E*Trade chases payback from Telstra over service outages

E*Trade is seeking compensation from Telstra after the online trading company was forced to endure an outage that prevented it from delivering services to customers throughout one of its busiest periods, Computerworld has learnt.

Following an after-hours outage the week before, E*Trade suffered a second glitch during trading hours on Monday February 28 that delayed by more than an hour customer orders being placed to market.

The outage was particularly damaging because it occurred at one of the company's busiest times, according to Harry Brigden, E*Trade's technology manager. Speaking to Computerworld, he said the outage was caused by a faulty line between E*Trade and its Internet stockbroking company, Melbourne-based Computershare.

Computershare acts as the back office to E*Trade and places orders to market on behalf of E*Trade's clients.

Brigden said the fault lay with one of Telstra's phone relay lines. He claimed a faulty card in the frame relay circuit at one of its Melbourne branches was to blame, adding the telco has since replaced the card.

The problem was compounded by Telstra's poor communication procedures, according to Brigden.

He said E*Trade has had problems before in dealing with the telecommunications giant.

"It is such a large company that even our service representative has trouble tracking down the relevant person to speak to," he claimed.

Kerrina Lawrence, Telstra's business solutions public affairs manager, confirmed the problem lay in Telstra's frame relay circuit.

However, she maintained E*Trade's account managers for both Sydney and Melbourne were in "constant communication from the Friday afternoon at 3:30pm to 9:40am on the Monday morning, when the faulty exchange card in Melbourne was fixed."

Although E*Trade is not pursuing legal action at this time, Brigden said this will "depend on Telstra's reaction to the [compensation] proposal".

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