Earthlink Satellite Internet Service

Posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2006 at 12:00am CDT by 4a46d4f7

Company: Earthlink Satellite Internet Service

Category: Other

Earthlink Satellite Internet "Service"

July 7, 2006

My Earthlink/Hughes Satellite “customer service” adventure Eleven days and counting …. On June 26 … at about 11 am my Direcway DW6000 satellite modem quit working for no obvious reason. We were not having a thunderstorm, and no other equipment plugged into the same surge protector was affected. After trying power cycling, etc. I called Earthlink tech support. We went through all the obvious things without result. At one point I was cut off and called back and had to go through the entire story again with someone new. I was on hold for so long that my cordless phone battery died and I had to call back from another phone—same story. New technician, back to square one. At last at about 9 pm I was told that it had to be referred to Hughes Satellite and in 24 hours they would decide something, so I should call back on Tuesday. June 27 When I called back on Tuesday the person I spoke to seemed not to be aware of the supposed interaction with Hughes. We went through the story again. I was told that it might take two or three days for Hughes to look at my case and decide what to do. When I asked what the process was from that point, the representative could not answer me. At no point did anyone offer to find out the answers to my questions and call me back. June 28 On Wednesday I called and was told by a rep named Jason who sounded extremely young that a return label for my modem had been mailed via regular mail from Atlanta on Tuesday. I asked him if I was going to get a credit for the extended period that I was obviously going to be without satellite service and he said no. I asked him if I was going to be held to the 20-hour dial-up limit and charged when I went over and he just said I hadn’t gone over—yet. But there was no way to assure me I wouldn’t be charged if I did. He was, in brief, a little snot. I could tell he was enjoying the fact that I was getting no service and had no recourse. June 29. I have given up and spend my time getting my email and browser to work on dialup and installing a wireless card so I can drive to the local university at use high speed at the library. June 30 Well the label from Atlanta never came in the mail, but, amazingly, a new modem showed up on Friday at about 4 pm via Fedex. (No mailed label has ever arrived; therefore what Jason told me on Wednesday night was simply a lie.) When I opened the box, it contained a new DW6000 and several pieces of egg-carton type packaging material—none of which was protecting the modem. The modem lay unwrapped by anything at all on one side of the box, with the packaging material on the other side. I tell this to everyone I speak to at Earthlink but it takes from Saturday until Tuesday (at least eight different staff members) before anyone ever says, “yes, I see that information has been documented in your record.” July 1 Shortly before Fedex came with the modem, I had gone on Earthlink’s customer survey site and reported my experiences to date. As a result, I got a phone call on Saturday from a very nice man named Don who, at least, gave me for the first time a phone number that didn’t require me to be transferred at least four times before getting to a satellite technician (and being on hold between 10 and 30 minutes each time I was transferred). He also gave me the SAN and PIN numbers for my modem, which I found by reading the first couple pages of the Direcway installation guide, I was going to need. He said he would make sure my trouble ticket remained open until I was back online. I think it was Don who finally gave me the trouble ticket number, which I had not had before. I then attempted to register the new modem. Step one is to enter your “registration ID” which, the Direcway manual said, was contained in my “confirmation e-mail.” I had never received any such thing. I called the satellite tech support line. The young man I spoke to said he had never seen any such thing as a Direcway modem commissioning instruction manual. He had no idea how to locate a registration ID. After spending another hour or two on the phone, we finally came up with a registration ID which, hopefully, is the correct one for this modem. By this time, of course it is Saturday, and a holiday weekend, and I had four house guests. Nevertheless, on Saturday night I tried to commission the modem using my registration ID and … it did not work. I called again and between the manual and the technician decided it might be the weather. I said I would try again several more times when the clouds cleared up, which I did, both that night and the next morning. Nada. TX error 6; Receive error 3. I was on hold for someone else when your center closed at 10 pm and they pulled the plug on all the customers who were waiting. July 2 When I got home from church on Sunday I had an email message saying that EarthLink customer service had “tried calling me and not been able to reach me”. Just as a guess, how many millions of people do you think are not reachable at their business number (even if their business is located at home) at 12:27 on a Sunday? Obviously you must not have wanted to talk to me very badly. The other option would have been to LEAVE A VOICEMAIL WITH A RETURN PHONE NUMBER. July 3 Monday morning I entered the fray again, after first calling my boss to tell him I still had no high-speed access and that I was taking a vacation day to try to resolve the issue, since I felt guilty being paid to sit on hold with Earthlink. AT this point, I am beginning to worry about my job. If I cannot send and receive large documents, I cannot work remotely as an editor and researcher. If I cannot download large pdfs from the Internet and quickly visit a large number of links, I am very ineffective at my job. How long will my company put up with my excuses? I was on the phone with Earthlink at 9 am when my houseguests came up to say goodbye and I had to ask the tech to call me back. He did, but I must have still been downstairs, and I missed his call. Of course he did not leave a number so when I called back we were back to square one again with someone new. I estimate that, on Monday, I was on your tech support line for approximately five hours total. With one tech (Thomas?) I finally figured out how to get into