Customer charged to reconnect

DESPITE 31 years working in the telecommunications industry, Bob Hayes never saw anything like what happened to him.

Mr Hayes said his internet was inexplicably disconnected two weeks ago after his home line the internet was connected to was allegedly taken from him.

"When I tried to log in to the internet I found I had a message saying that I had been diverted to Optus ServiceNet and that I would be unable to access the internet," he said.

While the service has been reconnected with his phone and internet service provider, the disconnection resulted in Mr Hayes being charged a new connection fee, despite being a customer for more than 10 years.

"That left a nasty taste in my mouth," he said.

"The system leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. There's so many checks and balances they have to go through, and a key error can through the whole system into disarray. I've thought about every possible way this could happen and I believe it was an error."

Since the internet was originally disconnected, Mr Hayes said he has been receiving calls from Optus, asking for a person he has never heard of to refund some money.

A spokesperson for Mr Hayes' home line provider, Southern Phone, said a phone number transfer is initiated by a gaining provider, and wouldn't be conducted without the consent of the customer but the losing provider can't stop a transfer if there happened to be an error in the process.

While Mr Hayes claims that Optus took his home number, an Optus spokeswoman said Optus did not try to reassign Mr Hayes' home number, that the home phone number was not attached to any Optus customer, and they did not have a customer allocated to that number, and as Mr Hayes is not a customer of Optus with his home phone they are unable to determine how the phone line was disconnected.

An Australian Communication and Media Authority spokeswoman said they occasionally received inquiries of this nature from customers, however, they always encouraged consumers to contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman if a complaint remained unresolved.

"I will be going to the ombudsman, because I believe they need a kick up the arse," Mr Hayes said.

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