Why do telstra make it so hard to purchase an item from them?

Why do Telstra Make it hard to buy stuff from them?

Recently I wanted to increase the Wi-Fi capabilities of our house and being with Telstra and having a Telstra Smartgen Modem Gen 2, I went with a Telstra Smart Wi-Fi Booster Gen 2.

First, I tried to purchase this item online but over 5 consecutive days of trying without success I gave that up. I couldn’t purchase it with a credit card or even add it to our account.

I then telephoned Telstra and although I am a bog-standard consumer, I somehow ended up in the business section. I explained to the operator that I wished to purchase said WiFi booster (and couldn’t online). I then had to supply all my personal details and was asked why I wanted a booster. I explained the reason. The operator then said she would have to put me through to technical support, but didn’t answer when I asked, “why”. Twenty minutes later, I am put through to the business technical support, and they were just as non-plussed as I was as to why I had had to make contact with them. I explained that I wanted to purchase a WiFI booster and that I did NOT need any support. They tried to put me back to sales, but I had had enough by then, and so I ended the call.

A couple of days later I was in town and went into the local Telstra shop and asked if I could buy this Wi-Fi booster. After 10 minutes searching somewhere, the assistant came back and stated that they had no stock, and suggested I purchased the WiFi booster online.

Three or 4 days later, after setting aside a whole morning for the transaction, and when I had summoned up enough courage to contact Telstra, yet again, I phoned them and you guessed it, I was put through to the business section. Yet again I supplied all my personal details, including my grandfather’s inside leg measurement, but I managed to purchase a booster for the sum of $218. Yippee. It had only taken just over a week to achieve a result. It was promised in 2-3 days because of my previous experience, that was a week ago, it’s still to arrive.

The next day I signed in (new customer) to a Home Theatre website and, purchased a quite expensive item for around $X,xxx, and the sale was concluded in under 15 minutes (no invasive personal details) and it arrived within 3 working days.

Why do Telstra make it so hard to buy from them? BTW during these transactions, I was apologised to in excess of 20+ times.

I promise that I won’t get started on how long it took me to get a $6.99 refund from Telstra Home Movies, for being charged for renting the same movie(inadvertently) twice! I had to lodge an official complaint to get the refund!


An obvious question is why you persevere with them when there are so many alternatives that are less evil to deal with, according to almost all reports. Admittedly there are some companies seeming to challenge for the ‘Telstra gong’ but usually fall short, even if only by a hair.


It’s after the event, but you could have bought any wi-fi extender, or even used an old router if you had one that can be configured as an access point or an extender. Would have probably cost less and saved you a week’s worth of angst. :slight_smile:


Perhaps the catch here is there is a wide range of technical abilities, or inabilities in the community.

Telstra and their brethren can effectively deliver a broadband service, install and turn on the wireless modem, and show you where the wireless password/code is written in the underside of the box with all the lights.

Some users may even simply rely on the magic of the WPS button.

A logical conclusion for some is that if you buy a Telstra WiFi range extender it will magically self configure or require just a simple press of a button to become part of the home network. No tech knowledge required.

Some of us who know a little more would do as you suggest and buy any one of a number of off the shelf products at JB Hifi or Umart or … online with a two day delivery. And hold no fear of logging in as an admin to change all the default settings as well as set the necessary connection options.

An Aside:
I remain wedded to the notion that many home internet users remain in ignorant bliss of the greater technical realities of the web. None more so than my happy neighbours who inform me that they don’t need or use the internet or NBN. They already have Foxtel from Telstra, and the phone is working just fine. Little do they suspect that the Foxtel comes via Telstra ADSL! :wink:

I hope when it does arrive @tmar5954 purchase comes with easy to follow setup instructions suitable for the average home user.


Look I didn’t post this to show up my shortcomings in this area - but to point out how bad it is to buy stuff from Telstra compared to other online retailers. I was apparently wrong.
Background: OK I was on my second smartgen2 modem the first stopped working and Telstra sent a free replacement. I had purchased a Netgear RAX80 as a wifi router and 2 Netgear EX7300’s as wifi extenders. None of these wanted to play nicely with the Telstra Modem and as Netflix, etc kept dropping out - I thought that purchasing a Telstra wifi extender item may well give me the best compatibility and wifi signal. Since then the Telstra smart gen modem started to turn on and off again - so I swapped it for a Netgear D7000, modem router, and everything works really well with that and I have a stable wifi signal. The Telstra wifi extender if it ever turns up will be RMA’d straight back to them.

