Dodgy Telstra Sales Practices

I don’t usually complain about companies and their sales approach, since I know how hard it is to sell things. But today I had a house call by a Telstra person and his sales practice was so dodgy – it’s just not something I would have expected by such a respected company as Telstra.

He came with a clipboard, had a name tag, and was on the verge of running away again when I got to the door – he really made the impression of a busy technician and took notes in his clipboard while we were talking.

He asked me whether I was with Telstra and I said no. He further asked who my phone line was with and I said iiNet. He then asked whether iiNet was looking after our physical phone line connection and I said probably no, but rather that it still belonged to Telstra – I found that a strange question to be asked by a technician who should really know, but then he might be new from India and not know everything yet.

He then said that in this case his information would be interesting for me and said that on Monday and Tuesday between 9am and 5pm Telstra would be undertaking work on the phone cables in my street and that I would be without connection, both Internet and Phone. I said ok, if it cannot be helped and thought that was it.

But that wasn’t it. Out of seemingly personal curiosity, almost as if he was making a decision for his own personal home, he asked how I was going with iiNet. I said good. He asked how much I was paying and how many phone calls that would include. I stated the rough amount and that my phone charges were really low and that amount almost covered all my phone calls and Internet connection. He then went on asking how much bandwidth I had. I stated the summary of peak and off-peak bandwidth to which he asked how much was peak and how much was off-peak. At this point I was getting slightly annoyed, since he could as well look up all these details on the Internet and really doesn’t need to get them from me.

But then came the really weird part. He then said that with this bandwidth I could barely surf the Internet and my phone line would be really crappy. He then started trying to sell me a Telstra ADSL service. This is where I got really annoyed and almost loud. I said that I knew what I was doing and that for what I am getting from iiNet I would have to pay 10 times as much with Telstra and that under no circumstances would I switch back to Telstra services.

He seemed to understand that he wasn’t going to sell me any phone or Internet services today, so he switched topic: what about a Foxtel account then? I said no thank you and good bye and closed the door.

So, now, I am actually wondering whether his initial statement that our street will have an outage on Monday and Tuesday is actually correct or whether that was just a way to get his foot in the door. I am really pissed off with Telstra for such dodgy sales practices. Unfortunately, their complaints department does not answer calls on a weekend and their technical department was not willing to confirm an outage on Monday and Tuesday since I am not a Telstra customer.

Telstra: I really wished your sales people would play fairly in the market. I could see so many neighbours talking to your sales guy and considering his offers that I almost felt like going over and uncovering his lies. He is making false claims about other Network’s services, he is making false claims about technical details and he is trying to open the door with a possibly false claim on a technical outage. Plus: I have to wait until Monday before I can tell you about it. How much worse can it get?

34 thoughts on “Dodgy Telstra Sales Practices

  1. I did some work for Optus 2 years ago and I was representing Optus via a contractor who bids for the rights to do the door to door sales for them. The more you sold the more you got. The contractor also gave bonuses out of their own pocket if you exceed sales. The thing is they also teached you dodgy ways to sell the product. All of which I disagreeded with. I did not stay with them long.

    Telstra also does this. I had the Telstra reps recently in my area. The rep was from Salesforce who seem to do most of Sydney for Telstra. He tried to convince me to go with Telstra again. He also attempted to do the same and tell me how much Telstra wanted my business back. I said I was not interested and attempted to go back inside. He then asked who I was with and then showed me the plan. I said I get a better deal with Iprimus and again attempted to go inside. He then told me a lie that the Government still retained 50% share in Telstra. Which I challenged. He then said we can’t compete with Iprimus then left.

    They will do anything to get a sale these days. Telstra and Optus Management should be a shamed of themselves.

  2. Over the 3 years since I moved my landline account from Telstra (to iiNet as it happens) I probably have had them contact me probably every 6 months on average to see if I would switch back. Like you, I haven’t had any inclination to do so, pretty much evenly based on the bang-for-buck from Internet access, and my satisfaction with the customer service iiNet provided.

