I’ve been trying to get nbn installed since the 23rd of February in an apartment that has been cabled with nbn FTTP since 2016. I’ve talked to about 20 Optus staff and all except one has lied to me, failed to follow up, hung up on me or transferred me back into the queue for someone else to deal with. I’ve even been lied to by the Optus staff member responding to my complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman AND by the supervisor who rang to explain why three Optus staff lied to me about a technician’s onsite appointment. Just the most appalling customer service you can imagine: I’ve spent over 5 hours on the phone, over 2 hours on their “Live Chat”, wasted a whole day waiting at home after being repeatedly lied to and spent almost $400 on equipment and mobile data (with Telstra) just to keep my computers secure and backed up.
And I still have no nbn 7 weeks later.
WTF Optus? How can you possibly think this is an acceptable way to treat a POTENTIAL NEW CUSTOMER!?
Here is a short summary of what has gone wrong so far:
23 Feb – I submit order online for nbn FTTP at my new address. Plan includes Fetch TV.
1 Mar – I move in and can’t work out where to plugin modem (nbn newbie).
6 Mar – After sending the modem to the right address they send the TV box to the neighbour. Six days of farcical phone calls ensue. Finally I retrieve the correct parcel.
6 Mar – They SMS that my service is active. Several chats and phone calls later they say they have booked a technician to visit.
8 Mar – They SMS that the technician’s visit is cancelled because I don’t need it and my nbn is working.
9 Mar – 12 Mar – They tell me to send proof of my address by email. Despite the lack of internet access at home or work I manage to send this. Sadly I discover some weeks later that the email address and the subject line they tell me to use were for mobile phone activations, not nbn installation.
16 Mar – after not hearing anything for days I call back. They blame me, and tell me the email subject line should have included the incident number. I’ve never been given one. They tell me I have to send photos of the equipment I can’t find to prove I can’t find it. This reduces me to tears and I cancel the order, totally unable to work out how to find something I’ve never seen and send proof its not there using the internet I don’t have.
That weekend I walk into the local Telstra shop. The young guy sweeping the floor asks me if I have photos of the apartment on my phone, checks them and tells my the NTD is missing. He checks online and confirms it was installed in 2016 so the previous tenants must have taken it. He gives me the nbn helpline number so I can call them and find out how to fix the problem.
20 Mar – I take an afternoon off work and call the nbn. They open a case for the missing equipment and tell me to get Optus to send them a priority service request to get it fixed. I call Optus and they have to start a whole new order but assure me they have sent my nbn case number to nbn. They send me another modem and TV box – now I have two of each.
Then I get an SMS telling me I have a case manager and to respond AM or PM to speak to them. I respond but never hear back.
24 Mar – I need to install security patches on my devices so I go out and spend $311 getting a wireless modem, 4G stick and data to tide me over. What happens to people who don’t have my technical background and spare cash?
26 Mar – I get the same SMS telling me my nbn is installed and to plug in my modem. I call Optus four times that day, spending over 90 minutes total on the phone, becoming increasingly more hysterical with each call as I ask repeatedly to have my case escalated to a supervisor, manager or the complaints department and am repeatedly refused. There is no separate complaints department at Optus – their website just directs you to the general number with no option for complaining. When I call and ask for a supervisor or the complaints department I am delayed or refused then transferred back into the standard queue instead, hung up on, told a supervisor would call within four hours (they don’t) and finally transferred directly to the nbn help line!
That night I submitted a complaint to the TIO about the poor customer service and their refusal to escalate my case or allow me to complain. I am pretty sure they are required under Australian Consumer Law to allow me to complain about poor customer service, failures of service or non-delivery of services.
27 Mar – After nbn call me to offer advice I contact Optus again and a new consultant puts in a new nbn order, despite my repeated pleas that they submit a service restoration request instead as nbn have advised me. They don’t answer my questions about timeframes, don’t send a log of the chat as promised and assure me they have booked a technicians appointment for 1pm – 5pm on Wed 4th April.
29 Mar – They call me in response to my TIO complaint, assure me the appointment will go ahead and that my case manager will call me the next business day. I still have not heard from the case manager and after I stay home on the day for the appointment, guess what happens? Nothing. No technician visits; I just sit there, losing my scarce and valuable leave day with no internet and no hope of getting any. I got onto the chat app again at 3pm and was again assured that the technician was coming before 5pm. At 4:30 I phoned and was told the appointment had never been confirmed. This is when I discovered an incorrect email address had been given to me for the proof of address and that they had not quoted my nbn case number to nbn. By this stage I am absolutely enraged to the point that I can barely speak. I send the email again and get an auto-response.
On the 5th March I finally get a call from a supervisor, who knows nothing of my TIO complaint, won’t listen to what I am telling her and immediately tells me I haven’t sent the proof of address, haven’t sent the email to the right address, with the right subject line, and even that I didn’t use the right capital letters in the email address! She then tries to claim the NTD box is there and I just need a cable, and finally she blames nbn for the problem. Then she says I have to send photos of where the NTD box isn’t. I’m back exactly where I was with Optus three weeks earlier. I end up yelling and swearing at her, then putting down the phone and sobbing uncontrollably, all in front of my staff while I am at work. She has promised me that a case manager will call the next day and that she will send a 4G modem with 50Gb of data, but of course I’ve still not heard from the case manager and no modem eventuates. They send me an SMS with an invalid order number. Just to rub it in I guess.
By this stage I have spent almost $400 on my temporary solution, been unable to work from home for six weeks, had no music, no tv or movies, I can’t do any study, or even look up any recipes. I am having trouble sleeping and can think of little else except to go over these horrible phone calls and chat sessions in my head wondering how I could possibly get these dreadful service centre staff to put down their scripts and just listen to me and do as I ask. This is the longest I have gone without internet at home since 1992 and I am not coping well. I stopped wanting to be an Optus customer weeks ago and would happily move to Telstra and pay 25% more for the same service except I have an open complaint with the TIO. Plus, I’m now I’m so angry at Optus that I want cold, hard revenge. This has been the most confusing, upsetting and infuriating customer service experience of my life and I want every Optus consultant and staff member who has dealt with my complaint to be forced to relive it from my perspective, minute by minute, to experience for themselves how distressing and maddening it is to be ignored, disempowered, patronised and lied to like this. I want Optus to compensate me for the lost work time and the cost of the “temporary” equipment and data I have had to organise for myself. I want someone to call me and actually listen to what has happened to me – I still haven’t had anyone at Optus actually let me submit a complaint.
The staff at Optus all seem very well trained at following their scripts exactly but have absolutely no ability to provide actual customer service. None of them have tried to listen to me, empathise with me, engage me in a conversation to solve the problem or negotiate a solution; in complete contrast to the nbn and Telstra staff who have all done exactly that, despite the fact that this is Optus’s problem. And almost every promise the Optus staff have made has either been been an outright lie or been broken. (Except for Kat who took my call on 4th April and actually did get a supervisor to call as promised. Fat lot of good it did me, but she did get that call made, unlike all her colleagues.)
If you are about to deal with Optus, take my advice – be completely certain that you have a straightforward, standard connection exactly like the “average” or you will be waiting in vain for months like me. Be prepared for customer service that could be delivered by a robot with no empathy or actual desire to help and with the onus always on you to follow up and keep things moving. Take photos of all your chat sessions as you won’t get logs and warn your neighbours to look out for your mis-addressed packages. Better still, just go to another provider and avoid Optus entirely.