Telstra’s outrageous fix charges

Her business, Be Inspired PT, depends on being able to send and receive emails and she was unable to do either.

“The problem was that no email software would work, including Outlook and Thunderbird on Windows, and email apps on iPhone and Android, when connected to the internet via the cable connection,” Ms Low told news.com.au.

“My IT guy spent a long time troubleshooting but had no luck. So he called Telstra on my behalf. He was doing more than just basic troubleshooting and whenever the Telstra tech suggested things he needed to do, my IT guy said, ‘I’ve already done that.’ And it got to the point where Telstra couldn’t help and my IT guy said, ‘Why aren’t you escalating this to the right places?’

“That’s when he was told we needed to be put through to their Platinum team. But, right away my IT guy smelt a rat.”

When the Telstra tech was asked if Ms Low would have to pay for this Platinum tech assistance, the answer was yes.

Telstra Platinum division will charge you either a subscription or one-off fee to fix your tech issues — even if those issues are Telstra’s fault.

Telstra Platinum division will charge you either a subscription or one-off fee to fix your tech issues — even if those issues are Telstra’s fault.Source:Supplied

“I wasn’t happy about that. It was clearly a Telstra problem so I was being asked to pay Telstra to fix what was essentially a Telstra problem because when my IT guy tried to connect his own devices, it still didn’t work. I just thought, ‘Great, more money for Telstra!’” Ms Low said. “Why push me to pay for Platinum tech help when I’m already paying an IT guy to help me?”

Ms Low’s IT guy refused the Platinum assistance and, instead, ended the call and thought it would be a good idea to try another Telstra tech, in case the second person was able to help.

“The second Telstra tech was much more thorough, but he also couldn’t assist any further and, just like the first Telstra tech, he fobbed us off to the Platinum team,” Ms Low said.

Telstra launched its Telstra Platinum in 2014, which is advertised as providing people with “premium technical advice and support for your gadgets, computers and home entertainment”.

It promises to fix your tech problems, whether or not they are Telstra products.

But leading business adviser Rowdy McLean told news.com.au he’s amazed that Telstra thinks it’s okay to charge people a premium for fixing any problems that are actually Telstra problems.

“Surely it’s a stretch to ask a customer to pay you to fix something that you provide that does not work. Whoever came up with this brainwave at Telstra has got rocks in their head,” Mr McLean said.

Subscription customers are asked to sign up for 12 months, and have to pay the charge even if they don’t have any issues.

Subscription customers are asked to sign up for 12 months, and have to pay the charge even if they don’t have any issues.Source:Supplied

“Customers are already shouting about how hard Telstra is to deal with and if they think charging a premium to actually fix their stuff is going to have us clamouring to sign up, they are more misguided than I originally thought.”

Telstra spokesman Steve Carey told news.com.au the Platinum service can help customers set up their new smart home, get all their devices working together and help people get the best set-up for their in-home technology.

“It is very popular and we have developed a range of options to best suit a customer’s needs. If a customer is experiencing a fault with their service, then reporting a fault means a tech support agent would be made available to resolve the issue,” Mr Carey said.

“It’s possible that this issue may have been directed to the Platinum team incorrectly and we’d be happy to look into this further with the customer.”

But Ms Low is still left incredibly unimpressed with the Telstra service.

“I don’t think we were incorrectly sent to Platinum service as not one, but two Telstra techs tried to send us there as soon as they could,” Ms Low said.

“I think Telstra needs reminding that we are real people at the other end of the phone when we are asking for help. I didn’t think the Telstra techs were very helpful, and at no stage did they offer to send a Telstra tech to my home. They just wanted to get me to go to the Platinum team and spend more of my money.”

Telstra has now offered to send a tech to Ms Low to help with her Bigpond issues.

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