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uk.comp.home-networking (UK home networking) (uk.comp.home-networking) Discussion of all aspects of computer networking in the home, regardless of the platforms, software, topologies and protocols used. Examples of topics include recommendations for hardware or suppliers (e.g. NICs and cabling), protocols, servers, and specific network software. Advertising is not allowed.

Stupid AOL technical support



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 12th 09, 06:08 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Mortimer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 342
Default Stupid AOL technical support

I was called out to sort out a customer's internet connection with AOL after
she'd phoned AOL technical support and they'd got her to reset the router to
its factory state and then ended the call without telling her how to
reconfigure the router with ADSL username and password and VPI/VCI.

What planet are these AOL technical support droids on?

At least my customer now knows not to press the reset to factory state
button even if AOL tech supp tell her to!!


The original problem that she reported was that AOL was logging her out some
time after she'd successfully established a connection, and would sometimes
allow reconnection or sometimes would fail to logon. Router was fine: I
could access web sites using Internet Explorer, so it's just the crappy AOL
software. Workaround it to access AOL via www.aol.co.uk!

  #2  
Old August 12th 09, 07:49 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Richard Lobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 18:08:46 +0100, "Mortimer" wrote:

I was called out to sort out a customer's internet connection with AOL after
she'd phoned AOL technical support and they'd got her to reset the router to
its factory state and then ended the call without telling her how to
reconfigure the router with ADSL username and password and VPI/VCI.

What planet are these AOL technical support droids on?

At least my customer now knows not to press the reset to factory state
button even if AOL tech supp tell her to!!


The original problem that she reported was that AOL was logging her out some
time after she'd successfully established a connection, and would sometimes
allow reconnection or sometimes would fail to logon. Router was fine: I
could access web sites using Internet Explorer, so it's just the crappy AOL
software. Workaround it to access AOL via www.aol.co.uk!


I can only say that Virgin Media "helpline" beats that for total
incompetance. They have blamed My various Hardware and software for
over four years - ever since they took over Ntlworld - for failures to
connect to various parts of the Internet. In each case it had been
their inability to operate outside their scripts on screen. In each
case I have eventually accessed the Internet - It has never been the
quality of my software or hardware.

The snag is their connection is first class. Their support is total
rubbish.

Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk
  #3  
Old August 16th 09, 07:23 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Anthony R. Gold
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 361
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 19:49:32 +0100, Richard Lobb
wrote:

I can only say that Virgin Media "helpline" beats that for total
incompetance. They have blamed My various Hardware and software for
over four years - ever since they took over Ntlworld - for failures to
connect to various parts of the Internet. In each case it had been
their inability to operate outside their scripts on screen. In each
case I have eventually accessed the Internet - It has never been the
quality of my software or hardware.

The snag is their connection is first class. Their support is total
rubbish.


With their first class connection, what was preventing your connection to
various parts of the Internet?

Tony
  #4  
Old August 17th 09, 04:45 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Richard Lobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Sun, 16 Aug 2009 19:23:33 +0100, "Anthony R. Gold"
wrote:

On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 19:49:32 +0100, Richard Lobb
wrote:

I can only say that Virgin Media "helpline" beats that for total
incompetance. They have blamed My various Hardware and software for
over four years - ever since they took over Ntlworld - for failures to
connect to various parts of the Internet. In each case it had been
their inability to operate outside their scripts on screen. In each
case I have eventually accessed the Internet - It has never been the
quality of my software or hardware.

The snag is their connection is first class. Their support is total
rubbish.


With their first class connection, what was preventing your connection to
various parts of the Internet?

Tony


Simply - their helpline could not cope with anything but totally
standard Microsoft software using standard responses from a script -
but instead of admitting it - they blamed my Computer's manufacturer
for poor software and/or hardware or unknown firewalls

When I finally found that out - I simply tried to vary the options -
and connected immediately.

Four years ago when using NTL ISP I had needed a username and password
to assess usergroups - Now when using Virgin Media I didn't need to
log on - but was never told so.

