28 Jun 2010
By Jules Scarlett

Telstra complaints to the TIO drop by one-third


Turning every complaint into an opportunity

Seeing a complaint as an opportunity to improve is a critical change in the way we’re working. The feedback we get from these complaints is then used to address what went wrong in the first place – to tackle the root cause.

This is part of how we’re making customer service fundamental to everything we do at Telstra. We want our customer service to set us apart in a competitive market.

Moreover, one of the most critical parts of our CEO-led customer service strategy is to improve the effective resolution of customer complaints as we’re best placed to resolve the issue directly with our customer.

Ways we are doing this include:

  • investing millions of dollars in training for staff who deal directly with customers to make it easier for customers to deal with us
  • having more front-line people dedicated to complaint handling
  • enabling customers to call us and say ‘complaint’ to the voice prompt and be put through to a trained consultant
  • putting in place new complaint management standards across the business with timeframes for acknowledgement, resolution and closure that are much faster than the industry code

We’ve also increased our focus on resolving matters for our customers the first time they call us: this is being done with extra training for our staff and the removal of measurements on the length of time our consultants spend on the phone with customers in certain centres replacing those with measures focused on customer resolution.

These initiatives and many others have contributed to arresting the increase in customer complaints that go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). Our level 1 customer complaints to the TIO have reduced by one-third in the past year. However, the number is still too high and must be further reduced.

Stay tuned, over the coming months as we’ll be making more changes to improve customer service.

In the meantime, let us know your feedback.

Related links:

For those after more detail…

TIO complaints data reduction ( April 2009 v April 2010)

Level 1 complaints – down by 33%

Level 2 complaints – down by 16%

Level 3 complaints - down by 52%

Level 4 complaints – down by 50%


Posts: 1


  1. ROb May says:

    I am preparing for another rant about this so called wonderful company. About 6 months ago I recieved an email saying due to a systems error I was billed in error for a cancellation of the above email. I would be billed for $251 but to ignore this as it was made in error. I thought wow telstra seem to be improving and communicating. Only to be totally mistaken every month I get an overdue account letter for the said amount and every month I phone and after being passed from pillar to post I eventually speak to somebody who assures me all is well nd sorted and if I care to say how wonderful they are I am to hold on the line for more pointlles minutes. Suffice to say it has happened again only now I get a further $11 charge for being overdue. I am so mad it seems incredible an organisation can be this bad and still pay their Ceo such a high salary. 1 more thing I am about to move home and like a good fellow I organisd a change of of address with all the major providers everybody took about 5mins per provider not telstra 30mins and I was told that I would have to wait a month for my phone to be transferred. My account number is 2490938700 for anyone who cares. I cannot believe how bad telstra are. Rant over I will prepare for my monthly hour long conversation with someone who doesn’t care and will probably cut me off at least once, deep joy.

  2. Peter Cameron says:

    Is it not pathetic that I have been a loyal Telstra customer for 20 years or more, home phone, mobile phone, broadband and cable at previous residences, and I am unable to get ADSL or ADSL2 to my current place of residence. What is also amusing (sarcasm) that I have been trying for 4 years to get an available port in order to connect to ADSL and then my neighbour apllies for the first time and gets ADSL2 staight off the bat. Mr brother moves into the area early last year, applies, and gets ADSL2 straight up now questions asked. How long do I have to be a loyal Telstra customer to gain a benefit from there so called pacl leading technology? What really gets up my nose is that the Telstra box for my suburb is directly accross the road from my house, 20 metres away and I cant get bloody ADSL.

    Come on Telstra, give me a break hey!!!

  3. Andrew says:

    Telstra is bloody inconistant, and there customer service teams at stores are woeful.

    Dont even get me started how much I hate them atm, it has nearly taken me 3 weeks to complete the following:

    - my phone only has a factory warranty with sony erricson, and there are no sony erricsons repair centres in Melbourne

    - telstra then agreed to pay the cost of the repairs, even after I advised there is no repair centres, they advised me there is a authrised repair centre at the other northern side of the city… I dont live in the Northern Suburbs!

