There it was sitting in the to-do list, “relocate phone” and “relocate ADSL.” Two remarkably simple items in the list, it shouldn’t be a problem I thought … stupidly … since apparently anything to do with phones or broadband anywhere in the world is always a problem, and Australia is no exception.

The phone service is with Telstra, the broadband with Internode. Getting the phone relocated shouldn’t be so hard so I thought I’d try the ADSL first. Of course I met the first stumbling block, the 50G a month $50 plan that I’m on isn’t available any more – you can have 30G plans or 200G plans. Our usage is around 40-45G a month, so the 30G plan is ruled out, and at $80 a month the 200G plan seems a pretty steep extra cost.

Of course what Internode really want is to provide all your services, so if you bundle your phone service with the broadband, the 200G broadband cost drops to $50 and the phone costs the same with them as it does with Telstra.

[2012-02-10 Fri] Day 0: Ordered the works

A phone called confirmed that the suggested course of action was to a) churn my phone from Telstra to Internode, then b) move both Internode service to the new premises on the 17th, all the while retaining the same phone number. Orders were placed, confirmation was given, etc etc. I was told that I may receive SMS or emails requesting actions from me and to respond promptly in order for everything to be done within the time frame.

[2012-02-14 Tue] Day 4: Phone churned

An SMS and email arrived to tell me that my phone was now with Internode, I checked the dial-tone and number and sure enough it was all working – a mere two and a half business days since I’d made the request. Everything looking rosy so far.

[2012-02-17 Fri] Day 7: We moved house.

Plugged a phone into two or three of the sockets in the house and there’s no dial tone.

[2012-02-22 Wed] Day 12: Why no connection yet?

Still no connection at the new house so I called up Internode to enquire about the progress.

Surprise surprise, despite the phone conversation I had almost two weeks ago on Friday, all that was “ordered” was the churn of the phone line from Telstra to Internode. All the details of what I want are there in the notes for the job, but apparently I was supposed to phone back and order the relocation myself once I received the confirmation that this had been done, the confirmation that came on [2012-02-14 Tue]. I’ve now definitely ordered the relocation (ref. no.blah-blah-blah) and it should take place in 3-5 working days, with the caveat that as we’ve asked for a relocation to a DSL-compatible line, I’ve waived my rights under section blah-blah-blah of the telecommunications act and it could take an arbitrary long time and I can’t seek compensation.

[2012-02-27 Mon] Day 17: Phone line, what phone line?

Received an SMS to call Internode and quote a reference number, so I did.

Name, address, date of birth, shoe-size and other identifying information given then they bring up their side of the details and read out from the job notes: “they are saying the closest match they can find for the address is 4 xxxxx street Hughesdale,” then “are you sure you’ve provided the correct address?” Said yes, that I was living there, got put on hold for some time. Then, “could the suburb also be known as Oakleigh?” The address is Hughesdale, told them I had no idea what their records said it is. Transferred to a new person who tells me the house has never had a phone line connected and that’ll be a $299 connection fee “from the wholesaler.” I pointed out that it does have a phone line, together with at least three phone points. Was asked if there is any dial-tone – there is not – and then told that the premises has no phone connection. Oh, and by the way, this will also require a site visit from a technician. “Are you happy to go ahead with that?”. Said that “NO, I am not happy, but it doesn’t look as though I’ve got any option, so go ahead.”

So the saga proceeds, and I wait for them to send a technician around to see that there is indeed a bloody phone line attached to the house, but they’ll charge me $299 “connection fee” anyway.

[2012-02-27 Mon 14:30] Day 17: Confusion via SMS

Received two SMS messages within a minute of each other. The first states:

Unfortunately the telephone number of your Internode NodeLine order Qxxxxxx cannot be transferred. Refer email or call Sales on 13 6633 for more info.

The second, only seconds later:

Your Internode NodeLine order Qxxxxxx has been scheduled for 01-03-2012. Please be on site.

So which is it? Called them up to find out what on earth was going on.

I know that both premises connect to the same exchange – Oakleigh – 570 Neerim Rd, Oakleigh 3166 – and I know that I already have the phone number that I want transferred. I also know that there are phone sockets and an alarm system that uses the phone lines inside the house so please don’t give me any crap about the house not having a phone or the number not being available.

After much time spent listening to on-hold music and a rather flustered sales representative talking to the Internode connection section to try and get some sense out of the confusion I’m told that:

  • there’s no wires from the exchange to the house (or there might not be, due to the length of time since disconnection)
  • Internode can’t guarantee I can keep my own phone number because they only ask Telstra to move the number from one place to another and sometimes Telstra won’t do it. (Yes, he was flustered, he said Telstra rather than “the wholesaler”).
  • Once the phone line has been connected Internode can send through a request asking for it to be reallocated to the phone number that I previously had! Seems to be a complete waste of time if I’ve already had to tell people that my number has changed, but I told them to go ahead with it.

