To begin this saga, you should know that Alltel/Windstream has a complete monopoly in my area for high-speed internet. There is no cable internet or satellite internet, and Alltel is the *only* phone and internet provider.
Our tale begins about a five weeks ago when our DSL decided to crap out for no apparent reason.
So I called Alltel/Windstream. Three hours later with every basic troubleshooting known to man ("Could it be your computer?" Nope, we have multiple computers, it's affecting all of them. "Could it be your router?" Nope, same problem with any router we try.), they decide that the modem itself has died and say they will overnight me a new modem.
Ten days later the modem arrives.
Another two hour conversation with Alltel/Windstream. I tell them I'm pretty sure we have a line problem. They tell me, no, it's either my router or my computer (ignoring the multiple computer factor again), and insist that I handle it through my router/computer folk.
We play this game through several more phone calls.
I get my dear friend taron316 down, who is a professional computer techie type dude. He spends about five hours with the various equipment and says it's decidedly an internet issue.
I call Alltel/Windstream back. Now they say there is a problem with my line, which will be repaired remotely by the "Cental Office."
Two days later, huzzah! We have interwebs.
For a day and a half, at which point it dies again.
I call Alltel back. They again insist that it is my router.
It is now 5 weeks since my initial call.
My very dear and beleaguered friend taron316 (who lives more than an hour away from me) comes down again, and spends another five hours with my equipment. Notices that the wires coming into the DSL box itself (junction box?) are pulled off and frayed. (I should note here that when the service was installed, 6 years ago, that they just ran a cable through my floor and left the junction box just hanging off - no attachement to the wall, no cable insulation, nada).
So it is *decidedly* a line problem - the line is physically damaged.
I call Alltel back. It is 10:00 on Sunday night (this past Sunday). They review my file (I'm sure there is a "hostile customer" flag on my file because I have become increasingly more irritated in my calls to them - go figure, 5 weeks with no internet). They attempt to trouble shoot with me again. I inform them AGAIN that this is a physical line problem and ask for a technician (I should also note that I told them after about the 2nd call, almost a month ago, that it seemed to be a physical line problem). They state that they cannot guarantee I will get a technician, because it could be a problem with my router.
Here is where I begin to get pissy. I AGAIN tell them it is a physical line problem. Tech support guy says he will have a technician sent out the following day (Monday, i.e. today). He says he cannot tell me that, except it will be sometime within 24 hours and might be 10:00 p.m. Monday night. (WTF???) On top of which, I must call back first thing Monday morning (today) and confirm that I still have a problem, or they will cancel they service order.
I dutifully call back first thing this morning. They attempt AGAIN to avoid sending me a tech by troubleshooting over the phone. I review the whole "physical line problem inside the house" issue, and they finally agree to send me a tech today. I again ask them what time, as both my partner and I work and I need to know what time to have someone home. He states that he can only say "before 10 p.m. tonight." Obviously, I inform him that that's not acceptable and ask for a window. He puts me on hold for ten minutes and then gets back on the line to say "your window is some time between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m." I inform him that 9 hours is not a window and ask for something more specific. He puts me on hold for another five minutes and then states that the tech will call me at work about an hour before they arrive so that someone can be at the house when they arrive. I work about 25 minutes away from my home, so I'm like "cool, I can do that."
So I go about my work day. 4:30 comes. I think "hmm, no tech call. Lemme check and see what's going on."
So I call Alltel/Windstream AGAIN. Now they have no record of a service call. I ask for the customer relations phone number.
I call the customer relations number, which is actually stateside (all the previous people have been at an overseas call center). The number they had given me was for the Business Division. I am not a division, so they transfer me to the Residential line. The Residential chick apologizes profusely, gives me a $60 credit on my account, says she will escalate me to Tier 2 and I'll never have to deal with the Tier 1 people again, and states that she needs to transfer me to the repair appointment line to figure out what happened to the tech. The person she transfer me to says she can't help me and needs to transfer me to yet another number.
Which turns out to be the same frickin' number I've been dealing with the same time.
So I retell all this mess for the 12,000th time to yet another incompetent tech agent. This tech agent insists that a tech person did indeed come to my house and found nothing wrong at the junction box at the street. Hello? How many times have I said the problem is with the house end of the line???? He then again tries to insist that this is a router problem. When I review with him AGAIN all the things that we have tried and done and the fact that the damage to the line is physical and ACTUALLY visible, he asks me how I know this. When I tell him (AGAIN) that I can actually see the damage, he tries to tell me that I do not know what I'm looking at. Then tries to tell me that the modem may be bad (the NEW ONE they had just sent us). Then that the phone filters might be bad (the NEW ONES. That they just sent us.)
Now I begin to get REALLY pissy. I'm not a tech genius, but I know the basics and check all the basics before I ever call tech support. I know my voice probably was beyond "irate customer" at this point. But what what he suggested next REALLY took the cake:
"Do you have a home security system? Perhaps a burglar came in and altered your phone line."
A BURGLAR??? Are you fucking kidding me? Your best tech answer is a BURGLAR???
Yes, apparently a burglar snuck into our house, ignored the television, the stereo system, the Wii, the XBOX360, the PS2, the printers, and the 3 laptops and went straight to the DSL junction box where they stripped the wires, then snuck back out.
Ladies and gentleman, we have reached a new low in tech support, if your latest strategy to avoid sending out an actual real live technician is blame it on a burglar.
The rest of the conversation basically went like this:
Me: You will have a tech person here on Friday. Any time will be fine.
Them: It really could be a burg...
Me: Tech. Friday.
Them: Have you tried rebooting...
Me: Tech. Friday.
Them: There's no need to lose your patien...
Me: The only words I want to hear from you are "tech" and "Friday."
wash, rinse, repeat for several minutes....
Finally I got him to say that he will send me a tech on Friday. He also stated that he was putting a note on my account that says that my account is to be "handled with the utmost care." Heh. Officially notification that I officially have a "hostile customer" flag on my account.
Whatcha think, have I earned my right to be hostile?
Five weeks, at least 8 phone calls and more than 20 hours on the phone later, and I still have no DSL.
A tech is scheduled for Friday. They say. Wanna take bets on whether or not they show?
Also, anyone have any brilliant ideas on any legal remedies I can pursue or any alternate ideas for home highspeed internet?? Anybody? Bueller?