    - took my phone to another telstra store, lady told me she would not help me, even though there where notes on my account stating telstra would pay for the repair costs (the repair costs would actually cost more then the phone!). I left the shop fumming, she was so rude!

    - went to another store (highpoint, bit closer to home), they finally took the phone and have sent it away for repairs and said they would honour the deal from Chadstone.

    To All: dont buy any other phone other then an iphone from telstra, to get any repairs/assistance with warrantys you will hit wall after wall.

    once my contract is over I will be going to optus, and I will never ever advise anyone to sign telstra.


    Unhappy Telstra customer,
    Andrew Lee

    • Hi Andrew, So sorry you had to endure this to get your phone repaired. Please could you send me your account number and a contact number so I can follow up. Would you please give me the name of the store where the person was rude and the approx date you were there. I will follow up with the manager of that store. You can use this form to send me your details. Brendan

  4. Andrew says:


    Thanks Brendan, I have filled out the form as mentioned in your comment.

  5. Travis says:

    Ive had to go to the TIO because of Telstras silly policys. I had recontracted at a TLS and got one of them new velicity 4G phones, unfortunatly after it for a few days i noticed that some of the features were not working as they should.On the 5th day of owning it i took it in and the tech bar person wanted to send it away. Saying that i had purchased an ESP warranty they sugested to use that to get it fixed quicker. Another 2 days past so i ring up the store and find out the ESP doesnt apply because it was still within the 30 day ELF Telstra has. so i took the phone in to be sent off for assesment and today 8 days after handing the phone over i ring the store t find out the status of the phone only to be told theres no status, they dont even know when it was picked up to go where ever they send it to, the girl on the phone wouldnt even find out for me and basicly said it gets here when it gets here. Gotta love asset control. I think they have lost it.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Travis, Thanks for sharing your experience. We can do better than this, and I will make sure the feedback is used and get it to the store manager. Would you please take a moment to send me your account details, a contact number and the name of the store/time you visited? You can use this form. Thanks. Brendan

    • Travis says:

      Brenden Ive sent info to your email account.

      • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

        Thanks Travis, I’ve heard back that Kat will be looking after you. Brendan

    • Travis says:

      I got a call on Saturday didn’t get the name but it said telstra had received tio complaint and someone would contact me on Monday or Tuesday.
      Anyway does that call make the tio’s 10 business days stop then my complaint just disappears (like my phone) and i haven’t got a leg to stand on?
      Also i think Telstra needs to drop TLS’s.

    • Travis says:

      hi when will this kat character contact me?
      how is time measured in telstra land?
      monday/tuesday i was promised a contact which is fast running out.
      the longer it takes the more doubt/unsure increases the more upset/angry Ill get.
      Ive been reading the ACL’s, can someone point me in the ACL’s where it give the right for Telstra(any company/business for that matter) to have the faulty goods assessed and what the reasonable time frame is.
      Because i cant find it and im not talking about guides im talking about the actual laws/acts.
      And my gripe is going to be posted to any websites told to as many people as I can.

  6. Mitch says:

    I signed upto a home bundle option on 9/2/12 for Foxtel, home phone and ADSL2+ moving over from Optus with the promise of a faster and cheaper service. I left Telstra 20 years ago because of their inept customer service and it appears nothing has improved. I was promised that I would be connected within 4 weeks. 6 weeks have passed without any contact. I phoned this morning and after being transfered to 2 different sections was put on hold twice (the 1st disconnected after 31minutes without me speaking to anyone and then the recording asked me if my issue had been resolved and why I rated them as poor!). I was eventually informed that the order had not been placed and that I need to phone bundles…… but don’t try now as you will have a long wait! I have yet to face this next hurdle.

