Wanting to see just how long a major company would make him wait, one man stayed on the line for nearly an entire day.
Peter Orfanidis may have made telephone history.
“You wouldn't believe it but I was on hold for 22 hours with my telco, and I think it’s a world record,” he said.More stories from Today Tonight
Orfanidis was left on hold by Vodafone, and waited for 1327 minutes all up.
“I just kept waiting and waiting and I thought ‘this is ridiculous, its been over an hour’. I just left my phone by my side on loudspeaker, and just waited to see how long it was going to take for them to answer the call.”
Orfanidis has cold hard proof: when he gave up and hung up after 22 hours on hold, he took a photo of his phone.
Vodafone were left stunned by the appalling service.
“They just couldn't believe it and offered me a discount on the next few months on my service, because it shouldn’t have happened,” Orfanidis said.
The shameful fact is that the waiting game is widespread.
At least 100 telco customers have each waited on hold for nine hours. Collectively they lost 900 hours, and a third of all telco customers spent about six hours trying to resolve problems.
Michael O'Neal is another unhappy telco customer.
“Over a period of three weeks and it took over 30 hours of me trying to get some sort of solutions, but it was a problem they could not fix,” he said.
Hand-balled from one Optus department to another, his head was spinning, and no solution was ever found for why he had hopeless phone reception.
After thirteen years of Optus loyalty, he was advised by customer service to go to Telstra.
Therese Corbin from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network sees such a lack of service as completely unreasonable.
“ We actually think that the industry is counting on consumers giving up,” she said.
The 170,000 complaints about telcos’ customer service land on Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Simon Cohen's desk.
“ Its clearly not acceptable for customers to spend excessive periods of time trying to solve their complaints. Our view is that if consumers can be put through to the right department first time, their problems can be sorted very quickly,” Cohen said.
Within the past twelve months, when it comes to being the worst at keeping us waiting, Vodafone came in first, followed by the NAB, Qantas, Internode and St George bank, according to Customer Service Benchmarking.Average waiting times – worst offenders:
- Vodafone - 199 seconds
- NAB - 192 seconds
- Qantas - 190 seconds
- Internode - 188 seconds
- St George Bank - 186 seconds
The best for service in that time were AAMI, followed by Budget Direct, Plan, Subaru Customer Relations and Aurora Business.
Best average response times:
- AAMI - 5 seconds
- Budget Direct - 8 seconds
- Plan - 14 seconds
- Subaru Customer Relations - 20 seconds
- Aurora Business - 28 seconds
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