault please have a look at: Replacements and Refunds, What is a Major Fault? at ACCC: Repair, replace, refund.

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Don’t go there … Read the reviews on Product Review: https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/tpg-mobile & https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/tpg-broadband They have thousands of ONE STAR reviews and negative comments. They are all about sales, but offer no support.

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My support with TPG has been great, not that I have had many issues. The most important one was a firmware upgrade to the router they supplied to address security issues. While they couldn’t make the firmware changes they put me in contact with a support person in the manufacturer’s headquarters who supplied an update within a day (and made it a download for AU). I think Telstra rates about as badly as do Optus…maybe it’s in reality the nbn™ and the NBN Co. creating many of the issues and leaving RSPs to deal with the calamity that arises. Satisfaction definitely not guaranteed no matter whom you deal with.

The CSG was a way to get some small compensation in the past and the USG is supposed to address the new way but in reality Customers are a long way down the list of priority in any of these systems.

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Telstra had several legacy systems for accounts that were retained when new systems were introduced. Migration for some customers was not an option, or so I was told when I had similar issues. You appear to have been caught by one of their work arounds. I found there was no one in any Telstra Shop who could resolve in full. Due either to a lack of understanding, or understanding and a lack of permissions.

As a glimmer of hope for your situation, there were in my instance a select team of problem solvers attached to the Telstra Area Manager. I managed to get my needs escalated to the responsible Telstra Area Manager with the assistance of the local Federal MP. This resulted in a personalised contact, regular emails and cc of progress. It still took more than one month to land an outcome once the expert problem solver was onto it. I don’t believe it should matter what colour of pin the local MP wears. Their office, if you can front up to the counter in person is likely to have access to an alternate pathway. Especially if you are polite, despite the level of personal suffering and distress. Being prepared to show you have done all that is asked and turning up as a last resort would not be stretching reality as you explain it. Telstra is very conscious of the political perceptions of it’s profile, on all sides.

Note:
I persisted and after more than 12 months I had most items resolved. Unless you have a particular and unique need to stay with Telstra, starting again with someone else afresh while you arm wrestle with Telstra is the expensive but least stressful of the bad options, in my experience. I did for other services and all but a particular business need that could not be walked away from until … I still have one Telstra legacy, but that is all within my control now.

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This will be the most likely outcome if you have a contract with Telstra. When Telstra is contacted by the new mobile provider, they will block the churn based on the fact you are under a contract with them…which is active and hasn’t been paid out.

Churning to another provider will be possible only when Telstra terminate your contract with them.

Assuming the contract allows direct debit payments and the issue is with Telstra, I would be formally requesting termination of your contract when they contact you before the 11 March. This will allow you to move to another provider of your choice.

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Thank you Mark - this has been illuminating and helpful - I can see it wont be over soon so must think of options till this is sorted - I will escalate to get the attention of an area manager…

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And thank you PHB - I did find the cancellation terms and they are crippling so will wait as you suggest. Sigh…

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And thanks everyone else - I have made complaints and gone to the TIO - next stop my local Federal MP! I too have had only good experiences with TPG so happy to go back to them.

JJ

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We are the same. If Telstra terminates the contract, TPG is worth exploring…however…

The main disadvantage of TPG mobile is the coverage is slightly less than Optus and considerably less than Telstra in rural/remote areas. If you reside or travel a lot in regional areas, it might be worth looking at a Telstra on-seller such as Boost or the other ones that exist. These are significantly less than Telstra but some have the same level of coverage. Check the coverage when searching around as some while they use Telstra, only use part of the Telstra network rather than the whole network.

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Thanks - I live in the Inner West of Sydney and I’m surprised at how poor the Telstra coverage is. Much less than TPG. I understand Telstra Is strong in more places but surprisingly weak in Marrickville!

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I am in Marrickville too. I have Aldi mobile - $249 per year unlimited phone & SMS + 80 GB of data (it might have gone up to 160 GB). They also roll over unused data so at the moment I have 524.97 GB available. Aldi use the Telstra network but do not have access to the top level Telstra package. In my experience this is ok and far better than the Optus carrier available through TPG.
I had been with iinet for about 20 years but after the TPG take-over the service dropped of significantly. I have switched to Exetel for NBN and have had no problems. No matter what NBN company you are with, use a Gmail email account as this allows you to move from supplier to supplier without having to change your email address all the time.

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Gmail is one of several “Free” email services, Microsoft Outlook offerings eg Hotmail, Live, then there is Yahoo. As always a free service comes with a price just not a monetary one. Indeed free service such as one of these offers portability from RSP to RSP.

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Write to the CEO Andy Penn
that is likely to work.
Do demand a reasonable amount of money for their breach of contract.
send it registered person to person.

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Thanks everyone for their helpful suggestions. In the end, my problem - since December last year - was solved (a lot of double handling, repeating the problem having to do the same things at least twice). So while very dissatisfying I will stay with T for the contract - they did give me credit for one month. that did tip the balance a bit. Just still iffy about the signal strength in my areas.

Again thanks to all - I learnt a lot - especially about the impact of legacy systems and old accounts - I still have to use a 15 yo defunct email address as my USERNAME because they just can’t/wont change it and if I follow their advice I end up in a loop always leading back to the old one).

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It is a historical outcome of ‘lazy IT’ done in days when life was simpler. Modern systems often have an account number as the core ID for each customer or member - things associated can thus be changed so long as the core ID is static; once upon a time the core ID was sometimes the username/login for many companies, even for the likes of yahoo. (I have an old yahoo email that I cannot make go away without making a new account and doing my own migration - so it will live on.)

The core identifier cannot be changed without migrating the entire database and thus ‘everything’ to a new schema, and that is costly and can be error prone which requires more diligence and thus more cost, so they consciously don’t do it.

Some companies can and will offer a solution whereby you make/get a new login account and they will migrate your information and data from the old one to the new one, and some won’t but it does not hurt to ask.

It is also possible your problem is Telstra’s ‘customer friendly customer service policy’ that in the end tells them it is not their problem…

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