    It has been quite well-documented that Telstra take every opportunity to turn customer contact into a sale. Even if you report a fault or say query a bill, they will have offers on hand to entice you to “supersize”. ( I have a few Telstra mobile accounts and they definitely do this here).

    Despite Sol Trujillo regularly crying poor (about their obligations as a universal carrier), they clearly use it to their advantage. I would love to see total split up of the retail and wholesale/carriage side of things. The physical infrastructure (cabling/exchanges/bearer services) should have always remained publicly owned. And even if Telstra is to manage this infrastructure their needs to be clear division between that and any retail offering.

    If you don’t get much joy from Telstra, definitely go to the TIO and report your grievance

  3. Aw come on — hopefully it brightened your day just a little bit – it certainly entertained mine.

    A Telstra person talking to someone with obvious technical clue, saying they could do better than… well, just about anyone, and not being laughed out of the house? I was bursting into maniacal hysterical laughter.

  4. Going back a couple of years I worked in a Telstra call centre and I remember hearing a lot about a staff program called “Opportunity Knocks” or something like that. Basically the idea was that Telstra technicians, whilst working on a job, would try to strike up a conversation with the householder and work out what Telstra products might be suitable for (aka worth selling to) them.

    If the householder showed some interest, the technician would submit a Sales lead and inform them that somebody will call in the next couple of days. If the lead turned in to a sale, I believe that the technician got a commission and the chance to win something from a monthly prize draw.

    It’s possible that the person you encountered was a Telstra Technician desperate to meet a monthly lead quota by harassing people in the last few days of the month, although it is very unusual for them to walk around a street to announce a planned outage…usually that kind of information would be passed on to your retail carrier, and it would be up to them to inform you about it.

    I can understand why Telstra think that having techs chat with customers/potential customers is a good idea…if they’re working on your property then you’re already paying attention to them, but the whole thing is ethically challenged, especially if the householder is not currently a Telstra customer.

    If the person you encountered is a salesperson, then it’s just a new low for Telstra Sales. I’m sick of hearing from Telstra salespeople on my mobile, trying to tell me that Telstra can offer me so much more than Vodafone Prepaid…the fact that their salespeople even have access to information that says I’m “Samuel on Vodafone Prepaid” is very annoying, and a breach of trust from the infrastructure owner, if not a breach of the Privacy Act in my opinion.

    If there is no outage in your area then I’d suggest calling Telstra and/or the police to report the person. It’s possible that they were a fake Telstra rep and had an ulterior motive, especially if their nametag was merely a nametag rather than a photo ID card.

  5. I think you’re a lot more patent than I am. Whenever I’d see a Telstra person at my door, I’d kick the guy out as soon as identified and before he generally before he could attempt to sell anything. They’re really annoying, not only at the door, but at the phone too. Not to mention the practice of selling personal information — my name was misspelled by Telstra when I originally signed up and I remember receiving junk mail with the same misspelling.soon after.

  6. I think that your comments are all pretty sad. Yes Tim, pondscum is too harsh and Davebert, unless someone from Telstra murdered your pet or family member I have no idea why you would feel so strongly about Telstra to suggest that all of its sales team should die. Very strange!!!

    Telstra like most large companies are far from perfect and now many of its competitors are finding with their increased share of responsibility are also slipping from grace. Just ask the large number of Optus customers in Qld and NSW today what they think of Optus when their phones were out of action for most of the day. While they are not all perfect, they do provide a service and employ a large number of people (Australians). If the guy/salesperson at your door Silvia, was dodgy, did you ask him for his identification badge and record his number to prevent this happening to others? Most of these companies like Rodger said employ contractors/sales companies to market their products. The market has become like this because of deregulation and that is why you now pay less for service products like the phone.

    Silvia, you sound like an intelligent lady to me. If a person of Indian decent came knocking at your door with a clipboard and no Telstra vehicle, why would you think he was a Telstra tech? Wouldn’t you immediately think he was trying to sell you something and not a tech, particularly if he appeared to be a new Australian? Get used to it. All the energy companies are marketing their products in the same way. It can be annoying but it is the price that we have to pay for choice and deregulation of markets.

