Optus was forced to apologize after a customer received a very blunt response from staff when they contacted the company with a question following their disruptive hours-long outage.
The telco’s response to Wednesday’s massive 12-hour nationwide blackout that affected 10 million customers was to give in 200 GB of additional data for their “patience and loyalty”.
The outage prevented individuals and businesses from making and receiving calls and carrying out transactions, with CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin only appearing publicly several hours after the tragedy, leaving the communications minister in front of the cameras.
An Optus user took to Reddit to share their interaction with customer service when they questioned 70GB of bonus data added to their account after the debacle.
He claimed the company canceled his $30-per-month plan with 15GB of data and upgraded him to a more expensive plan in the process — and that he didn’t even use a fraction of the 15GB anyway.
But the icing on the cake was the response he received telling him that the change was “automatically applied” and that he had the choice to cancel the plan before the change happened automatically.
The last sentence was brief: “Either you will stay or you will not stay.”
An Optus customer took to Reddit to share the ‘unexpected’ response they received to a question
Optus said Daily Mail Australia users are contacted by text and email before any such changes are made and given the opportunity to unsubscribe.
“We recognize that, in this instance, a customer’s experience did not meet our standards and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused,” a spokesperson said.
“Optus is committed to providing transparent and timely customer service when handling complaints. »
“Our representative will receive feedback and advice on best practices for effective communication with our customers. »
Commenters on the Redditor’s original post said the response was “unprofessional” and that customers needed to do more work to undo a change to their account that they didn’t request.
Ms Bayer Rosmarin said earlier this week that bonus data worth $100 would be given to customers as an apology for the outage.
This is the second debacle for the company in just over 12 months after a massive hack in September 2022 compromised the information of 10 million customers.
Ms Bayer Rosmarin is grappling with her own public relations disasters, linked to her response to the two incidents, which have been widely criticized.
Kelly Bayer Rosmarin (pictured) has been the CEO of Optus since April 1, 2020, but most people only hear her name when the company is caught in a PR disaster.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said small businesses may be entitled to additional compensation.
“Small businesses that have suffered reasonably foreseeable loss or damage due to the inability to provide the service may be entitled to compensation and this will vary depending on the specific circumstances,” an ACCC spokesperson said. .
Federal Labor Minister Bill Shorten said Friday the additional data would “not touch” customer frustration and encouraged small businesses to speak with their account managers.
“The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman can help small businesses who are unhappy with the answers. I would encourage these customers to keep records, document the impacts of the outage on them, but it was a nightmare for everyone the world,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB.
Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson said problems faced by small businesses on the Optus network had not been resolved and rejected suggestions from the telecommunications company that compensation for loss s ‘would rise to $2 per day.
“Small businesses rely on telecommunications as an essential service, but they have been poorly served by Optus throughout this event and some have suffered a significant economic cost,” he said.
Customers, politicians and business figures have criticized Optus over the outage, with the Greens securing a Senate inquiry into the disaster and the federal government launching an inquiry.
Business and personal customers were left without access to essential phone and internet services for more than 12 hours on Wednesday.
In September last year, the company suffered a massive data breach that affected millions of Australians whose sensitive documents, including passport and health insurance numbers, had been leaked online.
Optus claimed the outage was caused by a “network event” that triggered a cascading outage. Its engineers are studying the problem.
National leader David Littleproud said this highlighted the need to impose national mobile roaming in rural and remote areas, so users could access services outside their own network coverage.
“We need a common-sense approach to this problem… by starting mobile roaming in regional, rural and remote areas, we can target it to the areas that need it most,” he said. he declares.
“The urgency for the regions is the tyranny of distance we face and the threat of natural disasters such as the next bushfire season.”