Telstra: thousands of Belong customers overcharged during direct debit due to “system error”
Belong, Telstra’s low-cost internet and mobile service provider, overcharged its customers overnight, debiting bank accounts on several occasions.
- Customers found themselves unable to pay rent and purchase essentials after Belong overcharged their accounts
- They say the company’s phone line appeared to be down and its online chat system was not working
- Belong emailed customers and told them they were working on the problem
Customers took to the company’s Facebook page to express their frustrations.
“Not happy to belong,” posted a customer.
âYou debited my account twice and took part of my rent, which is also due today. Please put the money back into my account so I can pay my landlord,â wrote another.
“I have a 2 year old and a newborn who cannot get formula or diapers right now because my account is missingâ¦ I had $ 180 in my account and I belong to take 3 payments of $ 65 and I won’t see this usable again on my account for 7-10 days. “
Others feel the pinch as Christmas approaches.
âThe Christmas season is not a good time financially for a lot of people and taking the extra money and having to wait god knows how long to get it paid off is unacceptable,â one woman said.
Some clients had triple payments, with Belong telling them that their accounts with the company were now in credit.
“Worst customer service ever”
Customers also expressed anger over the difficulty in getting a hold of the company, saying its online chat system was not working and its phone line appeared to be down.
Many of those who were successful said they had been on hold for over an hour.
âWorst customer service ever. Waiting for over an hour to fix it you paid twice my fee. Call sales and they respond instantly but can’t help me. Obviously , existing customers are not important, âsaid one customer.
Belong sent emails to its clients to respond to the reports.
“We are working on the issue right now and will refund the overpayment as soon as possible,” the email read.
In a statement, Telstra said a system error affected its fixed broadband customers with Belong.
“We are currently contacting affected customers and are working to reimburse any overpayment as quickly as possible,” he said.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”
It is not known how many of the company’s 150,000 customers were affected.
âThe fact that a business unexpectedly or unfairly takes a direct debit from your account is a brutal shock to any customer and can have a big impact,â said Stefanie Menezes, spokesperson for Choice.
âPeople could miss paying more bills and face unnecessary financial stress as Christmas approaches.
“Large telecommunications companies such as Telstra should have better systems in place to protect their customers from this type of financial harm.”