Four call centre staff suspended over obscene Telecom txts

Telecom has tracked the origin of abusive txt messages sent from one of its call centres to five different customers.

The company's fraud and technical teams tracked the txts to the Manila call centre operated on Telecom's behalf by contractor Sitel.

Telecom and Sitel have identified four individuals involved and suspended them pending further investigation.

Because of the seriousness of the complaints and content of the messages, the appropriate local authorities will also be notified of the activity, Telecom said in a statement.

Telecom’s general manager customer services Trish Keith says all of Telecom’s customer service teams set themselves the highest standards and will be feeling let-down by the irresponsible actions of these few individuals.

“We have over 1500 team members in New Zealand and 800 in Manila and they will all be massively disappointed by this event."

The name of the individuals involved in the abusive messages will not be released by Sitel or Telecom.

Telecom has contacted the customers who our records show received the texts to apologise, assist them and keep them updated on the investigation and its outcomes.

Laws: complaint ignored
The first "F*** you" txt message came to public attention after a caller to Michael Laws RadioLive show - "Vanessa" - called to complain about one of the obscene messages, sent on February 6.

Telecom launched its investigation on Wednesday.

Speaking Wednesday on Campbell Live, Mr Laws said he "could almost accept" that the txts may have come from a rogue employee or hacker, but that the bigger picture was that Telecom had ignored Vanessa's complaint until he took up her cause this week.

Today Mr Laws weighed in with: “We said that the Manila call centre appeared to be the source, and so it has proven.

“But the wider issue here is that Telecom’s internal complaints mechanism took no action. My constituent only went public after getting no action on her complaint after the offensive text. That’s when she approached me for my assistance.”

Mr Laws said the incident “rather proves that ordinary people need to go to the mayor or the media to get action. That should not happen.”

The mayor has yet to comment on rumours the four fired Filipinos have been hired by Whanganui council to answer letters from school children.


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28 Comments & Questions

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Good to see that Telecom have trained the Manila locals so well in colloquial English. Really enhancing responsiveness and customer service.

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We've worked with people from Manilla - not a box of chocolates.

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We've worked with people from [retard land] - not a box of chocolates.

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we've also worked with people -- like yourself -- from [retard land] -- not a box of chocolates...

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The philosophy of profit above all is being shown to be increasingly challengeable. Yes, profit is important. But so is balance in all things. And so is retaining jobs for New Zealanders. Qhat's more, it's almost impossible to understand some of those Manila telephonists. Their accents certainly doesn't help clear communication.

How many others are sick to death of the constant downsizing, and the damage to the social fabric of this country? And I'm not left-wing - but it is a perfectly legitimate consideration. New Zealand is not what it was -it is not progress. It's deterioration.

The goodwill alone in that Telecom has lost through its constant mismanagement and shortfalls in thinking has made it deeply resented, with good reason. Time to rethink the brilliant CEOs who need to be paid in millions concept....? I think we've all had enough of the realities.

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Great to see Telecom's customer service ethos has been successfully transplanted to the Philipines. Given the less-than-enlighted labour laws over there these four people are going to pay a heavy price for their momentary loss of control. They aren't paid much, probably don't get a lot of training then are put in the fronttline when the world class" XT network falls over.
A New Zealand based employee would probably get counselling and a pay rise.

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the result must be, surely, a company that has a seriously depleted brand equity

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It was owned by the country/government then sold to Bell and shareholders.
The government screwed telecom over well and truly in recent years since Bell sold out.
The directors are board room full of lawyers who have no clue about telecomunications, but they did hire one guy from the UK for 5million plus expenses. Mindyou the government created plenty of need for them to fight the telecom case.
The lady director tried a internet shop and they bought AAPT at the height of the tech boom.
They are just a bunch 'of nobodies' getting over paid and thinking themselves somebody important.
Government really ruined this company though.
Its all fun and games though as they have paid a good dividend all those years. It will probably bottom out sometime in the next year and then hopefully improve again(if the goevernment leaves them alone that is).

And setting up a call centre in the Phillipines. Well you get what you pay for.

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retard land? hmm,quite a comment there....did you made a check on yourself lately? hmmmm probably not...anyway,bless you eh. are you sure telecom didn't made some fall guys to save their ass. I worked for them before. and they are really good at it,Hope the country's embassy will read this. telecom pointing fingers. present at least the names to the public and a news release in the Philippines. Release the truth. And for the one who comment on top. watch your mouth hillbilly. white boy trash.

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good shot! i agree with you...telecom is utilizing the people in manila and saving a big deal of money through outsourcing..Pinoys learn other language easily and are flexible people... hw about u mt. retard land???

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How do you know he's white? Aren't you being just as racist?

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Yah, no color or racist remarks. Anonymous is just a coward and lazy bastard.

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yeh i am...black power...watch out kluklux...aiyt!

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Black hole of intellect surely

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this is how telecom works. remember theresa? confusion........Manila,Auckland,anywhere....still telecom will f***K up a customer in one ways or another. I just moved to another carrier. the blue and have a number logo. cut my phone from telecon and used the other company for data....stayed away from telecon for good. After 4 months, I don't have this headache. so the two of you on top. quit bickering and quite telecom

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I would listen to you if anyone could understand the point you are trying to make.

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Forkedaboutit

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you can swear by the service of one, whereas the other one swears at you with its service.

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How about using some of those millions to pay these poor Filipinos a decent wage? Maybe then they won't be so f*****d off at your customers?

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I was sitting at home the other day mildly annoyed about Telecom, and then thought golly gosh I will give that Mr Reynold's a ring with a piece of my mind. I got though (unlike all those other unhappy Telecom customers and staff) and proceeded to have a good old chin wag one toff to another.

He seemed like a good old bean and sorted me out quick smart so that's Telecom tallyho in my books chaps.

Cheerio and F*** off.

PS: I warned him about those cheekie darkies in the Philipines.

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I really want Telecom to name these 4 people and have someone from the Philippines acknowledge this. I think it's really fishy... pointing fingers at a far away land... Easy way out I would say. C'mon Telecom!

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let the names out to avoid finger pointing...

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let the names out to avoid finger pointing...people fr. manila worked for U and u just have no right to belittle them..let the truth out...

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Some of you would obviously have voted for George if you lived in America.

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worked with this guys before? in what trade? these guys you say from retard land fought with me side by side during the strike against telecom during the owner operator issue. even the risk of being send back home. the kiwi brothers we have who we say "toughen up people",they are the first one who left us and sign to the other company.jumped the gun,i may say.so that they can have the first bite of the job that was put hold because we all agreed not to work for it.everyone commit mistakes and one personal act of mistake does'nt reflect a community or a nation as a whole. these guys you say you worked probably an as#hol@,same as other kiwi as#hol@ we have here. but they got good people as well,same as also good kiwis we have here. to koolass, please not fire up the conversation, you might get your ass kicked and that ain't kool.sorry mate I just love to make fun of names,but youre alright.to both of you anonymous. maybe you both probably are right!in the end it might be a white boy trash from retard land.and they are still ANONYMOUS,if you know what i mean.

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By the way for the slow brain people who didnt understand the last sentence I made regarding the caps ANONYMOUS.it's for NZ girl's comment on top. they have to name them or at least someone from manila,private or public,acknowledge that the abusive response came there.if you work for telecom,you know what telecom is capable of.probably NZ girl had a taste of their awesome power of confusion and deceit.good point their lady.

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4 people should not destroy what many have striven so hard to build. There are lots of jerks in every call center in every country... Name one call center that does not have a jerk in it. Next to impossible. I hope people learn from this incident--call center operations and customers alike--and focus on getting back customer confidence.

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