Why are interent providers service people useless?

Comcast interent service people, you are all useless morons. I seem to have learned this a long time ago and never ever call you. My wife hasn’t figured this out yet.

PC and interent have been running fine for a couple years now. Till my wife wakes up and attempts to log on.
“We have no internet!”
Me: “I’ll mess with it later.”
“No, I’m going to call Comcast.”
“Why, they’re going to make you reboot a dozen times then end up telling you the problem is on our end after 2 hours.”
“Well, I’m going to call them.”
“Have fun.”
An hour in and she’s still chatting with someone who’s having her run through their scripted trouble shooting.
I interupt her. “Have you tried the reset button on the back of the modem/router (I don’t even know what it’s called but Comcast installed it and it’s the box beween the computer and the wall).”
Her: “Don’t touch anything!! They are able to reset it on their end.”
Me: “Whatever.” and I go back upstairs to make some lunch.
Another hour passes and she’s finally off the phone.
“They say we’re getting a connection just fine and it’s our computers problem and we either have a bad board or a virus.”
Me: “OK” not wanting to argue.
I wait till she gives up and starts watching TV instead. I go down to the PC and go for the modem/router tower thing. Press the reset button a couple times on the back with a ballpoint pen and press the white standby button a couple times on the front.
not 5 minutes later
Me walking between her and the TV: “We have internet again.”
“What? What did you do?”
“Hit those buttons a couple times.”
“How come those Comcast people didn’t have me do that?”
“Cause they’re morons. Do you believe me now?”

Last time I called Comcast, it was due to sporadic slowdowns which corresponded with alarmingly high ping times to the router on the other end of my connection. The moron asked me if my modem was plugged into a power strip (it is) and how old the power strip is (about two years), and then insisted that the power strip was probably causing “power fluctuations” that were causing the problem. No joke. I hung up and immediately called again, this time getting someone with a clue, who told me that they were having some scheduled maintenance on their end and the problem would be cleared up in a couple hours.

My outfit is Mediacom, and they’ve given ve me very little trouble except when I asked about a service they want to phase out, such as Usenet. The local helpdesk kiddies are not taught what it even is, let alone why its retention is so spotty that it’s just this side of inoperative. I suspect the home office has it set up so postings disappear after a certain number of downloads (five? ten? :rolleyes: ) and just aren’t telling anyone out in the field, in the hope that one day soon they can quietly pull the plug on the server.

This is why you deal with a local company, if possible. The service and tech people for my provider have proven to be nothing short of excellent in every interaction I’ve had with them.

Yeah, but I stopped dealing with local companies when I found out they went home at night and out hunting or fishing on the weekends so if your service went down, that was tough shit until Monday. At least the big boys have 24/7 service.

True, that. But I can always read a book, go to the movies, play with the cats, romp with the wife…if it’s a weekend, then I don’t need the net for work. Win-win.

Hi! I used to work for a local ISP until they were bought out, and they were bought out, and they were bought out.

When our folks decided to go with someone else, I’d always keep their accounts active for a while, more often than not, the first time they had a tech support call, they would come back to us. When I would calmly explain the cost difference between us and them, my best reason? When you call, you get me and I know what to do.

I would have stayed in the industry, but the company that bought us offered me $8 hr for contract work to continue doing a job I billed out at $125 hr for. 7 years experience, I was technically Manager of Strategic Accounts.

It really is no different than going to Home Depot, Best Buy or Walmart. You may be saving money, but you are losing a tremendous amount of knowledge and ability to serve.

When I got my first bra, we went to Maas Brothers. I was measured and helped by a woman that had probably been selling bras decades before anyone considered burning them. Therefore, I know what to look for in a quality, well-fitting bra. When I was pregnant, I needed a maternity bra that would accomodate me growing from “what are those little things” to “good god, look at the knockers on her!” I went to a maternity shop. The salesperson was utterly useless. Utterly, completely, totally useless.

The only company I have ever seen that actually gives good tech support is Godaddy.com, which is why I have used them since I got out of the business. My highest compliment is that they were able to set my mother up correctly after she mashed every button on their website.

