Tech Support is only for the Completely Clueless...ARGH!

My friends have been telling me lately that I know more than the tech support people they talk to do, which is no surprise to me and which is flattering…until I need tech support myself. Then it is frustrating as hell.

I’m not going to sit here and type out the whole, dull story…suffice it to say this: it took 45 minutes, two supervisors, and 5 separate conversations for me to impress upon the “experts” at Pacific Bell that if I receive multiple emails from “” informing me that my messages have been undeliverable for x days, but that they will continue to try to send them, then * the fact that I use Eudora is completely beside the point. *

A Texas twang repeatedly saying “I’m sorry, Ma’am, we don’t support Eudora, you’ll have to go to this web page…”
This has nothing to do with my settings. My email is in fact getting to the destination some of the time. Doesn’t that tell you that the problem does not lie with my program settings?"
“Ma’am, can you use your browser to surf the net?”
“Well, then, it’s not us, ma’am, everything here is fine”
“No, it’s not. HTTP and mail are completely different protocols - the mail server is separate. The fact that I can use Internet Explorer does NOT mean you can conclude that all is well with your mail server. Can I talk to an expert, please?”
“Well, ma’am, we are experts.”


I do understand that highly trained people with an in-depth understanding of the hardware and software don’t come cheap and are generally not necessary. These people normally are answering questions from clueless newbies. But don’t you think the SUPERVISORS ought to have a few extra clues?

Then a day after this fiasco, I had this email exchange with NetFlix (which completely rocks, by the way. If you own a DVD player, check it out!)

Dear Netflix:
What happened to the list of upcoming movies? It used to be
hundreds of movies long, several pages. It’s down to about 75 or
100 movies on only 2 pages. Does this mean you are actually buying fewer movies, or that you have made changes to the list in some way?
Netflix responds:
Thank you for contacting customer support! To view more of
the Upcoming Releases, select “Upcoming Released” from the “Category”
pull down menu. The first page will display the first (50) titles only.
To view more upcoming released, click on the “Show the next 50” click
located that the bottom of the page.
Didn’t I say that I used to be able to see several ** PAGES ** of movies? Doesn’t that imply that I know how to follow the links to additional pages? Isnt’ it obvious from my email that I already know how to find the list of upcoming movies? Why are they talking to me like I’m an idiot?

I eventually got someone to understand my question and respond, but I am so sick of these rote answers to expected questions…how about fucking LISTENING, ok? Don’t assume that just because I am a consumer with a question that I am a STUPID consumer with a STUPID question, ok?

If anyone here on the SDMB works in tech support…please, do something about this!



I feel your pain, Stoid. When I severed my ties with The Great Satan (commonly known as AOL) and uninstalled all the files, I would still get a window on startup with a little animated flashlight and the message “Searchin for AOLTray.” I spent five hours on the phone with AOL customer support, (after re-installing the software since I couldn’t find the customer support number anywhere else, on-line or in any docs on the CD) trying to get it to stop doing that, before finally giving up. Damn thing is still there when ever I start my computer, and apparently will be until I re-format my hard drive.

AOHell, haha. Their tech support has helped me 50% of the time.

One was in getting back my normal configuration after installing AOL (which presumes it can go buck and dominate your computer regardless of current settings). They helped quickly and efficiently.

The other is for AOL mail. I normally use free internet, but my family has an AOL account and sometimes I use that. When I’m NOT using AOL I’d like to check my mail at the webmail site.

Interestingly enough, I cannot do this. “Was your password correct?” Yes. “Are you sure you didn’t change it?” I sign on with it all the time. “Well, we’ll look into it.”

I get some form mail back asking if AOL Customer Support helped me.


I tried two more times after this, all with the same results.


Have you tried running MSCONFIG?

If not you can do this by clicking Start|Run, type msconfig, click ok. Click on the Startup Tab and look and see if there are any AOL items selected to begin on startup. If so, uncheck them, and then click OK. You’ll have to then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Please be very careful, if you’re not familiar with this type of thing, to only uncheck the items you are certain should be unchecked.

Back to the OP. I know the hell that is incompetent customer service. We require our support techs to actually be knowledgeable in our product, the Internet, and computers in general.


It’s gone!

Jazzmine, you’re my hero.

My life is, indeed, now complete. :wink:

This is a not computer tech support issue, but along the same lines. My caller ID box hadn’t worked right since I moved into my new house. Privacy plus and people with call blocking who disabled it would come through but nothing else.

I opened 5 trouble tickets with Qwest but they kept telling me it was my equipment. I’ve worked telecom for 15 years and I knew it wasn’t the box, the people who make the box agreed with me.

Finally, I bought a phone with caller ID, and it had the exact same symptoms. The tech calls me up and says “hey, the switch was programmed wrong” Well, the good new is they refunded the money I paid for caller ID plus a little extra. If they had listened to me they would of had it fixed the first time.

I work in tech support, and feel your pain. Back when I was doing dialup support about 2/3 of my calls were people who had already talked to an inexperienced or lazy tech who could have fixed their problem the first time. About the only advice I can give you is ask for a supervisor as soon as you realize the tech doesn’t understand you. Every tech support place I have worked at has a policy that if the customer asks to speak to a supervisor, they get to talk to one. Before they put you on hold, demand their name and the case number first, one trick is to just leave the customer on hold, go for a smoke break, and hope they hung up from frustration before you get back. If not, take another smoke break.

Nope. Not unless they were promoted from the technicians on the floor. Most sup’s don’t know squat compared to the techs. They are trained for a week, whereas the techs are trained for two (This is true for Verizon, not sure on PacBell although we are both located in Texas).

Robgruver’s on target. Supervisors are generally hired for their organizational and management skills - not so much their technical know-how or product knowledge, which aren’t really the focus of their position.

I started with my current company as a manager for support reps - I was not trained at all, ever, on tech issues. If a call was escalated I pulled the best rep available and had them listen to the call and advise me how to solve the problem the customer was encountering.

I work in tech support. I know the industry. I thought that a call to tech support for dish network would be easy…was I wrong about that.
I called Dish Network on Christmas Day because the receiver for the dish we bought wasn’t working properly. I sat on hold for 10 minutes and finally talked to the dumbest tech in the company. He told me to unplug the receiver and call back in 15 minutes. If that wasn’t a blow off, I don’t know what is.
Anyways, the next week I called in with the same problem. The tech started to tell me to unplug the receiver again. He was obviously idiot. He said that it was a connection problem from the dish to the receiver. That was impossible since I had hooked up another box and it was fine and told him that. I asked to speak to his supervisor because he was an idiot. He refused. I started screaming profanities and the son of a bitch still wouldn’t transfer me to his supervisor. So I hung up and called back…several times.
By the time I actually got to a tech who knew what the hell he was doing I was so pissed I yelled at him for a good 10 minutes. He ran through some diagnostics and concluded that it was indeed the receiver. No shit! So, he sent a request out to for a new receiver. They sent the wrong one. Called again and bitched out the sup on duty. They promised to send a new receiver. 2 days later…wrong one again.
I was so pissed at that help desk that I found the # for the headquarters of the company and bitched out the VP of customer service. There was no reason that I needed to call them 30 times over six weeks just to get a replacement receiver. I mentioned the level of expertise in the call center as pitiful. My 3 year old cousin could give better advise. I also threatened to sue the pants off the company…naming him as the primary defendant. They overnighted the correct receiver and apologized. That’s all I wanted.
I will never put one of my callers through this. NEVER NEVER NEVER. And because of this I’ve never had a complaint.