  7. Hi Wen,

    I must admit I was not bold enough to go to the trouble of asking the guy for his identification number and report him. Once I got suspicious, he was gone too quickly and I was too perplexed. But that’s no excuse because I later walked past him badgering my neighbour and was about to walk up to them and explain to my neighbour the kind of bullshit he was telling, but I didn’t want to make any trouble, so I left it. Not enough courage to completely kill my day.

    Also, I didn’t see any cars because my house is set back a bit and I cannot survey the road. It looked though as if he had a repair car sitting there waiting for him. If it had been a woman or somebody from another country, I would have had the same thought. He was not in a suit and thus I was not suspicious.

  8. Hi Silvia

    Nice blog post. I just spoke to a Telstra technician at my front door too and it looks like some sort of textbook sales routine!
    He told me about the fibre-optics in my street being replaced, my place going out of internet/phone and then asked about my ISP, talking about Telstra’s new plans, asked about my mobile phone and then asked about Foxtel before leaving.

    I never thought these guys were legit. I thought they were some dodgy company pretending to be Telstra. I didn’t think Telstra would do door-to-door sales.

    Keep it to mailing brochures, please Telstra.

  9. Interesting, had a similar experience when my flatmate who had a cable account with Telstra moved out. Only their were two of them. Glad I learnt from past experiences (note – plural). They got as far as ‘I’m from Telstra’ before I said I wasn’t interested and to PO. Hope I shocked them. BTW I am not young nor male and I’m sure they didn’t expect that coming from someone old enough to be their grandmother BUT Telstra REALLY deserves it.

  10. Hi Guys, Look I agree, some of the sales practices that some companies use are pretty dodge. After reading some of your blogs I agree, these guys do sound more than a bit suspect. If you get them again though, its just a thought that you should ask them for their identification badges and check out for sure if they are from Telstra or not, because I don’t reckon a lot of them are from Telstra. I know that a lot of these people are from sales companies who are representing phone companies and when they talk to customers they use whatever tactics they can to get in the door. Telstra is a large and credible company so thats what they tell you to get in the door. They are probably from one of the dodgy overseas companies that are selling phone lines here now. Optus = Singapore Government; AAPT = NZ Govt; Primus = USA; then there are hundreds of little companies who just broker off these ones running stuff out of India and the Philippines. I have had equally bad experiences from these dodgy companies who come around selling “CHEAP” rates and equipment. I reckon you get what you pay for and at least Telstra is Australian and spends money here in Australia building networks and infrastructure and employs Australians!!! I only have Telstra phones and internet to support Australia. My phone and internet always works and when I travel around my mobile phone gets good coverage. I’m sure like the banks they are not perfect but for me they are the best. If these dodgy dudes come to your home again – get their identification – write it down and tell them that you will call them once you check them out. If they are legitimate they will I’m sure gladly provide these details and give you a Telstra business card. If they are not then they will be looking for the quickest exit out of your place. Dodgy dealers always come unstuck when you ask them for identification and they cannot provide it.

  11. Guess wat I`am a face to face rep for telstra and proud of it …the real annoying type that like stated above should be stabed with sharp things in the head … Come on get over your self.. Needle dick…

    At the end of the day its a simple yes or no if you show intrest or your weak as piss and cant say no because your truly a lonley man and all you`ve ever wanted all day is to feel cared about thats your own issue .. Telstra nor Origin realy couldnt give a fuck .. There in buisness to make money thats why they dont have a We realy give a shit hotline…Wake up and smell the flowers its the real world Business is Business and at the end of the day all it comes down to is saying yes if your interested or no if your not…….Simple as that! And why wouldn`t you like to compare what you`ve got who knows ?? Maybe it is cheaper .. Fcuk im sure you compare prices at the supermarket ..

