Ken came into our computer room tonight about 11 pm, turned off all the power points, waited for a few minutes, and turned them on again. When he turned on his computer, VOILA! He had Internet Explorer back! Called me in immediately, and as soon as I saw the expression on his face, I suspected he'd done something clever.
That is the best Xmas present we could have; it has been a nightmare this week, more so for me because Ken has been at work while I have spent hours on the phone to Telstra begging them to sort it out.
Telstra/Bigpond stuffed up our account by 're-bundling' all our services on to one monthly account when Ken bought his I-Phone. We have a landline, two mobiles, Broadband internet and Foxtel, all of which come under the Telstra umbrella. They do deals for people when they sign you up, promising discounts, upgrades, etc. At first it sounded okay - about $30 a month less than what we were paying before. And they said they would give us a new Broadband modem and a new Foxtel modem - free of charge. They duly arrived, and we suddenly discovered that we had the Platinum Foxtel account, with all channels, instead of the basic package we had before. When I queried this, I was told it's all part of your new deal.
Then I got the first bill. Instead of $230, it was $590. I nearly had a stroke - in fact I felt really sick when I saw it. When Ken came home from work and saw it, he said "We are going straight back to the Telstra shop where we bought the I-Phone, and sort this out". Johnny, the salesman at the shop was very sympathetic. He said the guy who did the original deal for us had been sacked because he had stuffed up nearly every customer he'd sold thing to, and Johnny was still sorting out the mess. He spent an hour with us going through the account, and said he would fix it up with the billing department of Telstra. One of the reasons for the huge bill was that we had been charged for the upgraded version of Foxtel, and Johnny said he would have that cancelled and get the basic package back.
Last Sunday, we noticed that Foxtel had reverted to the basic package, and that was fine with us. But later that night, we found we couldn't get on to the Web. We were able to send and receive emails on Outlook Express, but couldn't get Internet Explorer. That's when the real trouble began. We waited until Tuesday, thinking the recent bad weather could have affected the connection, but nobody else was complaining, so I called Telstra. The girl who answered was all smiles over the phone - "We'll have you back online tomorrow, don't worry!" Wednesday - nothing. No phone call, no connection. So I rang again. And again - speaking to a different person in the call centres everytime I called. I kept a record of the people I spoke to (15 in total) and I had to explain everything all over again with each person, even though they had my account in front of them with notes by the previous 'consultants' I'd spoken to.
Each person had a different reason for our problem - my computer is too old and they can't fix it; the new modem is the wrong one and will have to be replaced; the upgrade plan hasn't been implemented properly at Telstra, but won't take long to fix; Ken's virus protection wasn't working (it is) and both computers were infected by a virus that prevented access to web pages. It went on and on. I got put through to Technical Support in the Phillipines countless times, and had to sit for hours on both computers, changing settings (and crossing my fingers that it wasn't messing up the computers any further) - a process that was extremely slow because of the difficulty trying to understand their accents. I also did what Ken did tonight, and turned things on and off at the power, but it didn't work.
By Friday morning, I was so cheesed off, I emailed A Current Affair and the Herald Sun with my tale of woe, and I also rang the Ombudsman for Telecommunications and told him what had been happening. He promised to contact Telstra the same day, so I can only assume he did, and they fast-tracked fixing our problem. Phew! If I am contacted by the Current Affair producers or the Herald Sun, I'll still talk to them, because we think the staff at Telstra are incompetent and/or not trained well enough to be able to sort these issues out. I know they can't know every single thing, but instead of bluffing their way through a problem it would be better to say "I can't help you, but I'll find out from a supervisor".
End of rant. Nobody will read all this, but I needed to get it off my chest.