Three Australia Mobile Broadband Bye Bye

Three Australia Mobile Broadband can get lost!

I called Three Australia to enquire about a $10 late-payment fine on my $24.50 mobile broadband package.

Three Australia fined me 🙁

Three Australia provide my mobile broadband.  I hardly ever use especially now I have an android phone it but it has been worth having for meetings with clients where we want to use the laptop.

ASIDE: It also works well with Linux (on my laptop)…. it is, however, terrible on Windows XP (also on the laptop, via dual boot) because I have Norton 360 and somehow that’s not compatible.

Okay, so I should have paid $26.50, $24.50 + $2 for a paper bill on the 4th if August and I actually paid on the 12th of August. I hold my hands up and admit it I was naughty!

A $10 fine seems excessive and as it was the first late payment in well over 18 months of my 24-month contract

Calling Three Australia about mobile broadband

I called the “Need Help?” number 13 33 20 and navigate through the robot. I’m not a fan.

I speak to a guy from India called Avie, I have never called in 18 months of being a customer so have no idea of my PIN. He asks all sorts of other questions that are not in any way authenticating but eventually he says I’ve passed security… er okay

I explain my simple point that I am a good customer without ever paying a bill late before and I’d like this fine waived please.

No! He doesn’t even check. According to him, three is free from considerations like taking care of customers.

He says over and over “IT IS IN THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS” like this is some free pass to rip-off customers.

So I ask two questions…

  • When does my contract end? Answer: 17-Jan-10
  • Can I speak to a supervisor? He puts me on hold.

Oh dear. Three Australia have staff and/or telecom problems.

10 minutes later I’m waiting and waiting, listening to the same music over and over. Thankfully it is not wasted time as I am still working at my desk.

After 15 minutes I think to myself, is he ever coming back? Am I alone here?

I decide to call on my other phone line and try and speak to a supervisor another way.

More Three Australia bureaucratic rubbish

After yet another confusing session with the call-centre robot I get through to Tania.

I asked right away for the supervisor.

She refuses without an explanation.

I explain that I want to complain about her colleague.

She refuses without knowing who.

I explain that I am not stupid enough to tell her and she ought to just put me in touch with a supervisor.



Helpfulness score so far ZERO out of TWO people.

Avie of Three Australia returns

Just as I hit that other dead end the previous dead end came on the line proffering a supervisor.

Bye-bye Tania. Click.

Three Australia supervisor Sharon

I was taking notes by this stage so I wanted to find out how many letters “r” is in Sharon for my notes. She didn’t know.

Not a good start I thought.

Aside: I know a few Sharrons in OZ with two and in the UK the most common spelling is with one, i.e. Sharon.

Three Australia mobile broadband did waive the $10 late payment fee

So at great length, she explained that because I’d never been late before she would indeed consider waiving the late payment fine but it was such a lot of waffle I couldn’t tell if she was actually doing it or not.

I asked outright… “Will you waive it YES or NO?”

Eventually, she stopped waffling and said “Yes”

I asked why Avie, the first operator, had left me on hold for so long and been so rude about not doing something she could actually just do right away.

She said she was the one with the power to waive.

I made some MBA type recommendations about improving Avie’s training and empowering him with $10 waiving rights if the customer is a good customer and worth not upsetting. She agreed but implied it was not in her power to do anything.

I was upset: “I want nothing to do with Three Australia”

I explained that once my contract ends on the 17th of January 2010 I want nothing to do with them and will be not be renewing my contract.

I tried to get a straight answer about paying the three or four months left on my contract in advance so I could just forget about bills from them and getting fined ever again. Sharon couldn’t help me and put me on hold “for 2 minutes” to transfer me to cancellations”

5 minutes later I’m thinking – oh great here I go again.

Sharon came on the line transferred me.

Carmen explained that Sharon has told her everything hence the massive delay, so now wanted to cancel my contract there and then and charge me $98.

Hello? What? Er, no.

I explained yet again that all I needed to know was how much to pay in advance for all the future bills and I would cancel on the 17th of January.

She couldn’t tell me because she couldn’t work out whether it was 3 or 4 months of bills to January.

I asked: Can I pay in advance?


Ok, Goodbye, click.

