Recently, The Banana Republic has become a place for venting against things that have pissed me off. Tonight, something different.
If I’m honest, it is a story which started out likely to turn into another rant against stupid corporations, and one in particular (who I’ve already complained about in November). That changed though.
A week ago, I spent five calls and almost three hours trying to sort out a problem with Telstra. In my household, we have a 100Gb/month broadband account. That works out at ~3Gb/day and we have two levels of usage – when I am the only one using the net, it’s around 1-2Gb/day, and when my house-mate’s son is visiting, it jumps up to 8-10Gb/day. Last Sunday though, I got warning emails, all timestamped 16:00 on 19 April:
“You’ve used 50% of your quota”
“You’ve used 85% of your quota”
“You’ve used 100% of your quota and will be rate-limited until the month renews”
On the painfully slow net, I checked my usage – everything normal until Saturday 18th, when we managed to use 196Gb in a day! That’s when the first of the five phone calls happened.
It was only on the last call – by which time I was getting a bit frustrated with that faux-American accent the call centre drones in the Philippines have – that the situation became clear. By that time, I’d used one of my free quota expansions to return to normal operating speed, and I did a speed test. The line was operating at 16.8Mbps. Multiply that out, and it means I can download 172Gb/day. Even if I had been running my connection as hard as it could go on the Saturday, I couldn’t have got within 20Gb of what Telstra were claiming I’d used.
The way Telstra call centres are outsourced though, the customer service people in the call centres have zero access to the back end of their network – they couldn’t tell me what the data I’d supposedly downloaded was, and as Filipino slaves, they were unable to display any initiative and deviate from their call-centre scripts. Result: I was going to get nowhere with them, so I asked the matter be escalated.
By Thursday – when the week’s weather had thoroughly distracted me and everyone else within a hundred miles from mundane matters like data metering – I got a call from their back-office people, who told me the metering was wrong (yeah, I already knew that) and that the data block I’d used to un-shape my connection would be refunded (as it should be).
Four days later, the usage meter is still showing the massive overrun on 18 April, so I tonight opened up a chat window to ask when that’d be fixed. It wasn’t really bugging me, but knowing how much we’ve actually used is helpful for rationing the data as we get closer to the end of the month.
Abigael from Telstra took ages to read all the history from the previous contact I’d had with them, but in the end, she refunded the data block I’d used, AND put a credit on my account so my next bill will be almost zero.
That is the outcome which should have happened a week ago. And in a company with decent customer service, would have. But The Evil Empire gave it eventually, so they deserve bouquets for that.