Wellington Scoop

Promises, promises … a Trustpower deal that went wrong

by Michael Barnett
A year ago a young man, iPad in hand, walked past the window of my Wellington home. He noticed I was in and came to the door, knocked and I invited him in. He said he was from Trustpower and he invited me sign up to a bundled package of power, phone and internet services. The rates and discount being offered for power supply were better than that of my then supplier.

As an extra inducement I was promised a new 50 inch Samsung TV as part of the package. At first I was hesitant, but after discussion with my wife Sue I was persuaded to sign up. The new and larger TV would be nice.

The switch to Trustpower was duly made, its ultrafast broadband cable was installed and the promised TV set arrived.

For several weeks the TV sat in its box unopened, while I waited for a technician to arrive to set it up. No such technician appeared, so I called Trustpower and asked for assistance, only to be told that installation was not part of the deal. Somewhat disgruntled I hired a TV man, who came and performed this task at my cost.

Life carried on, Christmas came and went the bills from Trustpower started to arrive. My Sky TV package continued unabated, wifi was working albeit no faster than it had been previously and during the months that followed I thought little of it until early in June I noticed I was still being billed by Vodafone for internet and TV services. It appeared that I was being double charged for the same service. I brought this anomaly to the attention of Trustpower, who duly informed me that a

brand new fibre connection needed to be installed … We cannot cancel your previous copper services with your old provider on your behalf due to privacy reasons and this is something you will need to liaise with Vodafone directly about.”

I responded by pointing out that I was never informed by its sales agent or other Trustpower representative that it was my responsibility to contact Vodafone and cancel its service. Trustpower replied by referring me to my confirmation letter which stated just that.

It pays to read carefully what one is signing up to. There in the small print I found the following clause:

“In the meantime you don’t need to do anything. If you currently have phone and internet services, these will continue. Once your Ultra Fast Broadband order is complete you’ll need to cancel your internet service with your previous provider. We’ll send you a text reminder to the mobile number you provided us at sign up.”

The reminder never came and I was none the wiser. I contacted Vodafone to explain the situation and was told by a helpful official that I should contact Sky and request a connection to Trustpower’s fibre network before cancelling my internet service with Vodafone. This I duly did, but when the Sky technician arrived he told me he could not make the connection to the fibre cable – he could only hook me up via a Sky disc, but he could not get a signal.

Once again, I looked at the small print containing the terms and conditions for telephone and internet services and I noted the following two paragraphs:

“While we will endeavour to make all services available to you where we can, not all services will be available to all customers and not all services will be available in all areas. Where information is readily available to us we will endeavour to advice you of any restrictions at the time you purchase the service

“When you choose an Ultra Fast Broadband plan, services (such as monitored alarms, medical alert devices, fax, eftpos machines, Sky TV, and any other device that requires an analogue phone line) may not be supported by your Trustpower Fibre connection. It is your responsibility to contact your relevant service provider to ask whether such services are compatible with Fibre and make the appropriate arrangements with them for continued service.”

This was never explained by the sales agent or any other representative.

The last straw came two weeks ago, when I stopped receiving a TV signal. I sought the assistance of an online technician, but we were unable to to get it working and the best he could suggest was for me to contact the TV manufacturer (Samsung) and seek its advice.

I have cancelled my broadband, telephone and internet service with Trustpower and gone back to Vodafone, but this has not been without a hitch. When their contractor arrived to set things up he got Sky TV up and running, but not my landline telephone.

The fault is not Vodafone’s. A service connection box down the road that serves my local area is currently inaccessible.


It is surrounded by vegetation including a large Toi Tio plant, which apparently has a protection order upon it. My despairing man at Vodafone tells me they liaising with the Wellington City Council to clear the growth, so that they can access the box.

Meantime my landline remains dead and all incoming calls are being diverted to my cell phone.


  1. David Mackenzie, 25. October 2018, 8:14

    Toetoe, Austroderia spp.

  2. Mel G., 25. October 2018, 10:38

    You might be lucky as it might be Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana) which has a DOC fatwa on it (it’s not native).