First a little bit of disclosure. I’ve consulted to Telecom New Zealand, have a bunch of friends there and don’t get into the Telecom-bashing that seems to be in vogue these days. This post is critical, but (hopefully) constructively so.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I was perusing my phone bill and had a look at some extra charges. Take a look at the image below:


Yup, you’re seeing it right, I was charged for 87GB excess traffic on top of my 40GB allotment. Now bear in mind I live in rural New Zealand where I’m lucky to get 1MbPS downstream DSL, also bear in mind I mainly work away from home and you’ll see that chewing through 127GB is an almost impossible task in my situation. And yes, before you ask I do have a firewall, have password protected WiFi and do all that good security stuff. And no, I don’t do torrents, stream video (or audio for that matter) or play online games.

So the day after I received this bill I called Telecom to dispute the charge. of course I was actually calling Manila and yes, the person at the other end asked me to restart my modem, but that is to be expected.

Anyway, today I received an email from the telecom Broadband team. It took two months but good things, as they say, take time. Anyway – below is the relevant part of the telecom email:


A couple of points to note here:

  • I’m not a new Telecom broadband customer
  • This was not excess, this was a billing problem at your end (confirmed by a call center staffer earlier on)
  • If you’ve got a billing error, I’d expect an apology and some sort of explanation to go with the credit

A credit goes without saying, I didn’t, after all, incur these charges. But beyond that an explanation and an apology would be much appreciated. What of it Telecom?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • The wording makes it sound like it was your fault, and they are doing you a favour by giving you a credit – and that it won’t happen again if you ever come across this problem sometime in the future.

  • Even with just 1Mbps down and what? 128 or 256k up, you could chew through that amount and more in one month. Not saying you did, but…

    That said, Telecom charging $20.50 per GB, more than ten times as much as what you pay for the data allocation in your plan, tells you that it’s time to move to a less usurious ISP.

  • I had a similar experience when I left New Zealand for 6 months, cancelled my broadband but returned to 6 months of broadband charges!

    Most of the charges were reversed but not a bunch of late penalty fees. In the end it was taking too much time & effort so I caved and payed (I think the final amount I was arguing over was around $200) Telecom got $200 but lost our household as long-term customers.

    Telecom surprises me like this sometimes, I also have friends that work for Telecom, and from what I hear there are a lot of people there doing great stuff.

  • Sounds like a automated (semi) response. Maybe your ‘situation’ wasn’t in their complaints 101 manual so they thought outside (god forbid) the box and amended an existing situation….

  • The difficulty here is that the person helping you is too far removed from the organisation. They’re probably measured on issues resolved, it’s not in their interest to get close to the customer, more to close issues faster. Completely agree a simple apology would have sufficed… but once you understand the inner workings you can see how it arises.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.