Telstra Customer Service – A True Oxymoron

Telstra customer service – an oxymoron

I’m about as knowledgeable on telephonic hardware as I am with the inner workings of the female psyche but even I could have built a telephone out of cigarette ends and old tea bags, connected it to the telephone exchange with cold al dente spaghetti AND made the thing perfectly usable in the time it took Telstra to get me connected. I’ve waited more than a week and become painfully familiar with two dozen members of Telstra staff in as many ineffective departments.

A somewhat more serious side effect of spending so much of my life on the phone to Telstra, is not being able to get those bloody tunes out of my head. I feel violated by muzak.

Now that the telephone is connected, you’d think it was just a case of flicking a switch and the broadband would be activated but this is Telstra and nothing could be so simple.

No, Telstra insist that they need to send a modem even though I have made it clear that I have a one in perfect working order. They even agree that I can indeed use my existing modem and so I ask the obvious question.

After the usual pillar-to-post merry-go-round that is the Telstra trademark, the conversation with what sounded more like an Australian human than an Indian automaton (although I wasn’t entirely convinced), began like this…

Me – So, will you kindly activate my account?

Her – No, not until the new modem has been dispatched from our warehouse.

Me – But, you stated that I may use my existing modem, so why can’t you activate it now?

Her – The account is activated once the modem leaves the warehouse.

Me – But I don’t need a modem and you have clearly stated that I can use my existing modem, so why waste your money and my time by sending a new one?

Here – That’s just the way it is. If a modem wasn’t ready to be dispatched, I could activate it now but the new modem is waiting…

Me – Yes, yes, I know all that but why don’t you simply remove the modem from the order?

Her – I can’t do that…(computer says “No”)

Me – Audible sigh!

You get the picture. This goes on for twenty minutes. The customer support representative explains that nobody is able to prevent the modem from being dispatched even though it is a harmless inanimate object, sitting defenceless with no means of preventing intervention.
“Computer says No!”

So now I must wait several more days for these fuckwits to go through the motions before my broadband can be activated.

The sad thing is that no amount of complaining will improve their service. Telstra is one of those unwelcome and depressing certainties down under…..just like the flies!


…an official who upholds petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense.


…someone who always obeys all the rules of their job even when they cause problems for other people or when the rules are silly


…a person who follows the rules of a job exactly, even when this causes problems for other people, or when the rules are not sensible


…a jobsworth is a person who uses his or her job description in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner.

…a minor clerical worker who refuses to be flexible in the application of rules to help a client or customer.

…a person in a position of minor authority who invokes the letter of the law in order to avoid any action requiring initiative, cooperation, etc

There is quite a bit more to this farcical tale but by now you are are probably as bored as I am……


  • I feel for you. For at least 2 years, I’ve been trying to access my mobile phone history on line. I’m the worlds worst sceptic, and a pragmatist as well, and won’t accept anything as cut and dried unless I can hold it in my hand, look at it and feel it. I have a perfectly visible feelable mobile phone that works, but despite this irrefutable fact, according to Telstra, I don’t exist. I’ve spent many an hour on the phone to some young lady in the Phillipines, who sometimes I can understand up to 50% of what she says if I put the phone on loudspeaker, and listen very carefully. Recently, after a 2 hour marathon, I somehow miraculously managed to cut through the shit, and actually got access to the treasure trove of information. Trouble is though, now I can’t access my landline and broadband account on line. Another marathon began that involved surrendering the 120 bucks in my mobile to Telstra, (remember we’re not dealing with the mobile account now.) and not get it back, plus a not negotiable minefield of bastardry. After 1/2 an hour of this, I refused to give them the 120 bucks, told them it’s too fucking hard, and gave up exhausted, and suffering telephone burnout. I’m a really persistant pain in the arse, who doesn’t back off ever, but Telstra is too good. They won. Now, against my greenie principals, and Telstra’s encouragement not to, I’ve had to go back to paper bills. What a shining example of utter incompetence, and from the largest communications company in OZ. What hope have we got if the aliens arrive. They can’t communicate with other humans. don’t even spikka da engliss.

    • I know we’re not alone John. The worst thing is, so do Telstra. Anyway, my original story was only the first chapters. I just didn’t have the energy to write the epilogue. I feel a new section coming on for the possibly upcoming discussion forum.

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