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Bitterly disappointed: Terrible customer service - No focus on the customer and no empathy.

 On Saturday 13 October 2018 (N) I had the unfortunate experience of my Optus cable modem blowing up, terminating my internet connection.

A subsequent call to tech support at Optus informs me that I should turn it off and on again (not helpful when it is obvious that the single power light is the only lamination on the box, even after cycling it).

The phone support operator indicated that I would have to wait 2 business days before a technician could be dispatched to the house (4 calendar days).

N+3 days ( October):  I receive notification that my technician has been cancelled.

Optus cannot tell me why, and blame the NBN.  (I find out in the subsequent days that Optus did not book the call appropriately, and therefore it was not confirmed).

A subsequent visit from a technician is booked for Thursday 18 October (N+5 days).

Thursday 18 October.  An NBN technician arrives at my home and confirms that the modem is non-functional.

The Technician replaces the modem.  He calls in to the NBN staff to reactivate the connection, and specifically double checks that no nbn field work is happening in the area; which he confirms.  He confirms internet will be available in 20 minutes.  However after he left, the modem lights show it is working but the router is not showing an internet connection

There is no internet connection when I return home.

I contact Optus. I have to use online chat, as I can’t get through to technical support by phone.

The individual on tech support confirms that we will need to wait for a further 2 business days before a technician can arrive to assess the situation. (You can imagine how incredulous you can feel hearing this when a technician has just been to your home on that very day)  I request that I be put through to the complaints centre or a call back be made to me, as I am about to drive (being late for an appointment)  This eventually happens, but nothing comes to fruition.  I am informed I will be called the following day, and that a technician would be arriving to see us on the following Monday.  (n+9 days)

Friday 19 October:  I speak to the same technical support manager who spoke to me 2 days previously, and who informs me that he will be “overseeing this personally”.  I am informed I will have a visit on Monday (N+9 days)

Saturday 20 October – SMS notification that Optus tried to call me – reply FAULT within 7 days and we will call you back”  Seriously?  7 days?

Sunday 21 October, I receive notification that the call out is cancelled.  I call through to Optus support, and eventually speak to a supervisor.  This supervisor confirms that the visit was not booked, and that I will have to await an additional day (Tuesday 23 October) for a technician to be dispatched to look at the issue.

She now assures me that she will be “overseeing this personally”

Monday 21 October – I receive a call from this manager that I am not required to be at home for the technician as work will be done from the back end networking team.


Tuesday 23 October.  No visit, and no internet.  Getting upset.  My wife calls Optus, and they inform us that an investment at the Optus shop of $100 for a wifi “dongle” (read wifi modem) would assist us in having a basic internet connection so our children can do their homework and we can pay bills.

(We are not keen on accepting additional mobile data on our phones as the last time we were offered this, Optus charged us and we gave up after 3 months trying to deal with people who kept saying they would reimburse us and did not).

Tuesday 23 October in the afternoon - I call Optus support and am kept on hold for 30 minutes.  When I am connected, I have 5 minutes before a business meeting, so I request a call log, chat transcripts and voice recordings for the last 2 years, but particularly pertinent to my job number.

The operator is quite indignant at this, and keeps speaking over the top of me, but confirms that they will “do what they can, as they don’t have this authority”.

Wednesday 24 October:  I receive a call from Optus Technical support based in Sydney.  Finally someone who can tell me what is going on!

We work through our issues, and the technician confirms that we don’t appear on the network.

I ask what would be the cause for this, to which he reasonably states that he’s not sure, but requests that I cycle the modem when I arrive home; which I do.

There is still no signal.

Thursday 24 October – My wife contacts Optus regarding reimbursement for the Dongle.  She speaks to technical support and supplies the receipt number to be reimbursed for the investment.  She also mentions that we would receive a discount on our phone bill due to the outage and that we had been charged fully (note that we had been informed of this in a previous call).  The operator stated that “we could have one or the other but not both”.  My wife stated that we were being charged for Unlimited internet, Fetch TV and a phone line, none of which were working due to the line outage.  (Reminiscent of being offered additional data and not being reimbursed for it.)

Friday October 26:  No interaction that I can recall – I’m too tired trying to recall back at this point.

Saturday 27 October – Optus SMS confirmation that I have a visit scheduled on Monday 29 October.

