Telstra Bill Glitches Drive Dealers, Customers To Despair

telstrabillTelstra's never had much of a reputation for billing efficiency (it took the better part of this millennium for it to offer single bills to customers), but despite investing billions in the process, it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Mitchell Bingemann at Australian IT reports that some Telstra dealers are so frustrated with its current billing system that they're considering leaving the business altogether, and staff have quit rather than deal with the software. That's also bad news for customers, as one employee who recently quit explained:

Orders placed in error provisioning to rectify any problems can sometimes take up to three weeks to fix .This often results in the customer being left without a new phone or service.

Billing efficiency is very unlikely to be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing a new phone, but in terms of long-term hassle, it's definitely something to consider. Got your own experience of billing woe with Telstra or another provider? Share it in the comments.

Telstra billing woes worsen [AustralianIT]


Comments

    Having chosen to have my combined telephone/mobile/broadband account sent online, Telstra invariably don't send a notification email that the account is available. I get around this by using my computer's reminder program to remind me to login each month to my Bigpond site account when I assume the account is due. On one account recently they charged me an $11 "late payment fee" for an account paid two weeks before the "due date". After sending a rebuke, the amount was credited on my next account. And to make matters worse, I own shares in the company!

      Lance, so they made a mistake and then fixed it for you, so really your comment is a credit to Telstra's processes. Mistakes happen regardless of the company or system they use, it's the processes in place they have to rectify the issues that really matter.

    I have been receiving a monthly bill for $1.28 credit, ever since I left Telstra, which must have been more than twelve months ago.

      I'm in the same situation. I eventually requested a refund for the $1.89 they owe me. One month later, I got an email asking if I wanted the amount transferred to another Telstra account, which would be impossible because I don't have one. It's now 3 weeks since that reply and still nothing... It's safe to say I'll never do business with Telstra again.

      Same thing happened to my father for something like $60. Don't expect it to be sorted anytime soon. He was chasing it up for about 12 months before they finally waived the fee.

        I think you misread what you were replying to Natalie - they were complaining about a bill that had a small credit (which would of only taken 1 quick phone call to stop by the way.)

          Not necessarily - I had a similar "bill with credit" issue, took ages to get the right person on the phone, and when I did they said they couldn't transfer the credit (even though I still have other Telstra accounts) and that I'd have to get a cheque mailed. Apparently that would take six weeks. That's bad enough, but ten weeks later there's still no sign. I'm waiting until I'm in the right mood to waste time on the phone again to see if it can get sorted. My hopes are not high.

            Could of been an old account which was on the previous billing system, a non migrated one. I never really experiences any problems with the cheque being sent, it had always been a really painless affair with nothing really needed other then the billing address. Although from memory 6 weeks was the quoted time and i did always think was a bit steep.

              What Planet are you from? how much do you get paid? seriously?! I have been with Telstra for 24 months now, their severe ineptitude is amazing. Ive just had to pay an "account overdue" bill because they forgot to bill it to my new address, when i called and asked why, they muppet on the other end simply didn't know why. Another peev with telstra is the new iPhone plans with a generous old '150 MB of data!' cheers, thanks telstra!

            I had exactly the same issue with an account in credit. I left Telstra after months of billing issues (which I proactively chased every single time, thanks Craig Muldoon). Finally left with a $60 credit, which was sent as a cheque at my request. When I cashed the cheque, I then received a bill the next month for that $60.

            I called up to get that corrected, which the person on the phone was able to do immediately. However, I then received another cheque for $60. I held onto this one until the next billing cycle, and when I didn't receive another bill, I decided to leave well enough alone and not cash the cheque. Finally free of them, feels good.

      Craig, nobody has every made a _quick_ call to Telstra. :o)

    Adding my own tel$tra horror story.

    Moved into a new place, didn't receive any bills by mail. At first you'd think that it'll come in the next billing cycle. Well, it didn't. And they eventually cut off my landline without warning. Horrible telstra lady on the phone then proceeds to say that it's my own fault (even though my billing address in the system is correct).

    Anyway, the end result was that I literally had to pay a ransom just to get my line back (or potentially go for a very long time without the landline while I grapple with telstra). On top of that I had to pay a new reconnection fee with my ISP because telstra didn't just deactivate the line, they disconnected it.

