Friday, September 13, 2013

Optus never ceases to amaze

Optus is probably not the world's worst phone company.  Some British company would probably beat them for that title.  But they would be in the running.

Would you like to take over somebody else's phone number?  If they are with Optus it is a cinch.  You just sign up with some other company  -- say Dodo -- and tell them that you want the number.  Dodo will then simply ask for it and Optus will give it to them no questions asked.  You would imagine that Optus would ask their customer if he wanted to lose his number or not  -- but no siree!

Sound crazy?  It is.  But Optus have just done exactly that to me.  They cancelled my number and gave it to Dodo -- even though my account was paid in advance and I have had it for ten years without giving them any problems with late payments.

I of course protested and it was then that I was told that they perform no checks if another phone company asks for a particular number.  It's obviously a cost-saving measure for them.

After I wrote to Paul O'Sullivan, their CEO, about the matter, they got my number back from Dodo but tell me that they are so hard worked that it will be another week before my account will actually be restored.  Most people who ring me have my mobile number but otherwise it would be a read teeth-grinder to lose my landline for 3 weeks.  It could happen to you.  Change to another provider.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Paul O'Sullivan
1 Lyonpark Rd
Macquarie Park
NSW 2113


Dear Sir,
I am writing to you because my attempt to get YOUR bungle fixed has already cost me significant money.  I spent so much time taking to your helpline that my mobile phone credit ran out.

The bungle is that landline 33914*** was disconnected and transferred elsewhere by you without authorization.  I want it back.  The account is jointly operated by Judith Burgess and myself.

I enclose the cheque you sent me.  Please cancel it and credit to my restored account.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Qld 4102
3 December, 2012

Paul O'Sullivan


I have finally and totally had it with you shitheads.  Because of poor connections, I moved my mobile internet connection from you to Telstra and I am now not renewing my prepaid Optus mobile phone A/c either.

My prepaid mobile A/c is shortly due for a topup but when I logged onto your site I clicked all around it and could find NOWHERE that told me how long a given recharge lasts.  Why can't expiry information be given beside each payment option?

So I will let the A/c expire.  You are not interested in business and you have been an unremitting nuisance to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gabba 4102
26 September, 2012

Kahla Fowler
Customer Relations

Dear Madam,

As you know from past correspondence, I have had great difficulty getting useful service out of my Optus wireless dongle.  I use it to access the internet on a prepaid basis. A/c 93229678000112.  During the month of May, however, I got some use out of it from time to time so I was rather of the view that I had finally cracked the system. 

When I logged on this evening (26th) however, I was disabused of that notion.  I logged on around 7pm and had great difficulty getting any connection at all.  After repeated tries I did however get a connection.  The connection did not allow me to load anything, however.  Even Optuszoo would not come up!  So that looked like an overload situation.  I figured out however that maybe 7pm was a peak time and I might have better luck later.

I did.  At 9pm I got connected straight away and even managed to log onto a page on the net.  That was the sum of my success, however.  I could not get onto any other pages.  Overload was again the obvious diagnosis.

You obviously cannot provide the service you advertise so I think you should buy back my dongle.

In the absence of a constructive reply I will raise the matter with the TIO. I might let SingTel know too.  You really are a disgrace.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gabba, Brisbane
Qld 4102
28 March, 2012

Paul O'Sullivan

Dear Sir

Re: 0422 813761 Prepaid internet access

I have an Optus wireless dongle that I use mostly for when my Telstra cable connection is down.  I live half way up a hill just across the water from the CBD so it is reasonably satisfactory in that application.

When I bought it, however,  I also had in mind that I would be able to use it on the rare occasions that I am away from home for any length of time.

I was at the Wesley hospital today for a procedure that involved a lot of waiting so I loaded up $15 worth of prepaid credit on my account and  took my netbook along to do some net surfing while I was waiting.  It was hopeless.  I did manage to access one of my usual sites but as soon as I clicked on a link, the connection dropped out.  I basically had no reception at a site only 5 minutes drive from the Brisbane CBD.

I am astounded that the reach of your service is so limited.  I paid $15 for nothing.   Would YOU like to pay $15 for nothing?

May I suggest that you extend to 6 months the time I have to use the $15?   I am much minded to bring your poor service to the attention of the TIO but I await your response first

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Qld 4102
21 January, 2012

Paul O'Sullivan
Chief Executive

Dear Mr O'Sullivan,

You seem to be very poorly served by your staff.  A letter of enquiry that I wrote to Optus went unanswered for over a month so it took an appeal to the TIO to squeeze out an answer.  And when I got an answer (from your customer relations man Daniel Campbell) the information he gave me was wrong.

I was enquiring about how I get more time to use money I have paid towards prepaid access to your wireless internet access.  When Mr Campbell finally got off his behind he rang me to say that if I topped up $50 at a time I would get more than 30 days to use the money.  I asked him to put that in writing, which he did.  All very well if it were true.  But it is not.  Upon logging on I found that I would have to pay $80 to get such access.  How come your senior executives don't know the basics?

