Police Negotiate Telstra NBN Bundle For Protester

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When Matt Dooley refused to leave a Telstra store after months of battling with the telco, the last people he might have expected to fix his problem were the police called to remove him from the store.

Having spent hours on the phone to Telstra trying to get his NBN connection properly installed, he had had enough and staged an impromptu sit-in at the Marrickville Metro store.

When the store called security, and then police, to have him removed from the store, he was surprised by what happened next.

The three officers – Probationary Constable Christopher Williams, Senior Constable Scott McCarthy and Detective Cameron Thomas – started negotiating with Telstra staff on Mr Dooley's behalf.

"The cops kind of took our side," Mr Dooley said. "They understood. They used their excellent negotiating skills to negotiate what I hadn't been able to in the last four months.

"One was very technically minded and got it. He knew what we needed.

"This cop was running back and forth between us to negotiate so we didn't have to talk to each other, talking about cables and routers and modems."

Mr Dooley said he and his girlfriend sat by the front door as the police moved back and forth, negotiating between the two parties before eventually solving the issue.

"Lo and behold the next day there was a Star Track Express delivered to our house with all the things we needed and just all sorted out," he said.

"As a result of police coming to the store we had internet that afternoon and cable the next day."

The successful negotiating of the police ended a months-long saga for Mr Dooley, who had been trying to get internet at his new house since September.

Working from home in the film and television industry, he needed good and reliable upload capacity so chose an NBN plan through Telstra.

"It was horribly mishandled," he said. "A handful of technicians came and didn't install it properly. Everyone just didn't know what they were doing."

He tried calling their support line, making over 80 calls to the telco in a bid to rectify the issue. He said he was often passed between four or five people who were all unable to help.

"The aim has got to be for Telstra to get rid of you. They just don't care. If you call and ask to speak to sales you'll get through to someone right away."

He took his complaints to the industry ombudsman but was found that he was just one of many putting in complaints about their telco provider.

"They were so overwhelmed by complaints they couldn't do anything effectively. They told me they were backlogged by a month of cases they can't get through."

"I was temporarily disabled at the time. I had broken my leg and I was losing thousands of dollars in money not being able to do work because had no internet from home.

"I'm convinced it affected my mental health. I got so angry and frustrated. It sounds really whingey but internet is so essential but also my lifeline for work and being laid up for months," he said.

"What really got frustrating and got me down was in the end there was no one accountable."

After $3000, 100 hours on the phone and a temporary ADSL connection, Mr Dooley had had enough.

With a still-healing leg, Mr Dooley went with his girlfriend to the Telstra Marrickville Metro store on Wednesday.

Although he had managed to get the NBN cable installed, he still needed a modem, router and cable.

"I said just give me that stuff at least and I'll run it out the window. They said they couldn't help and I said we're not leaving so they called security."

While he was lucky to have three cops step in to assist, Mr Dooley said that there were others not so fortunate.

"I think about people who don't know about tech who are elderly or don't speak the language properly. They would never be able to deal with this. What really got frustrating and got me down was in the end there was no one accountable.

"[While we were in the store], an elderly man came and congratulated us saying 'I think it's great what we're doing'," Mr Dooley said.

"A whole lot of people came up and told us their horror stories of telstra problems."

Telstra is investigating the incident.



    Finally, a solution for all!
    I'm wondering why they didn't just dump Telstra and go with another Telco? Maybe they had no choice, or maybe it wouldn't have made a difference so they stuck with Telstra, but that wasn't discussed.

      Although he had managed to get the NBN cable installed, he still needed a modem, router and cable.

      This combined with

      a temporary ADSL connection

      it's either FTTP or HFC. (if they had ADSL already available, NBN Co wouldn't have needed to install a new cable)

      In both cases, NBN has to install an NTD of some description. Telstra can't do that. No ISPs can. They have to be installed by NBN Co. This would have happened regardless of who his ISP was.

    Why the hell did they not just get another ISP? Bloody hell!

      Wouldn't have made a difference. NBN Co weren't installing their hardware. ISPs can't install the NTD.

    The story is pretty shallow can we get more details as to the 'why' it wasn't working with Telstra/NBN?

      Yep, there's too much detail missing from this post. Although, by the sounds of it they at least weren't supplied the modem they were expecting. But without knowing whether they actually signed up for/paid for it, it's all too murky.
      There's no mention of if this was a residential of business line. If he needed it for work and went for a residential line then the level of support was always going to be low.
      Personally, I'd rather the cops were out doing some real policing than dealing with disgruntled Telsra customers. Heck, if they all started mediating that they'd be no cops on the streets at all.

