Telco’s collapse cuts services for seniors

SOME of the south-west’s most vulnerable people have been left without phone and internet services after a telecommunications company that specialises in the over 55s went into administration.

OneTelecom, the company name for ONEseniors, was one of three companies that went into administration following a court battle on Friday.

Distressed relatives have raised concerns about their elderly family members signed on with ONEseniors who have had their landline, mobile and internet services disconnected without warning and who have not received any information about when they will be back online.

Those affected have also raised concerns about their ability to contact GPs and emergency services or to carry out everyday transactions, particularly for those with mobility issues.

On an update posted on ONEseniors Facebook page on Saturday evening, the company announced it had appointed administrators due to a “supplier not being able to fulfil their obligations to supply services to ONESeniors”.

“It is deeply regretful that this has occurred to our members and ONEseniors business, who have supplied the best of services and prices for those over 55,” the message said. 

“We are confident that the appointment will result in the best outcome for all.’’

Several comments on the post remarked on the irony that elderly customers who relied on ONEseniors for their internet would not be able to see the message and that they had been unable to speak to operators that day.

Warrnambool’s Lorraine de Kok said her landline and internet services had been terminated without warning on Friday and attempts to contact ONEseniors via her Telstra mobile phone had been fruitless, resulting in half an hour on hold only to be cut off without an answer and left with an $18 phone bill.

Ms de Kok said she was particularly stressed as she cared for her 25-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy and is prone to seizures.

“We were in a very vulnerable situation,” she said.

“When he’s having a seizure I go straight to the landline and dial 000.

“My son has an iPad and several computers — that’s his life. He likes to Skype and Facebook and email and play games but the whole weekend he couldn’t do that and he was quite stressed. 

“I’ve been trying to calm him down, and that left me stressed and worried he would have a seizure.”

Ms de Kok said she had been to federal MP Dan Tehan’s office, Welcome Computers and Telstra to find out information as ONEseniors weren’t answering calls.

She said they had all been helpful, with Telstra putting her on a priority list to get reconnected. 

OneTelecom was one of three companies confirmed to have gone into administration along with iBoss International and AsiaPac Communications.

Both OneTelecom and iBoss were brands of telecommunications wholesaler ispONE which went into administration in August last year following court cases with Telstra and Kogan Mobile.

ispONE was then acquired by Conec2, of which AsiaPac is a subsidiary.

- with Sydney Morning Herald


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