Thursday, June 14

Exposed! How I ripped off Telstra

I should have kept my lips buttoned.

A nice young fellow rang me from a Telstra call centre and offered to check that I was getting the best deal. Why sure, go ahead. He came up with some plan with a label I can't remember (Telstra has so many!) and assured me I'd be better off. OK, go ahead, I said.

But a week or two later, Telstra writes to say I can't have that option and gives me a phone number to call to find out why not. I call, and actually get through to a real person.

She does some checking, and says it's not available to me because I already receive an age pensioner discount on my phone bill.

She sounds a nice person, so I refrain from abusing her for Telstra's wasting my time. Indeed, I assure her I'm happy with all other aspects of Telstra's service.

But she did agree to pass on my comments: (1) That Telstra should train its call centre salespeople so they don't sell a plan to someone ineligible to receive it, and (2) That if their letter itself had explained why I was ineligible, it would have saved me the time and trouble of phoning them.

The consternation my comments must have caused! John Rolland, executive director, customer sales and service, sends me a stiffly formal letter. “We are reviewing our records and they indicate that you currently receive the benefit of both the Telstra Pensioner Discount and Telstra Rewards Packages,” which is a big no-no.

I wonder if my complaint triggered the review. It seems many pensioners have received similar letters, causing a fair bit of anger.

That night I dream of the vicious post I'm going to put on this blog. I dream the headline, “Telstra Pensioner Discount . . . concession or con?”

In the morning, I've cooled down. I check last month's home and mobile phone bill. As a pensioner, I'd received $11.41 discount off services and line rental. The Rewards Package had delivered me a discount of 78 cents.

OK, you've got me. I promise to stop cheating the system. Take back the Rewards Package.

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