SEETHING: Telstra cancels business nbn without explanation
A SHORT and sharp email from Telstra, informing a Bundaberg business owner his 12-month-old NBN order had suddenly been withdrawn, has left the man seething.
Advantage Blinds owners Terry Tempest, 63, and Linda Tempest, 61, have spent the past year trying to connect to the nbn.
Spanning the 12 months, the pair's attempts to connect their seven phone lines to Telstra NBN have allegedly been plagued by problems including an incorrect set-up, unreturned phone calls and incorrect product information.
But after receiving a baffling email from the telecommunication giant's Connection Team on Tuesday, the business owners of 25 years have been left shaking their heads in utter bewilderment as to what to do next.
The email stated Advantage Blinds's NBN order had been withdrawn and advised the recipients to call Telstra for "details or other information".
Mr Tempest yesterday told the NewsMail his ensuing call to Telstra left him more confused than he originally had been, with the operator on the other end of the line unable to explain why his order had suddenly been withdrawn.
"She gave me another number to ring but it went to message bank. I have not had a response," he said.
The case manager won't return my calls (either). If I ran my business that way, I wouldn't be here today.
"It's very sad. I've been with Telstra for 30 years and I'm even a shareholder, but they are truly hopeless. I can see the value of the shares going down.
Dealing with Telstra is an ongoing frustration for everybody."
In an act of desperation, Mr Tempest contacted the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, but his plea for help was quickly shut down.
The Ombudsman deals with small businesses with an annual turnover below $3million and less than 20 full-time employees.
"So because I employ too many people and my turnover is too high, I can't get help from the Ombudsman," Mr Tempest said.
"But I am classed as a small business by the Federal Government. So I get to pay $40,000 a year in tax but can't get any help.
I'm too big and too small. It's blatantly unfair."
Mr Tempest said the overlying message the frustrating saga was sending him was that the government did not want him to employ people.
"If I had my time over I would stay with 15 employees, because at least you can get some help then," he said.
We have the same issues as businesses with less than 20 employees. So why can't we get help? It's unfair."
With seemingly nowhere left to turn, Mr Tempest admitted he was still luckier than others.
He said during his 12-month NBN connection odyssey, his business had had five of its seven phone lines connected and had not lost the use of their telephones for more than 30 minutes at a time.
"But now we just can't get them to come back and fix these last two lines ... We can't get an answer," he said.
And the Ombudsman won't help at all. They won't even listen to my complaint."
As his options dwindle, the father of three said he was unsure what his next move should be.
He said he had already asked his solicitor for advice but was immediately referred to a telecommunications specialist outside Bundaberg.
"I'm also in negotiations with a person who sold me a Telstra package which is costing me $600 (more) a month (than was initially agreed on)," Mr Tempest said.
He said once these discussions had been resolved, he would consider seeking specialised legal advice in Brisbane.
A Telstra spokesperson told the NewsMail the email the Tempests had received was a generic automated message.
"We have contacted the customer to apologise and are working closely with them to get their last two services connected," the spokesperson said.