Tech help melt 2

I went over to install an ADSL2 modem at mum’s place the other day.

I’ve had ADSL2 since I moved to the island, and apart from a few minor hiccups that involved tech help, I haven’t had too many problems with connection and download.

I’d been touting the benefits of ADSL2 to my mother since I’d cleaned up an old laptop and given it to her. I’d also gotten her a prepaid modem stick to start her off, so that she could get onto the Internet and Google to her heart’s content. As I’m not a fan of prepaid wireless modems, I’d been ‘encouraging’ mum to get onto ADSL2, particularly as she had been having connection problems.

When her old laptop died, I gave mum a newer, faster version, and talked her into a good ADSL2 deal with a national telco. I arranged to have mum signed up to receive a modem that I would then connect for her.

I’m no computer genius, but I’ve connected a few modems in my time, for myself and a few older people that live on the island. So far I hadn’t had any problems. It was all pretty straightforward.

The modem arrived in record time, and I decided to go over one afternoon to install it after a doctor’s appointment. It wouldn’t take long. I would be home before dark.

It all went really well at first. The modem was plugged in, the ethernet cable was connected to the modem and the laptop, and the phone line and the line from the modem were connected to a splitter that was plugged into the phone jack. All straightforward stuff. Installation cd was humming away until it got to the point where I put the password in.

Nothing happened, except for a big blue screen that popped up telling me that a connection couldn’t be established. I tried again. I put a different password in, then the original one. Nothing but the same blue screen every time.

Great. I would have to now call tech help and speak to a Malaysian operator that I could barely understand.

As predicted, a Malaysian accent introduced themselves and asked me for my details. I explained to them who I was, who I was helping, and what the problem was.

At first, the operator couldn’t  find my mother’s account and had to put me on hold while she tracked it down. I suspect that the modem got out here so fast that they didn’t have time to process it through all of the necessary channels. She eventually found it, but it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I began to get a bit concerned.

An hour later and we still didn’t have a resolution. The tech help decided to go into the device manager to view my network controller. I told her what was there. She asked me if a different adaptor was there. I told her it was not. She then told me that as I didn’t have the network adaptor that was on her list, I didn’t have a working network adaptor, and I would have to download something to get it working. I told her that this was going to be a little hard, as I didn’t yet have an Internet connection, and if I did, I wouldn’t need to download anything to fix it in the first place.

I rechecked the status of my network adaptor and my computer confirmed that it was working properly. I told her that I a reasonably sure that this was not the issue, and she put me on hold while she went to consult with somebody else – more than likely another equally confusing Malaysian tech person.

Twenty minutes later I was being told that I was being transferred to the ‘second level’ of tech support, but it would cost me $99 for this service. I asked her why I had to pay $99 for a problem that wasn’t mine, since my computer’s adaptor was working and I had connected it according to the cd’s instructions. She told me that she couldn’t help me any further, and said again that I would have to speak to ‘the second level’ tech help. I started to rant something about not having to pay for something that wasn’t my doing, and I got put on hold.

Twenty minutes later she was back, repeating her spiel about the ‘second level’ tech help. I sighed and agreed. Anything to get rid of this woman and get home for the evening.

Fifteen minutes later an English voice asked me for my details. I relaxed a little and I explained the problem. They checked the line. We checked the modem settings. We reset the password. They checked the line again. Nothing worked.

I suggested that a new modem should be sent to me, since this appeared to be the problem.

He hedged at this. Apparently the terms and conditions of my $99 service fee were that they had a week to fix the problem, and they were going to use all of it.

I went home after this. There was nothing more I could do. The whole exercise took almost 4 hours. I didn’t make it home until 7.30 pm.

For the next 7 days, after some tweaking, my mother’s Internet worked a little, dropped out a lot, turned itself off, and froze.  We were given the ‘second level’ direct number, and were on a first-name basis with at least two of the employees. We called at least twice a day. They called us back just as many times with possible solutions.

In the end they conceded that this may indeed be a modem problem, as the line looked okay, and I got my $99 refunded.

I’m now waiting for the other modem to be sent out.

Mum’s pretty ticked off and she no longer believes me when I say that ADSL2 Internet is a good thing. I can’t blame her really.  I would have thrown the modem out the window.

I’ve told mum to let me know when it arrives, so I can arrange to be free for a whole day, just in case.

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