Thursday, 7 February 2013

So - how not to get tech support!

For anyone who does not already know this thing, I am fairly hopeless on anything smacking of technical. My poor father found this out by the time I was about 8 and could not understand piston ratios however many times he explained them slowly. I did cotton on to slide rules before they vanished from the scene, but hey, who thinks of using a slide rule today?

So, enter computers. I was first connected to the Internet in the late '90s, when here wasn't really a lot of fun to be had online. You switched on your dial-up, set it to download your few emails, and went off and did something else for half an hour. Then they might be ready. At this point I had lost any concept of what made modern things work, so depended on someone else to rescue me whenever things fouled up. In 2013 there's a lot more fun around, but I am as confused about technology as ever.

That preamble is relevant, as hopefully you may now understand how I have been totally stuffed around for the past couple of months.Telstra in Oz seems to be be completely staffed by the lost and desperate of Mumbai. These helpful Indians probably all have degrees in order to score a job at a quarter of the pay that Telstra would shell out for less helpful Australians to do the same thing. However, there the advantage ceases. My typical conversation went something like this:

Telstra person: Ullo. Ow may I help you today?

Feral Fliss: I still have no Internet and this is the fourteenth call I have made to you this month...

TP:Ah, yes, I see you have contacted us before. Your full name please? Your date of birth? Your full address? Your phone number?

FF: You know all these already, don't you?

TP: Yes, but (here follows some gibberish I can't follow)

FF: Sorry I can't understand you...

TP: (Slight sigh) Ave you got your modem on?

FF: No. I have no Internet and I have already gone through your routine 17 times previously...

TP: Please would you turn your modem on?

So we would go through the charade once more of turning on the modem, the TP not being able to connect with it and telling me there was no Internet connection. Reboot the computer. Reboot the modem...This would all  take about 20 minutes and my hair was lifting as my brain boiled with frustration.

TP: I'm sorry madam, I cannot elp you at this time I will refer this matter on to a higher level technician. They will ring you back shortly...

Yeah, right, wait for the blue moon.

It was impossible to break free of the helpful Indians, no matter how high the matter was referred. I finally ended up with a level 5, who announced that I needed a new modem. Now I, once skilled in removing stones from horses' hooves, actually had an idea that exactly this was the problem, so immediately said Yes, I would accept a new modem, yes I would accept an outside antenna, yes I would definitely accept a refund on my Internet charges.

A couple of days later I was rung up (yes, by a helpful Indian), who told me that I had to go on a new contract with my new modem. It would cost me more, but that was current Telstra policy. I held my tongue, for the time being.

A week later I received my new, very classy modem.
I then rang Telstra as instructed to connect up. Aaaaaargh, NO... I got tangled up with Indians again, who didn't have the faintest idea what they were doing. For me to say that, you understand, I found them pretty darned ignorant. I pointed out that we weren't following the instructions given with the modem. Nope, they stuck to whatever script they had which seemed appropriate (it wasn't).

I landed up with a Level 3 Indian, who said the modem was faulty and they would send another one....With what passes for my technical intuition, I felt sure my cute little modem had nothing wrong with it. I consulted my son, daughter and local computer technician. The consensus was the same as mine. 

Hmm. I felt I could have a collection of modems before long.

Yesterday I braved the strange route we currently have to Warwick, courtesy of floods (more on that hereafter), taking my modem with me together with my shopping list (irrelevant to this thread but I needed groceries). I went to the Telstra Shop, which is not run by Telstra, but by Aussies who speak English and who seemed to understand my dilemma perfectly. I had to wait for 45 minutes before seeing a technician (cup of coffee very strengthening while El and I contemplated life). At last I met the young, wonderful, godlike geek, who needed little telling but took the modem and promptly plugged it in to their computer. About five minutes later he unplugged it, handed it back to me and said, 'Yep. Just plug it in, wait 30 seconds and you'll be ready to go.'

Just like that?


And it did go. No, I won't start on Telstra's crazy ideas of economy... but I'm building up to taking them on later today!!!

Oh, and PS: I received a Telstra bill for the full usual amount, together with a letter to say they wished to communicate by email in future. Yeah, they know how to send one, maybe????

And they didn't send an outside antenna...


  1. It's such a shame that Telstra have the widest coverage in the country. They don't have much else. All our family have a love/hate relationship with them, and we have all gone elsewhere. In our limited experience they haven't made any money from our family, they were constantly giving us refunds and waivers to compensate for their mistakes. Oh to be CEO of that place! But when we are house sitting and need wide coverage they are the only ones that fit the bill.

  2. Hum. They've been supposed to give me refunds which so far have not eventuated. I live in hope; hope also that some distant CEO may realise what it is costing them financially and in lost customers. Then they might suddenly decide to employ a few Australians!
    Cheers - Fliss