ISP Tech Support (A Joke?!)

Ok. I had to call my ISP. I was only trying to find out if they where having any download speed issues from their end. They ended up connecting me to their “Specialist.”

Honestly I have very little faith in these so called professionals. Why? Well…

1 - No matter how many times I asked about speed issues from their end they seemed not to hear me.
2 - I could actually hear it and tell they where reading from a list (probably out of a manual) The major thing that gave it away was the fact I would tell them something and not two minutes later they would ask me a question that I just explained to them.
3 - I told them I had Linux (Not supported by them of course.) He told me that he was glad to see some people using it (As in it was hard to use.)

I also let them know I had XP installed as well and speed was an issue in that to, same as Linux. This usually gets them to understand that it is not an OS related issue.

So to recap. I had a trained professional on the phone reading out of a manual, who got confused if he strayed from his list, who also thinks Linux is extremely hard. This does not give me any confidence or respect for their so called tech support.

And all I did was call to find out if they where working on the lines or having any other speed issues. A simple yes or now would have worked for me.[/rant]

How do you know it was a professional? Maybe it was just a helpdesk person. AFAIK those jobs pay too little for a professional to want to work in. There are usually a few levels of support and the lowly paid workers try to solve the easy problems, and harder ones are escalated.

True. They have elevated me in the past a couple of times. But I am going by their words. They called him a specialist. When I asked again if they where having speed issues they didn’t answer me and said they where forwarding me to tech support, the specialist.

All I wanted to know was simple. Are they working on the lines? Any known speed issues? That was it. I did not even need help to begin with.

You know what!?
You need to relax. Put your feet up, grab a beer and chill.

In future avoid any communication with so called experts. It can be very discouraging and can seriously undermine any faith you have in the human race in!

So you have speed issues too in the US?
Same here in the UK. There has been much in the news recently over adverts for 8mb Broadband. Then hidden in there (up to) in tiny print
8mb is pretty much the best for many areas and then only if like me you live next to the telephone exchange, most people are lucky if they get 2mb.
A few areas (Big cities) get 24mb via cable.

Of course that’s very much a simplification because nearly all the ISP’s employ traffic shaping/management and bandwidth throttling. But equally of course 99% of the population have no idea that actually happens. TBH, what happens here is criminal IMO.

Hopefully your experience is just a blip?!

Now that is the best advice I have heard all day, lol.

So you have speed issues too in the US?
Same here in the UK. There has been much in the news recently over adverts for 8mb Broadband. Then hidden in there (up to) in tiny print
8mb is pretty much the best for many areas and then only if like me you live next to the telephone exchange, most people are lucky if they get 2mb.
A few areas (Big cities) get 24mb via cable.

Of course that’s very much a simplification because nearly all the ISP’s employ traffic shaping/management and bandwidth throttling. But equally of course 99% of the population have no idea that actually happens. TBH, what happens here is criminal IMO.

Hopefully your experience is just a blip?!

I am not sure, I hope it is a blip. I use Earthlink now but they go through my old ISP. Hardware, billing, support, etc. I noticed since the change that the quality is poor at best. They have toll free numbers specifically for Earthlink through my old ISP and they are disconnected numbers. I don’t know how many times they told me to call those disconnected numbers, even after I told them they were not working.

The monopoly these ISP’s have in my area is turning out to be a constant fight. Seems like they dont’ care if they kill the internet as long as they make a dollar out of it. We where able to stop them, for now, with their bandwidth cap. They wanted to cap it at 4GB a month and charge people almost three times the amount we currently pay for that 4GB.

I shouldn’t say stop. But we did slow them down and they canceled their plans for now. Right now they are letting things cool down and they are preparing to educate as unknowing idiots as to why this is a good idea.

We are, the US, around 15th or 16 place in the world for broadband. We keep falling, they keep getting rich and our internet either stays the same or gets worse. Sad.

Over all I feel better now. Beer and a place to vent. Best therapy in the world, lol.

Ah. It’s called give the poor bloke a title and maybe he’ll be somewhat less unhappy with the pittance they pay him.

