DIFFICULT CALL: Symon Roberts, of Bangalow Bearings, has been waiting three months for a phone line for his business.
DIFFICULT CALL: Symon Roberts, of Bangalow Bearings, has been waiting three months for a phone line for his business.

Telstra bungle a big bearing on business

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

BANGALOW business owner Symon Roberts is considering seeking damages against Telstra after waiting more than three months for a phone service at his new premises.

And he's still waiting.

Mr Roberts estimates Telstra's bungling has cost him thousands of dollars in lost business, and the stress of pursuing Telstra has also affected his health.

But, after three months of tail-chasing, Telstra says Mr Roberts will not have his full phone service installed until the end of October.

The Bangalow Bearings businessman rang Telstra in early June to arrange for his two phone lines to be redirected to his new premises in the Bangalow industrial area, and was told there would be no problem.

However, on the first day in his new shop on June 28, a Telstra technician sent to swap the lines over discovered there was only one line available to the shop.

It was another seven days before Mr Roberts had a phone to talk on at all.

The news of Mr Robert's predicament comes only days after the Federal Government voted to sell its share in Telstra on the promise to the National Party that the sale include a $3 billion package to maintain regional phone services.

While Telstra has been able to connect the one line for Mr Roberts's ADSL (broadband) connection and fax, his customers are lucky to get through on the unreliable interim CDMA mobile replacement Telstra has given him for his voice requirements.

"Last week the CDMA network crashed," Mr Roberts said. "I had customers getting irate when they found they rang and couldn't get through.

"Not only have I lost sales, people have lost confidence in my business which I have spent two years building up."

Even Telstra has confirmed Mr Roberts should have been alerted to the fact there was only one line available in his very first phone conversation with Telstra back in early June.

"The people at the front-ofhouse should have been able to tell that," admitted Telstra corporate spokeswoman Alix Varley when contacted by The Northern Star yesterday.

"We're definitely working on a solution for him, and if there is a problem with his interim service Telstra would like to hear from him to sort that out," she said.

The second phone line Mr Roberts needs will require earthworks and permission from the Byron Shire Council to lay a new distribution cable, and the earliest date Telstra can give for the work is October 23.

Mr Roberts is hoping his customers can wait that long before they head off to another bearings business.



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