Telco Wars I: The Phantom Call Menace

The saga so far ...

In case you hadn't twigged to the fact, we're renovating a house ... and we've moved out because it's an extensive renovation. Apparently this has escaped the notice of our phone provider (iiNet), despite being told repeatedly. Back in October we disconnected all power and phone lines from the house as it was about to be raised and restumped.

After speaking with iiNet we decided it was best to continue paying the line charges (of $34.95 per month) so that we'd be assured of retaining our old phone number when we return (there was no guarantee that just "reserving" the number would actually work). So, we have an active account and have been paying the monthly line charges but have no physical line into the house. Still with me?

Anyway, it turns out we're still being charged for phantom calls! We only became suspicious because it's simply not possible to make any calls on the account. And the numbers being called are mostly random 13 numbers of random duration, averaging 4-5 per day. One number that continually crops up is 13 1111 NRMA Roadside Assist, which is doubly strange because that service doesn't even operate in Queensland, so there'd be no reason for a Queenslander to call it ... repeatedly ... and sometimes only to hang up after one second. It all looks very fishy to me. If I were a conspiracy nut, I'd say that someone has been directed to write a little script to inject numbers into people's bills that are unlikely to raise suspicion within a long list of familiar numbers.

Anyway, 3 calls to iiNet billing support and we're no closer to an explanation. I'm not so concerned for myself, but if this is happening to others it could constitute millions of dollars in overcharging by iiNet and/or their wholesaler Telstra.

So, if I don't receive a satisfactory explanation I'll be:

Any other suggestions?

Stay tuned for the next episode ...

See also: Telco Wars II: Attack of the Phones



A phone call to your local federal member is a very effective avenue too, if you have no luck elsewhere. We had immigration documents which were being sat on for weeks and a quick phone call to the local office was all it took to have it resolved overnight (it helps that K. Rudd is the local member).

Unfortunately the whinge and you win mentality seems to be the only way to resolve things these days.

I've had issues with iiNet

I've had issues with iiNet and 3 Mobile before, done the hair pulling thing re: dozens of emails and calls, having to explain the damn situation over and over again from transfer to transfer all with minimal understanding etc... always ended up with what I wanted though via contacting the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. Suddenly you get to speak to a supervisor who just wants to make you happy and get rid of you so you get what you want basically even if it has been obvious from day 1. Can take months though to get through it all but geez it feels good when you do. Good luck!