    You'd think that this would be the last of it, but no. Reconnection was a massive hassle. Kept getting told that it would be connected "by the end of today" and that I would be contacted on my mobile if anything went wrong. And as expected of telstra, it didn't get reconnected, and I never received a call... Had to sit on hold for 40mins just to be told that it'd be held up till the next week.

    And even with the correct billing address, I'm still not receiving any bills in the mail for months (except for one that didn't have my unit number on it despite it being present when I rechecked my address). Eventually went over to email notifications (which is spotty at best).

    In the end, I just got tired of dealing with telstra over the phone so I tried emailing only to receive a response telling me to call them (and deal with the crappy call centre).

    Totally disgusted by the company. Already planning to bring my business elsewhere.

    When I signed up for BigPond Mobile Broadband, what should have been a 15 minute connection process ended up being two weeks and around 4 hours on the phone (total) because my account got "stuck in the system". What the hell does that mean?

    Sadly, the other telcos are worse. I moved from Optus to Telstra for my home phone and broadband and have experienced much better service with Telstra. While Telstra might only be a 6 out of 10, Optus are around a 3.

      It takes a very long time before you are completely disconnected, longer then what you would consider a normal billing cycle. Like so many you obviously didn't receive a bill so put your head in the sand for a couple of months. You could of called them at any time and asked how much money you owed, asked why you hadn't received your bill, etc etc. You didn't have to 'literally pay a ransom' to get your line back on, you had to pay your bill to get your line back on, pretty sure there is a big difference.

      Your problems and complaints stem from not taking responsibility for your own service. Yeah there may of been a mistake with the billing address, or the postal service, or Telstra's billing system, but you waited months before asking about your bill and that was only after your service disconnected - this is typical Telstra bashing at it's best, you should sell the story to Today Tonight/Current Affair.

        Actually Craig this has happened to me, my billing cycle is supposed to be 3 months, however they have disconnected my phone line for not paying bills that I havent been sent only after 4 months (only 30 days after the bill should have been sent). Also, for two days I was trying to get my phone line reconnected but was told that their billing system was down and to call back later. I have also delt with Telstra as part of my job as an ICT solution provider. Telstra HAS lost the plot Craig and they deserve every bit of 'Telstra Bashing' they get. I always try to keep my cool with the people in the call centres, poor buggers don't deserve to take it for Telstra.

    It could be worse, I'm with Vodafone Mobile Internet, which i hardly use, i get a letter from them saying within a week they will be sending me to the debit collectors for $230ish.

    I called them to find out WTF was going on, turns out the bank rejected one of the credit card payments for reasons unknown 5 months earlier, they never tried to bill again. When i asked why i wasn't told they said they sent an SMS (which i didn't get cause i wasn't using it).

    Lucky i didn't have any late payment fees i had to argue with them about, but as soon as the contract is up, they are gone. I'll never use them ever again

    Please do not talk to me about their billing system for fear of me losing it. After 2 weeks of calls & a total of 19 calls, telstra still has not been able to give me access to my online bills for tax purposes. I never requested non itemised bills, but they decided i would have it. Then when I need to add up the itemised calls they are not there. 19 calls & 2 weeks & they are still not able to get me access to it online. Ive sent numerous complaints which are replied with "Please call our support number"....which cant help you. They are completely useless.

    Typical Telstra bashing, they're no worse then any other company. They're certainly not perfect, as James had said they're prolly a 6/10 while Optus are a 3/10. You don't see Current Affair/Today Tonight programs running stories on Optus 3 nights a week, but why would you when you own shares in Optus - Mr Packer.

    Yeah, the new billing system stinks, it's Seibel. But it's the same billing system that hundreds of the top companies in similar industries use. It's also only really new to Telstra, and their retailers, so will also take some getting used to. It's certainly an improvement on before.

    As i said though, mistakes are made by all of the companies, and every company are going to have people that will have bad experiences in trying to deal with the mistakes, but having been in the industry before i would much rather be speaking with a Telstra representative then someone from any other company - if you have patience, don't be a douche, and do your research before hand then it's generally going to be painless.