    Theres no confussion we dont put a gun to your head or force you to do anything although if your an idiot and you dont look and actually compare rates then more fool you …why wouldn`t I sign you up it more cash in my pocket.. And while you feel im the goose trotting around the neighbourhood Making $2,500 a week i really dont know…

    Now chances are by the way you`ve worded your blogs you think your all some kind of wonder kids, Perhaps if you go and educate yourself a little you`ll understand the basic fundermentals to YES or NO, If you feel so strongly about face to face reps chances are its me thats ripped you off .. Im the most ruthless of them all in the Business and straight to the point, Its not hard to win a fuckwit back to Telstra it realy isnt

  12. Hi telstras love child,

    If you are really a Telstra representative, Id’ prefer if you did not use such hard language go make your point. With the kind of post you made above, you’re certainly not doing Telstra a favor.

    If instead you are just a troll, please leave my blog alone or I will have to remove your posts.

    Now to the one point that you are making “understand the basic fundamentals of YES and NO”. The problem is not that I wasn’t able to say yes or no. The problem is that instead of asking a direct question to which I would have been able to say yes or no, I was loomed into a friendly chat about my current provider and then slammed over the head with false information. I was very well capable of saying NO after that and I did. But I disapprove of the unethical approach to asking the question by making me a friend and then making look incompetent to force me to make a favorable decision towards Telstra. Yes, in this way it would most certainly not be hard to win a customer back to Telstra, because most people out there simply do not have enough knowledge to fight the fud.

  13. Hey Silvia ,

    Harsh language is telling people that they should be stabbed in the head with sharp things, If I have offended you I deaply appologise although the pun was clearly not directed your way ,

    If you said No to the rep and you havent adversly been signed up, Whats the issue ? Of course they want to be freindly to Sign you up you Ignaramis… Imagine if you walked into a car yard and all the sales guy said was Pee Off you stupid Cow … Sure your going to buy a car off them arn`t you …NOT… See my point, In sales you have to win the person over before you get the sale…Its as simple as that !!!! Just by talking to someone I can tell you within the first 20seconds if ill get the sale or not, its whether you connect or not and your clearly not going to sign up or buy of someone you dont like are you … I just dont see what your issue is ?? If the rep has clearly lied about the plan or services than fair enough you`ve got a point and perhaps then they should be stabbed with shap things but untill that happends Silvia Its you thats the troll …..

  14. Wow…..I didn’t think it was possible to have any less respect for Telstra, but then your Telstra-employed-and-trained sales-troll turned up, Silvia.

    Their sales training is clearly turning out high quality staff….. or maybe they only employ cretins in the first place. Could be part of the interview process or the job application:
    “Applicant must have proven ability to act in the most loathsome manner possible. Experience in the backstreet thugging or pimping industries will be to advantage.”

  15. telstra love child,

    Yes, my point was that the sales practice was dodgy because he was arguing with wrong information, clearly lied in my face. But I don’t stab people, I’d rather write a blog post about it and get on with life.

  16. Hi guys, Telstra Love Child is obviously not a Telstra employee!!! If he was firstly I don’t think that he would be using that sort of language if he intends on remaining an employee. However in his defence if he is a reseller I can understand his displeasure in Dave’s comments about the “sharp things” – I found that more offensive. Love Child – if your out there – make your point, but keep it clean huh? If you are a face to face Telstra representative as you say you are then why don’t you just contribute to this blog by expressing your experiences. Is it true that you tell stories to get the customers believing that you are there for a service related issue then try to sell them something? Whats the real deal?

