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Greg's problems with AAPT

Last modified: $Date: 2006/02/07 05:02:13 $

On 28 August 2004, I received a phone call from somebody claiming to be from AAPT, which proved to be a player in the Australian telecoms marketplace. He stated that if I changed to AAPT, I would receive exactly the same conditions as with Telstra (my present local supplier), but with a 30% discount off the bottom line. I signed up with a verbal contract on the phone which didn't allow me to state the conditions I understood. The conditions I actually got were completely unrelated to the promise and actually more expensive.

The following page is somewhat disjointed; the affair has cost me enough time already, so I won't update it unless there's a good reason. It's not clear that AAPT themselves are acting fraudulently: they claim (but don't prove) that the person who called me was an agent working for a company which has had its contract terminated due to poor performance. On the other hand, they display an incompetence beyond belief and an unwillingness to solve the problem. Instead of replying to my letter (here in text form) demanding immediate response, they disconnected my phones. I lodged a complaint (here in text form) open with the Australian Telecom Industry Ombudsman, but I also kept a record of what's going on here. Some of the remainder of this page is in note form. I had intended to update it, but that is now unlikely.

Discussion with René at Newtel, 8.  November 2004, 13:20:

    - Can't talk to me, must talk to Yvonne.
    - Two numbers transferred to AAPT.
    - Should ask AAPT to transfer numbers back.
    - Will fax forms.

Rates:      rental  local   mobile  capped  flagfall  national  capped  .US .DE .GB
            call        mobile              national

Telstra         26.95
NewTel      26.95   .16 .33 none    .25 .22/.16       1.99  .17/2   .27/2.5  .16/2
Primus A    27.4    .19 .33 2   .35 .242/0.099          .176/2.5 .286/2.5 .176/2.5
Primus B    31.09   .165            .35
Primus C    29.95   .165            .35
Primus D    28.45   .185            .35
Primus 1    55      0           .35
Optus 1T    29.95   .15
Optus advance   25.95   .2          .37 .16

    local calls

ACCC:  13:59, Daniel

ACA:  14:12  Airdrie Bell

TIO:    1-800 062 058

AAPT  14:40

Rick    138886  x 44541

19 November:

Received both documentation from CallAustralia and also "Account
Suspension Notice" from AAPT, the latter claiming "...  to date, you
have failed to contact us".

Called 1800 456 003 at 14:00 and spoke with Amin, who didn't seem to
understand and passed me off to Mark, who didn't understand.  Got
connected to Rick and asked for $150 off the bill.  He was unwilling,
but did put the suspension off by a week.


                    Line    Local       Flagfall   Mobile

250     CallOz          26.5    0.175        0.22       0.34/min
725 Telstra        18.50    0.30         0.35   0.37/min
        "HomeLine budget"
726 Telstra        18.50    0.30         0.35   0.37/min
        "HomeLine budget"
730 Telstra        18.50    0.30         0.35   0.37/min
        "HomeLine budget"
    "Complete"     26.95

Telstra:  Called 132200 about 17:00, spoke to Hamish.  Will fax forms.

22 November  13:00

Called 132200, spoke to Lea.  Will fax forms.

23 November, 10:25

Called 132200, spoke to Lina.  Pointed me to web site, eventually
found .  Problem: this
doesn't allow the HomeLine Budget "plan".  I need to call 1800884 209
for that.  Why didn't any of the consultants tell me that?

Spoke to Debbie (supervisor) who didn't know any of this either.  I
get the feeling that Telstra is trying to discourage the use of this

10:35 Nicki  1800 884 209

Doesn't know about application forms.  Passed me to:

Sean: doesn't have the forms.  Pass on to another area.

Linda: TCCC

Unless you can find something in the forms.

Go into a Telstra shop

Kylie: Residential connections area.

  1: Authorized to change (call)
  2: Be together

24 November

Still no reply.  Sent complaint to TIO.

