Customer accuses Optus/Alphawest of billing bungles

Communication “painful” between companies

Optus Business has refused to comment on claims its billing and quoting services between subsidiary AlphaWest are in disarray.

A CIO of an automotive company which retracted identification for contractual reasons, and Optus Business customer for WAN services told Computerworld he will re-evaluate providers as soon as contracts finish due to breakdowns in service and communication.

The CIO said he has waited more than nine months for some invoices to be sent.

“The interface between the companies is painful to say the least. It takes six to eight weeks to turn around quotes,” he said.

“Optus takes eight to 12 weeks to get out invoices. One of the invoices for our PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange) installed in March only came through in December and described the charge only as 'service'. It took another two weeks for them to establish what the 'service' was.

“The Optus billing for our WAN service is atrocious... we went six months without paying a bill,” he said, adding repeated phone calls to the companies were bounced between departments.

The company has used Alphawest services for the installation of a PABX and an extensive array of network gear.

The CIO said the company will put its network contracts with Optus and Telstra to a single tender mid this year after they expire.

Senior Alphawest executives will meet with the company on Monday to discuss the problems.

An Optus spokesperson said the problems faced by the company may have been a “one off” occurrence.

“It’s our policy not to discuss customer issues publicly and therefore we will not be commenting on the issues,” the spokesperson said.

Optus and Alphawest last year secured a four-year, $143 million contract with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to supply a virtualised contact centre solution and VoIP services to more than 7000 seats.

Alphawest earlier inked a deal with the Tasmanian government to provide support services for a massive virtualisation project. It has experienced significant growth since its integration with Optus in 2005 and is now one of the top 10 IT services companies in Australia.

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