TPG are the worst, also cheap

If you work in the IT field you'll probably get asked for recommendations on routers, computers, email clients, double-glazing, phones, ISPs, plumbing supplies, networking or which ISP to use. At least that's my experience. The conversation for ISPs usually goes something like:

"Hey, who do you use for internet?"

"I use TPG, but you should use iiNet"

"Ummm... ok? Why do you use TPG?"

"Because I have a high tolerance for pain"

I actually used iiNet for many years across a number of house moves, I had nothing but fantastic interactions with their customer service team, and the internet service itself was great. Unfortunately when I moved to Melbourne's west side (best side) all of a sudden iiNet couldn't service ADSL 2 to the property (no available ports in the exchange), and ADSL 1 felt like a big step backwards.

TPG did have some ADSL 2 ports available, so I switched over. I've kept with them for the last 5 years and moved the service when I moved house recently. The actual internet service has been ok (despite the phone wiring in the old flat being pretty bad)though their online portal for viewing billing data etc is pretty unfriendly.

I haven't had much cause to get in phone/email contact with TPG about my ADSL except during the initial connection and when moving house, and that's been servicable, though well under the expeirence of iiNet. But I have my mobile phone connection through TPG too, and that's where the customer service picture gets less rosy.

SIM to reach the end

For instance, while overseas I discovered I'd lost my TPG SIM; I had an international sim in my phone, and nano sims are small... Anyway, I attempted to order a new one (for $20) which I couldn't find a way of doing directly on the TPG site. So I called up customer service, but for reasons unclear to me the "Press 3 for mobile" menu wasn't responding (could be something to do with the international line?)

Then I tried dropping them a line via the Contact Us form. I hadn't heard back a day later, and was leaving the country, so I sent another message via the contact form.

I ended up having to ring them on someone else's phone to order my SIM once I was back in the country, and it meant several days without a working phone while I waited for the SIM in the post.

A couple of days after I called I got an email from TPG, a reply to my first contact message.

Base data

More recently I wanted to check out if I could add extra data to my plan. I called up and selected mobil account enquries and sat on hold for a bit. Eventually the on-hold recording mentioned somethign along the lines of "We're experiencing a high volume of calls, but you can just drop an email to callback@tpg.com.au and we'll call you back." Awesome. Thanks TPG.

Of course I sent an email and never heard back.

The next day I sent a message through their online form requesting how I might add additional data to my plan. Anyway, 2 and a half days later I got an email back, saying my plan had no option to pay for additional data but "...On the other hand, please provide us with a good callback number and the best time to reach you so we can call you to assist you further with your concern." So I replied with my number mentioning that any time is good.

Two days later, after receiving no call, I got an email reply saying essentially the same thing as the first email.

Goddamn. That's pretty lousy customer service.

The lessons

Three imporant things to know if you're considering using TPG 1. They're quite cheap. So that's nice. 2. If you're calling them up, be prepared to wait on hold and speak to someone who won't be quite as great as someone you would speak to at iiNet. 3. TPG's contact forms have a minimum turnaround time of more than 48 hours, sometimes as high as four days.

But in any case my experience with TPG's customer service, particulary on the mobile side, makes me avoid recommending them. The big shame is that now TPG own iiNet, which might see iiNet's previously sterling customer service standards slip... Then who the hell do I recommend?

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