Involuntary Xtra sign-up just a glitch, says Telecom

A series of events that saw a Hamilton man who signed up for Telecom's Home Business plan registered against his will as an Xtra customer was an aberration, says Telecom. But anybody who applies for a home business account can expect to have Xtra pitched to them before they get it.

A series of events that saw a Hamilton man who signed up for Telecom's Home Business plan registered against his will as an Xtra customer was an aberration, says Telecom.

Rodger Gallagher, who runs his business, Customer Value Management New Zealand, from his home in Hamilton, applied for the new Telecom scheme, which allows home business operators up to three lines at residential rates.

Gallagher says his wife called Telecom to arrange the service and was offered Internet service from Xtra. CVM already buys both hosting and access from Ihug, so she declined. She was asked for the business's email address for future contacts.

Last week, an Xtra staff member called Gallagher "to arrange the switch of our domain name to Xtra," says Gallagher. "I told them no, I didn't want this to happen."

Despite declining service from Xtra twice, the Gallaghers got a letter yesterday congratulating them on becoming customers of Xtra.

"I feel perhaps they've got a badly-designed sales commission scheme and it's pressuring their people into it," says Gallagher. "It's probably not malicious, but Telecom as the dominant player has to keep its act clean – and it's not. I feel they're just wasting my time."

Telecom media communication manager Glen Sowry confirms that when a customer calls Telecom to order a service such as Home Business " the account rep on the phone tells them what kind of services are available, and this includes Internet access with Xtra. But under no circumstances do we sign up customers automatically.

"When we ask for an email address, it's just as another way that we can get in touch with the customer in the future. It's nothing at all to do with turning them into an Xtra customer," says Sowry.

"It would seem to me that one of our reps has got their wires crossed."

Sowry says he does not know what, if any commission scheme, applies to Telecom reps, but says the company is keen to sort the matter out.

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