An investigation into abusive text messages sent to Telecom mobile customers by one of its call centres has resulted in the suspension of four Philippines-based personnel, the telecommunications company announced today.

The inquiry was launched after a Wanganui woman said when she complained to Telecom about the time it took for text messages to arrive, she received an abusive message seemingly from a customer service representative saying "f*** you..."

She raised her complaint with Wanganui mayor Michael Laws during his Radio Live show on Wednesday.

The messages, sent to five of its customers, originated in Manila where Telecom outsources call centre duties to Sitel.

Four Sitel employees have been suspended and will be investigated further, a statement from Telecom said today. The company says local authorities will be contacted because of the seriousness of the incident.

"We have over 1500 team members in New Zealand and 800 in Manila," said Trish Keith, general manager of customer services.

"They will all be massively disappointed by this event."

The company says it has apologised to the customers who received the text messages, but the identities of the individuals held responsible will not be released.

- NZ HERALD ONLINE