My use of your service is only sporadic so the time given to me to use the money is important.  I note that for mobile phone service I have to do only a $30 topup to get six months to use the money.  Why is it not the same for computer topups?

If $50 had in fact given me 6 months to use the money,  I would certainly have gone for that option.  Instead I did only a $15 and 15 day topup as my immediate requirement for your service will be  over the next few days only.   So, far from getting $50 or $80 out of me, you got only $15!

I also note that users are expected to subscribe to services called "RevUp" and "OWB".  What does that mean?  Your site gives no clue.

I hope you have the courtesy to give me a prompt and thoughtful reply to this letter.  If you do not, I will be writing to Singtel, not the TIO this time. I have done so before when confronted by past instances of Optus obtuseness.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Qld 4102
8 December, 2011



Dear Sir,

I am completely fed up with your facility for recharging mobile phones.

My no. is 0423 248795

I carefully navigated my way online  to your "186 day" recharge options and topped up my account with $30.  Your receipt  0E173F70E6244D0D993D56E7D8EDA2E6 refers.

Shortly thereafter I rang 555 to check my balance

I found that the $30 had been recorded but I was given only ONE WEEK more to use the funds.  Please correct your records.

In the absence of a prompt and satisfactory reply from you I will take the matter up with the TIO.  I am not going to cancel my service with you as I would rather keep pushing you towards decency in your dealings with your customers.  I have sure had a gutful of you by now -- going back to the year 2000 -- but I am not going to let you get away with it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Telcos resisting customer service reforms

Note the arrogance highlighted in red

PHONE companies are resisting major restructuring saying changes will be too costly to implement and that a new voluntary code will be more effective in addressing consumer concerns.

In submissions to Australian Communications and Media Authority's Reconnecting the Customer inquiry - published yesterday - the peak industry body, Communications Alliance, said it supported the ACMA draft report but that the industry's revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code would address the major issues raised in the report.

Key points the ACMA's draft report said must be addressed were: clarity in pricing, advertising and comparison between providers; improved complaints management; tools for users to monitor phone usage; and amendments to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Scheme.

The Communications Alliance submission said many of the concerns raised by the ACMA in its Draft Report had been addressed by the revised draft TCP Code.

The draft TCP Code has yet to be released, and no spokesperson from the Communications Alliance was available to comment.

Providing more information about telephone pricing and plans would only confuse consumers, the submission said.

Teresa Corbin, the chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said the industry was in denial about the threat of further regulation. "I think they're not facing up to the reality that they have to make some serious changes, and I think they're hopeful that by testing the waters they'll find that they can get away with just tinkering but they haven't really woken up to the fact that they need to make some radical changes. "

Clare O'Reilly, the project director of the ACMA inquiry, said there was a resistance to change. "Industry's view is that to try to explain pricing in a more simpler way is just not feasible.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Letter to Paul O'Sullivan, CEO, Optus

I am irate at a bit of systematic skullduggery you practice when your prepaid mobile phone users go online to get a recharge -- and I am thinking of drawing the attention of both ACMA and the TIO to it.

I believe in dialogue, however, so I will predicate my future action in the matter on your reply or non-reply to this letter.

I have prepaid mobile 0423 248 *** and when I last logged on to the net at the options presented allowed me only 30 days to use the recharge funds. I have had battles (which I won) with Optus since the year 2000 however so I was not going to lie down and take that. I wrote two letters querying the matter to your "help" staff and eventually someone rang me to let me in on the deep dank secret of how to get 6 months to use my recharge funds.

There is NOTHING on the recharge page to tell me so but if I change the default recharge from $20 to $30 an entirely new screen pops up and that screen allows a 6 month recharge. But even that screen does not SAY it provides a 6 month recharge. You just have to be "in the know" to realize what is happening.

It's no mystery what you are trying to do. You are trying to get less frequent users to waste their money by giving them insufficiant time to use their funds. In good Australian parlance, it is a RORT.

Unless you change BOTH screens to let customers know what is happening, look forward to a call from ACMA. And I think I might write to Singtel about you too.

You have just copped a $5 million fine for misleading and deceptive advertising. Do you want another one?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Optus fined for crooked advertising

BACK in July 2009, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel met with the chief executives of Australia's three largest telecommunications companies.

Telstra's David Thodey, Optus boss Paul O'Sullivan and Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief Nigel Dews had met to discuss the soaring number of complaints by consumers over confusing mobile and broadband plans, reported The Australian.

"The message I gave then was that the industry was in a race to the bottom in terms of advertising practices," Mr Samuel said. "That race to the bottom had to stop, advertising standards had to increase . . . (the ACCC) was getting too many complaints."

Mr Samuel said none of the parties was keen for the regulator to litigate on the matter and recalls the group agreeing to enter into a court-enforceable undertaking to lift their advertising standards.

