The owner of a cafe in Warrawong Plaza has reported Telstra to the communications regulator after a month-long service outage left shops without eftpos in the lead-up to Christmas .
Wendy’s Milk Bar owner, Brett Trembath said he had no internet connection for 72 days in the shop, almost completely cutting off payments by card, orders on food delivery service Menulog, and phone calls from potential customers.
The outage began in December 2022, during the busy holiday shopping period.
“We had no Eftpos, so our sales were down by about $3000 per week,” Mr Trembath said.
Mr Trembath contacted the telecommunication service 18 times in three weeks, spending ‘hours on the phone’, before contacting the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in April.
Not long after the regulator was involved, Telstra offered the small business owner a compensation payment, with Mr Trembath accepting the offer.
“It’s not worth the stress to fight it anymore,” he said.
According to Mr Trembath, it wasn’t just his shop that financially suffered through the busy Christmas period.
“A lot of businesses in Warrawong Plaza – even some of the majors like JB Hi-Fi, have submitted several complaints to the Ombudsman about the service outage,” he said.
Cafe employee Nathan Shaw said dealing with an unreliable internet connection for weeks was exhausting and damaging to his shop’s brand.
“It was annoying. You’d start serving a customer and you wouldn’t know whether you’d be able to use eftpos or not,” he said.
“A lot of times, you’d look at the eftpos machine and it wouldn’t be working, and [the customer] would have to stand there for five minutes while the queue was growing behind them.”
As the internet issues also interfered with his cafe’s loyalty programme, Shaw said none of our regular customers could collect their points.
“All the shopkeepers, who are paying their rent, were having such difficulty,” he added.
Telstra has not yet responded to UOWTV about the claims concerning the December outage, or the compensation payments.