Then to rub a little salt into it, half an hour later in rolls the email that the SMS refers to:

We are pleased to advise you that your NodeLine phone service order is progressing well, unfortunately the telephone number of your existing NodeLine service (03xxxxxxxx) is unable to be transferred to your new NodeLine service.

As a result, you have been assigned a new telephone number for your new NodeLine service. The new number is : 03xxxxxxxx.

If this is all part of what Internode think of as “progressing well” then I’d hate to see one that’s progressing badly!

[2012-03-01 Thu 10:20] Day 20: Surprise surprise, rescheduled

Having arranged for Jo to be home all day today for when the technician comes, at [2012-03-01 Thu 10:10] I receive the following:

Your Internode NodeLine order Qxxxxxxx has been scheduled for the 06-03-2012. Please be on site. Internode 1300 304 718.

Rang them up and asked what’s going on, to be told that “sometimes they have to reschedule, sorry about the late notice.” At least I’ve found out that the visit on the 6th will be sometime between 10:00 and 14:00 – that is, if they turn up and don’t stuff us about some more.

[2012-03-01 Thu 12:30] Day 20: Telstra confirmed the reschedule

Just to confirm everything I got a phone call from a Telstra machine talking through the arrangements for Tueday; confirm who I am, confirm where I live, confirm that the phone will be connected on Tuesday, confirm that I’ll be home. Thank you have a nice day.

[2012-03-02 Fri 11:00] Day 21: Internode repeating themselves

Internode rang up to confirm that I was aware of them rescheduling the connection, despite them having sent me yesterday’s SMS telling me this and them having a record of me calling back to confirm the details! Roll on to Tuesday…

[2012-03-06 Tue 11:15] Day 25: Telstra does stuff

Five past eleven the Telstra man calls up, ten minutes later he arrives and an hour later he leaves. During that time he pokes and prods at least four of the phone lines or sockets, rummages around outside, and vanishes up the street for a while to do things in a metal box.

Despite the multitude of phone points in the house it seems that – according to him – only the one in the study is connected to an outside cable. We are now connected to the exchange and have a new phone number. Home number is now 9568.xxxx, which is neither our original 9568 number or the number that Internode quoted in their email.

[2012-03-06 Tue 17:30] Day 25: Internode tells me I have a phone

An SMS arrives to tell me that the phone is working – um, yeah, I know, I’ve been using it for about seven hours – still, it is nice to be told officially.

Surprise surprise, no ADSL. The router just sits there and says there’s nothing on the line.

I call up Internode and find that because this is now officially “a new phone line” I now have to lodge a request to have ADSL connected to it! This should take, surprise surprise, “three to five working days.”

[2012-03-07 Wed 10:30] Day 26: Can I have my own number back!

I forgot to ask Internode yesterday, but that’s probably for the best as I’ve found that when you try and ask two things in one call inevitably one of them will be lost.

Called up Internode to ask them why I hadn’t got my original phone number since both the old house and new house have numbers on the 9568 exchange and one of the main reasons I’d entered into this whole rigmarole was in order to keep the same phone number! Got told that “Yes, it says here in the connection job that it did ask for that number, but sometimes they (ie Telstra) just ignore that and give you the next available number.”

I then asked about getting my number changed back to the original number, “Oh certainly, that will be a $37.50 charge as its a change of number request levied by the wholesaler” and I nearly hit the roof. Seems that you can ask for your connection to be moved to a new location and retain your number, Telstra mysteriously “forget” the second half of that, then they charge you extra to do it for you! The Internode representative “understood my distress and could see why I would not be happy at paying that charge” and squirmed and dissembled a great deal over the phone, in fact, did everything except confirm that I wouldn’t be charged. The best I can get is that I can dispute the charge with an Internode account representative after it has been presented to me.

[2012-03-14 Wed 10:00] Day 33: Tada! We have ADSL

Ten o’clock on the dot, an SMS beeps in to tell me that I now have ADSL. Annoyingly, I was going to switch the router on before going to work but I forgot, so I can’t connect back home to see if it really is connected. No matter, a quick trip home at lunch time for other reasons and turn the box on, the blinking lights confirm that yes, finally, we do have ADSL.

Now, about that telephone number of mine…

[2012-03-15 Thu 16:00] Day 34: Done, finished, over.

During a spare couple of minutes at work I thought I’d give Internode a call and ask about the progress – or otherwise – of my number transfer. On the off chance that it had already been done I tried ringing my old number … TADA! It rang and connected through to our answering machine.

So there you have it; Moved house 600m, we’re still on the same telephone exchange, and then after: 35 days, 9 emails, 8 SMS msgs, 2 appointments and $300 – we have the phone and ADSL connected and our old phone number back . All that remains is to politely refuse to pay a further $40 they want to charge in order to give me my own phone number back because they conveniently “forgot” to use the old number when connecting the new premises.