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
    Pizon, 3 Dec 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Now wait just one damn second...

    Amen! I used to own a small rural ISP and I know exactly what you are talking about as far as delivery and processing time for e-mail. I was fortunate to only have to deal with about one million e-mails a day but that still caused delays due to processing. I got out of the business mainly because I was tired of the blanket accusations people would make. If it wasn't the cost, which was more than fair, it was that their 56K modem would only connect at 26K because they were six miles from town in an area with ancient telephone infrastructure. People don't want service, they want magic. They also don't want to listen to people that know what they're talking about. That isn't the consumer's fault though, it's the "consumer advocates" who like to write about how all of those bad, evil corporations are ripping them off. I've got news for them, if all of the evil corporations go away where will people go for employment? I should have opened a restaurant...

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