ISP Customer Service a Dead Art Form?

from the lets-hope-nobody-notices-our-screw-up dept

The e-mail and connection reliability of major ISPs frequently leaves plenty to be desired. MIA e-mail is most frequently thanks to botched spam fighting efforts, such as when Verizon customers suddenly stopped getting e-mail from outside the country. Or more recently when BellSouth's spam fighting system was so poorly implemented, people weren't getting any e-mail, forcing them to revert to their previous spam fighting solution. Huge outages thanks to network upgrades or transfers is also a concern, as many of the customers caught in the Adelphia, Comcast, and Time Warner cable switcharoo can attest.

PBS's Bob Cringely laments that there really are no consumer protections for these kinds of outages, and that ISPs are increasingly willing to bumble their way through botched network upgrades or capacity issues while hoping impacted customers don't notice. Users seem increasingly willing to click through mouse-print EULAs that leave them with no room to complain if their service stinks. One obvious solution would be to upgrade to a business line with some kind of reliability guarantee - but if the best solution is to upgrade to a more expensive business line, isn't this just encouraging ISPs to make their consumer lines worse and worse in order to convince everyone to upgrade?

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  1. identicon
    My heart bleeds, 2 Dec 2006 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Sorry Kate . . .

    If you go to a car dealership and buy a Geo Metro, there is a printout that they give you showing the mileage, max speed, acceleration, and other such things. If you see that the sign says that this car has a max speed of 35 MPH, and you still complain, then you are an asshat. If the slimy car dealer tells you that you can outrace a Ferrari, and they you find that you are capped at 35, you have a right to complain.

    To bring us back to the ISPs, they are the ones setting the prices. If 11.99 is not enough to cover the equipment and infrastructure, then they need to raise the price. If they are not going to guarantee that someone who is paying for email service can get into their email, then they are just dishonest.

    You keep going on about how people don't understand how the email works in a shared environment, but that is because the ISP doesn't tell us that. They send out brocures and emails saying that their service is great and then, once things fall apart, fall back on tired lines like that, then tell folks that they need to pay $100 more a month.

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