TELSTRA – COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN
by Sasha Uzunov
You have an elderly parent, a pensioner, who still has a landline telephone and has stubbornly stuck with major Australian telecommunication company (telco), TELSTRA for 30 years. They speak English with a very thick Southern European accent or a really thick Scottish accent that not even Mel Gibson in Braveheart can decipher.
They have worked hard, paid their taxes, obeyed the laws and their children have assimilated intro mainstream Australian society.
The phone does not work and so as the dutiful son or daughter, who speaks English with an Australian accent, better than Aussie larrikin comedian Kevin “Bloody” Wilson, you call on behalf of your parent to notify TELSTRA of the fault. You get a man or a woman on the line, someone with a Filipino accent in the outsourced overseas call centre, who has trouble understanding you.
Now you realise why your parent got you to call in the first place. Your mum or dad have got high blood pressure and having to go through an hour with someone in Manila or Luzon City just isn't good for their health.
Your Southern European parent has shopped all their life at Preston Market, in the multicultural suburb in Melbourne's north. They proudly shout: “Ay go to Prestons Markets for bargins,” which translated means “I go to Preston Market for bargains.”
They also say something like: “Put im bek,” meaning “put it back.” Or “Ay vont pis ov tik klot material,” meaning “I want a piece of thick cloth material.”
So how in the hell is the overseas TELSTRA call centre guy or gal going to comprehend?!
Getting back to Kevin “Bloody” Wilson, you remember his naughty but hugely funny comedy hit song: “stick that phone up your f#### a####,” about an Aussie bloke with a speech impediment calling the operator for assistance and being given the run around because the operator cannot understand a word the caller is saying.
As the dutiful son or daughter you ring up TELSTRA on your personal mobile (cell) phone to notify that your parent's telephone is not working. The operator asks for the account details, which you give, but then says that they can't do anything because you are not calling from the telephone with the fault.
After 15 minutes you eventually convince them that the reason why you are not calling from the faulty telephone is because it is faulty! You then get hit with but we can't access your parent's account because you don't have permission.
After 20 minutes of arguing you convince them that you don't need access to your parent's account nor for that matter any secrets from ASIO, CIA or the NSA! So TELSTRA, convinced that this is not an Al Qaeda terror plot, sends out a technician and finds the fault is with the line outside. They send you a SMS text message with a logged job number. The fault is fixed but your phone, through no fault of your parent, has been down for a week or so.
So once again you call TELSTRA to ask on behalf of your parent asking if they can get a part refund or a lowering of the phone bill because it was out of action.
The operator hits you with but TELSTRA can't do anything because you don't have permission to access your parent's phone account. But you explain you don't want to access the account; that you don't want the cash. You are simply passing on information for TELSTRA to act upon.
But the answer is the same. You don't have permission to access your parent's account. You explain that you where the one who notified TELSTRA of the fault. But the answer is the same. You don't have permission to access your parent's account.
So following TELSTRA's logic, why is it that the phone bill you or your parent receives every month is compiled without a TELSTRA operator calling you or your parent every month to ask your permission to access the respective account. You tell that to the operator and the answer is the same: You don't have permission to access your parent's account.