As I was on NTL and the connection failed when they physically changed
over - I naturally contacted the "helpline" who should have known the
difference as they had taken over NTL. But they blamed it on poor
software - firewalls - antivirus - etc etc - not on a tick box they
had been told about - as I had gone over the settings with them about
25 times over many weeks. One set of their instructions actually
deleted my hard drive! I just learned to live without usergroups.

About three years ago I bought a new HP laptop using Windows XP Home
and asked them to "Help" me connect to the internet. They spent
roughly 36 hours over 3 weeks trying to do so - Complete failure -
Blaming the quality of HP's Software etc for the failure to connect.
Eventually I contacted a premium phone helpline and the Englishman at
the other end took exactly 16 minutes to connect the machine including
two full bootups - cost 16 - well worth it. Somewhat proving the poor
standard of the Virginmedia "helpline"

Two years ago I bought a new HP Media Centre and used the "Helpline"
again as I had no wish to use wireless. Complete failure to guide me
to connect to the internet. So I used it for two years as a simple
stand alone as my HP t340 was connected to the Internet.

A few weeks ago as I had previously decided the Helpline should
actually be called the "Indian Hinderance Line" and my Internet
connected HP t340 was becoming flaky I decided to do the connections
to the Internet myself without their "help" - The media centre
connected to the Internet via IE fautlessly after being effectively
idle for two years. As far as I can recall the only difference was I
switched on the cable modem first NOT as instructed LAST - Each
virginmedia person was reading from the same wrong script!

This was when I decided try to connect to the VirginMedia usergroups
WITHOUT "help" - I tried it with NTL settings but changing address to
VirginMedia.com - error message returned "Virginmedia rejects username
and password" - so changed to "log on without username and password"
BINGO! Usergroups back online - downloaded around 250,000 posts I'd
missed!!! :-)

This is why - as I now had three computers and several printers
ethernet ready - I decided on a router to network them. I checked the
"Helpline" only to ascertain what router was recommended to connect
via wire (I do not want to use wireless) - you would not believe the
hassel it was to get them to understand I wanted a router to use
ethernet - Eventually through two layers of "Supervisors" I found out
- They wanted to sell me one with "their" software!!! I refused!!!
Did exactly as Joe here suggested and connected two computers
flawlessly - the third (HP t340) using Netgear Software connected but
is running slow.

So you see why I won't use Virginmedia "Helpline" when there is a
fount of far better knowledge on here!! :-)

Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk
  #5  
Old August 17th 09, 05:17 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Chris Whelan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 89
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 16:45:41 +0100, Richard Lobb wrote:

[...]

Snip complaint about VM's help

Did you find this on VM's website?

http://tinyurl.com/m89kdr

(Link to VM's ng setup)

Alternatively, you could have tried Googling for "free news servers",
although the free ones tend to be a little slow.

Chris

--
Remove prejudice to reply.
  #6  
Old August 17th 09, 05:43 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Philip Herlihy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 15
Default Stupid AOL technical support

Richard Lobb wrote:
On Sun, 16 Aug 2009 19:23:33 +0100, "Anthony R. Gold"
wrote:

On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 19:49:32 +0100, Richard Lobb
wrote:

I can only say that Virgin Media "helpline" beats that for total
incompetance. They have blamed My various Hardware and software for
over four years - ever since they took over Ntlworld - for failures to
connect to various parts of the Internet. In each case it had been
their inability to operate outside their scripts on screen. In each
case I have eventually accessed the Internet - It has never been the
quality of my software or hardware.

The snag is their connection is first class. Their support is total
rubbish.

With their first class connection, what was preventing your connection to
various parts of the Internet?

Tony


Simply - their helpline could not cope with anything but totally
standard Microsoft software using standard responses from a script -
but instead of admitting it - they blamed my Computer's manufacturer
for poor software and/or hardware or unknown firewalls

When I finally found that out - I simply tried to vary the options -
and connected immediately.