My post was trying to put a spotlight on poor Telstra selling practices and not my perceived poor purchasing methods. Giving the background in the original post made no sense at that time, but included here for clarity.


Apologies if I’ve not understood what your initial motivation for dealing with Telstra was?

We have several members of the extended family who live by Telstra for broadband. They choose to stay with Telstra, when they could go elsewhere, because they assume it is the only way to avoid having to deal with the technology first hand. It is not a criticism of them individually. It’s simply an observation that we all have different needs and apply different strategies to getting there.

Occasionally one of us others has had to help out, where we can. One member had found how to turn the WiFi off! Intended to prevent anyone stealing their internet. The consequence as you clearly understand is to limit net use to sitting at a table next to the modem with an ethernet cable connection. The world ended when they purchased a new laptop with only wifi and no ethernet port!

There may be as you suggest an underlying issue with the Telstra supplied modem, or internet service. I’m sure there are others in the Choice community who would offer constructive feedback if you wish to share some of the problems with the Telstra service.

We abandoned Telstra as a fixed line and internet service provider after more than twenty years.


Thank you for the clarification. One shortcoming of these forum threads is trying to understand the original posters question and/or intention if it is not clearly & fully laid out.

I dealt with Telstra at a corporate level while it was a monopoly, and continued to deal with them when the industry was deregulated. They always behaved as if it was a privelige dealing with them, and we should be grateful, even though we were spending many millions of dollars wiith them. You should have seen their outrage when I started to move some of our busines to other providers!

This imperiousness does not seem to have changed within the Telstra monolith to this day. They just don’t seem to care about their customers.

Consider yourself privelidged that they deigned to sell you their products.


I have dealt with several companies re their supplied internet connection products. Each is a lesson in patience building. Some days you get the right person who understands the issue and responds with exactly the right answer/service or supply of part needed. The next day you may get to make what ends up being a journey into Dante’s vision of the 9 circles of hell, with referral from one person then to another then back again then on to the next one and then back again and so on it repeats for an hour or two or the phone battery finally expires. Then when you get a part oh joy of joys it isn’t the correct one and requires more phone calls more re-explaining the bleeding obvious ad infinitum to several persons some of whom the English language is perhaps the one they are currently learning and they get to use you for practice.

But this isn’t just telcos…electricity retailers, info tech, anything that involves online/telephone customer contact for support leverage the same tactics to dissuade their suckers sorry customers from even dreaming to attempt the maelstrom they call Customer Service.


I have had similar experiences with Telstra but recently joined up with the dreaded nbn & found it as bad as everyone said. Had to get a new phone & it actually came the next day - I couldn’t believe it !!!

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Thanks for the comments @sharonl7.

Do you mean to say good experiences or not so good? Are you able to share what it is that Telstra did to make you happy or?

How bad was it? There are plenty of woeful outcomes for some of us.

Not everyone is grumbling about the NBN. There are those of us who have shared actual NBN experiences with the Choice Community. Good and bad.

I can say that getting the NBN HFC external install done right was a challenge, however the NBN Co and their contractors were able to be approached. In the end there was a satisfactory outcome. I’d rather have seen a full fibre install. That is a different issue due to direction by Government on the NBN.

The final internal install of the NBN to our urban place in Brisbane was rescheduled to suit our availability. The contractor turned up as appointed and all was finished in under an hour. It works as intended including using our aged Telstra Push button phone on the VOIP port. No need to buy a new phone. The NBN phone service will function with just about any phone from the past 20 years.


I completely understand where you are coming from.

I too wanted to but a new Smart Modem 2 after mine got fried during an electrical storm. I tried the Telstra shop and they suggested that I should just go to JB HiFi.
I mentioned to the assistant that the modem needed to work with my phone to which she replied they nearly all do.
At JB HiFi the assistant pointed me at a quite expensive modem and I was assured it would work with my phone.
Of course when I got it home it didn’t work with my phone at all!
I supposed I should have clarified with the JB hiFi assistant that I was on the NBN. I did get a refund.
So I got onto the Telstra service department and complained about how the Telstra shop sent me to JB HiFi and how the modem did not work. It was explained to me that for my phone to work with Telstra account on the NBN it MUST be a Telstra modem!
Who Knew? not the Telstra shop and not JB HiFi thats for sure.
I got sent a new free modem and it all worked out of the box!