  7. Narendra Tailor says:

    I have been with iinet for landline and broadband services for the last 10 years.

    In February, 2012, Telstra sent out offers for a $78 plan ‘Telstra Complete Home Saver 200GB Bundle’ that I accepted. Wow, I thought, what a deal with a superfast cable broadband!

    The cable was to be installed on the 9th April at the earliest.

    About 3/4 days later on the 29-02-2012, I received the details of phone charges under this plan.

    On 7-03-2012, realising that the plan would eventually work out to be too costly for my needs, I notified Telstra not to proceed with the bundle. This is confirmed by Telstra Interaction No. I-884632909.
    I also notified iinet of the above only to be informed that Telstra had already transferred the landline. iinet was instructed to retrieve it.
    Despite the withdrawal from the Telstra bundle offer well in advance of its terms becoming operational only after all the services in the bundle are activated (04-2012), Telstra sent me a bill in the amount of $27.51 (an exhorbitant amount compared to my average monthly that never exceeds $10.00 with iinet) for 29Feb – 04 Mar billing cycle.

    I telephoned Telstra on the 19-03-2012 with an explaination and provided her (Wendy in Queensland) the Telstra bundle cancellation Interaction No. I-884632909. Realising that the cancellation had not worked through the Telstra system, Wendy withdrew the bill and provided me with the Interaction No. I-89419831295.

    On 10-04-2012, I receive another bill for $100.90 i.e. $73.39 for the billing cycle 5 Mar – 25 Mar additional to the
    $27.51 above. I have been communicating with their call centre in Philipines for the last 24 hrs. but without any resolution.

    I very much regret my encounter with Telstra and as a shareholder for many years, I am ashamed of their inefficiencies and abysmal service.

    I keep on receiving bills from Telstra when I do not even use their services!

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Sent you an email again Narendra. Please reply with your details. Brendan

  8. Narendra Tailor says:

    Just as the saying goes ‘Jim will fix it’, I am pleasantly surprised that ‘Brendan has fixed it’.

    I am very pleased to experience that Telstra is endeavoring to weed out inefficiencies in its system for good corporate governance for the benefit of all.

    As a share holder, I hope that Telstra presents another strong reason for my return for its services sooner than later. Hope is a strong reason to life!

  9. Geoff says:

    I have had enough. When I moved it took almost 2 months for my adsl to be changed from one address to another. There were over 15 phone calls and several emails in this time. I was then charged for these periods as well as the full fees to change both the phone and the adsl. I spoke to complaints who said they would drop the charges and some of call charges for the inconvenience of not having net access for the period. I still got the full bill, and now both calls are falling on deaf ears and I am being promised return calls from emails but receiving none. Time to take it further, hopefully cancel contracts and find a provider that actually provides some customer service and the services you get charged for!

    • Danielle Clarke says:

      Geoff I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having so many troubles. I’ve asked one of our customer consultants to contact you to see if there’s something we can do. Danielle

  10. Geoff says:

    Thank you Danielle. I did receive a couple of missed calls from a blocked number. I am unsure if this was from your people though, as I just received a call demanding payment but when I asked about the call back regarding my complaint she hung up! I am unable to answer the phone between 8:30 and 3:30 as I am at work, but would love to hear from you tomorrow. Geoff

  11. Linda Rees says:

    From the beginning of the year, I have been trying to get Telstra to charge me the bundle amount we agreed on through OLGA, one of your consultants.
    For the last two months at least I have been charged ten dollars more than the agreed cost in a twenty four month agreement. The last consultant I spoke to offered a six month bonus of ten dollars to be subtracted from our monthly bill, but still the bill arrives demanding seventy eight dollars payment for our bundle. I won’t give up trying to get the agreed cost for my Telstra Bundle, even though consultants make comments about the number of times I have phoned to try and get my account rectified.
    When will Telstra learn that you have to have a better way of agreement to a contract, that just by word over the phone, when what turns up in a bill is different.
    I live in hope of this being rectified soon, because my next move will be to Consumer Affairs.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Linda. Sorry you’ve had to endure this. I’ve asked a local team member to call you. Brendan.

