Bill is a matter of crossed lines

BALLINA accountant Michael Lockrey is 'gob smacked' after being billed for more than $1500 worth of phone calls he thought he would get for free under a Telstra Countrywide contract.

The Ballina Removals employee said when he signed the contract on behalf of the business in January, he was under the impression the business would get free calls from its fixed line to its Telstra mobiles.

But after being billed for the calls and told he did not get the free calls because he 'did not choose the option', he's worried other customers may fall into the same trap.

In an email to The Northern Star Mr Lockrey, who is hearing impaired, wrote: “After reading the contract I was 100 per cent positive we would receive discounted rates on our calls and free calls between our landlines and mobile fleet.

“I was absolutely gob smacked!

“As a chartered accountant, I have digested more than my fair share of legal documents, such as contracts, agreements and the like – but even that background did not prevent us from being drawn into this current situation.”

It wasn't until Ballina Removals hired an independent communications consultant last month – Brisbane-based former Telstra employee Jack Boote – that Mr Lockrey realised he was not getting what he expected and lodged a complaint.

However, Sue Passmore, General Manager of Telstra Countrywide, said the reason Ballina Removals had been billed for the calls Mr Lockrey was expecting to get for free was because he had not chosen the particular option when he signed the contract.

“Breadth of Service (the name of the service) is an option, you don't automatically get it,” she said.

However, she said since the business had raised the dispute, Telstra Countrywide had investigated the matter and approved about $1500 worth of credits to Ballina Removals to cover the calls the business was expecting to get for free.



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