13:25: Called AAPT for fax number, spoke to Tanya, got number

1300 733 886

13:30:  Called Telstra on 13 22 00

Casey.  "Takes about 10 days for local calls to come back to Telstra".

13:35  Called Call Australia on 1300 76 1488

Selected 3 (line connections) and got the wrong connection (Rebecca)
should have selected customer service (not on menu).  Connected me to
customer service, Harry

Asked about connection progress.

Couldn't find application.  Asked to resend the fax, including last
phone bills, would call back by 1515 EST.

Couldn't fax: number had been disconnected.

14:10  Mark Forced payment

14:50:  Harry called back, diverted to mobile, couldn't find fax.

15:00  Called Harry back at 1300 76 1488, still no fax.  Harry checks
the numbers (I sent to the one printed on the form).

15:30 finally confirm that the fax has been received and will be
processed in 5 to 10 days.

Wednesday, 24 November 2004

My problems with AAPT have come to a head. Having heard nothing from them since Friday, I sent a complaint to the Australian Telecom Industry Ombudsman. The copy I faxed to AAPT was the last time the line worked: despite Rick's assurances that nothing would be disconnected until the end of the week, they disconnected the line. I was forced to pay the entire amount to have my line reconnected. Yet another reason to refuse to have anything to do with verbal commitments on the phone. Hopefully the TIO will pay some attention to this state of affairs, but it's looking like I'll have to sue them.

Monday, 13 December 2004

The intervention of the TIO obviously didn't work. I sent another letter to the TIO pointing out that, despite their obligations, they had not done anything.

Wednesday, 22 December 2004

tio.ocu.pdf Excerpt from a letter to AAPT dated today:
As you should be aware, your company has caused me significant problems through misrepresentation, inaction and failure to keep to agreements. At the time of writing, you are in default of any action on my TIO complaint, reference 04/111162-1, which the TIO expected to be completed by 13 December.

On 3 December 2004, during the period of this complaint, and in violation of the agreement with the TIO, you sent me an account suspension notice. On 20 December I called your service number and spoke to \[lq]Tejas\[rq], who told me that the charges relate to phone number 08 8388 8250, for which he claims that you are supplying long-distance services for this number. I told him that this was not the case, and he promised to follow up and contact me by CoB 21 December. In keeping with the standard of service I have come to expect from your company, he did not.

I wish to make it clear that at no time did you supply services for this number. Up to 28 November 2004, the local service was supplied by Telstra, and the long distance service was supplied by NewTel. Both have sent invoices, which have been paid. After 28 November, all services are supplied by CallAustralia, who have yet to send an invoice. A phone call confirms that they are charging for the calls.

It is completely beyond my understanding why you should think that you are supplying these services. I call upon you to:

Please supply all these statements in writing by 29 December 2004. If you do not do so, I will make a further complaint to the TIO. If by this time no progress has occurred with my existing complaint, I will signify this matter to them as well. .bp In reference to my letter of 8 October, upon which you have still not acted, please note that I have given up on getting you to reinstate my old services and have taken my own action on this matter. I expect a reply to the remainder of the issues.

So far, your behaviour has cost me over 8 hours of time. I expect compensation for this time.

Thursday, 30 December 2004

I got no reply to the last letter, of course, despite my request for a reply by 28 December. They had threatened to disconnect my service (by this time with another carrier). I sent another letter to the TIO.

Tuesday, 4 January 2005

Today I got a notice of demand from AAPT for the money apparently due for the phone number they didn't supply.

4 January 2004 13:43: Samantha transfers to recoveries team. Matt. Says that they won't be taking any action on the notice.

14:00 Call TIO, spoke to ? Andrea handling this case. Transferred,

Andrea was very helpful and told me that they had now escalated the matter to the next level, and that I would shortly get a copy of the letter they had sent AAPT asking for a complete explanation.

