Sep 4, 2010

In which I die a slow death

Remember when I made a passing reference a few days ago to our totally unreliable Internet service? Well, Thursday I was at home sick, and I wanted badly to be able to log into my work e-mail so I could keep tabs on a few things. Unfortunately, the Internet was down until after 1:00 with no windows of functionality.

Finally around 1:00 I called Charter to see if there was anything they could do. After the first several minutes of navigating the voice response system and punching in my phone number, my account number and the last four digits of my Social, I was finally transferred to the Very Helpful Automated Voice that wanted me to state my issue clearly.

Voice: “Please briefly explain the trouble you’re having. For example, if you want to order new service, say, ‘Order new service.’ ”

Me: “My cable modem is not working.”

Voice: “You said, ‘I want to order new service,’ right?”

Me: “NO.”

Voice: “Okay. Please hold while I transfer your call.”


I called back, a good bit less happy than I’d been moments before, AND I WASN’T ALL THAT HAPPY BEFORE.

I went through that entire process again – complete with the misunderstanding of what I’d actually said – and this time they transferred me to a person when they said they would.

After RESTATING my name, address, phone number, account number, last four digits of my Social – which apparently don’t read through their multiple systems – he asked me what my issue was.

Me: “I have no Internet service and no phone service.”

Him: “How did you call us?”

Me: “I used my cell phone. We use Voice Over IP, so when the Internet is down, our house phone is down, too.”

Him: “How many computers are connected to the Internet in your home?”

Me: “Three.”

Him: “I’m going to need you to shut them all down.”

Me: “Ohhhhhhkaaaay.”

I’d gotten two of them shut down before he came back to life.

Him: [excitedly] “Okay, HERE’S your problem. There’s an outage in your area right now.”

Me: “An outage in my area RIGHT NOW doesn’t explain why I have no service roughly 20 hours of the day, every day.”

Him: “Well, I’m going to transfer you over to the Outage Department so they know how important it is to have your service reinstated as soon as possible.”

Me: “WHAT I’M SAYING IS, an outage in my area at this moment doesn’t explain why I HAVE NO SERVICE ANY DAY AT ALMOST ANY TIME.”

Him: “Yes ma’am. But our Outage Department will be able to fix that. I’m trying to pull up times when a truck can get to your street for repair, but my Internet is down right now.”


Him: [pause] “Please hold while I transfer you.”


Voice: “Unfortunately we were unable to recover your personal information from our system. However, your outage has been reported and we will have your service restored as soon as possible.”


And then I died.


Mommy Kerin said...

I am laughing so hard that I woke up the baby. I'm almost in tears. I feel your pain! I use to lose it at my house all the time. They would say the same thing "there is an outage in your area" and I basically had the same reply as you did!

I had a guy one time who tried to make me do all this mumbo jumbo about connecting my router a different way. He INSISTED that was my problem (funny because it had been working the way it was connected by THEIR servicemen for two years) and that I HAD to do it or it wouldn't work. I was like Uh huh... I restarted my computer while he was explaining and what do you know, it worked! He had the same "pause" of silence when I told him so! LOL


Lauren's College Life said...

As soon as you mentioned 'Charter' I felt like I knew exactly where this story was going......I had the same problem in college and THEY. ARE. AWFUL. Obviously everywhere in the country- because I live in Minnesota! Also- don't you find it odd that you can't CALL your local Charter? They don't have a phone. SERIOUSLY????

Sewconsult said...

I would be laughing really hard, but I have had to deal with Charter for my mother and I was ready to strangle the whole corporation by the end of the 20 minute conversation. You've given me my next topic for my blog! Watch for it.


jennhenders said...

Must be a Charter conspiracy. I have heard this from everyone that has Charter. We have it, too. We've called them (via cell phone, of course) about five times in the past three weeks.

So, why, are we all still using their supposed "service" I wonder?

paige said...

I think the Charter monopoly should be overthrown. Maybe I should open a cable business there. I mean, even I could do better than that. I bet I'd have customers. THEIRS.

I feel your pain. We just got through this, except not as long.

Unknown said...

Is there no other company/service you can use where you live for phone and internet?? Sounds like they don't deserve your service or money?? I wouldn't pay my hard earned money for service like that? Hope your issue gets resolved!!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Kerin, I'm glad it made you laugh! I suppose it's either that or cry, right? ;) So many people can feel my pain ... it seems like most of us have had this issue at one time or another.

Lauren, WE DON'T HAVE A LOCAL NUMBER TO CALL, EITHER. I suspect it's because they don't want anyone to know where they are. ;)

Beckie, I can't wait to read what you have to say about it!

Jen, we are actually switching to DSL next week, but we're keeping the cable modem until then (and probably after, to make sure DSL works well for us). I'll let you know how it goes.

Paige, I knew the whole time you were talking about it that you knew exactly what I've been going through. You know, if I were having all this trouble for FREE, I wouldn't feel like I have the right to complain. But for $79 a month, I'm gonna complain as much as I want to.

Laura Lu, see my response to Jen above. We are trying to switch, but we've heard some bad reports about DSL in our area, too. We're going to end up going with whichever is the lesser of two evils, I think!

Lacy said...

Just a quick trick for those automated systems- forget them! Just hit "0" until you get to someome. It works!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Lacy, The zero works, but in this case it didn't get me to the correct department. That is another way in which Charter seems to be lacking. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am gasping for breath for laughing. I swear I had this exact same conversation with Bellsouth/AT&T same issues!!! It's AWFUL!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Brandy, apparently it's an almost universal problem! I don't know why Customer Service is lacking in most every communications company.

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