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The Mother Of All Internet Issues

, , , , , | Right | July 20, 2020

Working in IT, you naturally get quite a few odd and noteworthy calls. Working at an ISP’s IT help center for a few years, I’ve gathered a few.

It’s near the end of the month and bills are due; if you’re late on payment three months out, we disconnect after sending a notice in the mail explaining the situation. This college student calls in about their Internet.

Me: “This is [ISP’s helpline]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, my Internet is out. It’s always going out; I need it for my school work!”

Me: “All right, let me get some information on your account, and let’s see what’s going on.”

She begrudgingly gives me her account details, including her street address, which is an apartment less than a block from her University. While I look over her account I mute my mic, but I can still hear her. The customer has her phone in speaker mode.

The customer is loudly whispering to her roommate.

Customer: “God, this happens every time we try to watch Netflix. Why are we still getting service with these a**holes?”

Their account has a notice of non-pay disconnect, meaning they haven’t paid for quite some time. I un-mute my mic.

Me: “All right, your account is showing that it has been disconnected due to non-paid bills. I can’t turn you on without a reconnect order from our Customer Service department. But I can transfer you over so you can work out payment, and I can then turn you on then.”

Customer: “What?! I’ve always paid my bills on time and have been a loyal customer for years!”

Their account is less than a year old and this is the third time they’ve not paid and have gotten disconnected.

Me: “I apologize, ma’am, but that’s the only option I have to help you right now.”

Customer: *Huffs* “Fine, transfer me over.”

I actively transfer the customer over to our customer service department to make a payment and warn them about the customer. Afterward, I don’t think about the customer. A few hours later, they call back.

Me: “This is [ISP’s helpline]; how can I help you?”

Customer: *Bear shouting* “I paid your stinking bill and I still don’t have Internet service!”

Me: “All right, let me gather your information and take a look at your Internet connection.”

I gather her information once more. While I’m inspecting her Internet, the customer continuously swears up and down about the service and issues she’s been experiencing with her roommate. I eventually find the issue; the signal to her apartment is horrible and has been before she called in the first time.

Me: “Okay, I think I see the problem, ma’am. There appears to be a line issue that is causing your Internet signal to not come through. We can try a few things, but the best bet would be to schedule a time for a service tech to come on by and get you back up and running. The next time we have opening for a tech in your area would be tomorrow morning.”

Customer:What?! I’ve been having this issue for weeks now! I’m a paying customer and I need it for school work!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but with the way that the [University Neighborhood] is set up, we can’t tell if there are any line or signal issues going on. It’s always a good idea to call us when you experience repeated service issues.”

Customer:No! I want a tech out now so I can get my school work done! It’s due today and I can’t complete it without the Internet! I’ll fail my class because of you!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but that’s the best I can do for a guaranteed time for a service call. I can try to move things around, and if a nearby tech finishes early I can send them on your way, but I can’t guarantee a service that way. I know that the [University Library] is open right now and you can complete your work there.”

Customer:No! That’s too far for me to travel! I’m paying for this service and I expect service!”

Me: “I apologize again, ma’am, but that’s best I can do. I have you set for tomorrow as that’s the soonest I can do. If I can get a tech earlier, I’ll—”

Customer: “F*** you!” *Click*

I sigh and shrug it off, noting everything about the call in the greatest of detail in case she calls back in and gets any of my coworkers. I take a five-minute break and get back to work. Another hour passes before I get an out-of-state call. It isn’t uncommon as people mistakenly call us for Internet support.

Me: “This is [ISP’s helpline]; how can I help you?”


Me: “I’m… sorry, ma’am? What’s the issue?”

Customer’s Mother: “My daughter is going to [University] and she called me to tell me about her Internet issues and how you aren’t helping her!”

Me: *Making the connection* “Oh, [Customer] at [Address]?”

Customer’s Mother: “YES!”

Me: “I apologize, ma’am, but I have a set time for a tech to fix her Internet issues for tomorrow as I can’t pull any of my techs from their current jobs.”


She continues to get louder and louder to the point where the phone is breaking up due to her volume. After a few minutes of the mother ranting, I have a moment to speak.

Me: “Ma’am, I apologize again. But I have a concrete time for a tech to repair her service. As I told your daughter, ma’am, I’ve been monitoring our techs’ current jobs to see if one finished early for us to fix the issue today. But none have done so.”

Customer’s Mother: “THIS WON’T STAND!” *Click*

I’ve had it with both the customer and her mother. I burst out laughing, turning a few of my colleagues’ heads around. I’ve been sworn at and cursed at. But I’ve never had a customer so angry that they had called their mother on me.

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