Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sometimes you just feel beaten...

When we last left my Charter Communications saga, I had an appointment for a line tech to come investigate the connectivity issues on Tuesday, so I left for Nashville.

A couple of minutes ago, I'm sitting here at Oleg's surrounded by preparations to go to the range. Next thing I know, Oleg's handing me his cell phone. It's my downstairs neighbor. There's a Charter tech there claiming he needs authorization from someone in order to bill me $49 to "fix the self-install" before he can begin work.

"Let me talk to him. ... Hello?"

"Yes, I'm here to fix a self-install. The charge is $49. I ne..."

"There's nothing wrong with the install."

"My sheet says tha..."

"Look, the modem's installed right where I installed the last Charter cable modem; plugged into the same outlet, hooked up to the same cable jack, connected to the same wireless router."

"Yes, well maybe the..."

"They were supposed to send a line tech out on Tuesday to see if everything was hooked up correctly after the septic tank guys cut the cable. You think that might have anything to do with it?"

"Well, self-installs..."

"I was installing internal 1200 baud modems in Turbo XT's while you were still singing along with Barney; I was working in BellSouth's DSL help center while you were still worried about girl cooties; this ain't my first rodeo. Can you just make sure I get a line tech out here on Tuesday?"

"I can't schedule that. You'll need to call the toll-free service number."

Which is back in Knoxville, where I ain't.

He hung up. I felt muscles knot and veins pound.

"Oleg, please take your cell phone out of my hand before I throw it. Thank you."

I didn't go along to the range with the rest of the crew; it's hard to have fun when you're this upset.


Anonymous said...

"We're from your cable company and we're here to help you"...

Carteach said...

Is there nobody near you with a wireless network you can make a deal with? As a backup anyway....

One of my kids lives in 'Da City'.
He hasn't paid for internet in a year. With his cantenna and some agreeable neighbors he just patches into one of five available wireless

In exchange, he breeds their cats or virus scans their computers or something.

I'm in 'da country' (breathing is legal here). My neighbor uses my wireless when they need it. I just gave them the guest password.

BobG said...

Dontcha just love the way customer service people set things up?
And then they send out script monkeys instead of technicians.
(Script monkeys are people who haven't got a clue, but they are given a flow chart to follow, instead of using intelligence)

Anonymous said...

Nowadays, "customer service" is to assume that ALL of your customers are idiots. While most customers who get "customer service" from, say, Dell, Charter or Time Warner Cable probably ARE iditiots, this gets really frustrating really fast for those of us who Have A Clue. Once the "customer service" representatives have determined that you Have A Clue, you should thereafter automatically skip the first line of defense (some moron reading a script who wouldn't know a PC from a hole in the ground) and immediately get to talk to someone who can actually solve your problem in a swift and courteous manner. Until that time, I can only suggest shooting the first-line-of-defense "customer service" representatives in the kneecap pour encourager les autres.

Sevesteen said...

I do corporate network support for a living. Needless to say, whenever I call my ISP, my blood pressure goes up.

"defrag your hard drive" to fix a connectivity problem on 3 different computers.

"Nobody else has reported any issues" told to both me and my parents for the same problem in the same town. And as it turns out a bunch of people I work with.

The last major problem I had was with usenet--A server had lost it's connection with the outside world a few hours prior. The first response was to try to embarrass me by insinuating I was looking for usenet porn. Then they wanted to blame my router, even though I could retrieve any old message--Apparently they thought my router was reassembling packets into usenet messages, reading the headers and dropping all headers after 3pm. Once I convinced them that I'd hooked up a computer directly to the cablemodem and had the same problems, they finally actually looked. "We can retrieve messages posted a few minutes ago-see, it's your fault". "Can I see headers?"
"What's headers?" (explain headers, they send) "You can indeed retrieve recent messages...from the New York server. I'm assigned to the Ohio server--How about you try to retrieve from the Ohio server?" "We don't have access to the Ohio servers, we're in New York". "So basically your job is to convince me it's my fault, and if that fails refuse to help me?"

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you're aware Charter has been rated among the worst customer service of ANY company in the U.S.


Carteach said...

