Irate Optus customers desperate to switch providers have reported major difficulty cancelling their accounts with the telco following its history-making data breach.
Optus confirmed late last month details of almost 10 million current and former customers had been compromised when the company became the victim of a cyber attack.
Personal information including names, dates of birth, email addresses, driver’s licences, Medicare cards and passport numbers were exposed, with some customers affected worse than others.
Nearly 2.8 million customers had all their details taken, while about 7 million had at least some stolen, The Australian reported.
It was understood the breach was possible due to a weakness in Optus’ firewall.
Backlash was fast to take effect, with a legion of Australians expressing a loss of trust with the company and an immediate desire to leave.
Switching providers has seemingly served as its own source of frustration though, with many Australians claiming to have been met with roadblocks when trying to make the move.
Some are claiming Optus attempted to entice them to stay by offering them a 12 month subscription for identity and credit monitoring through Equifax.
Others claimed they were told to call back at another time to cancel, because individual cancellation scores were being too high and wages were going to be affected.
“I was cancelling my Optus account today and there was resistance from the loyalty team. I was asked to cancel in early Oct, the reason being that the individual staff cancellation score is getting too high and therefore affects their wage. This is how Optus treats staff,” a customer tweeted in late September.
Optus has denied staff remuneration being impacted by how many cancellations each employee processed.
“Our team members are not instructed to ask customers to call back and cancellations do not impact remuneration,” a spokesperson said, adding the company did “ask customers for feedback and seek to resolve their concerns”.
Another customer said despite calling multiple times to cancel their account, they had been unsuccessful because they never received a return call.
“I want to cancel my account because you guys let criminals have my personal information. I have called multiple times to cancel [but] Optus staff say they have to check and will call me back, they don’t call. This is ridiculous! My contract ended a long time ago,” they said.
Someone else claimed trying to cancel their account on the Optus website had sent them in “circles”.
“I suspect Optus has about the worst customer service when you want to cancel an account. Website takes you in circles and you end up on hold for who knows how long. What happened to this once great carrier,” the claimed.
Another customer said they had been asked to cancel their account in a retail store and had ironically been asked to bring 100 points of identification.
Keep the conversation going, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“I tried to cancel an unused service yesterday for which I am still being billed. Used online chat (while logged in to my account via app), representative said I need to go in to a store and produce 100 points of ID. In context of what happened, you can’t be serious,” they tweeted.
Others agreed it had felt “impossible to get through to anyone right now”.
Optus said the only reason customers would not be able to cancel their accounts was if they had not completed a repayment plan or paid a fee to cancel their repayment plan.
People paying month-to-month should be able to cancel at any time, Optus said.
“For customers who are on month-to-month plans without a device, they are able to simply exit their contracts without any cancellation fees,” a spokesperson told news.com.au.
“Customers who have a repayment plan for the device will be required to pay off the remaining device repayments or applicable cancellation fees as part of their agreement with Optus.”