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Old 09-19-2009, 05:21 AM   #1
InVerse
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Default Stupid Tech Support

Okay... My web host was having a bit of a major problem, so I logged into a chat room to make sure they were aware of it. While I was there, I went ahead and asked about a minor problem that I hadn't bothered putting in the effort to get help with previously.

The tech asked me for my password. In an unencrypted chat room. My mind is completely blown. I'm failing to see why I shouldn't drive down to Texas and stab him in the face for even asking in the first place. I'm already looking for a new host and will hopefully have my account with them canceled within the week. But seriously, what the fuck?

On a vaguely related note, here is a 'zine article I wrote over ten years ago about how much I hate tech support.

Someone responded to that article about how it wasn't the tech's fault, it was mine. That I'd see things differently if I ever worked tech support.

Well, a couple of years later, I got a job working tech support for an ISP. My opinion didn't change. 75% of support techs are fuckwads. Of course, 99% of the customers are, as well, so the techs still win. In fact, I wrote an entirely novel about how much being a support tech fucking sucks. I expect you all to purchase autographed copies once it's published.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:00 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, tech support has always been an... experience. For me, it actually started back with my first computer. I had the extremely annoying issue of the computer freezing when sending data to the parallel port at random. After performing the appropriate diagnostics, it was evident I had a bad motherboard. Compaq disagreed, they proceeded to run me through 9 visits to their repair center and countless hours on the phone before finally replacing it. Some of the so-called troubleshooting they wanted to perform ranged from the annoying to the absurd. I think my favorite was when they implied that for a restore to "really work well" it should be run over top itself three times. The repair visits were a real blast too - after one of them, I found the processor rolling around in the bottom of the case.

In recent years, I think Verizon was one of my favorites too. My DSL modem had lost connectivity to their network, yet my phone was still working properly. At this point, I knew there was a good possibility there was an interruption in my area so I proceeded to contact tech support and ask them if there were any known issues in the area. The tech followed up with "uh... can you tell me what the contour of the cable coming from the wall to your modem is?". I proceeded to ask him how this was relevant to my request, and he insisted we needed to walk through troubleshooting before he would go any further. I humored him, and about 30 minutes later ... "Uh... it looks like I see a service interruption in your area." and best of all "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate my service to you today?"

Web hosts though are particularly difficult to come by. There are a lot of fly-by-nights out there that are being run out of the owner's mother's basement or simply look to have a clientele consisting of nothing but users who don't use any of their resources and forget their credit card is being charged monthly. In my experience, the WHT forums and BBB have been good resources to check out larger hosts. You may also want to consider Dathorn, I've been hosted by them for many years and they have been generally good.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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Over here, we had some bad experiences with Orange Broadband, which I thoughtfully detailed in an online article documenting what happened over a two month outage after we moved house. For the record, we're still with them now and things seem to be working fine again. It seems our second move was much smoother, because I don't remember any trauma.

The two month delay for Orange has actually been beaten recently, by the lazy and incompetent fucks at British Sky Broadcasting. We paid them for an upgrade to Sky+ HD ten weeks ago now, but the box we've got doesn't work as a Sky+ box or receive any of the HD channels we're now paying extra for, and Sky still don't seem to have the slightest clue when it'll actually start working (their current excuses remind me of the Little Britain sketch, "Computer says no..."). They are at least refunding the HD subscription they insist on continuing to charge us for by crediting my account for it, but that's not really the point, what I want is the service I'm paying these idiots for.

Our latest tactic with them has been a lengthy latter (sent by recorded delivery, with a request that they reply within five working days, as per our contract with them) to Sky's Customer Service Department, cc'ed to Sky's Quality Department and to BBC's Watchdog. Let's see what happens next.
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Old 09-19-2009, 11:37 PM   #4
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I agree.
It's pretty rare to run into someone in tech support who is not either arrogant or just a pain in the ass.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-Vincent View Post
In recent years, I think Verizon was one of my favorites too. My DSL modem had lost connectivity to their network, yet my phone was still working properly. At this point, I knew there was a good possibility there was an interruption in my area so I proceeded to contact tech support and ask them if there were any known issues in the area. The tech followed up with "uh... can you tell me what the contour of the cable coming from the wall to your modem is?". I proceeded to ask him how this was relevant to my request, and he insisted we needed to walk through troubleshooting before he would go any further. I humored him, and about 30 minutes later ... "Uh... it looks like I see a service interruption in your area." and best of all "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate my service to you today?"
Heh, I actually switched from AT&T to Verizon because of similar stuff when I first got DSL.

During my lovely experience with AT&T, they first forgot to ship the ordered DSL modem. Then the modem that arrived didn't connect. I waited (literally) hours on hold for tech support only to have the call dropped when some moron transfered my call incorrectly. After another hour of waiting through muzak, the guy I reached ran me through the whole "check to make sure the customer isn't a moron who forgot to plug everything in" routine and tried some diagnostics at their end, but nothing worked, so he scheduled a technician to be sent over.

The tech who arrived determined that there was nothing wrong with my self-installation or the building's wiring etc., and that the problem was something misconfigured at the central office. I was told they would have that corrected in a day or two, but when I called a few days later (after receiving no word), I learned that they had done nothing because they had somehow misfiled my case as being resolved by my switching to Verizon (prescient of them, actually).Then they insisted on running the basic diagnostic tests from the beginning, and when that didn't solve anything, they insisted they would have to send a technician over again, but this time, they informed me, they would have to charge for it, to the tune of $200.

And oh, did I mention that at some point during all this, they (without warning) disconnected my voice service for two days? (When I asked why, they claimed that it was necessary for the DSL activation.)

