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
    zeroJJ, 3 Dec 2006 @ 5:15pm

    #35- actually, in alot of cases, users are paying for all of the above, not JUST connectivity. If a service is advertised as a package then you should be getting that package.

    If I buy a car with seatbelts that only work sometimes, will I have a Ford rep that says, well you are just paying for transportation from point A to B. The seatbelts are extra?

    #37 - you guys are nitpicking about unlimited. There are two numbers in play. Max bandwidth at any one time (say 2mbps [mb PER SECOND] download speed) and overall bandwidth period (transfer per month - aka monthly bandwidth)

    Yes, the problem usually isnt with the advertised bandwidth rate, it's with the "invisible" monthly caps that are advertised as Unlimited that cause all the problems.

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