Woman Arrested For Threatening To Hold Broadband Repair Guy Hostage

from the been-there,-almost-done-that dept

Given the ridiculous run around that many of us have received from our broadband providers, you can probably understand the frustration that playwright Carol Sinclair went through after needing to talk to approximately 20 different tech support folks at her broadband provider, before they finally sent a tech out to her place to see what the deal was. That frustration apparently resulted in a bit of rudeness, which she readily admits, though she explained her frustration to the tech as he entered. However, when the technician told her it wasn’t the broadband service provider’s fault and he couldn’t fix her problem, she allegedly told him she was keeping him hostage until he fixed her internet (found via Slashdot). Having “been there” it’s not difficult to understand that the phrase came out of pure frustration, and certainly wasn’t meant to be taken literally. Except, the guy did take it literally and “escaped” (though, it doesn’t sound like she made any real effort to stop him) by claiming he needed something from his van to fix her connection, and then driving off. He then contacted the police, who arrested Sinclair for her attempted hostage-taking.

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Comments on “Woman Arrested For Threatening To Hold Broadband Repair Guy Hostage”

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34 Comments
Agonizing Fury says:

Re: Re:

Ok, to everyone being super critical of this guy, let’s look at things from his point of view (and mine, as I am a satellite installer) He is walking into a strangers house, this stranger is irate, he does not know if she has any weapons in the house, or how mentally stable this person is. Keeping all this in mind what would you do if the stranger then told you they were going to hold you hostage? Our small installation office has had 3 techs have guns pointed at them this year alone! We do not play with verbal threats, period. It is against the law to make a verbal threat of this nature. Would you walk into an airport and after your flight gets canceled joke that unless you get on the next flight, you will put a bomb in your luggage? There was no excuse for this woman to loose her temper with the tech, he was not the one who she had to call 20 times. He’s the one the company finally sent. If a customer gets even slightly irate with me, I tell them they have two options; cool down and I can attempt to fix there problem, or I can leave. I don’t care because my TV works fine.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Geez

I wonder what the heck happened to the country that stood up to Germany and the Blitz?

we sent soldiers to deal with germany, not cable/phone guys.

you know, real men that know what they are there to do and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

if WWII had fought by cable companies we’d be watching tv in german and watching david hasselhoff on demand.

erica.stjohn@gmail.com (user link) says:

Wow.. deja vu

I began my ‘computer career’ out in the field as a field tech for a phone company. Since 2001, that was my job. All I did was wire up things in the office and then go to the business or residential location that needed the broadband installed or repaired.

I laugh because I have had that exact thing told to me under the exact same situation. The person (more than once was it told to me) expressed the frustration until he/she ‘had it fixed’ I would be held hostage or not allowed to leave until it is fixed.

Being me, I would flippiantly retort in a joking manner “so, whats for dinner / lunch” and smile, and get back to work (or say something to that nature).

I have gotten it fixed sometimes and others it was not on the providers side. Oh well. You do what you can, smooth things over, tell the customer would needs to be done, and go on. Nothing else you can do.

Although it has been told to me, I never have been kept hostage (but I have been happily asked and requested back in some cases). Usually the anger wore off after a bit of time and some explanation on what is going on – good or bad.

Would I go so far as TO call the cops and report a threat? Me? I doubt it. But, it would also depend on if I felt threatened, of if I felt in danger. I just haven’t felt the need so far. I am an average 5’7 female and I could have put myself in a situation where my comeback and retorts could have gone wrong. I’m glad they haven’t though. If that tech really DID feel threatened, it is not something I would want to feel!

Otherside says:

See both sides

I understand her side and frustration, but as I work for a very small ISP that provides high speed internet, I know from experience that most people lack that understanding of what is and isn’t our job. An ISP’s job is to make sure internet is coming into the house and their equipment is working properly. It is NOT the job of the ISP to make sure the customers computer is working properly. They are an ISP, not computer support. Now, with that said he should have been able to show her that the connection coming into the house is fine and that it was simply the computer by using a laptop or something of the like.

Tech Support says:

Re: See both sides

I understand her side and frustration, but as I work for a very small ISP that provides high speed internet, I know from experience that most people lack that understanding of what is and isn’t our job. An ISP’s job is to make sure internet is coming into the house and their equipment is working properly. It is NOT the job of the ISP to make sure the customers computer is working properly. They are an ISP, not computer support. Now, with that said he should have been able to show her that the connection coming into the house is fine and that it was simply the computer by using a laptop or something of the like.