We are getting what we are paying for. Shitty service, poor products and fake food.


And even the big boys have outages, and when they do, they rarely tell their techs. Not long ago, after finding my home Internet connection (cable) dead, checking the TV (OK), resetting the router, rebooting the computers, I verified that the problem was most likely the cable company’s service, so I called the tech line. Of course, they wanted me to repeat everything I had already done before they would give me any advice. After that, they told me the problem was with my router and I had to get a new one.

Well…it’s possible, but I didn’t have a spare to compare. So I went to my office to use the Internet to order a rush overnight delivery of a new modem/router. When I got to the office, someone said, “The Internet’s down for the entire state.”

Grrr. Not only did they waste my time, but even their own techs’ time as well. By the time I got home, everything worked fine with the old router.

Where do those show up on a balance sheet?

No, we are getting what hyper-huge companies whose only concern is monopolizing their markets are willing to sell us. Thus driving the cost of providing real service and workmanship up even further, into the luxury bracket.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever buy something on the advice of a third-rate tech support drone unless all other avenues are exhausted. All too many of them are doing nothing more than trying to get you off the phone. And especially don’t do it after a service outage that’s lasted less than a day!

I wonder how many other people that guy told to buy a new modem that day. What an idiot (e: him, not you).

I know this thread is about cable but in my copious experience in the matter(= random reading of internet forum threads), I swear DSL people have way more problems than cable internet people. I wonder if there is just some weird technical issue with DSL, or if there is some underlying causation here, like the kind of places DSL is the only thing available, or the kind of people who have land lines or something.

But anyway, I fucking hate Comcast. When I disconnected my service to go with RCN, the operator asked why I was leaving. “They’re charging me $10 a month.” He actually responded that they would cut the price to $20. First, did you fucking hear me? Second, if you’re willing to drop the price, why am I not already paying that price?

Never again, I tell you!

The IT industry considers help desk support as entry level positions. Big mistake. Clueless customers with undefined problems talking with clueless first-level support (who probably received little to no training in honest customer service, reasoning, let alone technical diagnostic training.) This exacerbates into the revolving door where the “bright” first-level folks either leave or get promoted out of support.

And this is why I adore my ISP. Ten years ago, you might call them “scrappy” but now, they’re thriving and spectacular.

In the rare instance that something goes wrong and I need to call them, an actually intelligent person answers, and they don’t drag me through the whole infernal “Take two reboots, reverse the ends of the cable and don’t call us” scripts.

If you’re anywhere in California, take a look at Sonic. (No, not the drive-in hamburger place)

Comcast was unable to install cable internet and wireless network at my house. They sent three different techs on different days. Each one did exactly the same things, as if they don’t trust each other and don’t communicate on the trouble report.

To be fair, the problem turned out to be insanely obscure. To tide me over until Comcast cable could be installed, I had installed and run Earthlink dialup, after kicking RCN dialup to the curb for mind-numbing incompetence.* Earthlink offered an anti-virus/firewall type security package for download – I had never downloaded it, having my own. Well, Earthlink put shortcuts on the desktop – including a shortcut to download this security package. Not to run it, mind you, but to download and install it. Despite the fact that I had never downloaded nor run Earthlink’s security package, the shortcut on my desktop – to download it – was preventing my wireless network from running. Nothing worked until a friend cleaned up the Earthlink shortcut icons just out of neatness – at which point Windows suddenly found my wireless network and connected just fine. I have no idea how it’s possible that a shortcut to a download site would act like a firewall
and break the wireless network connection, but by God, it did. Dragging it to the trash can fixed the cable internet just fine.

I called Comcast back and told them to relay this info to their technicians in case they encountered it again, but I’d be surprised if anyone actually followed through on that.
*How mind-numbingly incompetent was RCN, you ask? I’d had their service in Virginia for three years, and called their headquarters in Herndon, Virginia; when the tech asked me what state I was in, I replied, “Virginia” – only to be told “We don’t offer service in Virginia.”