        There's plenty of police on the streets. It's just they're in traffic branch fulfilling quotas ;)

        We know exactly what was happening. NBN Co hadn't installed the NTD.

        Telstra don't send techs out for installs, they just mail the modems out. So the techs who were coming out were NBN Co.

        They had ADSL available previously, because they installed an "temporary ADSL connection" but NBN Co had run a cable to the house, so he's not on FTTN.

        It's either FTTP or HFC. Both require NBN Co to install their hardware inside. This is what is missing.

          Regardless of the tech involved, the issue is four months and dozens of phone call with no clear result. The whole issue likely would have been avoided if someone at the Telstra end had clearly communicated with them. Maybe way back at the start with something like "It's going to take six months to get you set up", or maybe a regular call to them advising what was going on if it was delayed. Or just plain language explanations "Sorry we don't have the hardware and we're waiting on a delivery", "Sorry NBN co does that and we're waiting for them to do the install".

    I had the same thing happen.
    Over 6 weeks, multiple technicians simply not showing up and not contacting us.
    3x days off work, 60+ calls. (Marrickville)

    Missing orders, "glitch in the system" faults, nil communication.

    Then they wouldn't let me cancel without a fight.
    I finally cancelled and now they won't accept me sending back the unopened "Telstra TV2".
    They advised me to throw it away. For real. Incredibly irresponsible.
    (****If you want a Free Telstra TV2, hit me up. BUT you need a Telstra login to activate it)

    The issue:
    Telstra advise that you can get Cable to your house.
    They also advise that the "Telstra Frontier Gateway" modem equipped with 4G will be sent to you for quicker connection while the install is pending.
    Thing is - they actually don't send the equipment.
    Then the order silently disappears without you knowing. You call back a week later and there aren't even any notes on your file and you must start again. This is minimum 2 hours each time.

    For those in a similar boat - there really is no point talking to anyone at all at the company. Even the TIO Escalation team is a joke who have no mechanism to fix your fault. They are all there to pacify you.

    A Telstra customer will always have to spend countless hours chasing it for no real resolve.

      Sales error it sounds like. From the information you provided sounds like the order probably went into error provisioning the first time (or more).

      As for the modems, they get brought by the technicians (Telstra, not NBN), dunno why they'd tell you it's being posted o_O

        Telstra had better sort this out for every other poor person because their site advertises "Telstra Frontier Gateway" modem that gives you quicker connection in the event you need a professional install.
        In addition - my TIO case manager had promised that they would send the modem too.

        In all honesty - all Telstra has to do is set realistic expectations then deliver somewhere in the ballpark of what they have promised.

        A sales company that is good at signing you up, though every other step after that will be a nightmare.

        Another example: I do the "new phone feeling" every year. Both this year and last year I had to make countless calls to get them to send me the return satchel for my handset. After some weeks the satchel didn't arrive so I left it. Both times they then send you SMS saying that you need to return the old handset or they will charge you for it.
        So you must call again. Rinse and repeat.

        The only way I've found to actually be able to return the phone on both occasions is to tell them you want to cancel your account. You get transferred to "saves" (who will flat out say anything at all to get you to stay. True or otherwise) who after 45 mins of them "checking with their manager" they give you an address to send the handset to.

        Truly hopeless.

        My friend who is with Telstra NBN got their modem mailed out.

          Did you guys already have an NTD installed?

          I'm gonna be honest with you: we all know offshoring has killed the customer service and assistance, maybe irreparably. The customers know it, the staff know it, etc..

            I have no idea. They are on to the node. They were previously on Telstra adsl in an area that was Telstra only. When the NBN was installed and they signed up they were sent a router and told they will get an phone call when the NBN was active and then just plug it in.

              Interesting. Sounds like something's changed along the way. But on that note, I haven't had any hand in front of house operations for maybe 2 years, so there's probably been some changes I wasn't around to be made aware of.

      if you are serious about ditching the TV2, I will grab it..

    God I hate all the ISP's. I've had my own hassle with Optus. They've been overcharging me and there's no possible way to ring them to talk about my bill. It's just one big head fuck so what I've been doing is ringing through to support (always a half hour wait) and then getting them to transfer my call to the billing section which is another half hour wait. The ACCC really needs to jump onto these companies and straighten them out. A few multi million dollar fines would do wonders I say.

      A mate works for an ISP in Melbourne and he said just the threat along of a TIO complaint will make most ISPs jump through hoops to solve the issue.
      If they don't respond, simply lodge a TIO complaint and that ISP has to straight up and pay a fee to the TIO for them looking into the matter.
      So when ever you are butting heads with Level 1 Tech Support and your issue isn't being resolved or forwarded onto a higher tier, just threaten to contact the TIO and just move things along yourself.

