At the risk of raising the ire of the keeper of the spatulas there are three companies who I have vowed never to have anything to do with ever again. Even the mere mention of their name makes my blood pressure go through the roof, which is a bit of a shame given that they’re all fairly massive and hard to avoid. From the bottom of the grief register up..
3) TRU Energy
When I lived in Camberwell we’d receive normal sized bills every few months, pay them and never think about it again. Then one month they decided that we owed them $1200. Rarely has the opening of a seemingly normal envelope ever led to so many expletives being delivered in such a short stretch of time.
I read further and it was revealed that they’d ‘estimated’ our power usage because it was impossible to get to the meter box. The first question was whether they’d estimated it by comparing Toorak Road, Camberwell to Mexico City. Secondly, how come they had no trouble finding the meter box for so long before suddenly going completely blind and stupid and not being able to see where it was. Especially considering that it’s ON THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE. It’s not like I was living in the penthouse of Eureka Towers, it was right there and I could see it.
Easy enough to fix you’d think. Called them, informed them that it was actually quite easy to find the meter box and that they didn’t actually need to put a ridiculous estimate in place when they could just come around and have a look for themselves. Assurances that they will do just that. Then a month later the first ‘reminder’ comes through. So I called again, and they promised to come around and have a look at it again. Cue more overdue notices. I tried once more, having already moved out of the property, and after some farcical explanation about how it was an ‘old meter’ so they couldn’t read it absolutely nothing proceeded to happen again.
Eventually after months of grief and wasted time they waived the fee and an extra $100. Since then they have blatantly refused to believe that somebody else has taken responsibility for the final account total (which they have) and keep trying to get me to pay them $400.
TRU Energy – YOU’RE ON THE LIST
2) The Commonwealth Bank
Has anyone ever managed to get out of this place without them trying to up-sell you something? It’s worse than a service station. Usually I’m very polite in saying “no, just because I look depressed doesn’t mean I need life insurance so my family can cash in when I neck myself”, but one day on Elizabeth Street I made the horrific mistake of attempting to change my address. Obviously that day they’d put their number one seller, a stern mid 30’s woman dressed as if she was actually in the mid 30’s and who wouldn’t take no for an answer on anything. Eventually I crumbled and after 10 minutes of “ are you sure I can’t get somebody to call you” agreed that she could do whatever she liked as long as I could just change my fucking address and get out of there already.
So a few days later the phone rings and it’s some sleazy insurance broker. He gives me the usual chat, but when I tell him I’m not actually interested and just agreed to get the lunatic in the bank off my back he plays the old favourite “But what about your family! What if something goes wrong! Don’t you care?” card. To which I replied “No I don’t”, hung up and closed my account the next day.
Commonwealth Bank – YOU’RE ON THE LIST
Ahh Telstra. Never before has there been so much panic about keeping such an incompetent business in public hands. I'd take the money and run if I were the government.
Soon after I moved last year I started receiving bills for a phone line that I never asked to be connected. Tried to ring them a couple of times, got put in queues and generally ignored so I gave up and waited to see what would happen. Eventually last month they decided that they did quite want their $120 and could I please fork it over.
Given that I don’t, didn’t and never will have a home phone line I thought it was quite a fair query to ask what they wanted the money for. I finally got through to somebody a few months ago who spun me some b/s lines that I fell for like an idiot, and which I promptly forgot about again until I received the overdue notice.
So I call again, and after 45 minutes of being put in queues I finally end up speaking to somebody who decides that yes, it’s been a cock up and because I’ve clearly never actually used the account that he can close it and refund me the money. Too easy, I’ll just sit back and wait for the letter confirming this. Instead I got more “give us money” notices. So I call again, and this is where it gets ludicrous. In one hour I was shuttled between the following departments, having to explain the entire story and give my details every time.
2. Credit Management
3. Credit Management - Special Recovery
4. Disputes (and when they’re transferring you then you know nobody’s taking your complaint seriously)
5. Landline department (sounds like a made-up department to me)
Landline then connected me to;
6. Credit Management (again)
Eventually the woman in Credit Management says “yes, we can take those charges off, I just need to put you on hold to read the case notes”. So I go back on hold for, I think the 8th time, hear their shithouse version of I Am Australian for the 300th time and await the good news that I’ll never have to deal with this peanut of a company ever again. Then the call disconnected. I’m not suggesting she read the file and hit the magical dump button (though I wouldn’t be surprised) but that was it for me.
Luckily all the time I had spent on the phone had given me time to write my complaint to the Telecommunications Ombudsman and when the phone disconnected I was only a click away from officially complaining about their shenanigans. There’s no apology required – just the assurance that all my accounts (oh yes, somebody along the way told me that I had two phone lines with them. I HAVE NONE!) are obliterated from history and I never have to deal with these hacks ever again.
Telstra – Oh you’d better believe that YOU’RE ON THE LIST