the installer registration (hint: Direcway has a browser issue with Firefox which no one working in your satellite support office seems to realize) and you have to have your antivirus and firewall disabled to use it. Under Thomas’ direction I put in at least 10 satellite longitudes and at least 100 frequencies trying to get the modem to receive a signal. Nada. Finally he said Hughes was going to need to send a technician and I should call back in 24 hours to find out what Hughes had to say about it. July 4. I spend another four to five hours on the phone with EarthLink, mostly listening to Muzak. Of course, when I call in the morning we are back to square one again. Despite the fact that I have given at least three people my office phone number, that number still is not associated with my account so the automated system can never find me. Each time I call I have to go through at least two levels of know-nothings and give the same information over and over again in order to reach someone in the satellite master technician area. This time it is Grant who is somewhat helpful. We try a couple of last ditch things including switching the cables around just in case I have them crossed up (extremely unlikely, but I do it anyway) and then says he will set up a three-way conversation with Hughes, and call me back in 10 minutes. I sit by the phone for 15 minutes, and then (let’s remember it IS a national holiday) get called away by family and when I come back I have a message from 3:24 saying “well, you don’t answer, so …” No direct return phone number. At five o’clock at am on the phone with yet a new person who says Hughes will have to review the “updates to my case” caused by my having switched the cables around, and that will take 24 hours and then I should call back and see what Hughes has had to say. At that point I go ballistic and demand to talk to his supervisor. He puts me on hold for fifteen minutes and then the same guy comes back and asks for my trouble ticket, as if he had not already been talking to me. I think he was trying to pretend to be someone different but unfortunately for him he has a strong and unmistakable Indian accent. When I confront him with the fact that he has not fooled me, he finally gets a supervisor, name of Jason, on the phone. Jason swears that someone will call me back with Hughes on the line in 10-15 minutes. I ask him for his direct phone line and he gives me that same old numbers I have had before. I sit by the phone and wait. An hour and ten minutes later I call back and start trying to find Jason. I go through four people who claim that Jason does not exist, and spend another half hour on hold. Finally, I get Jason. He says he gave my case to a “senior technician” and they were supposed to call me back but for some reason they did not. He hands me back to yet another Indian representative—this one somewhat language challenged—and tells me to stay on the line while that guy gets Hughes on the phone. 20 more minutes of Muzak. Finally: Hughes on the phone. “So, you have a connection issue?” the guy says. Obviously he does not know what is going on. However, this is not a technician. His entire role, as he explains it to me, is to give my phone number to a dispatcher, who will call someone in my area, who will then call me to schedule an appointment for someone to come out. I can expect to hear from them in TWO OR THREE DAYS. Apparently Hughes Satellite uses pony express to dispatch service orders. He cannot give me the name of the company so I can call them myself immediately. Of course, I will be at the mercy of whoever calls me in two or three or ten days. Maybe they will come the same day; maybe they will come next week. No one knows or cares. July 5 Today I have in my e-mail this cute little document from Earthlink called Satellite Connection Tips. You can imagine, perhaps, just how helpful this is in my present situation. Or maybe you don’t have that much imagination. My company paid over $800.00 for this equipment, and $70 per month for two and a half years for a contract WHICH INCLUDES SERVICE. Therefore, Earthlink and Hughes Satellite are at present in breach of contract with me. Last week, I missed the deadline on a research paper competition which, had I won it, would have awarded my company $30,000—because I could not download the huge pdfs I needed to read for research. I was unable to put together my biweekly email newsletter last week, and unable to post new books on our bookstore site. If I lose my job because of this you can be assured I will sue both Earthlink and Hughes, and I will find all the other present and former users of this “service” and get a class action suit going. Companies CANNOT be allowed to treat their customers this way. I have a colleague who is writing a book on bad customer service and you can be sure he will include this as a case study. In addition, I will write a column about this for my newsletter (circulation 8,000) and post it on my website. Don’t bother e-mailing or calling me about this unless you are going to give a real person’s direct e-mail return address or direct phone line and full name. I have wasted enough time listening to Muzak on your “service” line and I am not talking to any more chirpy little girls or clueless teenage boys masquerading as tech support personnel. The point of customer service is not to be friendly and say “I’m sorry” a lot. The point is to FIX THE PROBLEM. Later on the 5th … It gets worse. On your website, there is an email address for tech support. I send one and get this response: “Thank you for contacting EarthLink,

We received your email on 7/5/06, however in order to better serve you

EarthLink only accepts new messages created by completing our online email form.

To ensure that your inquiry is handled by an EarthLink representative we ask

that you resubmit your request using our online email form ….” Of course, you can only type about three sentences in that form --which doesn’t even scratch the surface in my case. Why have the email address on your webpage if it doesn’t actually WORK? Just to piss us off even more? July 6. No phone call from the repairman. I went down to the cybercaf

1 Comment

ce1b6ecc, 2008-04-05, 08:15PM CDT

" My company paid over $800.00 for this equipment, and $70 per month for two and a half years for a contract WHICH INCLUDES SERVICE."

Company's problem. Tell them to handle it.

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