  17. Well well well, It seems to be a full house tonight and daved the ragging Homo-Sexual ran home scared with his gnomes… What kind of CREDIBLE middle aged man has gnomes in his garden really ?? Everyones got a point to prove but none of them make sence.. Telstra is a multi Billion dollar company and your simply another number .. Sorry to burst your bubbles but Silvia its time to Pick a ticket and line up, After they palm you around 10 or 20 times you should get the hint, They are there to make money there not a counciling service for degenerate doll bludgers with nothing better to do than winge over a couple of dollars and Bitchh on blogs all day, Sure you`ve been used abused and now your all confussed Dont you think they know that … HAhahaha its there plan !!!!! And they are cashing in Big time….DONT SIGN UP IF FOR WHAT EVER REASON YOU DONT FEEL COMFORTABLE… IF YOU FEEL THEY ARE LYING THEN GET THERE ID NUMBER AND PHOTOCOPY IT COMPLAIN IF YOU MUST… But your not forced to do anything so That makes this Blog POINTLESS…

    Listen to what they say if it sounds interesting or cheaper get there number and check it out on the net or better yet go into a Telstra Store..

    WHATS THE ISSUE…

    And Wen I am expressing my issues Im all about the Harmony hense the name Telstra Love Child … Think about it how would you feel if your mum and dad where getting put down …. IM THERE LOVE CHILD CANT YOU SEE….. I LOVE TELSTRA , TELSTRA LOVES ME AND TELSTRA LOVES YOU ALL …. HUGS AND KISSES ALL ROUND.. Apart from David I think you might have some real deep issue …A middle aged man that owns garden gnomes Must …..

    KISSES ON ME – PEACE TO ALL ( TELSTRA LOVES YOU ALL )

  18. Today I got a very dodgy phone call some foriegn woman rang my home phone and asked for some-one Ali (not me), told her no, wrong number, she read out number, i told her yes that is the number she called, but I had had phone for few months now. (thinking it may have been someone trying to get in contact with someone who previously had number) she then said she was from Telstra and that the white pages must be out of date and she would update it, I said to “um excuse me but if you were from telstra you would know who I was” she claimed she never said who I was, I said “no but you asked for the wrong person” then she started going on about cheaper phone calls. I told her “look I got a call from Telstra a few weeks ago and they have already changed my plan” and I do not wish to be called every couple of weeks to be offered different offers. She hung up saying “oh sorry sorry”
    She must of thought I was thick. Soon as she asked for wrong person she gave herself away.
    I rang and told Telstra she definatly was NOT from Telstra. How RUDE.

  19. Thing I hate most about Telstra IS When they screw up (regularly) and you phone them to tell them not only do you spend an interminable time hanging onyour callis charged at premium local call rates GOOD WORK TELSTRA I ring to report an overcharge on my bill and wait and wait and W A I T and pay premium call charge . KEN

  20. What’s worse is while you’re waiting on the phone for their support, they ask about my mobile and then ask “Why is your mobile with Optus?” “Did you know that Telstra is blah blah blah”

    I called for help with your services, not to hear a sales pitch, Telstra.

  21. Firstly Ken, I don’t know what number you call when you ring Telstra but maybe you should try the 1300 numbers that Telstra display on their bills and call them from a land line as I have only ever been charged at 27.5c incl GST for an untimed call from anywhere in Australia. Do you really think that someone sits there and puts you on hold so that they can make an extra couple of dollars for Telstra? Come on please.

    And George, Telstra wouldn’t know who your other provider is when they speak to you on the phone, even if you call them from that phone. So to say that they ask you “Why is your mobile with Optus,” is just crap. Yes they may know that you are not with Telstra but they don’t know who your other provider would be. That information is not available to Telstra. Privacy Act!!! I understand your point about the sales pitch while you ring up to complain about another issues but I have been a Telstra customer for years and never had them ask me that once and I have heaps of services and quite a few with other carriers.

    The grass isn’t always Greener on the other side. I get pissed with Optus when I have to wait ages to talk to someone in the Philippines and get the run around there. 10 Optus services usually means 20 bills per month till they get it right!!! Even when they are set up all at the same time on business accounts they are billed separately – still 3 months later. Work that out. Then of course the timeless plans – ohhh – don’t get me started on that. All the plans were cancelled by Optus without notice because our use was too high and for commercial use however we were sold these handsets we are now stuck with and plans as a business. I thought timeless unlimited meant timeless and unlimited – not with Optus it doesn’t!!! They can change the rules to suit themselves whenever they like. Give me Telstra anyday. Yes you may pay a little more but at least you know what your getting and you talk to Australians when you ring the call centres.

