Optus – seriously worth avoiding

Having already explained to Troppodillians some of the terminal shortcomings in Optus’s wireless broadband service to me, I’m afraid things have not improved.

Several rogue charges turned up on the statement that coincided with my taking out the wireless broadband account to the tune of an extra $100 or so. I rang them and they said I’d not cancelled, but that I was right – that it seemed I was being charged for two services when I’d purchased one. I cancelled the service again.

The next month the rogue charges rose to around $500 – I was being charged for a few gigs of downloads even though they were within the 5 gig limit I’d paid for, and on ringing I was told I hadn’t cancelled the service yet. I cancelled it again. The next day the reply paid folder for me to turn in my modem turned up – indicating that somewhere in the bowels of Optus I had cancelled several weeks before.

And quite lengthy dropouts seem to be becoming quite common where one simply has no network (even where you can normally get one) for hours at a time. Since I tend to use my mobile as an emergency backup to make changes in plans if things turn out not the way I thought they would – this has been seriously embarrassing to me twice in the last week.

It’s not too clear what more can go wrong. I won’t be buying too many more services from Optus for a while.

This entry was posted in IT and Internet. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dr faustus
13 years ago

As I type I’m sitting listening to Optus’ horrible hold music whilst the nice Optus lady works out how to send me a cheque. I cancelled my mobile phone account with them a few months ago (moved to Virgin, which is still owned by Optus, but cheaper, and so far less problematic) and ever since they have been sending me bills for $0.00. Turns out that my account was in credit after I cancelled (not sure how such a thing can happen, but it did), but I had to ring them before they’d send me a cheque and stop sending me three-page bills for zero dollars.

I should note that, after having been an Optus mobile customer back from the days when mobile phones had antennas and were heavy enough to kill someone with, I don’t think I’d ever got a bill that was for the right amount. Despite most recently being on a ‘cap’ plan, my bill was always a few dollars above or below the cap for no discernible reason. It was never out by enough to actually do anything about, but they were terribly consistent in how inconsistent they were.

Michael S
Michael S
13 years ago

I was with them for years at my previous address and was extremely impressed wit hthe cable broadband service I had with them, but any actual dealing with their customer support was intolerable.

David
13 years ago

I’ve got Virgin wireless broadband which seemed to be good value except that more than half the time the service is extremely slow or drops out for a minute every few minutes or drops out for several minutes or hours or a day (twice for more than a day!). ‘Normal’ operation occurs a minority of the time. I think Virgin uses the Optus network?

JC
JC
13 years ago

Stick with Bigpond as they’re the only relatively “reliable” bunch of useless firms around. Bigpond has the habit of turning off an entire area if they need to work on something and don’t even notify you. The truth is that they are all pretty useless and it’s just a choice of who is the least incompetent.

JC
JC
13 years ago

Also make it expensive for them. When calling to notify them of their continued incompetence use the cell phone and deduct the charges from the last last bill with a highlighted copy of the phone charges. Postal costs are another charge as well as the estimated cost of fuel and depreciation allowance for the car to get to the post office etc. That irritates them no end and there’s really nothing they can do or say about it. That’s what I’ve done on occasions when a big firm has irritated the hell out of me. Get them back by getting even ….not angry.

Dominic Meagher
Dominic Meagher
13 years ago

I think the solution is to emigrate. I had even worse trouble than you describe when I tried to deal with “3” wireless broadband.

Here’s a tip if you’re trying to get out of their services. Tell them you’re moving overseas. Any other reason and they will perpetually send you to various “counselors” trying to understand why you aren’t happy with them before they let you cancel.

simon_smith
simon_smith
13 years ago

This is hilarious – the continuing story of an economist having ecstatically given away his old telstra equipment, drunk the optus koolaid etc….only to be have it all go horribly wrong, told in instalments. Could we get the lecture about markets and rational choice again? I’d love to hear the bit about people transferring the emotions associated with love to commodities and thus driving the economy through irrationalism.
Oh, right. That’s Marxism, isn’t it.

Tel
Tel
13 years ago

I started with wireless some year back using “business grade” iBurst through Pacific Internet (now PacNet), it was pretty good but a bit pricey (and rapidly gets very expensive if you go over your data limit).

Then I got one of the Virgin Internet combined phone plus Internet running on 3G and they give you one month free trial. It was really good for the first few months, and much cheaper than iBurst and the phonecalls were really good value too. I got a 2 year contract and I really thought I was onto a winner with Virgin.

The trouble started (how did you know I would say that?) when the CDMA shutdown happened and the 3G network started getting congested. At first it was just a bit annoying, a dropout here and there. Then the dropouts got more and more frequent and lasted longer. I tried taking to modem to various locations around Western Sydney and kept running into the same problem — their network was totally congested (and still is bad from what I’ve heard from other Virgin users). There have also been a number of Optus cables cut recently around Sydney (it was on the news), I’m not sure how long it takes to fix those or whether they just invent cover stories to explain their network congestion.

Finally the thing got unusable. I found their support guys did try to be helpful, but other than the basic stuff they would not admit that they had congestion problems and they got me to upgrade the modem firmware which failed to fix the congestion (anyone surprised?). The only time anyone would talk to me straight and honestly about the congestion issue was after I put in a TIO complaint and I finally got onto one of the senior techs who admitted that they were basically unable to provide me with a workable service, so he cancelled off the contract and told me he would write off the remaining amount owing.

So I’m back on iBurst with PacNet, which is expensive, but at least it works…

I’m told that Virgin and Optus run on the same 3G towers, it looks like they simply didn’t manage their provisioning properly and took on more customers than they could handle. There is nothing wrong with the equipment, nor with the fundamental technology, but everything has its limits. For what it’s worth, I also am getting bills for a small amount owing after they told me they would write it off, I even got a threatening letter telling me they would cut off my service — several months after it was canceled and even more months after it stopped working.

Economists do tend to make a presumption of linearity in a highly non-linear world. There’s a cost in the changeover between carriers plus a hidden cost in the irritation of a carrier that used to be good but then gradually gets worse.

Chris Dodds
Chris Dodds
13 years ago

I find it just a tad ironic that as I viewed Club Troppo the other day there was an Optus add scrolling across the top of the screen. Im torn between admiration for you gaining their money while advising readers to avoid them and disgust for advertising a product you know sucks.

marks
marks
13 years ago

Sometimes incompetence works in our favour though.

I changed from Telstra to Vodafone eight months ago. Nary a bill sent to me or a dollar taken from my account. Nil.

I have emailed them three times pointing this out, and have three replies telling me it has been resolved!

Perhaps their customer response people do not have a script for subscribers actually being willing to pay for the service?

I shall wait till the next monthly bank statement and if there is still no deduction, write a letter on paper.