Telco blues

When I was working as a courier my mobile phone was my most important means of communication. As I started to develop my web design business I started to use my fixed line phone a little more than previously.

To make it easier to distinguish between personal calls and business calls I set up what Telstra call a duet line. It is good value as, for just $6 a month, you get a separate telephone number which piggybacks your existing phone line.

By dialling a code before the required phone number it diverts the outgoing call to that line. Incoming calls have a different ring tone.

I also got call ID which normally costs $6 a month but on the Homeline plan they combine two features for $6.

This arrangement worked fine for me until two years ago when I moved my mobile phone onto a cap plan. The advantage of the cap meant that my phone bill was reduced but I got a lot more call time for my money. My $49 cap gives me $200 worth of calls. I then started using my mobile phone for all outgoing calls as it worked out cheaper for me.

I kept the duet number for a number of reasons and after a while Telstra gave me a new reason to start using my land line again with 50 free local calls a month because I had my mobile phone and fixed line combined on one bill.

Everything was working for me and I was happy until my printer died and I upgraded to a multifunction machine.

I suddenly found myself with a fax machine so I decided that my second number could be my fax number. I used a special splitter that is designed to pick up the special ring tone and redirect the call to where it was required.

Except it just didn’t work!

And that’s when I found out that the duet number doesn’t work with this fax splitter device because it listens to a completely different ring tone called a faxstream.

My next call was to Telstra to convert my existing duet service to faxstream which they arranged for the next day. For some reason it disconnected my ADSL Internet service, although only for a couple of hours.

My next phone bill was very confusing with credits from previous bills and debits for this bill and the next bill so it wasn’t until the second bill that I realised what they had actually done.

As well as converting my duet number to a faxstream they also converted my homeline account to a business plan, removed my 50 free local calls and started charging me $6 for the faxstream AND $6 for the call ID.

At no point did I ask them to change all my services, something that effectively cost me an extra $11 a month in service charges and $13.60 in local call charges for two months.

I have organised with them to change it to what I wanted, which will occur tomorrow but to do that they will have to disconnect and reconnect my phone line which will cause my Internet to go down again

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