      I use the online chat for my ISP. Been helpful each time.

        That's only helpful if you have a working internet connection. Something that a lot of the support teams seem to forget. Gotta love being referred to online support when you ring up to say "my internet isn't working".

    Working in Continuity Assurance I have a strong feeling there's more to this than we're being told...

    Just because it's done next day doesn't mean there wasn't some reason for it happening, just that you can complained often enough and loudly enough for them to treat it with priority. I got a guy whose son had died a next day appointment in a remote error with a high workload for example. We had to rearrange a bajillion appointments to accommodate it. To be fair it was a pretty pressing matter, he was trying to organise a funeral.

    The Telstra store was the worst possible way, though; they can't do anything.. like.. at all. They don't even have a full Siebel; no AXIS; no Continuity Assurance portal... No cable path lookup tool.. nothing.

    Last edited 02/01/18 4:53 pm

      This is a problem (not just with Telstra) these days. Practically all the stores can do is sell you something. Any assistance they offload you to either phone or online support. It's rare to get a person who'll actually help you in a store when you have a problem.

      I could understand if it's a pop-up kiosk type shop. But they really need to have some support type people in the bigger physical shops.

        Yea, pretty much every single store is just for point of sale or if you want to enquire about a bill. That's literally it. But yea, I agree; there should be some general customer service in there, too.

    Ha thats nothing I drove (almost) thru the front door of Microsoft in Sydney (Ryde) to get a year long purchase issue resolved. Escalate - I'll show you escalate.

    I don't understand why anyone goes with Telstra, they have a long reputation of being completely useless for fault and billing rectification. I just stuck with my ISP (internode, unlimited data plan) when I shifted from dodgy ADSL (bad copper and long lines here) to fixed wireless NBN. The tech turned up and had it running in less than 2 hours (he was on his own) and it has been pretty much perfect for the last 4 years.

    If Telstra won't get their shit together (why wouldn't they supply him the modem/router, it just plugs into the NBN box), just do it yourself. Obviously the fix was something simple as it was resolved by the modem/router he received by courier, so it would have been simpler to just buy his own (Fritzbox here, bloody excellent) and set up the settings himself, only takes a few mins.

    People need to stop relying on obviously useless corporations and either move elsewhere or simply fix it themselves.

      The modem and router do little good if NBN Co haven't installed the NTD.

        Wrong mate. The popular modem for customers is the "gateway Frontier" modem with 4G connectivity. So - the modem would have given the customer a connection, which is what they are paying for. How does this not solve the problem?

        I just can't understand your point of view. I'm trying

          The problem is the so called "gateway Frontier" modem, is not a Cable modem, or a FttP modem.
          It only has a modem for ADSL and VDSL (FttN).

          For FttP, you need the NTD installed by nbnco. Telcos cannot install this.
          For HFC, you need the "nbn Connection box" from nbnco. (I don't know who supplies this)

            This is the modem they offer on Telstra Cable plans.
            You can opt to pay extra for it (4g connectivity).

            Are you sure about this? That means that Telstra has stuffed up again

              On Telstra nbn, the "gateway Frontier" is not much more than a router and wifi, with backup 4G.
              As I'm still waiting for my own HFC connection, I don' t have any hardware yet to show.

              There is a Telstra video here that details how it works.

      People go with Telstra for a bunch of reasons. Sometimes it's (misplaced) loyalty, sometimes it's because they're the only company who will deliver a service in the area, sometimes it's because of bundling.


      Telstra IS faults resolution if you're on copper, even if you're with another RSP. Not anymore since you're on NBN (from what I gather?) but before that, yea, all Telstra.

    That's the whole point of an ISP.
    We pay money to reply on their service / assistance getting set up.

    Who is going to sign up to a Broadband plan that comes with a Frontier Gateway Modem (4G connectivity if net is down) to only spend hours and hours on hold - THEN goto a shop and buy your own modem anyway?

    That's exactly what Telstra would want. We fix it ourselves and give them a premium price for nothing.

    Sign up, if they muck you around just cancel.
    I think it's extremely unhelpful for the customer to have to own Telstra's problems just to get them to own their side of the contract.

      This was not Telstra's problem. NBN Co needs to install an NTD. How is Telstra, or any ISP, supposed to install NBN Co's hardware?

        Jeez Tony - Work for Telstra?

        People don't care who did what or who installed what.
        Customers pay Telstra - NOT the NBN co.
        If Telstra is waiting on the NBN co, it's Telstra's responsibility to at least be aware of this. Not send customers down a black hole of losing money.