That’s not totally true. The ISP is providing a service, and as part of that task, they should be making sure the client can use the service. I personally worked for an ISP that bent over backwards to make sure their customers were able to get online, whether it was broadband or dial up, and would even resolve customers problems with other associated businesses.

If the ISP has such useless tech support that they can’t explain exactly what the problem is and fix it or direct the customer to who can, they don’t deserve any customers.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: See both sides

This is the biggest line of crap I can imagine coming from ANYONE who’s ever done their time on the phone.

In the business side of things there is this concept called the point of demarcation which is the point at which a problem ceases to be your problem(as an ISP in this case) and instead becomes the problem of the wireless router manufacturer, or the maker of the firewall software, or whoever might actually be responsible for this and who just so happen to NOT be paying the ISP for providing support for their faulty products.

For example, every day for a week I got a call from a guy who would claim that his service would just disconnect; it was never disconnected when he’d call but he wanted to know why the service was so spotty. Once the situation was handed over to me, the guy happened to have one of these disconnections while he was on the phone with me and it was at that point that I informed him that his cable modem was working and that I was able to read and access it perfectly. The only way he would believe this was when I reset the modem for him to show him that the lights actually blink differently. Then he let it slip that he was using a wireless router. Care to guess what the problem was? Care to guess how much that man cost us, or how much Linksys paid us to get his head out of his ass?

Or the woman who REFUSED to be told that we simply don’t support machines running Windows 95(that is not a typo). She tried to go over my head for telling her that she needed to upgrade but she didn’t realize that I was the assistant engineer at the time and partner in the company.

Or the idiot who would move his cable modem around the house and need a tech to come out to tune it so that it would work again. This happened at least twice a week even though we told him they couldn’t be moved at all.

Or the guy, he said he was a “Colonel”, who called repeatedly to tell us that he couldn’t get his email any longer and had completely ignored the email we sent him telling him that he’d have to start deleting email to keep under quota(we gave him 2 months to comply).

Do I really need to go on with these time and money wasting excuses for human beings?

I can really go on and on and on because MOST of the people who call are simply too clueless to even be allowed online. I’ve long stated that we need internet licenses just like we need driver licenses since owning or using a computer comes with the responsibility of learning how to care for it and use it. It should be the most basic of skills to recognize that a shitload of popup adverts likely means you’ve been infected and need to start searching for solutions, but in reality it’s usually the need to start searching for more porn instead and let tech support do the work you need to be doing instead.

I don’t know how much of this you’re aware of but the ISP only collects about $5-10 per customer per month. Yeah, I know you PAY more than that but that mostly goes to the cable provider or the like. The ISP is the one responsible for the tech support and yet somehow people think they’re making enough of a profit to tell them that ZoneAlarm is actually a shitty firewall, or Norton/Macaffee is the worst “virus protection” there is, or that naming their router “linksys” and leaving it unprotected is a bad idea.

Seriously, you haven’t done enough time on the phone if you think that an ISP is responsible for this thing that would be taught in an “Internet 101” class, if such a thing were available.

Woadan says:

Re: Re: Re: See both sides

I would hate for you to be the tech I get if I call Tech Support!
๐Ÿ˜‰

I would tend to have more sympathy for Tech Support orgs and their reps if the standard answer wasn’t something along the lines of: “Ms. Customer, let’s try power-cycling your router/modem.”

It’s an easy answer, and it usually works, but it isn’t root cause analysis. It’s just a way of ending the call as quickly as possible and checking the “first call resolved” checkbox so the tech’s metrics look good.

Woadan

erica says:

Re: Re: Re:2 See both sides

Though I have been on calls where the customer’s modem has not been rebooted for 60 days. Or, a router attached to it (linksys) wasn’t responding to the modem.

It’s a shame when you get a ticket, get dispatched, drive there, get in, find the dmarc, turn the linksys (or modem) off, wait 5 seconds, turn it back on and voila the internet works!

If I had stayed there an hour, or stayed there 5 minutes.. its the same charge. But why get charged at all? In cases like that (and there are multiple I can recount) the customer did not want to reboot anything or do any troubleshooting, just wanted a tech period out there.

