Problems with Telstra? Switching may end up being worse

OUT OF POCKET: Camerin Kinzett is at his wits end with his telephone problems.
OUT OF POCKET: Camerin Kinzett is at his wits end with his telephone problems. John McCutcheon

CAMERON Kinzett thought Telstra was bad enough as a phone company, then he switched to Commander.

The owner of Glenview Garden's Country Resort estimated he has lost about $14,000 worth of business since switching to the phone company, which has a Sunshine Coast office, two weeks ago.

And this is on top of thousands he estimated he lost when Telstra began working on the NBN cable in his street in April.

"When the NBN came through the street, I started having issues with my phone," Mr Kinzett said.

"So last month, I decided I was done with Telstra and went to Commander.

"They promise you when you sign up it takes 10 days for installation, but it works out to be about a month."

He only had his phone system working for two days when it crashed again.

And he cannot estimate how many customers he has lost for his Bed and Breakfast, restaurant and take-away pizza place.

"Dealing with Commander has been the worst thing in my life.

"On Wednesday I was on the phone with them for 21 phone calls over nine-and-a-half hours.

"They ask for your number in case you get disconnected, but don't call you back and then you have to start at the bottom of the food chain again with people in Mumbai."

He has travelled to the Sunshine Coast office, only to discover doors were closed.

"I went to the Telecommunications Ombudsman and then Commander came out on Wednesday night and fixed it.

"On Thursday, the whole internet crashed again and they had to come back.

"Everything is working now this second, but I was told I would have to wait a couple of months for compensation.

"I have really lost a lot of money. I run a pizza business too, my 30 deliveries have been down to seven.

"When customers call me it says the phone number is disconnected, they don't know if I have closed.

"I've missed out on a function because I couldn't send menus as I had no computer and no internet.

"I can't even buy food or pay my wages, or my rent. You can't just take a $14,000 hit and just recover."

Since Mr Kinzett publicised his frustration with Commander and Telstra other small business owners have been contacting him sharing their stories of how their businesses are being crippled by phone services that cut out.

"I am only 31, I can do this fight. But I feel for the others contacting me who can't."

He has been advised he may be entitled to compensation, but it would take three months.

"I can't wait three months, I can't pay my bills. By then I could be bankrupt and then they will get away with it all."

Commander had not returned the Daily's calls for comment by deadline.

M2 Group, which purchased Commander in 2009, is also behind Dodo, engin and iPrimus.

Topics:  business editors picks telstra

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