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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    She should have told him . . .

    He could leave sometime between 9:00am and 5:30pm the next day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:06pm

    God, what a wuss.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    "OMG, This lady is going to make me work" "RUN!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Eric (profile), Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    Geez

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

    Now it would probably surrender if confronted by an angry dachshund.

    Bark !!! Bark!!!
    [White Flag]

    Eric

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Potato Head, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Obviously

    None of the Cops used that ISP.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    OldSchool, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    In my neighborhood

    We'd have just kept his thumbs. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Coward niny, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Sorry dude, it's pretty obvious that nothing can make you work.

    When was the last time you actually had face to face social interaction with another human being?

    What exactly is welfare paying these days?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    erica.stjohn@gmail.com, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michial, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 12:55pm

    Obviously this was a Comcast Employee

    This woman obviously uses Comcast. I have been down that road so many times with Comcast that I am shocked I have never been imprisoned now.

    Comcast rarely if ever fixes your problem the first time, and short of pulling a pistol on their techs you not likely to get anything but an excuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    MB, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    LOSER

    What does it say for the cops that actually believed this moron ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Otherside, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Tour de Force, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:12pm

    Hostage

    Two questions:
    Was she hot and where does she live? Maybe I can talk her into holding me hostage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Tech Support, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Potato Head, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Wow.. deja vu

    So... you are on of them... Do not feed us your lies!!! Telco minion!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:28pm

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

    LOL

    And that would mean - yes - No Chuck Norris~~

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    Re: She should have told him . . .

    Don't you mean: "You can leave sometime between February and December" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Woadan, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    erica, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Woadan, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: See both sides

    I would hate for you to be the tech I get if I call Tech Support!
    ;)

    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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Wow.. deja vu

    one tf them lol. I am a customer of an ISP (cable) and I work for telephone broadband (DSL ISP stuff) so I see it from the customers point of view and the techs (installer and inside over the phone).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    erica, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Joe, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Obviously this was a Comcast Employee

    So true...i hated comcast when they were my provider...i will go out of my way not to use them again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 3:58pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 8:11pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Debbie M, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 9:12pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Azrael, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 12:36am

    Re: Re: Re: See both sides

    Finally someone who has the courage to yell the truth: there are a lot of idiots out there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Lover, General Annoyance f, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 5:11am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 6:19am

    Re:

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


    Since we can watch plenty of David Hasselhoff On Demand now, ask yourself . . . who really won?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Sep 4th, 2008 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re:

    Well, it had to happen eventually: a sentence where either "lose" or "loose" works pretty well. Bravo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    RGB, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 4:38am

    OMG...what a wimp!

    You have got to be kidding me...obviously the guy did not want to do anything, rather than excuse himself and return to his office, he has the lack of man-hood and calls the police. I have been in the service industry 30 years...what a wimp! You're fired!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    David Mudkips, Sep 8th, 2008 @ 2:16pm

    Whoa

    Take a gander at that hose-beast! To answer the questions asked by Tour de Force: Canada, and HELLLLLS NO!

    http://www.canadiantheatre.com/images/theatre/sinclair.jpg

    I'd run screaming too!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Willy, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: 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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This