Four years ago when using NTL ISP I had needed a username and password
to assess usergroups - Now when using Virgin Media I didn't need to
log on - but was never told so.

As I was on NTL and the connection failed when they physically changed
over - I naturally contacted the "helpline" who should have known the
difference as they had taken over NTL. But they blamed it on poor
software - firewalls - antivirus - etc etc - not on a tick box they
had been told about - as I had gone over the settings with them about
25 times over many weeks. One set of their instructions actually
deleted my hard drive! I just learned to live without usergroups.

About three years ago I bought a new HP laptop using Windows XP Home
and asked them to "Help" me connect to the internet. They spent
roughly 36 hours over 3 weeks trying to do so - Complete failure -
Blaming the quality of HP's Software etc for the failure to connect.
Eventually I contacted a premium phone helpline and the Englishman at
the other end took exactly 16 minutes to connect the machine including
two full bootups - cost 16 - well worth it. Somewhat proving the poor
standard of the Virginmedia "helpline"

Two years ago I bought a new HP Media Centre and used the "Helpline"
again as I had no wish to use wireless. Complete failure to guide me
to connect to the internet. So I used it for two years as a simple
stand alone as my HP t340 was connected to the Internet.

A few weeks ago as I had previously decided the Helpline should
actually be called the "Indian Hinderance Line" and my Internet
connected HP t340 was becoming flaky I decided to do the connections
to the Internet myself without their "help" - The media centre
connected to the Internet via IE fautlessly after being effectively
idle for two years. As far as I can recall the only difference was I
switched on the cable modem first NOT as instructed LAST - Each
virginmedia person was reading from the same wrong script!

This was when I decided try to connect to the VirginMedia usergroups
WITHOUT "help" - I tried it with NTL settings but changing address to
VirginMedia.com - error message returned "Virginmedia rejects username
and password" - so changed to "log on without username and password"
BINGO! Usergroups back online - downloaded around 250,000 posts I'd
missed!!! :-)

This is why - as I now had three computers and several printers
ethernet ready - I decided on a router to network them. I checked the
"Helpline" only to ascertain what router was recommended to connect
via wire (I do not want to use wireless) - you would not believe the
hassel it was to get them to understand I wanted a router to use
ethernet - Eventually through two layers of "Supervisors" I found out
- They wanted to sell me one with "their" software!!! I refused!!!
Did exactly as Joe here suggested and connected two computers
flawlessly - the third (HP t340) using Netgear Software connected but
is running slow.

So you see why I won't use Virginmedia "Helpline" when there is a
fount of far better knowledge on here!! :-)

Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk


I have to contact a range of ISP helplines from time to time when
customers have problems, and there's a fairly good correlation between
what the customer is paying monthly and the quality of support
available. The real difference is most apparent when you get to
second-line support (if it exists at all). Demon's is very good, as is
BT, but some of the cheaper ones are utterly hopeless.

My favourite anecdote was trying to get information out of the support
line for a popular accounting package a couple of years ago. (Not Sage
- their support is good.) I forget the exact details but I wanted
information about some multi-user extension which, it was claimed,
worked over the Internet. I couldn't get anyone to understand the
question, which related to port-forwarding. About 30 minutes AFTER
hearing the first human voice I was connected to a "supervisor" in the
"networking" team. I asked him what port the application used and he
didn't understand the question. "There's no port; it's just
internetting." He had never contemplated trying to set this up where
the sites had NAT or any kind of firewall, and didn't know what port 80
was. Incidentally, the next (and final) time I tried to get this
information I soon realised that the person I was talking to in this
Indian call-centre was a cut above the others. It turned out she had a
recent PhD in Computer Science. Sadly, her efforts to find out the
answer to my question drew a blank too, as she didn't have access to a
live copy and couldn't track down anyone who knew. Sage is much more
expensive, of course, but YGWYPF.

/rant

Phil, London
  #7  
Old August 17th 09, 06:26 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Richard Lobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 16:17:06 GMT, Chris Whelan
wrote:

On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 16:45:41 +0100, Richard Lobb wrote:

[...]