Monday 29 October:  An NBN technician arrives.  The Technician spends 4.5 hours troubleshooting issues, and replaces lines and hardware, including fittings and a new box in from the street.  He escalates to the NBN office requesting support and testing.  He requests a pit crew as he believes the issue is occurring out in the pit, in the street.

Still no internet connection. NOTE – If there was a network outage, the NBN would have known at this point and informed him.

Tuesday 30 October:  I speak to yet another operator who doesn’t understand any of the issues regarding the case.  I take a very long time explaining to them that they should escalate me, as they will not be able to help me. I am told that I will need to wait 48 hours for another visit.  I state this is not good enough.  Further discussions confirm that I will receive a visit (on standby) on Wednesday 31 October – Yet another day that I must take off work.

Wednesday 31 October:  I receive a call from an Optus technician who cannot see (either can I) what the issue is.  He checks all connections and speaks to the networking group who run tests.  He cannot resolve the issue, although to his credit, he has a far better customer focus than the call centres.

I call Optus support and state that:  they have in effect, dispatched a technician, to check that another technician has done his job.  I speak about the difference between a pit crew and a house crew, which the operator does not seem to understand.

As you can imagine, I have had to leave work at 10 minutes notice (I am casual and don’t get paid if I don’t work) so my patience is wearing very thin by this stage.

I’m working from home on my newly acquired wifi Optus dongle and chewing through data at an insane pace but thankfully, my employer is supportive.

The operator states they will be escalating the call.

10 minutes later, an NBN technician arrives and spends a VERY long time on the phone trying to troubleshoot the issue.  He confirms that it is a networking issue at Optus’ end.

He states that he has escalated (he does this in front of me) and by some miracle, about 8:00pm that evening, we have an internet connection!

As an aside, I received a single page call log from Optus on the same day that service was restored.

Due to this single page call log, I now have a better understanding of how Optus is working as an organisation.  This was the “call log” that I requested.  6 entries, all dated October 25.  My home phone number was prefixed with an incorrect area code.  I was referred to as “Brian”..for the record, that isn’t my name, but it explains why my emails disappeared into the ether.  What has upset me is the commentary.  “Tried to educate customer”.  “customer does not want to listen” “customer does not wish to discuss the issue”  Not a SINGLE reference to understanding the issue!  No wonder I have had to explain the issue to every call operator!  I find this personally insulting.

Now… I haven’t included every part of this… there are numerous daily calls to Optus, but these are the main points.


Today, I had a call from the Customer Relations Group.  I received an SMS from them last Tuesday, telling me that I would be contacted today.

I have never had a ruder experience!

It was obvious from the outset of the discussion that this particular operator was not interested in understanding the background to the story.  According to her, the issue was closed and service was restored.

She started stating “you’re talking in circles” and talking over the top of me.  This was not a satisfactory customer experience.  I began to get quite upset at the level of rudeness coming from this operator who kept trying to turn the responsibility for the conversation not progressing back on me.

Eventually I stated what I was looking for: I’m prepared to waive my lost wages due to their inability to book callouts for a reimbursement of my monthly Non-Optus streaming subscriptions (I have 2 that I don’t pay for through Optus), a reimbursement for a router that I was sent when my modem blew up – I was charged for this item) and a reimbursement of the DAYS that I was not receiving the service;.

I am told that Optus will not recognise this – as it not in the terms and conditions of their contract.

Essentially, I have been stonewalled.  We have been Optus customers for 16 years.  On challenging this operator on her understanding of the case, I asked her if she had consulted the notes regarding the issue prior to contacting me.  She confirmed that she had not.  This was a completely transactional call, demonstrating Optus reinforcing terms and conditions of the contract.  Nothing more.

I have subsequently received an email from this operator stating that as I have stated I am going to the Telecommunications Ombudsman, Optus will not be reimbursing anything regarding this case.

Additionally my request for transcripts of calls will not be supplied due to Optus’ privacy policy and that my lawyer will be the only person that they will release this information to.

This is the first time I have ever heard that under the privacy act that I am not allowed to be privy to my own call records!

Needless to say I have left the conversation in absolute disgust at the contempt that this organisation seems to hold for its customers when it does the wrong thing.

4 Replies
Frequent Contributor
Frequent Contributor

Re: Bitterly disappointed: Terrible customer service - No focus on the customer and no empathy.