Or it could be a co-worker code for the fall guy, as in “he gets all the hard questions we don’t want to deal with”.

Having worked as tier2 tech support for a major corporation, although I primarily dealt with their field techs, the rule of thumb is; Linux is unsupported, but it is your judgment on if you can field it. In other words, our best effort. For me, I hated mail clients. I never used them, and so I had to follow a script on how to configure them. I also could not stand tier1. Tier1 was one extreme or another. Either tier1 was the type to answer the phone like “Hello and thank you for calling ABC company this is <rep name>, how may I direct your call?” and then transfer the call to us, or they would go beyond their scope of support and do stuff they weren’t supposed to, and then we’d get it and have to fix it.

Their weren’t many of us that knew Linux. Those of us that did were considered uber techs.

One call I had was from a specialist, where he had been dispatched to fix their pc. It was this companies version of the Geek Squad. So why was he calling me? Don’t know. He describes the problem to me. The resolution is off when viewing web pages. I am thinking it’s a plugin issue. This was one of those where tier1 had had their hands in it. It turns out that tier1 had the customer uninstall some drivers. This tech in the field says he has never seen anything like this before. As it turns out, there were no video drivers installed. I tried surfing to the VIA site to get the drivers the customer needed. We tried all 3, and none worked. Finally we did a system restore. After being on the call for 90+ minutes, I decided my manager would kill me if I didn’t wrap it up. The system restore did work.

Unfortunately these ISP’s that provide tech support are more interested in 2 things. 1) Talk time, and 2) That you don’t call back for the same issue.

That is why you get frustrated with their support. The other person on the other end of the line, the rep, is having to meet certain metrics to keep their job. So talk time is one of the biggest things. The ISP’s figure they can train people to become techs, but customer service…that’s kind of another matter. Of course the problem with the ISP’s training people to become techs is that you get those who all they know is to follow the script.

The ISP’s develop tools so that techs don’t have to do much thinking. The tools are supposed to tell all, and even fix most. When I was working there, I could almost tell exactly where the problem was. I could read/interpret the data that well. And yet the ISP was working to develop the tool to make it so you didn’t have to interpret it. It was color coded, and gave certain messages and even suggestions. This is what was in the works when I left.

Don’t assume it’s the rep. Alot of times, the rep is just worried about his metrics. Instead, write to your ISP and tell them how you feel. If enough of us do it, it might just make a difference.

I remember one of my calls to my ISP. It was the modem in my case. You talk about a script! He wanted me to unplug the modem which I did before I called. I had to tell him that twice. Then I had to tell him 3 times, “IT’S MY MODEM IT’S SHOT!”
He ran me to a 2nd tier, fortunately no script here she ran a check on the modem & told me my modem needed replacement.(DUH!)
They were going to fix it the next day,so I loaded XP in just for them to get the modem up & going. Well,he did get it up & running,but here again this guy brought a book with him & was going step by step out of it.
Linux this guy told me (yes the one with the book) & my use of OpenDNS is what killed my modem.
Yeah right,:sarcastic:

Linux this guy told me (yes the one with the book) & my use of OpenDNS is what killed my modem.

Man am I glad I didn’t tell them I was using OpenDNS. I would have been on the phone for days trying to explain to them what it was and how it was not the problem and why.

I can understand going by a script to a certain extent. But these companies are trying to save money and in the long run it is costing them AND us money. Then comes the blame game.

  • The phone company blames VoIP for loss of sales…
  • The cable company blames the Internet and online videos/TV for loss of sales…
  • The post office blames Email for loss of sales…
  • The RIAA blames P2P for the loss of sales…
  • the MPAA blames Youtube for the loss of sales…
  • Microsoft blames, well everyone since all things computer related is actually theirs and they own all the rights to it…

And the list goes on and on and on and…

Some of these companies are trying to adapt to modern times using out dated means. I think I will write yet another letter and email to my ISP (and my old ISP that they go through.) By now I think they have a recycle bin and a real life garbage can with my name on it, you know where all my concerns and complaints get forwarded to.

no, it is not a joke, instead it is a very costly part of
operations…so costly that the successful companies struggle to find
every way to keep customers impossibly happy while spending the least
money to do so…

therefore, they hire folks whose only specialty is listening to
the customer and then selecting and reading the appropriate,
professionally prepared SCRIPT…

and train them: if you do not know which script to read, transfer the
call to the next higher (experienced) help tier…


When I built my last system, the instructions that came with either the motherboard or the graphics card (can’t remember) had the wrong voltage written in them for the AGP port, so naturally it didn’t match the specification for the other component.

