Sign sparks response

Frustrated: Camex Automotive director Alan Smith is annoyed that it took erecting this sign for Telstra to fix his connection problems. Picture: Jess Layt
Frustrated: Camex Automotive director Alan Smith is annoyed that it took erecting this sign for Telstra to fix his connection problems. Picture: Jess Layt

After almost 60 days of limited to non-existent internet and phone connectivity, it was a big sign on a main road that finally saw Alan Smith’s business reconnected.

The Campbelltown business owner lost his phone lines and internet connections intermittently for 56 days between August and the start of October after making the switch to the NBN.

Frustrated with the lack of assistance from Telstra (his service provider) and suffering from clients being unable to book their cars in, the Camex Automotive director erected a sign out the front of his Blaxland Road store, reading ‘Telstra has crippled this business’.

He put up the sign on a Saturday – posting it also to Facebook – and within two days his problem was being dealt with directly by a Telstra worker in Queensland.

“That’s the power of social media,” he said.

“After being bounced from person to person for two months putting this sign up finally got the job done.”

I’ve lost easily 50 per cent of my business throughout this.

Alan Smith, Camex Automotive director

Mr Smith’s connections were completely restored on Friday. Despite being reconnected, he said the impact of weeks and weeks of spotty connections was still being felt.

“I’ve lost easily 50 per cent of my business throughout this,” he said. “People couldn’t get in touch – for most of the time we were working with one phone line diverting to one mobile phone. There were no emails, no messages. A couple of staff even took leave to ease the pressure.”

Mr Smith said the dramas – which included a full two days of zero connectivity – had given him anxiety.

Telstra area manager Tricia Wilson the situation was unfortunate and Mr Smith deserved better.

“This is not the service the customer should expect from Telstra and we’ve contacted him to apologise,” she said.

However, Mr Smith said he had received no such apology and in fact had never heard from Ms Wilson.

The issue was put down to technical problems and a degree of human error on Telstra’s part. Ms Wilson said any other businesses who suffer similar problems should get in contact.

“While the vast majority of customers have had a smooth transition to the NBN, any Telstra customers who experience an issue with their service should contact us directly or go into their local Telstra store or Telstra business centre,” she said.

Mr Smith said a neighbouring business was set to use the sign now his problems had been resolved.