Snip complaint about VM's help

Did you find this on VM's website?

http://tinyurl.com/m89kdr

(Link to VM's ng setup)

Alternatively, you could have tried Googling for "free news servers",
although the free ones tend to be a little slow.

Chris


Actually you see - I HAD been told to use user name and password by
NTL and was NEVER told anything one way or another by Virginmedia when
they took it over - I wasn't even told they were switching NTL off- I
found out when I could no longer access them. I am still using the
same ntlworld.com e-mail address that I was given years ago. So one
would expect nothing to change without due warning - NOW they have
changed about informing due to poor reputation - but their help-line
seems UNchanged.

That's why one uses helplines in the first place.

I had sent e-mails to Virginmedia and used the Indian Helpline - at no
time did they mention anything about NOT using username and password.
They blamed poor software - poor quality hardware - malware -
firewalls etc etc......not their inability to guide a known NTL user
to news.virginmedia.com when he had been successfully using
news.ntlworld.com ever since cable was laid in London.

And They Should have been able to.

I was using "free news servers" but I was PAYING for newsgroups and
not getting them due to their inadequacies.

Equally I was not able to connect my computers to the Internet anyway
with their "help" so I would not really been able to USE the internet
to access the webpage anyway - was it there four years ago?


Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk
  #8  
Old August 17th 09, 06:31 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Mortimer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 342
Default Stupid AOL technical support

"Richard Lobb" wrote in message
...
A few weeks ago as I had previously decided the Helpline should
actually be called the "Indian Hinderance Line" and my Internet
connected HP t340 was becoming flaky I decided to do the connections
to the Internet myself without their "help" - The media centre
connected to the Internet via IE faultlessly after being effectively
idle for two years. As far as I can recall the only difference was I
switched on the cable modem first NOT as instructed LAST - Each
virginmedia person was reading from the same wrong script!


LOL. I like the idea that everyone was reading from the same wrong script.

I've had plenty of experience of Indian Hinderance Lines. The "best" (worst)
was a certain ISP which has since been taken over by company whose name is a
reddish/yellow colour.

For a start they would only speak to the customer, not to me, even when the
customer faxed them a signed letter authorising me to speak on his behalf
for technical matters. The first time they received the letter, they acted
on it, but when I went back a few days later and the customer was not there,
only his wife, they would not speak to either of us. It was necessary to
pull the customer out of a business meeting so he could authorise them to
talk to me - but that authorisation would expire after 24 hours.

The gist of the problem that I was investigating was lack of DSL carrier on
a new line. Various routers all reported no carrier (ie no
upstream/downstream speed, no attenuation or noise margin stats, permanently
flashing DSL light). The ISP blamed everything in sight but would not accept
that a successful remote exchange test did not necessarily mean that a DSL
carrier would be seen at the customer's house if there was a problem on the
overhead line.

Eventually the customer sent a Solicitor's Letter (he was, after all, a
solicitor!!) using terms like Breach of Contract and Failure to Supply
Service that he was being charged for. This at least kicked them into
promising that they would refer the matter to BT. They said that a BT
engineer had been booked for a given day, but no engineer turned up. I was
called back and phoned to complain (I had to pretend I was the customer so
they'd talk to me!) and they had no record of the previous call or the
promise to book BT. They apologised (in grovelling Indian manner which was
degrading to listen to) and said that another BT engineer call had been
logged. Again nothing.

So the customer terminated the contract (I hope he got all his money back)
and switched to PlusNet, who I've found to be excellent. And they were.
Initially there was no DSL carrier, but as soon as I reported this, and the
sorry tale of woe that we'd had with the previous ISP, they immediately
arranged for BT to call. I'm not sure exactly what the engineer found (the
customer didn't call me out for that and wasn't technical enough to ask the
right questions) but they had everything going within a day or so.

So there *was* a fault on the line, but could not or would not get BT to
investigate.