As posted in other threads Telstra would not be alone in mandating use of their modem for NBN VOIP service. No way JB would necessarily have known although that brings up a good point in these times that they should have a list and ask the question about who your service is through, but the Telstra shop? A fail.

This brings up another aspect that if one changes providers from a BYO friendly to a BYO hostile RSP it should be done eyes wide open. I wonder how many NBN sales reps ask if someone is using a BYO modem on their existing service, or if they just advise the new one will be delivered in 3-5 business days without explanation?


Like you I lost my NBN phone when I stopped using the Telstra Modem, but I purchased a Cisco SPA112 2-Port Phone Adapter and have gone with another phone provider and the NBN phone works again.


Cheers I didn’t know there was such a thing. I’ll look into it further


The problem has always been that most nbn™ plans have the VOIP plan bundled in. Telstra and a number of others hide the VOIP information in the modems they supply and will not release it if you use another nbn™ approved modem that isn’t supplied by your RSP (Retail Service Provider who used to be called ISP before).

You can however pay another VOIP system provider to use a non-bundled VOIP system (there are some out there) or you can change to a RSP who will supply their VOIP details for non-supplied modems eg Aussie BroadBand (ABB) happily supply the details. Just ensure you get a modem that has VOIP ports or a device that plugs into your modem that supports VOIP.
Some VOIP providers (not to be taken as recommendations and included only for research):






If you are lucky enough to have FTTP this software issue is not a problem as you plug the phone or extension into the designated VOIP port on the nbn™ Network Termination Device on your wall. The same goes for Fixed Wireless and Satellite as it does for FTTP but if it was me I would require the copper Telephone line to be kept in these two cases.


I recently attempted to buy an iPhone 11 outright from Telstra. They told me they don’t sell certain phone models without a plan. Even their website shows that the phone cost and plan are simply added thus there absolutely no benefit to getting a phone on a plan, plus you are then stuck on the plan until it ends. And no, they won’t help set up your new phone.
Successfully purchased elsewhere, and now looking into new call plans…


I agree TheBBG, but don’t go with Optus either they have been students of Telstra and have passed with flying colours when it comes to lack of customer service.


We took the time to detour to one of the Apple Stores. Their staff happily set up the backup and transfer from my partners Samsung to her new iPhone. The hard yards included assistance in getting to the key features and setup of the new phone. The stores don’t seem to mind who you use for your service.

I had similar great service when my in warranty iPad developed a fault. You are supposed to book ahead. It took more than an hour, but in the end I walked away with a brand new device, with everything loaded up and the old one handed back to Apple.

Yes, Telstra and Optus do not understand customer service, other than as a cost.


@tmar5954 they’re not actually trying to make it hard. Telcos, like banks and car companies (insert as necessary) worked long ago that there’s solidarity in being equally appalling so 1. you can leave them but it’s a rotating door ie as you’re leaving someone who’s appalled with another vendor is coming in, and 2. once you’re hooked on a particular product or service you need them more than they need you (see #1).

Companies are interested in making money, nothing else, and they will get away with the cheapest options possible for extracting it. To provide better service would require increasing staff salaries and training, at greater cost, which is simply unnecessary since we keep buying their stuff.

This is one of the reasons that companies who provide unthinkably poor service and do horrible things still make billions. Until they get boycotted by enough people such that it hurts their bottom line (ps this will never happen) they essentially don’t care and we’re long conditioned to muddle through this ‘norm’. So they’re not trying to make it hard, it’s just that they don’t need to be better.

For example, Westpac senior management was reported to have been asleep at the wheel in relation to money laundering transactions occurring in relation to some abominable crimes but I wonder how many folks closed their accounts…the data on this will be gold for them and other banks in terms of their actual vulnerabilities.

CEOs don’t get paid obscene amounts to make you happy, otherwise most of them would get sacked. They get paid obscene amounts to keep the money coming in.


I agree CEO’s make obscene amounts, but when it was called out to me what a movie actor or top sports person gets they could well be underpaid if you think about it. Nah, the others are ridiculously and grossly overpaid, far more overpaid than the CEOs, who are seriously overpaid.