    I'd like to echo what craig Muldoon has been saying. 99% of the time, people who whinge about billing issues don't think that they have any responsibility at all. If you are not receiving a bill, it's not all that hard to call and check up on it. Would you leave it alone for months on end if it was your bank statement that you weren't receiving? Of course not, but because a bill means you have to fork over your own dough, you'd rather bury you head in the sand and wait till it becomes a drama.

      James Packer owns a large chunk of CMH (Nine network), along with Kerry Stokes (KS is a key shareholder of Seven network). I doubt Packer has any say on whether Today Tonight does a story on Optus -- it's probably not sensationalist enough for the broadcast tabloids.

    Craig Muldoon, why do we see more complaints per customer from Telstra customers than we do from ANY other provider of Phone & Internet services?

    Its obvious you're employed by Telstra considering how zealously you defend them.

    9/10 people I have ever come in contact with have had bad experiences with Telstra whether it billing, call centre, service or price.

    Get off your high horse and stop defending the company that has had the monopoly in Australia and screwed every customer for decades without remorse.

    But I'm happy, people are leaving Telstra in droves and the only people holding on to their Telstra accounts are the older generation who don't know any better.

    I have been a big supporter of Telstra for many many years but after a recent succession of issues I find myself resigned to leaving. My most recent issue is not receiving bills through online billing way to often. You don't always think to check when your bill is normally due or then again I shouldn't have too. If a company cannot issue a bill on a regular and consistent basis then they only have themselves to blame for not getting paid. I am a customer who pays his bills on time every time and hate it when a bill does not get to me on time. In my case when I rang through to the credit area I simply could not understand the person on the line and I was unsure whether my request was completed. The customer service that I pay a premium for is simply no longer there in my opinion. Previously I would defend Telstra as I knew that you got great customer service and a good quality service. It appears to me that some of the Call Centres are no longer in Australia which is truly a shame as Aussie companies should employ Aussies.

    They have already lost our mobiles and will lose the homeline and ADSL this week. I am truly disappointed in the last few weeks service.

    I guess I will start getting calls to "Bring me back"...maybe they should try and look at why people leave and remedy that before people even think about leaving.

    Just my two cents worth!!

    Telscum is the business of making money -- they will ensure they get their pound of flesh every time, or they will make you sorry; whether or not you get your service connected is of no consequence to them, it is simply a matter for the Telecommunications Ombudsman, (which exists primarily for that purpose).

    The sooner Australians realise that fact, the sooner the shareholders will recieve their due dividends.

    I have been Telstra-less for nearly a year now and my life is great. My problems started after trying to merge my home and mobile accounts onto a single bill.

    The final account for my mobile (before it started on the merged account) was sent to an address in a different state, which I have never even visited let alone lived in. The first I knew of a problem was when I received a letter from the debt collection company.

    Refusing to deal with the debt collectors I made several calls over several months to Telstra who first told me that they would follow up - but never did- then that the issue was out of their hands and I would need to sort it out with the debt collectors - who didn't even have my correct details.

    After months of uncertainty, several hours on the phone repeating my story, sleepless nights and stress then finally a call to the telecommunications industry ombudsman (TIO) it was resolved with great ease.

    I would recommend anyone with a problem with any telco to try and sort it out with them first then skip the hassell and refer the matter to the TIO.

    I am now with Optus and although the network isn't quite as good the service is much better.

    When I used to work at Telstra, I've used the service at a discounted price. Even as a staff I wasn't happy with the service and price. Can't wait to use other provider as soon as my contract is over. According to Telstra, at this level of service, the good thing is -- the only way is up.

    After moving into my new home i combined internet/home phone/mobile/foxtel. 2 weeks after i connected i was sent a notification $586 overdue - i hadn even recieved a bill. Call telstra they say they will correct it n send a new bill..for the past 4 months we have been recieving the wrong bill, calling telstra they say they will send us a correct bill, still yet to recieve one. Then come home to no internet or phone working - call them they say its cause we haven paid but it shouldnt have been disconnected because previous notes say our situation etc nothing they could do right away but would be reconnected within 24hours now today our foxtel is gone - after hours cant get in contact with anyone who can do anything only been told it says unpaid balance. Its ridiculous!

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