Conclusions of Three Australia’s Mobile Broadband Call-Centre

  1. I’m, not surprised Avie, the first guy I spoke to, is a grumpy rude individual. He must be very frustrated that he can’t even waive a $10 late payment fee to someone who ticks all the boxes…. never late before and reasonably likely to renew they contract.
  2. Tania, also on the front line was equally hostile and useless. I assume that’s just part of being the “buffer” or “front line” on the call-centre. The feeling I get from both of these two is… the customer is NOT right, this is a call-centre damn-it!
  3. Supervisor Sharon. Can’t spell your own name? Even if it is a fake name – know how to spell or listen to the customer and stop waffling garbage.
  4. Carmen. Useless, what was Sharon talking to you about?
  5. It seems like call centres suck, for customers and employees. The only winners seem to be fat cats that don’t ever go to or endure their own call-centres and get to pocket fines from people who hang up when the call-centre front line treats them like dirt. Surely there is a better way.
  6. I’d never noticed before but I think Three Australia’s bills have always arrived quite some time after the “issued date” this months was a whole week and I know the post isn’t that slow. I’m going to be watching now.
  7. Pay your bill on time in Australia or get fined like the criminal you are.
  8. I will now be moving my mobile broadband to anywhere but three when the contract date ends. I’m looking for a new dead. I like the look of Dodo’s pay-as-you-go so I’ll look that up.
  9. When my mobile phone contract is up next (personal or business) I am confident Three Australia’s mobile service will be last on my list with a line through it.

Final tip for Three Australia

Be careful who you upset. They might just write a blog post about it.


For international readers this is common in Australia, companies bill monthly for things billed for quarterly in most countries and then it feels like they go out of their way to fine you.

3 thoughts on “Three Australia Mobile Broadband Bye Bye

  1. Interesting blog.

    First I would like to say that front line call centre personnel are required as oart of their job to adher to the company’s business processes so they cannot credit a late fee.

    Ben: This does not excuse the rude behaviour from the get-go

    Second, your payment was late.

    Third, it is your responsibility to read the terms and conditions and meet those terms and conditions including paying on time.

    See below

    Finally, it reads like you did not respect the individuals you were talking to as people, and that you consider yourself to be better than them.

    With the greatest repect did you actually read all the above? It is very hard not to look better than the call centre in this case because Avie was rude from the start, Sharon couldn’t spell her name and Carmen was completely in the dark.

    As for being a top line SEO professional, I am developing a new web service and will be needing the services of a topline SEO professional in 2010. I will not use your services because it seems you are into tantrums and running people down. My business is about building people up.

    See below about the SEO, but seems you’ve missed the recommendations I made for customer service and empowering front-line call centre staff

    1. Thank you for your feedback Warren.
      I agree the post above was a bit of a rant and as I’ve neglected the blog lately (no posts in the last 2.5 months) it does reflect much more negative outlook than I want.

      Yes, paying on time – yes, terms and conditions, yes people in call-centres are often limited in their responses BUT in my case I’d paid only 6 or 7 days late, the supervisor had the freedom to waive this fine because I’d never ever been late before and the rep I spoke to had the freedom to pass me to a supervisor but he chose to be unhelpful.

      Bad customer servcie is just bad business even if you think you have some paperwork (like term and conditions) that say it’s okay. There are just too many people that think this way. The senior people at Three Australia must agree with this to some extent by giving the supervisors discretion to act appropriately and waive first time fines for good customers – I was just unlucky enough to speak to someone who didn’t understand.

      I’m voting with my feet and you are too if you choose not to even talk to me (without obligation) about your new website SEO.

      Expressing my opinion here, on my own blog, about ethics that seem to erode over time may seem like a “trantrum” to you but when you’re actively looking for an SEO I recommend you look for an Ethical SEO Professional. There are lots of short cuts in SEO that can get you banned by Google (and other search engines) you want one that either… (i) not take “black-hat SEO” risks with your investment OR (ii) tell you all the upside and downside and let you choose whether or not to take “black-hat SEO risks”

      I know my ethical SEO approach works for clients (and me) and I’m confident you found this website via the Search Engines, I’ll check my stats tomorrow as there’s a lag in Google Analytics.

      Thanks again,


      Ethical SEO Professional (white-hat SEO)

  2. I have my own dramas with Three Mobile. I have a person sitting in India stating that the weather is nice ( in India I am guessing) and telling me that my phone is working properly because the IT techs say it is. Yet, my handset and three others roam while sitting in the middle of Melbourne. My contract ends on the 17th of Jan 2010 as well. Three is the very last company I will be doing business with….

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