I phoned up the manufacturer who distribute from Europe - various numbers in Holland and Germany. I didn’t, after all, want to fry my card. Took probably a total of 3 or 4 hours before I ended up speaking to someone competent enough to tell me; “No - the card’s the right voltage. The instructions are wrong.”

Lesson learned, quite expensively. Most of the time, don’t bother with public tech support.

I know this is a rant thread, but a word of advice about dealing with broadband ISPs.

If you are investigating a DSL plan, call up their tech support and ask where the nearest central office (or CO) is located. The down/upload speed you will get from the connection is inversely related to your distance from the CO. The closer you are, the faster your speed (up until their artificial cap if they have one that is :wink: ). Ideally, your CO should be a couple of kilometers away. In reality, focus on the one that is the closest distance.

If you are on a cable modem, see if you can get them to say how many subscribers they have in your area. Cable is a shared medium, so while they may advertise 6Mb down and 1 Mb up, the bandwidth is shared amongst everyone else in your vicinity, so you probably won’t get anywhere close to that rate.

They are actually really close. Less then a mile, maybe a half a mile. But like you said. I have no idea how many people there are. I doubt very much they would even say. Their excuse would be that they don’t have access to that information. Then they would try and cover that by making me sound stupid for asking.

I am starting to wonder if they are doing this on purpose so they can say hey, we told you there is to much congestion. We really need the broadband caps and to charge more money to get this under control.

So are you on DSL or cable?

Number of subscribers only impacts cable.

When you run DSL you don’t share bandwidth with anyone else, though you have the distance limitations. DSL companies tend to put artificial caps on their bandwidth more than cable companies because of this. Cable doesn’t have the distance limitations, but it is shared so number of subscribers matters (and in that way, its self-regulating to an extent though bandwidth caps do exist).

Having antiquated wiring in your home could also contribute to connectivity problems, for both media.

I have cable. Strangely enough it is backwards here. As far as I know DSL from the phone company has no caps, well anymore. Cable doesn’t have official ones yet but they did try and give us a 4GB bandwidth cap and then charge us more afterwards per GB. We temporarily stopped them and even politicians jumped in. So they backed down, for now. During this time our phone company decided to steal some customers and not have any kind of bandwidth cap in place. They didn’t have any official bandwidth cap anyways but they did have some fine print at their website stating that if you used an unreasonable amount, etc, etc, etc. But that changed fast when they saw the public reaction from this area with cable bandwidth caps.

IMO, bandwidth caps are a step backwards in offering broadband service. Yes, there are some users that abuse their service and use unreasonable amounts of bandwidth. Yes, they should be taken care of, but it should be on a case by case basis.

The main reason bandwidth caps are being used is primarily for $$. It really doesn’t cost an ISP a lot of money for people to use their service at the advertised speeds, but the potential cash cow of trying to lock upload/download volume and charge out the a$$ for any extra is ripe for milking.

Thankfully, the public isn’t settling for this.

I agree. the cable company up here screwed up their cable and the cost for that is out of control. So instead of trying to fix that they are trying to do the same for the internet. Right now they are attempting to (inform) people why there bandwidth cap is the best. Honestly I don’t see them getting to far with that in this area. I do wonder what their next move is.

Bandwidth caps will kill the internet. Instead of coming up with a better business plan for the modern age they are trying to use the old one. I am sick of hearing people say the internet is killing TV, news, etc. It is not killing anything. It is just changing things.

I am sure the people that bred horses, made carriages… I am sure they where not happy with the automobile. But automobiles didn’t kill transportation did they. Telegraph operators and such, I am sure they where not happy with the phone. But the phone did not kill communications did it. There are many more examples of course.