  22. Wen, I was asking for support about call forwarding. And Telstra then asked me who I was with for my mobile. I told them Optus Prepaid. That’s when they started the sales pitch in the middle of a support call. Sorry I didn’t elaborate that well.

    But anyway, respect to you for standing up for Telstra. I don’t use Optus (only their prepaid mobile and you don’t really deal with them at all for that) so I’m not saying I like Optus either. But just from all my experiences with Telstra… leads me to not like Telstra much, is all.

    I’d rather be with… iinet or something šŸ™‚

  23. Funnily enough, today, a sales guy from Optus just tried to pull the same trick – ” we are upgrading your exchange” – blah, blah, blah. He got very defensive very quickly and saw the outside of the door within a minute.

  24. Hey guys,
    I think that all the phone companies employ commission sales companies to sell their products and I’m sure that the guy that represents Telstra one day is probably the guy who is working for Optus or IPrimus or Vodaphone the next. They all use the same sales spiels and door to door companies have been doing this for years.

    I think that Silvia has the right idea. Show them the way back outside. Don’t let them in your house or give them your time and if you do be prepared to get ripped off.

  25. I use to work for salesforce in melbourne and for record, although i dont work for them anymore i can definately assure that they do not practise the teaching of dodgy sales.
    on that note, of course each individual rep has a mind of thier own to twist their knowledge and ideas to “strive” for that next sale which i totally disagree with.
    i think the biggest reason for this problem, through experience, is that people are so annoyed by the thought of door to door selling that no matter what the product or company there is a massive handfull of people who just dont want to listen fullstop.
    of course this does not mean that its the customers fault, it simply means all the people entering sales roles in the present and future have to deal with so many dodgy people from the past that have burned future prospects for new starters, that they think without lying or tricking the customer into something they have been trained to perceive better then the competition, they wont be able to achieve targets or earn any money at all.
    i still love my job and what i do but it would be nice to approach people willing to listen discover and decide without just closing the door blind.
    i will always continue a professional practise of sales though.

    1. James, It’s shocking that there were a sequence of people coming to the door with the same lie within a short amount of time. That definitely looked like an organised approach. I’ve done door “sales”, too – mostly for the Red Cross, actually – and know how badly some people react. So, probably door sales aren’t the right thing for most businesses, since they are an intrusion into the private life of people. In particular for things like choosing your phone provider, where you really want to do a comparison and take your time before making a decision. Being pushed into an uninformed decision is simply not acceptable.

  26. my own opinion on door to door selling is that, and when only, done the right way, is the best thing for the customer and the business.
    its unfortunate that it is abused to the point where a high percentage of people would agree that it is not.
    i totally understand your veiw of “intruding” into persons private life, although the same can be said for almost any type of sales, selling.
    selling in general whether its a store, market or front door is always going to be intruding, its up to that person to inform if its ok or not to be speaking to that person.
    also, i would say that, i dont mind having a chat to the people that knock on my door. my experience lets me know if they are taking me for a ride or not, but id much prefer private 1 on 1 selling in the comfort of my own home, and at the end of the day, its my choice if its the right time or not.
    Conclusion – door to door reps in particular need to revise their methods and training to be more professional and better understood in providing needs not wants for the customer and the people inside of their homes need to be more inviting and take a little time and effort to see if the person selling to you is providing you with something you could possibly need and help you better off or if not.
    Education is the key here and with learning what that person is offering you could very well just be passing on something that was perfect for you but you will never know either way because you never took the time to find out.

  27. Just happened to me. Had a Telstra tag and a tablet device. Said there was going to be work going on in the street as the ADSL2 line was slow, etc, etc. Then started saying I shouldn’t be paying line rental and asking how much I paid and who I was with. Honestly, Telstra are no better than those charlatans. He was obviously here to sell a product. He should be told to say that up-front.

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