Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:

A few weeks back Stephen Mayne fell in love… with Testra’s chief
spinner Phil Burgess. After sharing the stage with the tough-talking chief
flack
who wouldn’t recommend Telstra shares to his mum, Stephen wrote a
glowing story about his new buddy Phil, declared he was his bro, and
started talking
up his new website “Now We’re Talking” which allows punters to have their say about
Telstra.

Lovely though it was to see Crikey’s founder so happy, it got me
wondering. What were Phil’s real intentions? Would he publish what people really think about Telstra or would
this be just another example of sanitised corporate spin? To put his bone fides to the test I composed the most aggressively
negative comment about Telstra I could, based on my own
unpleasant experiences of the company, and emailed it in. It was
posted (here), without editorial alteration:

A greedy, deceptive spin-obsessed outfit
by Misha Ketchell

…Telstra is obsessed with spin and profit and has so little interest
in customers it will be unable to survive in a competitive marketplace
– if one ever eventuates in this country. I recently had to spend an
hour on the phone, and be passed among four different people, to have a
simple request about internet banking answered.

The company is obsessed with automated systems to the detriment of
service – no one takes responsibility for anything and getting
something simple done takes an inordinate amount of time as you’re
handpassed around. Telstra’s bills are mean, tricky, deceptive and
impossible to comprehend – which presumably is just how they’re meant
to be. Oh yes, and the profit margins on basic services are clearly
bloated.

So you’ve got a greedy, deceptive spin-obsessed outfit going for
unreasonable profits and doing a bad job. I can’t see much hope of it
being turned around, unless we get some real competition in there. The
Government should regulate Telstra hard and bring in some powerful
competitors and let it sink or swim.

If you scroll through the comments on the site there are quite a
few that are similarly critical of Telstra – like this one from Stuart Dyer who writes:

Telstra needs to begin providing next generation internet
services though the full deployment of fiber to homes and not use the
silly old copper network they have been using. The CEO needs to stop
bringing in his friends overseas on large bonuses. Why did it take me 2
weeks and over 20 phone calls to get my line connected! Why was I
passed from customer service centre to customer service centre no one
knew what they were doing.

I can only conclude the site is for real and Phil’s
minions aren’t indulging in censorship on the sly. Phil, as far as I’m
concerned you’re still on probation mate, and you’re certainly not my
bro, but you’ve passed this test with flying colours.

Peter Fray

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