A furious Optus customer has slammed the telco giant for wasting “30 minutes of my life” after a simple request to cancel a mobile plan.
The customer shared screenshots on Reddit of their infuriating interaction with an Optus customer service representative, writing that it “takes 10-plus requests and a threat” to contact the consumer watchdog “to cancel an Optus plan”.
“Wasted 30 minutes of my life trying to cancel an Optus mobile plan, can’t believe they turned a one-click process into this monstrosity,” the customer wrote in the viral post.
Screenshots show the customer initiating the request via the Optus chat to “cancel plan”, in a message at 12.47pm on Thursday.
“Got it. I can see you’re on one of our new Optus Choice Plus plans. Check out some useful answers about your new plan below,” the chat bot wrote. “If you need further assistance, select below to connect to an expert.”
“Cancel plan,” the customer wrote again, before being connected to a customer service representative, “Wyatt”.
“I want to cancel my tablet plan,” they wrote again.
The Optus employee wrote, “I understand that you are looking to cancel the service. You have reached to the right team I can certainly help you with the concern.”
The customer explained that they wanted to cancel their data plan.
“I’m sorry to hear that your [sic] looking to cancel the service,” the rep said. “If you don’t mind may I know the reason for cancelling the service?”
The customer wrote, “I wanted the tablet, now that I have it, I no longer need the data plan. Please cancel that for me.”
“I understand that your [sic] looking to reduce the plan charges so looking to cancel the service. Let me check what best I can do here for you,” the rep said.
A few minutes later the Optus representative came back with a counteroffer.
“Instead of cancelling the plans I can help you with the [sic] better deals on the services so you can use them,” they wrote, suggesting the new $20 Optus Choice Plus Data Plan and offering a $10 discount for 12 months.
“Does that sounds [sic] good? Can you please confirm?” they asked.
“No thanks. Can you just cancel it please,” the customer said.
The rep wrote, “I’m really sorry if you feel this way. May I know what we could do to make you stay with Optus?”
“Nothing. Please cancel,” the customer insisted.
The rep tried again, offering three months free access to the service “as you are a loyal customer Optus” and that “if you don’t require the service after three months you can contact us back so we will help you with the cancellation”.
“Does that OK [sic]?” they wrote.
The customer replied, “No. Cancel. The. Plan.”
The Optus rep finally relented.
“I’m really sorry if you feel this way,” they wrote. “I’m helping with the better deals because you are loyal customer to Optus and so will not miss this [sic] offers. As you are still looking to cancel the service I will respect your decision.”
“Wonderful. I will consider this cancelled,” the customer said.
But the Optus rep wasn’t done.
“Sure. Before cancelling the service by any chance, do you know someone who might be interested in using the service? You can actually transfer this service to another person instead of cancelling it,” they wrote.
The customer insisted “this plan has already been cancelled”.
“Still not cancelled once you confirm above information we will proceed with cancellation because it is mandatory process in the cancellation,” the rep wrote.
“Cancel the plan. Don’t make me call ACCC,” the customer said.
The Optus rep assured the customer that they were “confident that I can resolve this issue for you”.
“If you think that this needs to be escalated now, I’ll have my supervisor take over the chat. Shall I continue working on resolving the issue for you?” they wrote.
The customer replied, “You told me it is already cancelled. Thank you for cancelling my plan. Have a good day.”
“Please stay connected I will help you with the cancellation,” the rep wrote back.
By this point it was 1.26pm, more than half an hour after the initial request.
The rep then informed the customer that they would have to make a manual payment on their next bill. “Do you still wish the service to be cancelled from today?” they asked.
The customer said, “Cancel. My. Service. Please. I understand.”
Finally, it appeared, the plan had been cancelled.
The Reddit post attracted hundreds of comments.
“You could’ve been a bit clearer that you were wanting to cancel the plan,” one person wrote.
“Why did OP keep asking for better deals instead of just asking to cancel the plan?” another said.
“I don’t understand how the f**k this is legal? I had the same experience trying to cancel too. So glad I left Optus,” a third said.
An Optus spokesperson told news.com.au, “Optus values every customer and is committed to ensuring that we fulfil every customer request in a timely manner. We regret that on this occasion a customer’s experience hasn’t met the usual high standards that Optus prides itself on.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been contacted for comment.
It comes after a horror year for the telco, which was hit by one of the biggest data breaches in Australian history last September that saw the personal details of current and former customers stolen by hackers.
Some 10,200 people later had their information, including passport, driver’s licence and Medicare numbers, posted on the dark web.
The hacking fallout saw Optus named the least trusted brand in Australia in the 12 months to June by research firm Roy Morgan, replacing Facebook/Meta for the first time since 2018.
A survey published last October in the wake of the scandal suggested 10 per cent of customers had already left the nation’s second largest telco “as a direct result” of the cyber attack, while more than half were “considering” a move.
Some of the comments in the EFTM Mobile Phone Survey slammed Optus for the way it handled the breach, describing it as “abysmal”.
“I was frustrated that they went to the media first and didn’t contact their customer base first,” one respondent wrote.
“Secondly, cancelling my contract was difficult because they shutdown both the online and phone service cancellation team and forced customers into stores with a 100-point ID check. Lastly, I feel there was no sincere apology or legit onus of the situation. Anyway, I’ve had my data leaked and I certainly won’t be a customer again (any time soon anyway).”
An independent report into how the hack occurred, conducted by consulting firm Deloitte on behalf of Optus, may remain confidential after the company claimed “legal professional privilege” over the document.
“Deloitte completed its report into the cyberattack a while ago, but as the matter is currently before the courts and the attack remains the subject of criminal investigation, Optus is making no further comment about the report, which is and remains confidential, as is common precedent,” a spokeswoman told The Australian Financial Review last month.