Unscrupulous retailers are cold-calling residents in Seymour and telling them their phones will be disconnected within 24 hours because of the switch over to NBN.
While it’s not illegal for these retailers to call potential customers, Greg Maher from Seymour Technology thinks the calls are exploiting vulnerable people in the community.
‘‘People are getting phone calls saying that they’ll be switched off if they don’t act in the next 24 hours and that they need to sign up with them [the retailer] then and there,’’ Mr Maher said.
‘‘It’s scare tactics they’re using so that they can get the job or the hook-up for them.’’
Calls are coming from an automated voice which prompts whoever has answered the phone to push ‘one’ to talk to someone about NBN.
Other calls are coming from call centres who then tell the resident that their phone will be disconnected within 24 hours if they don’t switch to NBN immediately.
Longtime Seymour resident Faye Ure, who is 85, has received multiple calls from a robocaller.
At first she thought the voice was a real person but soon realised it was a robocall and hung up.
‘‘It was a programmed voice, it wasn’t anyone speaking. A good Australian accent saying ‘we’re calling from the NBN, about your national broadband’,’’ Mrs Ure said.
Mrs Ure is already on NBN as her son Andrew organised it for her and all notifications about her service go to her mobile phone.
While Mrs Ure simply hangs up on the calls, she’s concerned about other people who could be taken in.
‘‘If someone in town, an older person got called and when it says press one they do that, what do you lose? That’s where I’m cautious,’’ she said.
Mr Maher has had a few people come in to the store who have been conned into signing up for an NBN plan without really understanding what they’re getting.
They then assume because Seymour Technology is the local authorised Telstra provider, the business will know what’s going on.
‘‘A couple of people have come in, they’ve already signed up and don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into,’’ he said.
‘‘We can only look after the ones that we do. We had someone in earlier this week and she was saying, ‘oh, the NBN is going to be switched on today. What plan am I going to be on?’ I wasn’t part of that conversation, I didn’t hear what you said you wanted to go on.’’
Mr Maher said that Telstra and the other major broadband providers won’t cold-call residents and they had been sending out letters to customers advising them of what was happening.
The calls are coming from either telemarketers looking to secure a sale or scammers trying to steal personal and banking details.
He said that if people wanted to protect themselves from being ripped off, they would be better off visiting a store who is an authorised NBN provider.
‘‘Bottom line — go into a store, especially where you know the people. Do it face to face and hopefully you’ll be more comfortable and more understanding of what you’re actually getting yourself into rather than over the phone,’’ Mr Maher said.
He also urged people to not wait too much longer to organise their move to NBN as the old copper exchange will be switched off on April 12 and anyone who hasn’t moved over will have their phone cut off.
‘‘The last thing we really want is people coming in after the 12th saying ‘ah, my phone’s been cut off’. Once it’s been cut off, it’s going to be a quagmire because it goes into quarantine. Can we get that number back for them? Probably after about two or three hours of work and that’s not something we really want to have to do when it can be averted.’’
Mr Maher and his staff are encouraging all Seymour residents to act sooner rather than later.
‘‘Make sure you’re sorted before the end of March. The contractors can only do so many in a day before they move onto the next area after April 12.’’