Not A Lot Of Support From Customer Support

, , , , , | Working | September 2, 2020

When moving to my new apartment, I am also going to change from satellite to cable TV. This means my old router does not meet my new requirements, so I decide to take advantage of a promotion and get the to-rent model of my new ISP for free, as I’m too lazy to get a newer router myself, despite being a general IT and network admin at work.

After moving, I plug in the company-provided router, connect my main computer, and set everything up, which just works fine. I take a look at the manual, which says I have to connect the cable from the socket to a three-way switch/converter; one outgoing cable connects to the phone, one cable to the router, and the last cable to the TV. Despite the cable between the switch and TV, there is a regular ethernet cable that connects the TV and the router. I install all that and check on my PC and my notebook; Wi-Fi and Internet work.

To my confusion, in the following days, the Internet randomly stops working, so I do the usual troubleshooting and figure out that I cannot even connect to the router from my wired PC, as the settings seemed to have changed. Everything starts to work again later that day.

As I can’t figure out why and can’t find anything online, I call tech support.

Support: “[Company Support], how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I’m having trouble with your router, which seems to randomly stops working.”

I give them detailed information about the problem, all the steps I’ve taken, and the data I’ve collected.

The employee seems to ignore all I just said.

Support: “Okay, well, let’s see… Did you check whether the router is properly plugged in and the lights are all on?”

Me: “Yes. As I said, having worked IT myself, I already did basic troubleshooting, which did not work, and then…”

I give all my taken steps and collected data again.

Support: “So, hmph, well…”

There’s a very awkward long pause.

Me: “Did you have any reports about similar issues? Or any idea as to why my network settings seem to change and even change back to the correct settings later?”

Support: “Ah, network settings? I’m sorry, sir, I can’t quite follow you?”

Me: “Well, I already checked…” 

I give my results a third time.

Support: “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know what all that is supposed to mean. But my scheme tells me to ask you to restart the router, please.”

Me: “Okay, so do you have any deeper knowledge of network configuration and your [brand router]? If not, I would like to talk to some tech person who is able to do more than read from some paper.”

Support: “I’m very sorry, but there is no one in our call center who is qualified for much more than our standard spiel given by the company.”

Me: “I see. So, is there any way you might set me up with someone who can help me?”

Support: “Again, I’m very sorry. All I could do is to set you up with an appointment with an external service, who will send someone to your house.”

Me: “Well, I guess I have to, eh?”

I get the typical appointment which is like: sometime between rise and dawn, better take the whole week off, just to be sure.

The cable guy arrives around noon without any info or documentation, so I tell him what’s wrong.

He speaks without even looking at my setup.

Cable Guy: “You followed the instructions and connected the switch with your TV, didn’t you?”

Me: “Yes, of course. That’s why the instructions were printed?”

Cable Guy: “Well, yeah, unfortunately, the instructions in this case are wrong. See, the cable from that switch to the TV is configured in such a way that your TV is supposed to work as a second router. Therefore, your settings on the real router get overridden; for some crazy reasons, the TV’s network settings are given priority. Please don’t ask me why; it’s crazy. So, if you turn on your TV, and later on your PC the settings won’t work, if you do it the other way round you stay connected with the router and everything is fine.”

The cable guy simply pulls out the cable between the switch and the TV.

Cable Guy: “There you go. That’s it.”

Me: “Your kidding, right?”

Cable Guy: “Nope, that’s it.”

Me: “Oh, good God, and nobody on the tech support line is able to give that information?”

Cable Guy: “Seems like that, huh? That’s what happens when you try to outsource everything possible. And it happens so often, I have done this fix seven times already today.”

Me: “Well, sounds like time for a break. Come on. I know some nice and fast Italian around the corner; I’ll buy us some pizza.”

Needless to say, I canceled the contract shortly after and am already looking for my new ISP in a few months, hopefully without such utter nonsense.

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