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Telstra shuts out prepaid mobile broadband rechargers

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Telstra’s prepaid mobile broadband customers endured a frustrating end of year technical meltdown, with hundreds off customers unable to recharge online.

The carrier did not reveal the number of affected customers, but customer service representatives said that hundreds of prepaid customers were unable to use the online platform due to intermittent problems over a three week period. A Telstra spokesperson said the technical issue related to “an unrelated network upgrade that resulted in some customers experiencing issues recharging using self care.”

Affected customers received various error messages when trying to recharge online.

The spokesperson said that the despite the online outage there were alternative options for people wanting to recharge including by phone, BPAY, PALPAY and electronic vouchers.

The rub, however, came as due to an overwhelming number of calls to the service all attempts to pay via phone were deferred to a customer service message asking disgruntled customers to wait 20 minutes and try again online.

And while Telstra has invested heavily in ensuring its customer contact points are as social and around the clock as possible, such ‘Crowd support’ and ‘24/7 support‘, they all depend on having a functioning broadband connection.

In another misfiring contingency plan, the Telstra Media Hotline, usually manned by proactive PR operatives, featured a recorded message stating that all queries would be most speedily and efficiently answered if committed to email - again useless if one’s prepaid broadband account is offline and un-rechargable. A Telstra spokesperson claimed that the impact lasted just over one week, “however there was further congestion which you would have experienced due to the sheer volume of people recharging at this time of the year.” ®

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