CastorTroy-Libertarian, Lover, General Annoyance f says:

Re: Re: Re: See both sides

And you forgot the one guiding light that is missing in almost every ISP i have ever had to deal with “Customer Service” if you start with the thought a Customer is and idiot, you will treat them as such, and they will know it, so immediately everything you say is discounted, so no wonder they dont listen to you, I wouldn’t either, if you act condesending or a prick. You can say every word correctly, nothing bad or snide and the customer will still know…. Get over it they are not all tech people but it takes about 10 seconds extra to explain and change a preception.

erica (user link) says:

Re: Re: See both sides

ok. But the original poster pointed out it is their job to see it work TO the house. Or, phone jack whatever. If the problem is in the computer, that is the customers problem, not the ISP’s . ISP’s may not be allowed to touch what is not theirs – the customers computer – that is a legal liability. The procedure would be to show it works to the phone jack with the techs laptop – show that the ISP side works. anything beyond that – the customers computer – is the customers problem.

Woadan says:

I can see both the customer’s side and the ISP’s. (I’ve been on both sides of the equation.)

The ISP can’t be, and won’t be, responsible for the customer’s equipment. If the router is doing its job and delivering the tubes, then it is up to the customer.

The problem is that most people don’t go in and change the defaults on any app they’ve installed because they don’t know how, and probably don’t want to. No routine maintenance, like defragging their hard disk.

People want their computers, and the tubes, to be like a toaster. First time you make toast, it’s a little too dark? You turn the knob to a lighter setting. Next time too light? You turn it up. After that, you always get toast the same way.

But computers and the tubes are not toasters, and no matter what Apple, Microsoft, or any PC maker can do, it won’t ever be like a toaster.

With all of that said, though, it’s hard to trust the ISP’s tech support department when they don’t really do any sort of root cause analysis. The typical answer to any problem, after some basic checks of the system and/or the router? Mr./Ms. Customer please power-cycle your router. (Turn it off, wait 30 seconds or so, turn it back on.)

Of course, the problem goes away… for now. But it’ll come back because no real troubleshooting happened. But after calling in a couple of times and being told to power-cycle, customers just start power-cycling their routers. (After all, why wait for 5-30 minutes on hold just to have the tech tell you to do that.)

And so the circle keeps on turning…

Woadan

Anonymous Coward says:

Idiots are for blling, not locking up

Find an ISP with enough capable staff to lease a nice expensive router, and management service to go along with it, then bill for the service. Your not going to get first rate service for a discount price, and most people actually understand that.

The ISP really should be providing a service at a reasonable cost. If the customer expects more service than you can provide at the current cost one of the best ways to dump them is to start charging according to what they cost you. Either the customer goes away, or you get paid enough to make tolerating the pain worthwhile.

The phone companies actually do this (one of their few virtues), if your willing to pay the hourly rate they’ll rewire, but your wallet is going to bleed.

Debbie M says:

Tech issues

We recently had ATT out to install Uverse rather then SBC DSL. Anyhow, when they got here they said our box was too old and they would have to call a different department to come drop a new box and new line from the pole. Said it wouldn’t take more then a few hours. Once that was done the Uverse tech said he thought we were too far from the box to get Uverse. He would have to do some testing on the line to see if he could get the proper bandwidth. Upon testing the line, he said there was some static in the line so he would have to get yet another department (repair) out to repair the line. Then he said he would be back later that afternoon to complete the testing, once the repair was done. The repairmen came and went. This was on a Thursday, starting around 11am. After the repairmen left, no one came back. The problem was that they cut our line when they installed the new drop and box and never bothered to hook us back up. We had no phone or internet. So we called ATT customer service and explained the situation and was assured that the tech would be back that evening to fix it. Friday we still hadn’t heard from anyone so again, using our cell phone we called ATT yet again and once again explained the situation. This time we were told someone would call us back. By Friday evening we hadn’t heard from anyhone. We called back and after explaining things a third time, we asked to speak to a supervisor. We were told a supervisor would call us back shortly. Of course the supervisor NEVER called. By Saturday morning I was extremely frustrated and called ATT again. I explained our situation for the 4th time and apologized in advance to the representative that although it wasn’t her fault, I was very frustrated and unhappy with the service we had received so far what with all the broken promises. She apologized and then told me that the soonest a repairman could be out was Monday. That would mean I was without phone service or internet for over 4 days. I told her that that wasn’t good enough but of course, that got me no where. So out of total frustration, my husband managed to hook our phone service back up. I still made the repair guy come out Monday. It seems with ATT they have different departments for different things and no one knows what the other is doing.

Willy says:

See both sides

That is completely false. An ISP is ONLY responsible for getting internet service into the house. A company does not want their tech getting onto a customers piece of equipment and making tweaks and adjustments to it if it is not their equipment. Now a good tech may suggest that they contact tech support for their machine. However, if it is not our equipment, I do not touch it.

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