A man who lost his mobile phone, and told Telstra to cancel his account, still had $28,000 deducted from his credit card for calls he didn't make, after the telco delayed blocking his phone.
After months of trying to get a refund, Rayden Crawley finally got his money back from Telstra on Wednesday. But only after he recounted his experience to radio station 3AW earlier that day.
Mr Crawley was in Barcelona, Spain, in late September when he lost his mobile phone. He reported the loss to Spanish police and phoned and emailed Telstra later that day to request the lost phone be blocked.
But when he returned to Melbourne on October 15, bad news was waiting.
"I rang Telstra because I hadn't received the bill, and I nearly fell over when they told me it was a $28,000 bill," he said. The money was automatically debited from his American Express card, $27,385.16 of which was for calls made after he lost his phone.
"It wasn't chopped off for some reason until 36 hours later, despite it being confirmed by the Telstra centre in Melbourne East that they would have it barred," Mr Crawley told 3AW.
For the past two months, Mr Crawley engaged in "telephone tag" with Telstra trying to get a refund.
The Telstra complaints officer he was dealing with said "she was still looking into it" on the occasions he called. After a while, his calls just went to voicemail.
"I tried 20 times to get back to her to find out what was going on and there was no reply, just a recorded message," he said. "There was no correspondence back from Telstra whatsoever."
After going on talkback radio on Wednesday morning, however, the refund came through.
Telstra spokesman Jonathan Rose told Fairfax Media that all of the bill would be refunded.
"We have contacted Mr Crawley to apologise and advise that we will waive all charges on the account," Mr Rose said.
"We are most concerned about his experience and will review the case, including to determine why the payment was debited while the matter was still under investigation and a credit was in the process of being approved."