  12. Hayley says:

    I have to endure a default on my credit file as Telstra put me in to Veda when it was their product and system at fault even when that account was paid in full.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Haley. Let me get a credit specialist to see see this for you. please use this form to send your account and contact details so I can arrange for someone local to call you. Brendan

  13. ben says:

    hi there iv been on to telstra for months now trying to get a copy of bill which iv never got that you’s will say u will send and that i should get it 2 working days but never do so now im going to let the ombudsman deal with it thanks

    • Hi Ben, I certainly appreciate your feedback and I’m truly sorry to hear about your frustrations towards your experience with us. Have you spoken to the online support team. The best way to contact Telstra for a service/product query is to click onto the ‘Ask the Crowd’ or go to our 24/7 Facebook page on the top right hand side of our blog where you’ll be directly linked to one of our online customer support consultants. You can also get support via Twitter @telstra. These are the most efficient ways to get someone to look into your account.

  14. Jeremy Dawkins says:

    Dear Ms Scarlett/Brendan

    Before resorting to the TIO I’ll put this matter to you and see if it can be fixed.

    A Telstra man called Dane (it took me a month to find out that he was actually at the Miranda BC) made a cold call on 25 October 2012, from which I decided to exchange my 3G internet dongle for a 4G device, saying I wanted nothing else to change.

    I learned ultimately that Dane had cancelled my cable service, signed me up to Bizessentials ADSL, put the new device on a separate account, and who knows what else. On 31 October, suspicions aroused by a bill arriving for the new account, I asked Telstra to cancel whatever he had done and leave everything (cable, landline, dongle, two mobiles) as they were.

    That was over two months ago. As bills and notices for the new services arrived I tried everything to get Telstra to fix things, finally making a complaint on 28 November (1-230576047). (I was told by one of your people to make a complaint, a possibility of which I was unaware, and I was delighted to get through quickly by saying ‘complaint’, avoiding the soul-destroying interaction with the computer.) The case officer (who didn’t call until I had chased up the matter after two weeks, who left unintelligible rapid-fire messages and whose calls were of such poor quality to be virtually unintelligible) on her first call went straight into denial, and on her second call told me again I was wrong. This experience of tardiness and pointless denial led me to make my second-ever complaint, about Complaints (1-23215592). Of that complaint, I have heard nothing at all, in nearly two weeks.

    I finally seem to be dealing with someone from Complaints/Retention who might fix things, over two months from my request to reverse whatever Dane had done. But today I received a bill which still includes charges for Bizessentials and which includes a fee of $1143 for early disconnection of the cable service!

    I have no idea what kind of records are kept in there of my many calls and discussions (none of which enhanced my quality of life) resulting from Dane’s cold call, or even what Telstra thinks my complaint is about, since it all just anecdotal over the phone, but this is what I want: I want Telstra to investigate the apparent dishonesty and bad practices of the Miranda BC (who promised to look into the matter but never did) in signing me up for a poorer and more expensive service than the one I already had without telling me (and incurring a $1143 fee – as if I would have knowingly agreed to that!) and then let me know the outcome.

    I know you’re trying to reverse some very bad corporate culture (anything goes, whatever it takes) and are improving customer service, and I’d like you to see this as another opportunity to correct some appalling practices in the organisation and especially in the franchises.

    Speaking of which (while I have your attention), promoting the new format of the business bill as a big improvement (when in fact the only material change is to eliminate the very useful and indeed essential itemisation of calls etc) is also symptomatic of the bad old days of lies and subterfuge. (I really want the itemisation, and I’m prepared to pay for it if I have to.)

    • Leigh Price (Blog Editor) says:

      Jeremy, I have just asked someone in our complaints team to contact you with a follow up on this.

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