Hey @beyond_miffed, thanks for reaching out to us. I'm really sorry to hear about the experience you've detailed. I can certainly appreciate your concerns with this and I do apologise for any inconvenience caused.


If you could please send us a PM with your full name, DOB and account or service number, along with a confirmation of whether or not you are the account holder for this service, I'd be more than happy to investigate this further for you and follow up on the status of the complaint. 


In the mean time, I'll certainly go ahead and pass along your feedback to the relevant teams for review. We do take our customer feedback very seriously and we are always looking for ways to improve services for our customers.

I’m part of the Yes Crowd team, employed by Optus to help run our online community. This guide explains how everything works on here and you should also check out our Community Guidelines.

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Re: Bitterly disappointed: Terrible customer service - No focus on the customer and no empathy.

Hi beyond- miffed,

welcome to the real Optus world, I know exactly how you feel, but you should have long ago made your complaint to the TIO I did and this was the only way of getting things done, live chat I have been on same as you one operator tells you that a call out booking was made next one confirms no such thing was done time after time. I had to book a cabler to put in cables for a re- location for the modem we have both Telstra and Optus phone line I made specific inquiery with Optus Support as to which line the cabler has to work on I was guarnteed by Optus it is the Optus line, well I could not connect to the NBN had a litany of stories and excuses of why until I  told them again that TIO will be informed Thursday Monday NBN Technician arrived first thing he tells me NBN will never use the Optus phone line if there is a Telstra line available, guess what I have to get the cabler in again.

Beyond believe is a fact of Optus.

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Frequent Contributor
Frequent Contributor

Re: Bitterly disappointed: Terrible customer service - No focus on the customer and no empathy.

Hey @helmie - I'm sorry to hear that you've had a similar experience here. Was there anything we could do to assist further with this one?


If so, please don't hesitate to send us a PM with your full name, DOB and account or service number, along with a confirmation of whether or not you are the account holder for this service. We'd be more than happy to help provide you with any updates in regards to your service or follow up on the status of your complaint. 

I’m part of the Yes Crowd team, employed by Optus to help run our online community. This guide explains how everything works on here and you should also check out our Community Guidelines.

Did we answer your question? Please mark it as a Accepted Solution and be generous with that Kudos button Smiley Happy
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New Contributor

Re: Bitterly disappointed: Terrible customer service - No focus on the customer and no empathy.

Hi Everyone,


Since posting here, there have been further developments.

I came home from a long weekend to find my internet had again, stopped working (you can imagine my reaction).

I finally came across an individual in the Team Support environment who both listens and understood the situation.

A further technician was dispatched and my service restored.


A follow up call (I don't quote names as a habit, but I feel as a postive, I must) from Jeff both resolved the issue, and delivered an outcome from my expense perspective that recognised the inconvenience.

I did not claim for loss of income, however an appropriate level of flexibility was delivered to me to satisfy my grievance.


Drilling down further into the cause of the issue, Optus has significant problems with:

1. Department's talking to each other, and moreso with the NBN.  This is the Telco's responsibility, and special effort must be made to improve the industry - I don't care what the NBN do - I pay you, not the NBN.

2. Call centre staff making appropriate notes pertaining to the issue, rather than the discussion.  This is a critical skills gap - it is not just a transactional role - this allows you to identify the problem at the point of occurrence in the process!  Staff need to actually read decent call notes so the customer doesn't have to continue to repeat the story.

3. Customer Care, seems to state Optus' position, not a practical outcome that the customer will be satisfied with - Critical to customer retention (You're trying to build brand advocates here folks, not ailienate your customers so they walk away and bad-mouth you).


Workflow is not particularly spot on - refer to point 2

Offering to release a customer from their contract without penalty if a technical issue cannot be resolved is not an appropriate option.


All of these are opportunities to improve.


In reference to call centre staff, vast improvements need to be made however as a disgruntled customer, to other disgruntled customers, my advice is to perservere, but keep a call log of each discussion, ask for a call reference number for each discussion you have.  You will eventually get to the end, frustrated, angry and ready to walk away, but all it takes is one skilled, empathetic staff member who knows what they're doing and it will take the edge off the pain and betrayal you feel.  It won't go away, but it will go a long way.

Again, personal thanks to Jeff, who saved me a lot of time with my submission to the TIO.


@chloesok Thank you for the offer, but it seems I have resolved my issues via another channel.

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