Centrelink slammed for the one thing you hate most about them

Taxpayers have been left fuming after revelations that Centrelink’s customer service over the phone has gotten even worse. New reports
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Taxpayers have been left fuming after revelations that Centrelink’s customer service over the phone has gotten even worse.

New reports have found that nearly 29 million calls to Centrelink got a busy signal over the past year, while another 7 million had been abandoned with customers too fed up to wait on hold any longer.

Last year around 22 million phone calls to Centrelink went unanswered with the welfare agency blaming emergencies and a complex payment system for its shoddy performance.

With all the uproar surrounding it, customers were expecting a huge boost in improvement and services, but unfortunately many have been left disappointed.

However, the Department of Human Services has tried to play down the numbers saying the figures did not mean that 29 million individual customers had received engaged tones.

Department Secretary Kathryn Campbell said some people were calling back 70 or 80 times in a row in rapid succession.

She also claimed that customers hanging up or “abandoning” calls wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I’ll just flag the definition of abandoned because abandoned sounds like that might be a negative outcome [but] sometimes a customer might receive the information they need from the recordings and choose to exit the queue,” she said, reports Fairfax

“We haven’t determined if that’s a good abandoned or a bad abandoned and I just wanted to make sure that people got that.”

However, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said people were fed up with the dodgy system.

“In addition call waiting times on the main program phone lines remains high causing further frustration,” the West Australian Senator said on Friday morning.

“I have been tracking this growing problem for some time and every estimates the numbers seem to continually climb.

“It is clear the issues with the phone service for Centrelink has not been adequately fixed.

“The Government must address these flaws”.

What do you think of Centrelink? Have you had to wait on hold for a long time? Does something need to be done?

  1. Bernie  

    We already know all this stuff. And yes, the calls are abandoned after about an hour of waiting on.

    • Lorraine Parker  

      They get enough money to put on more BLOODY STAFF perhaps train some of the people on unemployment. Good idea i think. People on prepaid mobiles cant wait 10 minutes let alone a bloody HOUR. THE SYSTEM DEFINITELY NEEDS A BIG OVERHAUL AND INJECTION OF STAFF. NOW NOT NEXT YEAR.

    • kenneth morgan  

      also they dont have a mail box anymore i went down to brookvale and the lady said if you give us the letter it will take 2 weeks put it in the red box so i started looking for the red box and they told me to stop looking as the red box is up the road

  2. Rosemary  

    Yes, I’ve had to wait to be answered by Centrelink, but I just continue doing things around the house, whilst on hold.

    At both the Office, & speaking to call centre staff, I’ve only got PRAISE for their courteousness, & extreme helpfulness.

    I suppose it may have something to do with the fact I treat them the same way, & not as ‘second class citizens’…………..

  3. Kerry Patterson  

    Yes I’ve tried to ring numerous times and unless I do it at 8am I have often received a msg telling me that they are all busy at present and to ring back later (sic)

  4. J Taylor  

    29 million calls unanswered- that’s more than the population of Australia if mr Google is correct. I am not surprised it is impossible to get help. Even worse, Medicare website is not good enough to clarify a hospital claim so tried to ring Medicare to ensure I was filling the correct form for each claim. The recorded phone message told me to go to the website or an office for any inquiries, not a chance of talking to a person. Called at the office, in the CerntreLink office, I wasn’t given a warm welcome at all, waited and waited then submitted a claim. My health fund paid up 2 weeks before Medicare and Medicare had to approve the account before my health fund was allowed to pay up. Seems to me that we need more people working for the government essential services.

    • With Medicare now being part of the Centrelink office, customer service has gone AWOL. I could go into my old Medicare office to make a claim and be out in 5 minutes.. Nearly an hour yesterday to do this.

  5. chris  

    they are a waste of space , never answer the phones , quicker to go into the office , but still no quicker in getting an answer ,shame when so many out of work and the people who work for centrelink are the ones who should be on unemployement

  6. Ian  

    ” the government must address these flaws ” ??? the government is so incompetent it couldnt5 address a letter to Centrelink .

  7. The comments of the dept secretary are an insult to our intelligence. Everyone who has ever dealt with Centrelink knows that their employees are shifted around frequently, the rules change often and many are not fully trained and informed of new changes so it is frustrating to both the customer and employee. Time to put the blame where it belongs – the administration of the department.

  8. Jeannette  

    I had to call on Thursday waited 30 mins – then a staff answered to tell me I had to be tranferred to another area so I had another wait of 20 minutes . It’s a disgrace and totally unacceptable – sometimes we just need to speak to someone to ask a question that is not listed online and it can take two seconds to answer!! We need more people on the phones to answer our questions – what happens to people who don’t own a pc or an I phone ? and ones who can’t operate either – how do they manage ? I am so tired of the silent world we are living in with no phone contact or face face communication – where is it all going to end? The frustration of not being able to do either is soul destroying !!

  9. Lesley  

    I recently waited for 45 minutes after being transferred for them to finally pickup the phone to hear them talking and shuffling papers only for them to hang up. The next time after being transferred I was left on hold long after they all went home.

  10. Susanne Jeffreys  

    I took my grandson to the dentist 4 weeks ago, and the fee had to be paid, then claimed through Medicare under the School dental claim, I tried to claim the money through Medicare on my lap top, but a message came up stating I had to use Express claim through a smart phone. So the next day I went to a Medicare office to claim the money there and I was told by the Greeter to do it on my phone, I said no, so she gave me a claim form to fill out, after doing this she looked at it and said it will take about 2 weeks to process, this was 4 weeks ago, I rang to enquire about it, and the person on the phone went through the speel about doing it on a tablet or smart phone etc, I said the claim is with you and how much longer will it be. When she asked how old was my grandson, she said as he is over 14 she could not discuss the claim with me, I said I paid over $200 and I would like to know where it is, she then said he would have to ring and give permission for me to discuss it with her..I told her that he didn;t live with me. This is ridiculous, I am sure that they have lost the claim form and receipt, and my grandson is only on my medicare card as his Mum used to work away, and he would stay with me then. Medicare has gone down hill, just the same as Centrelink.. It;s a bit rude when they won’t even check to see if the claim is being processed, so now I don’t know if I should go back to the dentist and ask for a duplicate receipt and try again..

  11. Julie HOck  

    I rang Centrelink regarding an issue where they requested a Tax Return for a Testamentory Trust of which I am Trustee. The man, I wouldnt call him a gentleman, threatened to cancel my Pension if I didnt have the Tax Return completed by August 30th. This is absolute rubbish as the Tax Return only has to be completed by March 2017. His attitude and manner were not only unfriendly but patronising and grandstanding. I am not happy, but who would ring Centrelink to just sit on the phone and then be told that the number one has rung, which is on the letter, was the wrong department!

  12. Greg Hills  

    I don’t both using their phone service at all. Not that I am a Centrelink recipient, but I use the MyGov on line service, or if I have to, I go down and see them face to face. Works better every time!

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