Thursday, 20 January 2005

While in town today got a call from Tom Bird (?) of “Be Smart”, the company who sold me this whole sorry story back in August. Tom is pretty certainly the bloke from “Customer Satisfaction” with whom I spoke some time in September. Asked him to call back on my mobile, but he didn't for another 4 hours, by which time I was in a meeting. He claimed that my phone wasn't responding and wasn't diverting to voice mail—this while I was waiting for it. Deferred the message until tomorrow on my office phone.

Friday, 21 January 2005

Got a couple of calls from Tom Bird on my mobile (and not the office phone as requested). The connection was so bad that he didn't understand my request to call back on the office phone. I have no record of him calling me back.

From this point on, I didn't keep blow-by-blow updates. Most of the following has been written in early 2006, when it proved that the matter is not yet dead. Most of the information is in the documents. Mine are PDF versions of the letters I sent (and so don't include my signature, which of course was on the letters I sent); letters from others have been scanned in, so they're much bigger. It's important to note that the discussion was between the AAPT and the TIO and the TIO and myself. At no time have I received a human-written communication directly from AAPT. On the other hand, almost everything I did was in writing, so I'll link to the corresponding documents.

Monday, 24 January 2005

AAPT wrote a letter to the TIO. I didn't get it until the TIO sent a copy in March.
Page 1
Page 2.

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

The TIO wrote a letter to me enclosing the letter from AAPT and stating an opinion that AAPT's story was more plausible than mine. Much was based on the voice recording, which has never been produced. For some reason, they considered me unwilling to provide a statutory declaration, when in fact this was the first time I had heard of such a wish. I was left with the feeling that the TIO did not analyse the information very carefully.

Page 1
Page 2

Tuesday, 7 April 2005

Baycorp, a credit collection agency, sends me an invoice for the sum of $112.07: AAPT, in contravention of the mediation rules, had referred this debt, one of the many incoherent invoices. I called Baycorp and was told that it would take 2 weeks to clarify.

Sunday, 10 April 2005

I wrote another letter to the TIO in reply to their letter of 23 March, clarifying my agreement with the statutory declaration (but making clear that I saw no obligation to do so), and reporting AAPT's referral of the alleged debt to Baycorp.

Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Called Baycorp, spoke to Mark, who told me that the debt had been closed (see the handwritten notes on the invoice).

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

TIO sends me a letter stating that they believe that the compromise reached is sufficient, and that they are unwilling to investigate my other complaints.

Page 1
Page 2

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

I make a statutory declaration. In this statutory declaration, I also stated:
To this date I have not received any direct written communication on this matter from AAPT. I raised two separate complaints with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, and AAPT responded to the TIO about some (but not all) of the issues. In violation of the TIO rules, they also attempted on at least two occasions to collect sums that were outstanding.
This is presumably not what AAPT wanted, but it could prove useful: I don't trust them at all.

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

I send the statutory declaration to TIO to forward to AAPT. In the accompanying letter, I point out that not all issues have been addressed. In view of this, and that TIO wants to close the case, I ask for the name of a contact person at AAPT.

Friday, 6 May 2005

The TIO acknowledges receipt of the “correspondence” (but not the fact that it contained a statutory declaration).

Thursday, 26 May 2005

AAPT sends a letter to TIO stating that they have reduced the debt to 0, they have received the statutory declaration, and that they will refund the remaining $595.08.

Friday, 3 June 2005

TIO sends me a final letter stating that, in their view, all points have been addressed. It does not address the issues I raised in my letter of 4 May: in particular, I was not given the name of any contact person at AAPT.
Page 1
Page 2

AAPT did refund the money, and for a long while I considered the matter closed. Then:

Monday, 6 February 2006

I receive a note of assignment of debt, presumably the same $112.07 that were allegedly closed in April 2005:
AAPT page
Axess page

I call Andrea at the TIO and also Axess, where I speak to Monique, who asks me to send in the previous correspondence, and the debt will be closed. Where have I heard that before? I send faxes to TIO and Axess.

Current state

I suppose that, after 18 months, the horror is over. I got my money back; but nobody's paid for the many hours I have spend collecting sufficient evidence to defend myself.

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