Quick 'customer lack-o-service' story:

I came home one day to find a Comcast cable weenie wandering around my yard. He said XXX (my son, living with us at the time) had called and ordered cable.

Now, long ago, in a galaxy a lot like ours, we had used this companies 'service'. When we went to satellite I took a certain evil joy in RIPPING out the cable wiring all the way to the pole at the street.

I .... don't ... like... Comcast.

Thumper the wonder installer was busy CUTTING into the shielded wiring to my dish!! He got 'snitty' when I pointed out he had damaged my sat cable and would have to replace it before leaving.

Snitty..... bad move. I called Comcast, identified myself as the property owner and NOT a customer, explained their installer had just vandalized my sat system and I had called the police. I also explained that as the property owner I had not asked for nor authorized cable installation, and would take great joy in the soon-to-be legal action for damages caused by said Thumper the wonder installer, after the police were done with him.

I got the fun of staring at the installer on his ladder as he got the phone call... and smiling at him as he turned and looked at me.

Say hello to the state police,
'Mr. Snitty'.

He got to talk to the nice officer for a while (who apparently also had been a Comcast victim) and the company got to pay for the sat company repairs to the damaged system. I later heard it was Mr. Snitties last day.

Anonymous said...

I understand the RCOB feeling all too well. Y'know, I've been going round-and-round with my electric provider (sic) ever since moving into Cada Del Excessivo 18 months ago. For the last 3 months, the automatic withdrawal for my monthly electric bill has been made, as agreed, right on time (usually a nanosecond after my pay is direct deposited). SOmehow, Corrupt Utility loses track of it as soon as it turns to electrons and flies across the router. According to them, 'they don't see that I've made payments'for the past 'several months', leading to anxious moments last week involving a 'field service agent', SWMBO, and a large bore shotgun in her hands.

To this day, they haven't figured out that they're siphoning money out of my account. I'm still trying to figure out how Texas Stadium's meter got on my account, for my part, because I don't understand how my electric bill is so close to the amount of a house payment.

Something tells me I'm going to have to make a visit to their office. I predict it's going to involve speaking in a loud voice, machetes and an ASP.

Dammit, where's my happy pills? Be back later, got to pull the feet off baby ducks now.


Strings said...

I generally don't have problems with things like this. Have a friend sin Chicago that's a hoot to listen to when he calls Customer Dis-service though...

"Hi... my name's Bob P, address is such and so, phone number 555-867-5309. Now, before you get started, just go ahead and kick me up to your manager. While you're doing that, figure out who you pissed off to get stuck with my call, and buy them some flowers or something..."

Anonymous said...

The last time I had to deal with a Verizon DSL Bangalor help-desk person was rather fun ....

She started in on me ... and I told her I do tech support for businesses using SCO UNIX, and I handle telecom issues with minimum wage clerks all day ... so, could we just go through your script until we get to the point where you send me to the 2nd level tech support people?

So she took me through here script, and I went through it, and added my own critiques ( Miss, you don't ask Yes - No questions, the customer will always say yes ... ).

Finally, we got to the end of her script ... and she then admitted that if she couldn't buffalo me into hanging up, she would get fired for allowing me to go to US tech support.

Apparently the company she works for loses a few dollars if the call goes all the way through to the US.

So ... I thanked her for her honesty, called Verizon's corporate offices, and started to raise bloody hell, including publicizing the fact that their Bangalor contractors are not allowing ANYONE to get to the next level of tech support.

I finally got someone with a clue ... who admitted that their Seattle servers were all FUBAR that day.

We contracted with Aracnet the next day, and started using their routers delphi'ed onto Verizon-DSL's landlines.

To this day, I do not use ISP provided services if I can help it. I use for my email, usenet, and webspace needs, and I use open-dns for my look-up service. If I have to change ISPs, I lose nothing, since I only use them to get my IP packets out.

Anonymous said...

My name is Brynn Palmer and I work at the Charter Corporate Office in Saint Louis, MO. I would be happy to assist you. If you will forward your contact informaiton to me at the email below, I would be happy to have someone contact you for assistance.


Anonymous said...

Sure you are.......

Tam, please follow this one up and let us know!