Telstra Business

Reporter: Bryan Seymour

Adam Parker makes screen and security doors -- like his dad.

Earlier this year he moved -- not far -- to a prime location, just one hour from Melbourne, brimming with business. Yet, his customers have stopped talking to him. "There you go, it's a dropout. I'm starting to get upset now", Adam said.

"That person there could've been an existing customer that will ring us back, could've been a new customer that we've lost, could've been a $50 sale, could've been a $500 sale, could have been a $1000 sale", Adam said.

So, how much business has Adam lost through the call dropout debacle? "At the moment to put a figure on it, we're probably talking 25 - 30,000. However as a long term figure, we've lost a couple of builders, so over a twelve month period they're probably worth something like a $100,000 a year to us", Adam said.

Three builders have dropped Adam in frustration, along with two real estate agents. For a man whose family has built a business in security over 35 years, he's suddenly feeling extremely vulnerable.

Adam says Telstra can't give him a proper reason for the phone problems.

Instead, Telstra has promised that the phone will be connected -- on March 26, then May 5, May 29, June 25, July 8 - now, they're saying September 18.

In the meantime, Telstra has given Adam a satellite phone that costs far more to use -- and rarely works. "We're charged at a rate of 24c a minute, so there's three charges associated with every call, regardless of whether or not I get to speak to someone", Adam said.

One thing Telstra has no problem getting through is it's bills. "Our mobile charges are probably three times the price of what we were paying, at least double", Adam said.

But the mobile service is very patchy, so Adam can't rely on that for his business either.

There's one thing that can save Adam's business and his sanity. "Not a mobile service, not a satellite service, not an interim service, a real phone -- one that you can actually make calls on", Adam said.

Telstra has now been able to switch the fax line over to a phone line so Adam now has a line with no dropouts. However, he still has a major problem because the business needs four lines not one -- now a lot of his clients are getting an engaged signal when they ring through.

The problem is still not resolved and Adam has been told it won't be until 18 th September.

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