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Can I return this "loan modem" by Australia post instead of StarTrack?

Level 3

Mods, before you think this isn't suited to "Accounts and billing" read on...
TPG sent me a "loan modem" without talking to me first about it. Litterally just received it in the mail without having heard anything from TPG.
Because I wasnt party to any agreement, I argued that it would be unreasonable for me to have to front the cost of returning this modem as is stipulated on the letter that came with the router (to return the modem within 2 weeks, or be charged a fee) and TPG agreed with me.
TPG then gave me a label for StarTrack so that I could send the modem through them without cost.

Problem is, StarTrack cannot give any kind of approximate time of pickup (any time from 10am till 5pm they told me), which means I have to take a day away from everything else just to sit there and wait for a knock on the door.
The other problem is, I already made an order for StarTrack to pick up the package, double checked when they were coming and was told they were coming to pick up the package that day so I waited all day for the package to arrive but nobody came to pick up the package...
I don't have the time to waste sitting around my front door all day, in the hopes that they actually will come.

Instead of sending this parcel through startrack using a label paid for by TPG, would TPG agree to me posting this package via my local post office (Australia Post) paid out of my own pocket, then simply deduct the cost of that from my next bill?
Please let me know if this would be an acceptible resolution to this problem, otherwhise, I will simply have to go through the ombudsman I think.


Hi @tommo020788,


Thank you for the update and we apologise if Startrack wasn't able to pick up the parcel.


Your assigned Engineer was trying to call you earlier today to no avail.


We'd like to arrange another call for further discussion of your case and to provide you better option in returning the loan modem to us. An Engineer will be in touch with you between 1:30PM - 3:30PM today.




Level 3

Thanks for the update. Firstly, I don't understand why a technical support "engineer" has been assigned the task of calling me regarding a billing and account issue.
The complaint I have made here involved a proposal for our next bill to be discounted for the cost of shipping rather than tpg pay startrack for a shipping label.
Secondly, the "engineer" did get in contact with me and to be honest it sounded as if I was talking with an indian scammer because of how many lies he told me.
He told me that "Your only options are to send the item through star track for free, send it through australia post at your own cost, or keep the router and be charged a fee".
He pressed me to decide which option I would like to choose, and I told him that none of them are reasonable given that the router was sent to me with no prior solicitation and no agreement having being entered into regarding it, so I am not obligated to honor any of TPG's terms, and if I have to take an entire day off to sit on my ass at home to wait for star track and HOPE they actually come (when I placed the order for them to pick it up and waited all day, they did not come), that is not a "no cost" option. Taking a day off to sit at home COSTS A LOT.
I told him that seeing as I do not find these terms reasonable, that I will be taking this complaint up with the ombudsman, and that in the mean time to put this complaint on hold until they hear from the ombudsman regarding the matter.

First lie: He told me at this point that he is the senior manager and that any complaints that go through the TIO will be processed through him, and that it won't make a difference.

Second lie: he then told me that there would be a fee charge involved in lodging a complaint with the ombudsman.
I told him this is absolutely not true, and that this is a lie.

Third lie: He then backpeddled and said that "From my knowledge, you would have to pay a fee to lodge a complaint with the TIO, weather that has changed I don't know, but it did cost a fee to lodge a complaint".
I told him this is also not true, and that the TIO is a tax payer funded organization established to protect consumers from telicommunications companies that are being unfair or breaking the law.

He then told me "let me be clear sir, seeing as you won't agree to send the router back, I will be going ahead and charging a fee on your account  for keeping the router as it has been over 14 days stipulated on the terms and conditions.
This is FRAUD. I am not party to ANY such agreement, so I would be very careful about charging such a fee for terms and conditions I never agreed to. You cannot charge me for a service or terms and conditions that I never agreed to receive in the first place.

I told him that from this moment, he can consider the complaint to be filed through the TIO and to put the complaint on hold while it is being disputed.

Fourth lie: He then told me that seeing as there will be some time that transpires between us getting off the phone, and getting a TIO file started, he can still charge the fee to our direct debit account within that time before the TIO complaint is received.

I then told him that I have heard numerous lies from him during this call, and that if he charges our account for terms of service I never agreed to, that constitutes fraud, and notified him that I am recording this call.
His tone changed immediately at this point and he said "I am going to terminate this call because I haven't given consent for you to record this call", to which I said "It is completely legal for me to record this call, so there's nothing wrong with that".
He then said "yes, well, its company policy, ok, bye".

Firstly, a word of caution: If this "engineer" proceses a charge on our account for not returning the router within 14 days, I will sue TPG for fraud. forget the TIO at that point.

Secondly, this is lodged with the TIO, you cannot take action on this matter, or punish me as a consumer until that complaint is concluded being mediated by the TIO.
I suggest you fire this man because he purposely lied to me numerous times in order to have the complaint closed and make the job easier for himself, and is responsible for a router being sent out to my address without any prior solicitation or notification, This is why I am being a difficult customer and costing you money, TPG, not my fault.
This "engineer" has made so many rediculously stupid mistakes throughout the process of dealing with my complaints, he clearly is not qualified for his position as a "senior manager" if he is in such a position.


Hi @tommo020788,


Our sincerest apologies for what happened and will raise this case with your Complaint resolution case manager for further investigation.


Since there's an open Engineering ticket and the Loan modem was requested by them, the assigned Engineer will be the one to assess the situation if it's possible or not.


