This isn’t so much a discursive blog post as it is a convenient place to leave a public record of my dealings with Telstra while trying to transfer from an Optus mobile plan to a Telstra pre-paid mobile account (in Australia).
1. I purchased prepaid Telstra mobile SIM (pre-assigned number XXXXXXXXXX).
2. 11th Aug 2009 – I activated this SIM by phone and requested transfer of my existing number YYYYYYYYYY (from Optus).
3. A few hours later the transferred number was working successfully with this SIM in my mobile.
4. Tried to register for online services to deal with prepaid account top-ups etc, but unable to do so – got error messages saying my mobile number wasn’t a valid Telstra pre-paid number. I tried both my existing number (YYY…), which got an error message saying the number was invalid, and the pre-assigned number (XXX…), which got an error message saying the system was experiencing problems and unable to process. Repeated process after weekend – same result.
5. 17th Aug 2009 – Spoke to Telstra by phone, was given an account number to use to register with (instead of mobile number) – then I completed online registration process.
6. However, online registration showed that I apparently have no prepaid mobile account.
7. 18th Aug 2009 – Spoke to Telstra by phone – was told I had account but was NOT a pre-paid account. Operator offered to switch account to prepaid, and said they had now done so.
8. However, online registration STILL showed that I apparently have no prepaid mobile account (even after waiting another 24hrs).
9. Came to conclusion that Telstra account number I was given (see item 5) must have been for an old Telstra account plan I had terminated about 2 years ago.
10. 20th Aug 2009 – Therefore tried to re-register for online services using my existing number YYYYYYYYYY (instead of the account number given by Telstra).
11. This number was now apparently recognised as valid (ie. no error message), but was then prompted for a PIN, which supposedly had been sent to my handset, although I had not actually received one. I did have a PIN that was provided to me verbally by Telstra (in item 5), but this was a 4 digit PIN and was rejected by the online process.
12. I therefore tried calling Telstra again (1258880) and was TWICE cut off before was able to speak to anyone. NB – Even though this is a number for dealing with customer problems, it is a paid number.
13. Having tweeted about this, was replied to by @bigpondteam, who offered to help by providing an online form to submit the problem. I submitted items 1 through 12 above.
14. Mon 24th – no change, no further response from anyone, still not receiving a PIN when I try to register my number, so called Telstra again. Telstra rep suggested I try again several times, clear browser cache etc, then finally tried it herself at here end using my details, without success. Final answer from Telstra – wait 24 to 48 hrs and try again.
15. Thu 27th – no change, no further response from anyone, still not receiving a PIN when I try to register my number, so contacted Telstra by via online customer support form submission, re-iterating the above.
16. Sun 30th – on the off chance, tried to register for online services again. This time I got a message telling me I was already registered. Hurrah! I was then able to login, view my account details, recharge etc. PROBLEM FINALLY SOLVED.
I suspect that the crux of the problem here was the complexity of Telstra’s internal systems, and the likelihood of “knots” developing from any small kinks that might appear from slightly unusual circumstances. It was quite frustrating – especially due to the fact that they never contacted me back. Apart from the brief flirtation with @bigpondteam via twitter, it was all one way. I had to keep retrying and keep recontacting them, or else just give up, and I have no idea whether @bigpondteam’s intervention made any difference at all. But I was of course pleased that they at least apparently made an attempt.