Adelaide man wanted AU$18 million compensation for bad phone line

An Adelaide-based Telstra customer who sought AU$18 million in compensation for a dodgy landline lost his legal bid last week after the Federal Court dismissed the claim due to lack of evidence.William Brown claimed to have experienced numerous problems with his fixed-line phone from 2000 to 2002, ranging from an inability to get a dial-tone, to having the line drop out and being able to hear phone conversations between other people.

An Adelaide-based Telstra customer who sought AU$18 million in compensation for a dodgy landline lost his legal bid last week after the Federal Court dismissed the claim due to lack of evidence.

William Brown claimed to have experienced numerous problems with his fixed-line phone from 2000 to 2002, ranging from an inability to get a dial-tone, to having the line drop out and being able to hear phone conversations between other people.

According to Telstra, Brown initially took his complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), who recommended the telco pay Brown a customer service guarantee (CSG) fee of AU$1,500. Telstra said it paid Brown the CSG. However, Brown took the matter to court to seek further payment.

Spokesman for Telstra, Rod Bruem, said Brown was on the 6/16 pair gains system, one that is no longer installed by Telstra.

"There are still some 6/16's left in the network but we don't install [them] any more since the Estens report found they weren't very good," he said.

Brown claimed that he suffered due to the inadequate telephone service to his region and that Telstra had breached the Trade Practices Act by not providing him with a reliable line.

Justice Finn, who presided over the matter, said Brown's application to pursue the matter was dismissed due to his lack of funds, evidence and other limitations relating to Brown representing himself in court.

"It regrettably is the case that Mr Brown, for understandable reasons, has been unequal to the task of preparing a case of the complexity of that which he has sought to bring. I have no choice but to dismiss the case," stated Justice Finn.

The application was also dismissed due to the fact the complaints related to a situation that occurred more than two years prior.

According to Telstra, no other residents in Brown's area have taken similar complaints to court.