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."