Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Time Warner Cable - my archnemesis

On Friday, I was working at home. Jasmine has just gotten spayed, so she was in isolation in one of our spare bedrooms. I took my laptop in there so I could sit with her, because she was the most miserable and lonely cat EVER.

We got wireless internet at home back in February, and I think its the second-best thing we spend our money on (the first being DVR) that we weren't really sure about when we signed up. When I was sitting up in the room with Jasmine, I noticed that I could log onto the wireless network of one of our neighbors and that the signal strength was almost equal to that of our network. That reminded me that I had meant to put a password on our network. I looked on Time Warner's website to see if I could find a FAQ telling you how to do this because, how hard could it be? But there wasn't anything, so I tried their online tech support chat system.

I waited for over 45 minutes to get through to someone, but that wasn't so bad because I was working in another window at the same time. When I finally got through, the guy told me he couldn't help me and he was referring me to Tier 3 tech support. He gave me a ticket number and the phone number to call. I had been trying to avoid having to get on the phone because it required much more hands-on time, but oh well. I did it anyway. I was on hold for about half an hour, then ended up having to talk to three people (each of whom I told I was supossed to be talking to Tier 3 and here was my ticket number) before I got transferred to the Tier 3 help desk.

The guy who helped me was most irritating. Of course, I was already fairly irritated, because at this point I had spent a good deal of time trying to do something that really didn't seem like it should be that difficult. Then this guy got on the phone with this completely condescending attitude towards me. I remember saying that I was working on a Mac and he asked what system software I was using. I said 10.4. He said 'Do you mean Tiger?' I was like, uh... sure. Its 10.4. He repeated 'Tiger?' like I was some sort of idiot. And also like 10.4 was completely meaningless information. Yes, Apple has assigned an animal name to each of their OSX releases, but to be perfectly honest, I've lost track of which animal I'm on. So sure, if he insists on calling it Tiger in order to have any degree of comprehension of what I am talking about, go for it.

After he determined that I was totally stupid because I didn't know that I was running Tiger, he asked me what brand of wireless router I had. I told him the brand, but he never asked for the model or anything. He told me to find the IP address of the router and go there in my web browser to log into it, which I did. I got to a login screen that I didn't have a login ID or password for. He told me what to put into those fields, which I did, but it didn't work.

At this point he told me that I had a really old and outdated router (which, WTF? I just got it in February!) and that there were hardly any of these currently in use, so he didn't have the information about how to log in to it. Again, WTF? He said I'd have to schedule a service technician to come out and help me. In retrospect, I can look back at this and think: why the hell did he think a service technician was going to have more information about my router than he had access to? I said, 'Are you kidding me? All I want to do is put a password on my network. I cannot believe that this is so difficult that we can't do this over the phone.' As if he wasn't already condescending enough in his attitude and tone of voice, he really switched into high gear at this point. He just kept talking to me like I was five years old about how he couldn't possibly help me, and if I wanted to be helped I had no choice but to make an appointment for a service call. I repeated that I was very frustrated that I had wasted at this point an hour and a half trying to get someone to help me do something very simple, and now I was going to have to take time off of work to wait around for a service tech. He kept telling me that there was nothing he could do to help me. So then he started to try to schedule the service call. While I was waiting, I told him that I did realize that everything that had happened up until this point was not directly his fault, I was completely within my rights to be frustrated about how this whole thing was going, and that his attitude and tone of voice was REALLY not helping matters. Anyhow, finally he scheduled me an appointment. At least I had a choice of weekend times, except one was Saturday from 8-5 (!). I took the Sunday 8-12 slot.

Sunday morning I got up, got dressed and waited around for the service technician while Brian went to work. He called me at about 10:30 to let me know he was on his way and wanted to make sure my internet was still not working. I told him it was working fine, I just wanted a password on my wireless network. He seemed really confused about that, but said he'd be over in a few minutes. When he got to my house, he was already on the phone on hold. He told me that he couldn't do this for me, that (and I don't really understand exactly why not, but this is what I think he said) he was more of a hardware and cables technician, but there were different people who did the setup sort of stuff. He wasn't trained to do that, and he didn't understand why he had been called out for this. Me neither, because its not like the jerky guy on the phone didn't know what I needed done. The guy sat on hold at my house for about 45 minutes, trying to get through to the tech support to ask them what the heck he was supposed to do. I joked that he should make sure he didn't fall asleep on my couch while he was on hold. Finally he said that he couldn't help me, he couldn't stay there all morning on hold and that he didn't understand why tech support couldn't help me, that what I needed to do was well within their grasp. He told me to call tech support back and tell them I needed a Tier 3 supervisor and gave me a ticket number. He also gave me his phone number and asked that I call him back and let him know if they had helped me, otherwise he was going to come back and see about giving me a new router (since mine was apparently soooooo old that no one knew what to do with it), even though he didn't think that my router was that old or out of service. He was nice and apologetic and I understand that he couldn't sit there all morning. So I got back on the phone.

I waited on hold for AN HOUR AND A HALF. I finally got through to someone in Tier 3 support and told them I needed to talk to a Tier 3 supervisor. He wanted to see if he could help me first. I went through the same thing with him that I had gone though with the jerk a few days earlier. He got me to the login screen and gave me a login/password combination to try, but it didn't work. Then he gave me a few other ones to try, none of which worked. I started having visions of having to get another service technician out. In stark contrast to the jerky guy, this guy actually worked with me for a good deal of time trying to figure out the right combination. THEN, when we had tried about ten different things, he walked around and talked to other support people around them and asked them if they had any ideas. When he came back to the phone he had a few more, which we tried, and one of them worked. I should also mention that none of the combinations we tried were the one that the jerky guy had told me to use. Once we got into the router it was easy to set up a password. He explained everything to me and waited while I got out my laptop and made sure I could log into my wireless network. I wish I had written this guys name down, because he was great. Oh well.

Anyhow, now we have a password set up and I know how to do it too, in case I need to change anything (or forget my password like Mike did).


becky said...

Why are all cable/phone company appointment windows so ridiculous? I had to have Verizon come out to put in a new phone jack, and the only appointment option they offer is 9-5 on a weekday. So I had to take a whole day off work to wait for the phone company. At 4:45 (which happens to be 45 minutes after I normally get home from work), the service guy calls to tell me he is running late and won't be there until after 6. Then he asks if I still want him to show up - like maybe I might want to waste another whole vacation day sitting around the house and waiting for him, just so he wouldn't have to work late that night.

peppersnaps said...

Dude, that sucks. I have a VERY similar story about Comcast coming to try to set up my DVR... I should blog about it. Glad you finally got it worked out!