        Still Telstra's fault in either case.
        The contract is between the customer and Telstra.

          In addition - it's well known now that Telstra aren't sending out the frontier gateway modems (which have 4G connectivity). If they at least did this it wouldn't matter how long the NBN takes.

          We all realise that mate. The thing is it's not Telstra's fault. Telstra waits on NBN co, and there's literally nothing -- at all -- that Telstra can do besides poke NBN fruitlessly. NBN says jump, every other provider says how high.

          It's annoying as hell when all you can do is wait, but it's just as annoying for the staff, as all THEY can do is wait and cop the pain of an angry customer... and literally not be able to do anything at all about it.

          Last edited 04/01/18 3:06 pm

            I understand what you are saying though i'm 99.9% sure we are arguing different points ?

            Telstra are not sending the Frontier Modems. The one that they advertise "help you get connected sooner".
            This sure as heck isn't NBN co's fault = This is the entire that people are missing.
            If Telstra just send the Frontier modems where applicable then at least their customer has a 4g connection while we wait for NBN.

            Yes, the NBN is not controlled by Telstra. Though Telstra have a courier account - Why not just send customers the 4g modem ?
            1) It's on the contract and used as a selling mechanism.
            2) It'll instantly shut me up because I have an internet connection of some kind

            I feel ya, though let's not argue different points. Yes, Telstra can only do so much with NBN - fine.
            Though this is only a very small part of the problem.

            The rest of the problem is:
            1) Just plain poor handling of customer expectation. If you don't know just say. Don't guarantee customers that they will have an install booking made within 48 hours time and time again. Even if a customer waits a week after this confirmation .....(read point 2)
            2) Orders are going missing in the Telstra system, customers aren't aware until they receive Nil communication and spend hours chasing it up.
            3) When install bookings (rarely) are made and confirmed with the customer - they need to follow through and either install the service OR advise the customer to cancel their annual leave because the tech won't show. I lost 3 days annual leave because of tech's not showing up. The worst part was I was never notified and when I called them I must wait >1 hour to find out what's going on - which you can't find out because Telstra don't know themselves.

            NBN Co for sure affect Telstra's performance. Though to say that all the other internal issues are also NBN Co's fault is just strange and makes no sense. I Pay Telstra for a service. Not NBN Co.

              Another example of you not having all the information. Do you know for 100% fact that they had good 4g service at home? The first thing they would have been told would have been, use your Telstra mobile phone to connect untill it gets fixed. All Telstra phones on a plan have the automatic top-up for $10. The complaint manager would have made a note on the account to credit any excess mobile data costs. The fact that they didn't says something.

                Yep. There's a complaints process where, if a fault occurs or sales point of error, you can apply for data credit on your mobile if you use your internet for work purposes ;)

    I'm not with Telstra as a provider but my NBN installation was also a horror story,taking 8 weeks until the communication between NBN and provider actually got it right. Meanwhile I had Telstra technicians visiting my house for no reason as I hadn't asked for them and when they DID check my system,the old guy had absolutely no idea what he was doing. He questioned all my conections and router placements,trying to hand the blame off on to me but fortunately I know what I'm doing then he phoned my ISP to tell them about all my "wrong" connections. They totally agreed with everything I had in place. The so called "Tech" was a bit red faced.
    Finally the day came to install NBN. A nice young fella turned up but was obviously a bit "green". He connected everything down the street etc. but it wasn't working,so I told him the modem setting needed to be changed to accept the vdls. No No he said...and off he went to "fix" it. Meanwhile I entered the modem settings and changed it to vdsl. It worked. He came back about 30 mins later declaring he'd fixed it,so I let him think he had and off he went.

    I think the main problem here is lack of communication,along with badly trained staff who only know what they read from a manual which doesn't cover every situation. Telstra,especially,with their mostly offshore help centers just get it TOTALLY wrong. Just trying to understand these people in the first place,is hard enough and you eventually give up. That's what Telstra relies upon. In my experience,as a PC tech, I am constantly dealing with internet problems and needing to contact providers on customers' behalf. Telstra has always been the absolute worst to deal with. They have little or no technical kowledge and try to bamboozle customers with jibberish. They will never get it right.

      NBN have only IGSM contractors. :( They don't get paid per hour, they get paid per job, so the more jobs they do/"can't" do because they're "complicated" ones, the more they get paid ;)

      Oh, in addition, offshore reps are literally scripted. Every single thing. They have to go through a checklist to mark off in a particular system built just for them...we know they're so unreliable we had to ensure that they built some kind of checklist system for them..

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