I recently split with my partner and part of the living alone thing is that I get to experience for myself the absolute incompetance of NTL. Before, I've always handed the task of calling them to Rich because he has more patience and I have a habit of yelling obscenities at idiots in tech support. This evening I was looking over the NTL bill - which after about 6 months of asking, filling in forms, sending them back, nothing happening, asking again, filling in more forms etc ad nauseum, has been officially handed over to me. I noticed we have been paying for 1MB broadband. This seems odd to me because all the speed tests I've ever run indicate that our speed averages around 250-300kbp/s. So I call "Broadband Technical Support" and grit my teeth in anticipation.
Some guy in Guatamala answers the phone and after confirming my details (I had to ask him to repeat himself several times because his accent was so thick and it was rather obvious that english wasn't his first language) I explained my problem. He then told me he would help me as a "courtesy" because this was really a customer support issue. No, I have no idea either. So. He then proceeds to talk to me like I've never used a computer in my life (before anyone jumps on me, I know they have to do that - it's just annoying anyway - this is my journal, let me rant damnit!). He tells me to click on START and open Internet Explorer. Oh brother. I couldn't resist it, I simply said "I don't use Internet Explorer, I use Firefox". Of course this threw him completely. I admit, I had a giggle at his expense. He asks what operating system I'm using (note - he didn't ask this before he told me to click on START - does OSX or Linux even have a start menu?). I should've told him I'm quite competant at using a computer and working my way around the internet but I think I would've confused him with my jargon. He asks me what the name of my browser is and when I answer "Firefox" I can just picture the look of complete and utter incomprehension running across his face. He decides to avoid the issue and tells me to type "iexplore" in the run box.
Once we have the vile creation that is micro$oft IE open I can tell he's feeling relieved. He then tells me to type "w-w-w-dot-g-o-o-g-l-e-dot-c-o-m" (yes, he spelled out every letter) into the address bar. I do so while wondering what those little horseshoe-shaped marks are in my palm. Then we type "internet speed" into the search box, yay! He asks me if "bandwidth speed test" is in the list. It is; first hit! How fortunate. So we click on the site and take a bandwidth speed test. It measures my speed at some random number at least 500kb slower than the 1MB I'm paying for. He seems surprised. I'm surprised myself - I hadn't expected it to be that high. He tells me I "must have some flrhtywis programs running". Or at least that's what I heard. I had to ask him to repeat it twice more before I realised he was saying filesharing. I told him I don't have anything running at the moment save my email program and IE. Then he asks if I have a firewall. Uh-oh.. I know where this is going.. When I confirm I do indeed have a firewall he tells me to disable it. Now I hate "techs" telling me to shut down my firewall but especially when this particular "tech" doesn't seem to know his ass from a hole in the ground. But in the spirit of adventure I shut it down. With IE open >.<
Then, with excruciatingly simple instructions we delete all cookies and temporary files in IE. I was tempted to point out that since I don't use internet explorer and I delete all cookies and files from there on a regular basis there was really no need but I feared his head might explode and then I would have to wait on hold again. We do the test again. Whaddayaknow.. it's about 80kbp/s lower than it was the first time. I can tell this has overloaded his tiny little mind. He gives up. He gives me the number for customer service and tells me to tell them he has gone through all possible steps to resolve the problem but it didn't work. He also gives me a reference number and tells me to have a pleasant evening.
Because I'm a sucker for punishment and I'm really very bored, I call customer service. I speak to a very nice sounding girl, telling her exactly what the man in Guatamala told me to say. I think she blinked. Then she told me it was a tech support issue and could I please call them on this number...
So there you have it. A first-hand account of a typical call to NTL. I'd like to congratulate Mr NTL for his wonderful service personally. I'll thank him by travelling to his 250-acre vacation estate in the Seychelles while he sits by the pool drinking champagne. I'll thank him by inviting all my friends to go take a dump in his million-dollar gold plated olympic size swimming pool and then drowning him in it.