Grumpy / Taking the money, but no service

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THE article by columnist Chris Coleman (CN,February 9, “Home is where the internet is”) is a perfect example of how various agencies are happy to extort charges for services but when it actually comes to providing that service the customer is left stranded.

I moved into a new townhouse in Watson about a year ago. Watson is an established suburb in North Canberra. You would think that having the NBN, gas, electricity and water connected would be a simple exercise. Not so.

The problem first started with the developer who used the address that related to the undeveloped land to register the utilities. They engaged the services of another company to install the water, gas and electricity meters. They would not give me the name or contact details of this company.

When it came to connecting the services, ActewAGL and the NBN said my address does not exist. I contacted the ACT address manager at City Services who was great and gave me a letter that confirmed my correct address.

I had to take photographs of all the meters and show these to ActewAGL. The services were connected, but it took more than six months for the correct address to be displayed on my invoices. ActewAGL insisted that my address was the one used by the unidentified company engaged by the developer.

ACT Revenue office was the worst offender of all. It was happy to collect $28,000 in stamp duty, but refused to acknowledge my correct address.

It took numerous phone calls, emails and threats to not pay the rates before it changed my address. It took six months.

Now, the NBN was even worse. Negotiating between NBN Co and my ISP (TPG) was a nightmare. Both had different addresses and neither would accept my correct address.

TPG refused to deliver the modem because my correct address was different to the address NBN had. It took many months to get this sorted.

Readers may not think this is a big issue, but if you have the NBN your telephone is connected via the NBN. If you call “000” in an emergency using your NBN connected phone your address is given to the emergency services. In my case the address did not exist so the ambulance would not be able to locate my house.

Also, someone has given Google my address. It is incorrect so now taxis and Uber can’t locate me!

Try talking to someone on a help desk located overseas and the matter gets worse. They just don’t care and they have no idea how things work in Australia.

Buying a new property should not be so stressful. You pay a connection fee for electricity, gas and water, stamp duty for who knows what reason and connection fees for NBN, but you don’t actually get any service for your money.

Grumpy is an occasional column dedicated purely to things that get up your nose. Readers are invited to vent (no more than 300 words, please) at


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