David Stuart

Seniors cut off by telco failure

NO COMMUNICATION, no assistance and no answers.

Some Clarence Valley seniors have been without phone and internet for two weeks due to national provider ONEseniors falling into receivership.

Without warning, clients across the country were left stranded, unable to contact their families, let alone their provider to ask why they had been cut off.

And the communication problems don't end there, with many seniors having trouble signing up to a new provider.

Grafton's Matt Morgan got wind of the ONEseniors issue through his parents' friends and jumped on the case to help.

"These are older people, so they're stressing out and worrying," Mr Morgan said.

"It was only that someone else had happened to see ONEseniors had posted on Facebook that they were going into receivership, but most of these older people don't have Facebook so how were they to find out?"

On further investigation, Mr Morgan found a statement on the website that the company had gone into administration and been taken over by Vocus Communications.

"They said they were trying to fix the problems, but told customers to feel free to go to another provider," Mr Morgan said.

"I've asked six people who they want to go with and they all chose iiNet, but they're all getting knocked back when they go to change it over because the phone lines have the (ONEseniors) codes on them and until those codes are removed, no other provider can put new codes on them to connect them."

Vocus then teamed up with iPrimus as the recommended new provider, but seniors who wished to change to iiNet were unable to and now have no phone or internet connections.

"They're telling them to change but they're basically forcing them to join iPrimus because they keep getting knocked back by other providers because these codes are still on the connection lines," Mr Morgan said.

Vocus put out a statement saying all ONEseniors clients who had landlines with the company and had not reconnected with another provider would have their connection ended.

"If terminated, the existing number is lost and cannot be taken by the customer to a new provider or subsequently recovered," the statement said.

"Internet services using the landline will also have to be reconnected with a new service."

But Boris Rozenvasser, consumer director of M2 - the multi-channel service provider that operates iPrimus - said there was good news in the bad.

He told The Daily Examiner now the connections were terminated, people could set up new accounts to reconnect their internet and phone lines.

Before this, Mr Rozenvasser said they would have to request a transfer, and the reason they were knocked back from iiNet was because they must have asked for a new account, which is disallowed when the codes still exist.

In a nutshell?

ONEseniors customers should be able to connect to a new service provider by starting a new account.

If you pay by Centrelink, you should cancel these payments. ONEseniors is no longer proactively taking any payments, but if you are making manual payments (such as Centrelink, cheque or online billpay) you should stop it immediately. If you use an email address provided by ONEseniors, you will need a new email address.

You may need to pay a start-up fee with your new provider.

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