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Seriously. It said that it would disconnect. And then it said it was disconnecting. Seriously.

I sat there for a while, holding the phone in disbelief. I’d already gone as far as I could with the online troubleshooting tool. The system hadn’t even asked me if I’d tried it.

But then the robot came back on the line and said it would connect me to tech support. It’s weird. I felt almost thankful, until I remembered how ridiculous all this was. Four minutes until someone would be available, it said.

Seemed longer to me, but eventually a helpful, personable lady came on the line and asked me the problem. I managed to convince her that I’d already rebooted the modem, etc. I offered the theory that perhaps this account had been switched over to business and the credentials had changed. She was able to confirm that was the issue. But she couldn’t fix it herself. You see, somehow, even though I’d called on the number given on the BizEssentials plan letter, I was talking to Bigpond tech support for personal broadband plans.

Business, not pleasure

However, she was able to explain my situation to another helpful, personable lady to whom she passed me.

She told me my new username and password and hung on while I entered the new details into the router/modem (she seemed surprised that I know how to log onto it). Fumbled fingered fellow that I am, I stuck in an extra character in the user name. It turns out that they could see it at that end. But, finally, corrected user name and modem reboot later and … nothing.

The line was connected she could see, but something was going wrong anyway. Was there a security camera connected to the modem? Well, yes, but only by Wi-Fi. Well, we may have to factory reset the router/modem. I groaned. That would inevitably involve a downstream list of configuration changes which I’d discover as stuff failed to work.

But just as I was searching the router/modem settings to see if I could do the reset remotely, it connected. I had Internet. That was another 45 minutes on the phone.

A closing loop

When you call Telstra, they finish by asking if you’d like to participate in a short survey. With a sense of relief, I agreed.

“Was your problem resolved?” asked the robot. Why yes it was. I pressed “1”. “How likely are you to recommend Telstra to someone else? Choose on a scale of 1 to 10”. I chose “7”. Then it asked why. I explained that the customer service officer had been excellent, but that the problem should never have arisen in the first place. Feeling nicely community spirited, I waited for a moment. The robot acknowledged me with a thank you and I waited for it to hang up.

Then it asked me, “Was your problem resolved?” I pressed “1”. “How likely …” I chose “4” and explained that I was unimpressed by a system that looped back when it was supposed to finish. I was thanked and then …

“Was your problem resolved?” That time I gave it a “1” (out of 10) for recommending Telstra. After I explained why the system finally hung up.


At this point, a writer summarises what went before, and perhaps even draws a conclusion. Me? I’m too exhausted by the whole thing.