  #9  
Old August 17th 09, 06:57 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Richard Lobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 17:43:13 +0100, Philip Herlihy
wrote:

I have to contact a range of ISP helplines from time to time when
customers have problems, and there's a fairly good correlation between
what the customer is paying monthly and the quality of support
available. The real difference is most apparent when you get to
second-line support (if it exists at all). Demon's is very good, as is
BT, but some of the cheaper ones are utterly hopeless.

My favourite anecdote was trying to get information out of the support
line for a popular accounting package a couple of years ago. (Not Sage
- their support is good.) I forget the exact details but I wanted
information about some multi-user extension which, it was claimed,
worked over the Internet. I couldn't get anyone to understand the
question, which related to port-forwarding. About 30 minutes AFTER
hearing the first human voice I was connected to a "supervisor" in the
"networking" team. I asked him what port the application used and he
didn't understand the question. "There's no port; it's just
internetting." He had never contemplated trying to set this up where
the sites had NAT or any kind of firewall, and didn't know what port 80
was. Incidentally, the next (and final) time I tried to get this
information I soon realised that the person I was talking to in this
Indian call-centre was a cut above the others. It turned out she had a
recent PhD in Computer Science. Sadly, her efforts to find out the
answer to my question drew a blank too, as she didn't have access to a
live copy and couldn't track down anyone who knew. Sage is much more
expensive, of course, but YGWYPF.

/rant

Phil, London


Interesting point

When I first used Wordperfect in the early '80's the cost was around
400 per programme - the help given was superb with several individual
examples of the way to do something - a personal touch - The beauty
of being able to go into Dos through Wordperfect - run another prog -
extract information from it and incorporate that info into Wordperfect
- all by 'macros' - and understand why it did what!! :-)

Now with Wordperfect Office X4 - if it's not in the FAQs the chances
of a solution is rare. It's much cheaper now - with a database -
drawing package etc included. But little help.

In all honesty a major problem with the Virginmedia help-line is
language and comprehension. They think they're speaking English but
sadly I obviously understand another English. However the fact they
all go through the identical set of responses indicates they all
follow the same "book" or script. Even when I pointed out that this
was the seventh time I had done a particular action without success-
it made no difference - it failed to solve the same problem for the
seventh time.


Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk
  #10  
Old August 17th 09, 07:11 PM posted to uk.comp.home-networking
Richard Lobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Stupid AOL technical support

On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 18:31:53 +0100, "Mortimer" wrote:

LOL. I like the idea that everyone was reading from the same wrong script.

I've had plenty of experience of Indian Hinderance Lines. The "best" (worst)
was a certain ISP which has since been taken over by company whose name is a
reddish/yellow colour.

So the customer terminated the contract (I hope he got all his money back)
and switched to PlusNet, who I've found to be excellent. And they were.
Initially there was no DSL carrier, but as soon as I reported this, and the
sorry tale of woe that we'd had with the previous ISP, they immediately
arranged for BT to call. I'm not sure exactly what the engineer found (the
customer didn't call me out for that and wasn't technical enough to ask the
right questions) but they had everything going within a day or so.

So there *was* a fault on the line, but could not or would not get BT to
investigate.


LOL - Reminds me of the reasons why I actually joined NTL in the first
place. For years I had been using the old original host groups -
before internet - and was always losing the connection even at 300
baud - let alone when I upgraded to 1200/75 -- complained continually
to BT about poor quality line. They said they'd send an engineer -
usually they didn't - but if they did - he reported nothing wrong.

THEN cable came - I was the first to join in my street - total bliss -
clear lines - fast text - What joy I had when BT wanted to know why
I'd left them!! :-)


Richard from London UK --
Bambi,Beauty,Brian(Brutus 77-97 Bessie 87-01 Ben 95-06 @ RB)
Greyhounds are for life not just for racing!!
Whittingham Homefinding Scheme
Visit our Kennels
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/greyhounds
www.whittinghamretiredgreyhounds.co.uk
 




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