Nevertheless, the complaint has been raised and will advise for your case manager to contact you tomorrow for further discussion.



Level 3

The "assigned engineer" is the one threatening to fraudulently charge us for terms we never agreed to, and he knows we never agreed to.

The "assigned engineer" is the one who sent us this LOAN modem and assigned a LOAN to our account without any prior solicitation or notification whatsoever.

The "assigned engineer" is the one who lied about a fee being involved in lodging a TIO complaint.

The "assigned engineer" is the one who threatened to charge the account before TPG receives the TIO complaint as to try and subvert the law which is that they cannot punish or take action on a consumer for a complaint that is being disputed through the TIO.

The "assigned engineer" is the one who hung up on me as soon as I told him I am recording the call when I have the right to record any call I want.

The "assigned engineer" is a lyer, and if he goes ahead with his threats, he is a CRIMINAL. what he is telling me he is going to do is a criminal offense under australian law. Knowingly charging a person under terms that were never agreed upon is fraud, and theft.

The assigned engineer should be fired for what he has done regarding this case. He made a mistake, and should not be trying to hold me accountable for fixing it. I have no obligation to honor ANY terms TPG has on the loan modem. I dont care about your policy regarding this loan modem because I never asked for it and never agreed to those terms.
You cannot enter someone into a loan agreement without them knowing, and then expect they follow your terms and conditions regarding that loan. The law doesn't work that way.
Either you refund me the cost of sending it by Australia post, or I keep it free of cost.

Again, if he takes action on this account knowing full well that we are not under any such agreement, and knowing full well that the complaint is now with the TIO (it has been lodged already now), then I will take action against TPG, so you better do something to ensure this guy is not going to place the fraudulent charge on the account he threatened to make.


We understand how this can be frustrating and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this issue has caused you, @tommo020788.


We take a genuine interest to all our customer feedback and we have raised your concern regarding the assigned engineer to our Complaints Resolution Team.


Furthermore,we can see that Manuel, our Manager contacted you and as discussed, you can keep the modem for free.


Should there be anything that we can be of further assistance, feel free to drop us a message. Thank you.

Level 3
Thanks for the response. Yes that is correct that he contacted me and sorted out the modem issue, however, I could not bare the chance that I may have to deal with the "tech support team" or "engineer team" again with the amount of mistakes they made in dealing with these line stability/speed issues I've had, and having to chase the tail of the tpg engineering team when they called outdated phone numbers that were clearly removed/updated with new numbers on my account for years, and in one case calling a wrong phone number that was never even listed on my account and isn't associated with me or my partner, and closing the complaint multiple times after calling these wrong numbers which resulted in me having to go through troubleshooting ("policy") steps under tech support to get it re-escelated again each time. .

I have to say, it is very sad that tpg could have their reputation ruined by the tech support team and engineer team when most of you mods here are able to get stuff done in a matter of minutes that the tech support supervisor absolutely refused to do because "he can" (such as escelate the case after I no longer had a tpg router).
If the people in those other two teams were as understanding, fast acting, and flexible as you mods here, I would still be with TPG right now, but unfortunately I have left now.

Level 3

Here are some feedback suggestions I have for improvements, starting with the more urgent and serious issues:

1. Your support reps should mention that if you are unsatisfied with their resolution offer, that you can seek a resolution through the ombudsman rather than be like "there is no other option, you can accept what I say, or (insert bad consiquences here)".

2. If a customer expresses that they are going to take a matter up with the TIO, the representative should accept this or attempt to find a resolution. The rep should definitely not attempt to deter the client by giving false information to make the client feel the TIO is hopeless or that it will result in negative consiquencss. In fact, that last part may break ACCC rules which could result in fines being applied to tpg.

3. If reps are penalised in any way when a client takes a matter they are dealing with to the TIO, this penalisation should be removed as it would actually create incentive for reps to lie about the TIO and deter customers from it maliciously.

4. Get your customer information system fixed and cross referenced between the different "teams".
This isn't just one person, but multiple people at tpg from tech support, engineering team and now recently the "TIO resolutions team" who have brought up account information on me in correspondence which was very outdated and incorrect and clearly didnt reflect what was shown on my account when I logged in.
I'm not sure why this is happening, but I've seen this happen regularly in corresponding with tpg support reps, but I'm guessing that possibly whoever manages your databases are not getting each call center updated with the information when customers update it online.

5. Clean house (tech support and engineering teams) and get rid of the rogue xxxxxxxx who are offering zero flexibility to the customer and trying to manipulate customers with incorrect information in favor of gaining better (on paper) performance stats.
To be fair to the tech support agent though, he wasn't to blame. It was clearly his supervisor telling him to offer zero flexibility. In that last call with them where they refused to escelate the case due to me not having a tpg router which they told me to get rid of, I could tell the rep wanted to help me, and he went to speak to his supervisor 3 times when I insisted that they could do what I was asking, but each time he came back sounding more depressed, to a point he sounded like he was on the verge of crying.
I wonder how the supervisor over there treats his/her staff cos I was talking to him respectfully, politely and calm like u always do with you guys on the phone.

But seriously, the issue of rogues in your tech support services in high authority positions could spell disaster for tpg in the long run.


We are saddened to know that you decided to leave TPG, but we respect your decision, @tommo020788.


We apologise for the trouble this issue has caused and we appreciate your feedback.

If there's anything else that we can be of assistance, please let us know.