One of the key issues was the use of so-called headline advertising in telecoms, which could go close to misleading behaviour. This was the use of an attention-grabbing major headline, diluted by a fine-print disclaimer.

That issue of headline advertising caught out Optus yesterday, when the Federal Court imposed a hefty $5.26 million fine for a series of broadband advertising campaigns that ran over a period of five months last year.

That Optus could receive the highest civil penalty for a consumer protection breach despite signing that undertaking in September 2009 was the real issue, Mr Samuel said.

Federal Court judge Nye Perram agreed, saying that fact had been considered when assessing the size of the penalty he was willing to impose. "What is involved is hypocrisy: the saying of one thing; the doing of another," Justice Perram wrote in his judgement.

"This has cost Optus lots of money and lots in reputation," Mr Samuel said.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Qld 4102
27 June 2011

Malcolm Tait
Team Leader
Customer support

Dear Mal

If you are the team leader, it must be a sorry team -- say 6th division?

I have your letter of 22nd but it gives no evidence of your having read the letter you are replying to.

I REPEAT: gives details of options that expire no later than 30 days.  That's 30,  30,  30.  How often do I have to repeat it?

SO AGAIN:  where do I find a link that gives me 6 months to use the recharge?

Surely I don't have to refer the matter to the TIO simply because you are too much of a numbskull to read a letter!

Yours etc

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Letter to: Prepaid mobiles, Optus

Dear Sir,

I recently attempted to recharge my Optus prepaid mobile 0423 248 ***

To my surprise, on checking online I found that your offers there have a maximum life of 30 days. When I first signed up, 6 month and 12 month expiry plans were available

By dint of about 10 minutes of button pushing, however, I was able to get a 6 month expiry recharge per phone. I started out calling 555 and then got referred to 444. Option 3 seemed the most relevant choice offered by 444 but when I pushed that I got told to piss off. I eventually tried option 2 and that worked. Amazing.

Please advise the internet link that will enable me to get an online 6 month recharge next time. I am a bit deaf so phone transactions are slow for both me and your operators.

Yours etc

Dr John Ray

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Optus dropouts enrage iPhone users but company says window tints are to blame

TELCO giant Optus has failed to reach 200,000 Australians while infuriating potentially millions more whose phones are dropping out across Australia's major cities.

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph revealed Optus iPhones constantly drop out or simply do not receive calls all over Sydney.

It has prompted an angry customer revolt against an atmosphere of consumer uprising in the 22,000-strong class action against Vodafone.

In online forums, some have even suggested Optus' coverage is worse than its beleaguered rival.

Optus announced in May 2008 it would increase coverage to 98 per cent of the population by 2009 and reception speeds to 42MBps by 2010. On the back of this it sold hundreds of thousands of iPhones, even outselling its larger rival Telstra.

But its promises are now in tatters. Speeds are up to 80 times slower and the carrier reaches only 97 per cent - more than 200,000 fewer people.

And for iPhone 3G users only 80-85 per cent of people are covered - although Optus says its fourth generation coverage reaches 97 per cent.

The Daily Telegraph tested an Optus iPhone 3G in varied buildings and conditions in suburbs on all sides of the CBD, including Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Erskineville and Balmain, in an apartment building, a house, a backyard and an office block.

In each the signal failed, the phone did not receive calls or was so distorted as to be useless. Online forums that have sprung up recently reveal the story is the same around Sydney and other capital cities.

Optus has acknowledged it is trying to improve coverage in the CBD but also blamed "environmental factors" such as window tints.

It also said "some handsets are not necessarily the best phones for coverage and performance".

The handset used by the Telegraph is a typical iPhone 3G, which Optus heavily subsidised in an effort to swamp the market. In the quarter of the iPhone's launch alone it added more than 180,000 subscribers.

The company website admits it has failed to meet this target: "Join the Network that Reaches 97% of Australia's Population Today!" it states.

As for 42Mbps speeds, the website admits typical speeds are up to 80 times slower, with a typical speed of 512kBps and 3MBps for the fastest devices. Optus said it was working to improve its coverage and its speeds were still competitive.

"We've invested $2 billion in our mobile network over five years and we have more than doubled the capacity of our network for our nine million mobile customers," a spokesman said.

"In an independent study in March the Optus Mobile network demonstrated strong and consistent performance for customers in Sydney."


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another email -- from a different person at Optus

Hi John,

Optus have been experiencing unexpected delays due to high email volumes recently, and appreciate your patience. We apologise for any inconvenience you have experienced in this time and expect these delays to subside shortly.

I have checked with the credit recharge and can see that the last recharge from your account was for 04/12/2010. This may appear on your bank statement as 06/12/2010. To be able to check and confirm that the payment was taken twice please reply with a copy of your bank statement. Once I receive this statement I can then investigate further and complete the search and apply credits if applicable.

Should you have any further questions please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist.

Web Servicing Team

In response I sent them a screenshot of my online bank statement -- JR