Thanks for calling Telstra, so I can direct your call to the right place, in just a few words, please tell me the reason for your call?

Fuck you.

Sorry, I didnt get that, what was the reason again?

Well, Telstra the reason for my call is you owe me. You owe me time I will never get back. You owe my husband time he will never get back and you owe my children time they will never get back. You see our problems with you started over a month ago when our work email addresses stopped working. We both run freelance businesses from home, so as you could probably understand our emails are very important to us. We rang to sort out the issue. And this is when things got messy. You see, I was stupid enough to believe your Customer Service Charter which states: At Telstra, we are committed to knowing our customers and meeting their telecommunication needs. We aim to provide each customer with a personalised, seamless experience that makes it easier for them to manage their lives. This is misleading. Unfortunately, for us, your customers, you have structured your business in such a way that is virtually impossible to achieve any semblance of a “seamless experience”.

Firstly, I must disclose we were late with a bill payment on our bigpond account, thus causing your company to cut off our account. That’s fine, there was a mix-up with your billing department which had bundled all our services with you – mobile phones, cable, email etc. For some, unexplainable reason your billing department didn’t think it necessary to “bundle” all our bills into one, thus leading to confusion of what had, and hadn’t, been paid. They also didn’t think it necessary to send any correspondence about the matter to our actual address, it was all sent to our old address (despite all of our other bills being sent to our new address of two years).  We understand you putting a temporary hold on our email accounts. This was explained to someone in one of your departments. I think it might have been the “Bundling Of Bills Into One Account Department” or maybe it was the “Ask Five Hundred Security Questions For The 600th Time And Then Transfer You To The 25th Department That Isn’t the Right Department Department.”

All I know, is that we paid the outstanding amount and then we paid the amount owing for a bill that wasn’t even due until later that month and then we also paid the amount owing for a mobile phone bill account outstanding from 2007 – who knew?! We tried arguing over the absurdity, but after my husband and I had been tag teaming on the phone for over five hours, on a Sunday afternoon which was meant to be spent with our kids playing in a park and despite not having enough money to buy groceries that week, we had no choice but to pay everything so we could run our businesses, thus ensuring our ongoing ability to earn money. At one stage, during the ordeal, I could hear my quiet, affable husband shouting: “I just want to talk to someone in management”.

Anyway, because no-one at Telstra could work out how to get our email up-and-running again, under our original account number, they created a whole new account number for us and two days later when our bigpond was meant to be working again – it wasn’t, so more phone calls led to more frustration. It also lead to some angry Twitter action from me, which then lead to my husband and I simultaneously engaging in separate chat room discussions to a number of Telstra’s online service departments. Who knew you even got transferred between chat-room departments? At the end of an hour “chat” the last person wrote to me that they could not help and thought it best I phoned Telstra instead. I do believe I may have fallen to my knees and laughed hysterically, thus beginning our new relationship with the Telstra shop employee.  My husband drove there while his phone was on hold to one of the many Telstra departments. They didn’t answer the phone. It was quicker for him to drive, park and walk into the shop. Anyway, the kind guy got it all sorted and we waited another day or so for our emails to start working. This time they did. Hurrah. It was all finally sorted. Oh, how wrong we were.

The bliss of finally being able to use the services we were actually paying for was short-lived, as our internet stopped working. Once again, we started the process of phone call Round Robin. Do you know calling Telstra is a little like playing pass the parcel, except you’re the parcel, it’s no fun and you don’t get a prize? The only winner is Telstra who as a mammoth company is blissfully unaware of how ineffectual and downright unprofessional their approach to service is. Anyway, it ended with another visit to the friendly Telstra shop guy who says because our original account number was cancelled, it somehow lead to the cancellation of our internet account, thus our internet connection with the company no longer existed. Strangely, our email was fine. And to make matters even more ridiculous, we have been charged a disconnection fee for an account they disconnected in the first place, because their systems in place for the robotic workers they have reading off scripts in faraway lands have no authority to actually provide the service which is in the company’s charter. We spent over 7 hours talking to dozens of people from a myriad of departments and all we got was weeks of no email, no internet and we got charged extra for it.

Today, we finally got our internet reconnected. It is with another company. Soon, we will transfer all of our other telecommunication services to that company. This company actually has people on the phone who provide a service. We are even paying more money for it. Fancy that Telstra – people are willing to pay a little extra to actually get help.

Telstra owes me – it us money, it owes us for any convenience it’s caused our clients (because we actually care about our clients) and it owes our children time which we could have spent with them, rather than chasing our tails lost in the maze which is Telstra. We are two able-bodied, English speaking, youngish, mobile people – we have struggled with this period of time. It has caused us distress and anxiety and it’s financially impacted on us in the short term. I can not begin to imagine how many people without the resources we have, are trying to navigate similar problems. There is no discourse for them. I implore this company to do the right thing and take an honest look at how they do business.

Thanks for nothing.