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Telstra A Mess, 92% Overpriced Claims, Move To Axe OZ Jobs

Telstra is facing a tough future due to poor service, a network that constantly fails and new allegations that the carrier’s broadband products are “overpriced”.

Telstra at the weekend confirmed it plans to axe 326 jobs in its contact centre and Telstra Business teams, as it looks to cut costs and “remove duplication”. The decision “impacts roles across our sales, service, and national office teams,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

At the weekend Consumer Group Choice came out and claimed that they have calculated that a “Telstra tax” on smartphones is as high as 92 per cent.

Choice is urging frustrated customers to fight their way out of locked contracts without paying exit fees.

The call comes after the Telstra network suffered seven outages since February of this year, compounding these thousands of Telstra customers have been without broadband for days over the same period, as the Company fixes problems in their Exchanges. 

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) reported on Friday that Telstra was planning to sack 450 people, including 140 working in Melbourne and 94 in Perth. According to the CPSU, a quarter of the axing’s were due to the telco wanting to offshore its operations.

“This is a devastating blow … customers pay top dollar for Telstra services … yet the company continues to undermine the quality and reliability of its services by callously sacking Australian workers,” said a CPSU official.

“We take our responsibility to support employees through this period very seriously, and we absolutely understand the impact announcements like this can have on our staff.”

In a decision that won’t please many Australian subscribers, Telstra added that the decision would “increase slightly the amount of work done by our partners overseas”, with work to be consolidated across Australia and the Philippines.

One of the advantages Telstra has had over competitors is that contact centre calls have usually been answered promptly in Australia, without the language or hearing problems that can ensue with Asian-based operations.

On top of this Telstra is facing a revenue collapse in their mobile division as consumers switch to new carriers.

Charts produced by Choice reveal that like-for-like comparisons showed Telstra customers were paying a “Telstra tax” of 92 per cent for ADSL 2+ broadband, 68 per cent for SIM-only mobile and 41 per cent for a broadband, phone and TV streaming bundle.

“Consumers are trapped in fixed term contracts that are not getting the premium service they signed up for,” said Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey.

“So if you are trapped in a fixed term Telstra contract … log your outages, record your loss and take the fight up to Telstra to get out of your contract without penalty.”

Telstra claims the Choice analysis is “flawed”, saying it “didn’t tell the full story”.

This is the same organisation that told consumers that a Samsung washing machine was responsible for a NSW fire only to be rebuked by the NSW Fire Brigade who said that Choice was wrong.

To come up with the 92 per cent “Telstra tax” figure, Choice compared Telstra’s $115 “large broadband” product with 1000GB of data to TPG’s $60 “basic bundle” with no data limit on 24-month contracts.

After a series of outages, the telco giant has offered free data days and possible compensation on a case by case basis.

The SMH said that Hospitals have had to cancel operations, shoppers have had to pay with cash and bank customers have been unable to make some transactions due to the collapse of Telstra Networks.

The latest outage occurred on June 30 and lasted more than six hours. Myer, Medibank, Monash University and Jetstar were among a host of major Telstra fixed-line customers hit by the outage.

That outage came just 24 hours after Telstra boss Andy Penn announced a $250 million program to improve infrastructure.

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