At this point I'd had enough, and just switched to Verizon, both for phone and DSL. I haven't had a problem since with Verizon, except that once every few months, the DSL connection stops working for a half hour or so.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:30 PM   #6
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Alltel finally merged with Verizon in my area. Not surprisingly, I actually get worse service than I had before. I'm actually glad because it made it much easier to refuse to giv emy money to Verizon.

Back when Verizon first formed, they were suing anyone who used their name in a domain name, such as verizonsucksass.com and the like. At the same time, touting their free nights & weekends plan, their marketing slogan was 'Free Speech'.

Verizon was actually stupid enough to email 2600, mocking them because Verizon registered the domain VerizonSucks.com before 2600 did (since they did so before anyone knew the name of the new company would be Verizon.) 2600 responded by registering VerizonReallySucks.com and VerizonShouldSpendLessMoneyOnLawyersAndMoreOnCusto merService.com.

Frankly, if Verizon were my only option for phone *or* Internet service and I had a 100% guarantee of top quality service, I'd rather be Amish.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:36 PM   #7
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Frankly, if Verizon were my only option for phone *or* Internet service and I had a 100% guarantee of top quality service, I'd rather be Amish.
Given my experience with AT&T, and complaints I've read about Comcast and others, it seems like most of the major phone and broadband carriers are on the same page when it comes to skimping on customer service.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:25 PM   #8
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Given my experience with AT&T, and complaints I've read about Comcast and others, it seems like most of the major phone and broadband carriers are on the same page when it comes to skimping on customer service.

I have heard that Comcast, at least in Concord NH, is great. My buddy said he was hooked up in 2 days flat with no problems. He also has cheaper priced service including phone and cable tv and in my area which he used to have and the internet though rated the same speed is as he called it instantly responsive and much faster. I don't think it's even close to being just AT&T or just Verizon or just any of the big ones. I think it's a nationwide problem.

I think a solution would be the FCC paying people in areas to allow the FCC to rate each company across the nation. I would work by having the FCC paying for lets say 6 months of someones service. In exchange they would let an FCC person to do several things including making sure service is connected in a timely manner by having an FCC rep check daily to see if it is hooked up and working well as soon as the contract states.

Then after it is hooked up the FCC would visit the home and verify upload, download, and just plain uninterrupted video steams worked at the speed the ISP has contracted for. If any speed is off then 2 or more people will be given free service for 6 months to see if it's an ongoing problem and if it is then the ISP as in AT&T or Verizon for example would be fined or instructed to give refunds of a certain percentage for how many years they have been running the service to each customer. They also should be required to change all advertising to give the minimum speed the customer will receive at ALL times of day and not the maximum speed that may only be attainable at 2AM on a weeknight since that is deceptive advertising. The other alternative is to fix their infrastructure and service standards so all people will receive the rated speed in the contract 90% of the time from any node in the infrastructure tested and that all new customers will have a working connection in the contracted time even if they have to hire twice as many workers to do it and if they fail to get someone online with a stable connection they will be required to give the first month or even 2 months free. A sort of incentive to be more customer oriented than profit/stock price oriented.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:00 PM   #9
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For most of the last decade, I was with Verizon DSL. Aside from the so-called support, their service was fine in my old house. When I moved here about a year and a half ago, the service quality dropped like a rock. I received half of my advertised speed (it was supposed to be 3Mbps down, on a good day I got 1.5Mbps). I escalated this issue to the top till I was finally told that "we consider that very good, DSL has technical limitations that impact performance" - The translation being "Sorry, we over promised and undersold you on our shitty service... our network in your area also sucks, but it's too expensive to upgrade and you're the only person that bitched so we're not touching it."

After that dandy experience, I moved on to Comcast. Things actually went well for the first few months, that is until I started using Hulu and a few other streaming video sites a lot. They started to throttle my bandwidth on specific sites to the point where it would take at least 3-5 minutes to buffer any streaming video, but SpeedTest.net would register at least 15Mbps down.

Finally, I heard that a local ISP had started laying fiber in the area so I decided to give their service a try. Right now, I have my home phone service through them and my internet through them. I always get 15Mbps/3Mbps or better, my own static IP, no throttling and no idiots at the call center. The funny thing is, that it's actually the cheapest of all the services I've used as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isildur
I waited (literally) hours on hold for tech support only to have the call dropped when some moron transfered my call incorrectly.
I love the irony in this... an AT&T rep unable to operate a telephone.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VT-Vincent View Post
For most of the last decade, I was with Verizon DSL. Aside from the so-called support, their service was fine in my old house. When I moved here about a year and a half ago, the service quality dropped like a rock. I received half of my advertised speed (it was supposed to be 3Mbps down, on a good day I got 1.5Mbps). I escalated this issue to the top till I was finally told that "we consider that very good, DSL has technical limitations that impact performance" - The translation being "Sorry, we over promised and undersold you on our shitty service... our network in your area also sucks, but it's too expensive to upgrade and you're the only person that bitched so we're not touching it."

After that dandy experience, I moved on to Comcast. Things actually went well for the first few months, that is until I started using Hulu and a few other streaming video sites a lot. They started to throttle my bandwidth on specific sites to the point where it would take at least 3-5 minutes to buffer any streaming video, but SpeedTest.net would register at least 15Mbps down.

Finally, I heard that a local ISP had started laying fiber in the area so I decided to give their service a try. Right now, I have my home phone service through them and my internet through them. I always get 15Mbps/3Mbps or better, my own static IP, no throttling and no idiots at the call center. The funny thing is, that it's actually the cheapest of all the services I've used as well.



I love the irony in this... an AT&T rep unable to operate a telephone.
I must confess that I work in tech support and the above quote doesn't surprise me, lawl.
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