It’s not just Comcast. Many years ago I did support for Microsoft*, and I had a pretty rigorous interview. A couple of years later, it seems that they were hiring anything with a pulse. I was amazed at some of the morons that were showing up for work.

A year or two after I quit, I was doing something in Word (a product I had supported), and I got a very strange problem. Naturally, I did as much troubleshooting as I could on my own, but I got nowhere with it. So I called the support line. The guy that took my call was, to put it most politely, a complete jackass. I explained that in my troubleshooting, I had opened a 2nd instance of Word and tried something in that, which gave me even odder results. “‘Instantaneous’? What’s an ‘instantaneous’?”, he asked. “I’ve never heard of that. I think you’re just making it up.” He spent the rest of the call mocking me for making up a word for something that obviously didn’t exist. When I explained what it was he said “You’re not supposed to do that.”

You’ll be glad to know that by the time he escalated the call to a mentor (who was as befuddled as I), I had reduced the guy to tears. I really hope he reevaluated his career choice.

*Not actually hired by MS. They farmed it out to the company I worked for.

How, pray tell, did they get ‘hyper-huge’ in the first place?

By providing low prices at the expense of service and quality, that’s how.

When customers want to buy something, they get the benefit of low prices 100% of the time, and get hurt by low quality and poor service 5% of the time. Customers take their chances, and the high quality high service provider takes it in the shorts.

Nah. That’s how Wal Mart got hyper-huge. The cable and internet providers are a different story – they got hyper-huge by bribing regulators and legislators to provide them with competition-free markets. In most areas, since the advent of these technologies, a resident can contract with only one provider, a monopoly.

A monopoly doesn’t have to provide good service because it’s not in competition with anyone.

Ok, I know this is about ISPs, but last night I had a frustrating experience with asking paypal support a simple question in which I had to talk to six different morons in order to get the answer. Here’s the entire exchange (abridged):

Me, via web “contact us” form: Can I disable the “get verified” email? I don’t want to get verified. I’m happy with the limits on my accounts due to not being verified. I just want to stop receiving the “get verified” emails. Can I do that without disabling all notifications?

Ann: I understand you wish to disable all notifications. Here are instructions how …

Me, responding via email (from a different address because my paypal email gets forwarded): You understand incorrectly. I do not want to disable notifications. I just want to disable that one. Can I do that?

Rachel: for security reasons, I cannot respond to you because your email doesn’t match the address on file. Please use the “contact us” form on the web site to ask your question.

Me, via email: I’m not asking you to respond to this email, I’m asking you to re-read the original support request, which was sent through the “contact us” form, and respond to it.

Grace: la la la la la we’re still not listening to you please use the “contact us” form have a nice day.

Me, via email (just to annoy at this point, knowing someone will have to read this): Ok, fine. I will open a BRAND NEW SUPPORT REQUEST ASKING THE EXACT SAME QUESTION AS BEFORE. Please assign it to someone who can read this time.

Rj: It turns out I can actually respond to you if you tell me the email address you have on file. Because despite being morons who blindly follow security rules even when they’re not appropriate, those security rules aren’t particularly stringent. (ok, this was heavily paraphrased :slight_smile: )

Me, via the support form (I hadn’t seen that last response yet): Can I disable the “get verified” email? I don’t want to get verified. I’m happy with the limits on my accounts due to not being verified. I just want to stop receiving the “get verified” emails. Can I do that without disabling all notifications?

James Harold (ooh, a last name!): From researching your account history, I can see that your issue has been resolved. I am closing this case. Thank you. (note that this is referring to the new case)

Me, via email: What? How is this resolved? Nobody has answered my question. This support is comically bad.

Ronalyn: I apologize for the frustration. The answer to your original question is … no.

The OP’s wife is lucky. At least she got to talk with a real person. Last time my Comcast internet wasn’t working, I kept calling, punching in all the menu options, waiting on hold, etc., only to be told by a machine that they were experiencing larger-than-normal call volume and that I should call back later.