Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Hopeless Qwest

It began last Monday.

I received a phone call out of the blue, in the middle of the day. While I was at work, mind you. Some phone number from Idaho, so surely some solicitor's call. But I decide to answer it anyway, to potentially chew out whoever it is for calling me.

It's some woman with Qwest, the company providing my television and internet service. Mind you, these are the people who've jacked me around several times before, the people whose service I would not even use if I had any choice in the matter at all -- but my condo complex is in some sort of exclusive contract and so there aren't even any actual cable lines running into it.

They're going to be upgrading the lines connecting to my home, she tells me. This is at no charge to me. The upgrade will be taking place that Friday. On that same day, I should expect a CD in the mail. I need to run this CD to reconfigure my modem settings, she tells me, or my service may be interrupted.

Fine, fine.... I'm at work, so I hang up with her as quickly as I can, and forget about the matter.

Friday rolls around, and I get home from work and boot up the computer for some thing or other. No internet. And that's when I remember, oh yes! That disc! So I go to my mailbox.

There's nothing in it.

I call the Qwest tech support line and explain the whole story. The operator starts in on this Dick-and-Jane nonsense about "check that your cord is plugged into the wall," and such. "No," I interrupt, "I'm supposed to be receiving this disc, and it didn't come."

After bouncing around between three departments and operators for over an hour, I finally get a hold of someone who says the disc will be Next Day Aired to me. I point out that the "Next Day" is a Saturday, so if it's not marked Saturday delivery, I won't receive anything. "Oh, it'll come Saturday," she assures me.

Saturday arrives. No disc.

I now recall that the woman who started this stupid affair did not have a blocked Caller ID. If I haven't received too many phone calls since Monday, her number will still be in my phone. And thankfully, there it was. Of course, it being the weekend, there's no answer. But I leave her an appropriately angry message and tell her to get in touch with me.

Monday rolls around. No call. I call her twice more. Nothing but voice mail.

Finally, in the early afternoon, I hear from her. She's positively confounded about what could have happened. I tell her something to the effect of "well, your plan was stupid, that's what happened." First, you've decided to "upgrade" me when I didn't ask for anything of the kind. Then, you decided to perform this upgrade that required some kind of disc installation, without first making sure I actually received said disc. And then, you scheduled it on a Friday, ensuring that if anything did go wrong, no one would be able to fix it for me all weekend.

Well, she tells me, the disc is not strictly necessary. "It's just an automated way that your modem settings will be configured. We can conference in a tech support operator to make the changes manually." Why the tech support operator couldn't have gotten into this on Friday night, I don't know, but yes, let's get this done.

The operator comes on, we go through the reconfiguration. Nothing. A blinking connectivity light on my modem. "Oh," says the techie, "that means there's no signal actually even reaching the modem." And then we start in on how they'll need to send someone out to my house, and it'll be an appointment some time between 1:00 and 5:00 pm, and I or someone over 18 will need to be home for that.

Hold on a second. You didn't need to come into my home when you screwed this up in the first place. There's no way you should need to get in there to put it back. We go back and forth on this point for a bit before they agree that yes, they'll send a tech to check the outside lines and such even without me there.

We hang up with the techie then, and the woman who started this mess tries to apologize some more. "We've done hundreds of upgrades like this and there's never been a problem before. I don't know what could have happened."

I don't care, I tell her. But you're going to be compensating me for all of this nonsense. To her credit, she agrees immediately -- the first good point in this entire affair.

Today, around 4:00 in the afternoon, I get a call from the "on site" techie who has come out to check my lines. He asks if I'm home. I tell him, no, and I was told I wouldn't have to be.

"Oh, you don't," he says. "I was just hoping to come in and double check, but I've already looked outside, and there was..." [insert jargonese here] The thrust of it being that when he looked at the connection, there was something immediately and obviously connected wrong, and so no signal was reaching my place. He's fixed it already, so everything should be working now. To his credit, he also tells me I can call him personally that evening when I get home if I have any problems.

But when I did come home, everything was indeed working. So some complete idiot plugged things in wrong on Friday, and consequently I spent four days without my internet connection. Someone related to the Qwest idiots who kept screwing up my DirecTV service, one might think.

I left another message with the Originator Woman tonight, telling her I was finally back in business, and that I expect to be seeing that credit on my bill.

I still haven't received that mythical CD, by mail or overnight shipping.

What I do have is yet another service nightmare involving Qwest, starring technical staff completely incapable of doing their jobs.

I have no choice but to use Qwest where I live. If you do have a choice, I would implore you not to use them. Any other option would have to be better.


Roland Deschain said...

Dunno if I told you this one - at our old apartment complex...

When I tried originally to get cable/internet set up, the tech spent 7 HOURS at my apartment. Why? They couldn't get signal to my apartment. He originally thought part of the problem was that there was a block filter in the box to my apartment - and there was. This is apparently a little metal electronic doohickey that keeps signal from even going to a location. Fine.

Still no dice. He calls a supervisor. They're going through inside lines...outside lines...they're on the phone with techs at the office, everything.

They finally pop the covers on every last single port in my apartment. Electrical outlets, cable outlets, etc. They finally find that whatever fucktard of a tech had been to service my apartment previously had installed a signal blocker on EVERY LAST SINGLE CABLE OUTLET IN MY APARTMENT - INSIDE AND OUT.

In short this meant that I couldn't have gotten service, no matter who I chose. The outside blocks would prevent Comcast - the internal ones would prevent Comcast, Direct TV, and anyone else.

The supervisor left with about 8 of these little blocker bastards and was apologizing profusely - but had no idea who would or WHY they would ever do such a thing.

I'm convinced that cable installers are part of a secret experiment designed to test emotional responses of the general public....

Anonymous said...

Man, what an epic nightmare.
And I fear it's not over yet...


snarky smurf said...

I would do everything I could to get the tech (not the uber-helpful one who actually fixed it but the idiot who did the original install) FIRED. Just call up Qwest and uh... spend several hours bouncing around various departments talking to droolers who have no idea how to do their jobs and....


snarky smurf said...

And before I get ripped a new one by some helpful sniper...

I acknowledge that not everyone who works at Qwest is a drooler who doesn't know how to do their jobs.

(Just the ones the Dr. and I ever get to deal with)

Anonymous said...

ugh. once again you have my sympathies. I can't stand bad customer service. last month I fought for hours (for three days) before Verizon changed my DSL plan and compensated me for the difference (long-story-short they started charging me more without letting me know.)

um, welcome back? :-P

the mole