OPTUS - How hard can it be?
An open letter to Optus Senior Management
I have no doubt this is a situation entirely beyond your control, but one with which you may be depressingly familiar:
You will recall I hope, that some years ago, the Australian Government announced plans to provide the country with high speed internet. After much wrangling and political footballing as to what we would eventually get, a compromise was reached and the roll-out of a not-so-fast internet commenced. I remember seeing narrow trenches being dug across nearby streets for the cables, some 4-5 years ago, and then re-dug as something wasn’t quite right, apparently.
Fast forward to the present day and, following on the heels of a series of mildly threatening letters from Optus, many of which we’d ignored over the years, but all of which explained that we would lose all services currently provided (except mobile), if we didn’t choose an NBN provider, we felt with a prescient sense of dread, that we’d better get the ball rolling.
As existing Optus customers we thought that, having confused ourselves with the range of providers and their services on offer, we’d go with the provider that we have faithfully stood by for longer than I care to admit. I would at this stage say ‘Big mistake’ - but let’s keep our powder dry and see how it all unfolds.
A call to the Optus call centre in a land far, far away, went relatively smoothly with a plan being chosen, plus the inevitable add-on, as we have two phone lines, one of which is for my business. With impressive despatch a new Optus NBN modem subsequently arrived, so quickly in fact, that it outpaced the letter explaining that, until we had been officially hooked up externally, we should do nothing with it - fortunately, we hadn’t.
An Optus technician was then scheduled to turn up on a day some time afterwards between 8am and noon, to switch over the external cables. I waited in, he didn’t arrive. I phoned the call centre far, far away and spoke to a girl who looked into it for quite some time, and told me that the technician hadn’t turned up ‘for technical reasons’. I call it rain. She also told me she was embarrassed, for what that was worth. However, she would sort it out, and if we didn’t hear from someone in 48 hours, we should get in touch again.
I don’t have to tell you that we didn’t hear from anyone in the next 48 hours, or indeed the next week. My wife therefore opted to go for an online chat with the embarrassed Optus team, which lasted for some considerable time, and went absolutely nowhere. They insisted repeatedly that a new contract had to be issued, we had to choose a new plan, fill in new forms, and all would be well. My wife terminated that online chat as entirely pointless as we had already done all that.
She then called the embarrassed call centre and had the same conversation, but in person. They also mentioned new contracts, new paperwork, add-on costs for additional phone lines etc., and said they would sort it out and someone would call us on Monday as a priority. They didn’t. The contract they then sent her after she called them and went through the same process yet again, omitted the second phone line entirely.
The following week, a knock at the door heralded the arrival of another modem, exactly the same as the first one (I wonder how many we’ll end up with?). I explained this to the courier, who was in no way surprised.
Similar to the first time around, we had a time scheduled when our technician would once again be at the house to hook us up externally. But then he wouldn’t. My wife received a message to say that the paperwork wasn’t complete and that he may not arrive as scheduled. And he didn’t.
Yet further calls ensued, none of them short, and all replicating the tedious story above, so that on Monday this week, I opened the front door to find our third modem sitting on the doormat.
‘Third time lucky’, you may think. Well don’t, because it didn’t happen. I have, for the third time, spent half a day expecting someone to come and connect NBN to the Optus network, and they haven’t. In addition, a call to a member of the Optus ‘team’ this morning, to point out that the contract still had no reference to a second line on it, was greeted with a significant degree of impatience rather than embarrassment, probably because every call that the ‘service team member’ fields, is from a disgruntled customer, although I was at all times polite and compliant.
Which brings us to the current date of Thursday 11th July 2019, where we find ourselves three Optus modems to the good, but in every other respect, no closer to being connected to the NBN than we were on the day we decided it was time to get with it, in light of the ominous Optus letters we’d received over the past 3 years.
We have spent approximately thirty hours on this which, at the professional rates I have been charged out at as a brand consultant, equates to around $7,500. My wife works full-time in tertiary education and has also been run ragged by Optus services, which are not in fact services at all. We have done everything correctly as consumers, Optus has so far succeeded in getting not one single element of this transaction right. Where do we go from here, the ombudsman, A Current Affair, a different provider? What do you suggest?