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Sunday, February 19, 2006 

Anger: QWest

Is this 2006 or is it 1990?

It shouldn't be a major trial for an Internet savvy person like myself to get a simple DSL install working. I did this installs like this for clients over and over, but I have never worked with QWest before. I hope that I never have to again.

I bought one of the DSL modems that QWest lists as “supported” on eBay. I had my house all hooked up the day before the service was to be turned on. I was impressed that they had a DSL signal on the line the morning of the install day (last Tuesday). I called the tech support to get them to push my credentials to the modem and I was on the net right away. I was feeling pretty good. Then the problems started.

The first roadblock was the modem, one that they “support”. It was configured to only recognize only one IP Address, meaning that I could only have one computer on the network access the Internet and that I had to tear apart my whole network to conform to the local IP setup of the modem. I called tech support to find that they were clueless. I assured the guy that I knew what I was doing and all I wanted him to do was to change the subnet mask. He kept telling me to reboot the modem and then plug my system directly into it instead of going through my network hub. I gave up and asked for his boss. I was “mysteriously” disconnected while waiting. I called again and was told that the modem was defective and out of warranty, I could buy a new one or I could live with it. I decided to live with it until and work some options before spending any more money, certainly more money the goes into the QWest coffers.

I choose a system to have hooked up and went on. Next was to set up my email. I have a number of accounts, all POP3. All I need from my ISP is to provide me an SMTP server so I can send outgoing mail. It turns out that QWest is not my ISP; they are only the DSL connectivity vendor. I find out that the much-dreaded MSN is my ISP. So, my next task was to sign up for MSN service. The disk came in the mail and I started installing. It walked me through making an account and then asked me to sign in using the account I just created. It would not login. I called QWest, they referred me to MSN who transferred me to at least 3 different departments where I had to explain myself each time only to be told that I do not have an account so they can’t help me. The final person referred me back to QWest.

This next call was the most maddening. I could not understand the guy and he clearly didn’t understand me. After struggling for a while he made some excuse that the MSN servers were down and I should try again IN 8 HOURS. Fuming, I waited. Of course, it was the same problem and I called again. This time I got someone that spoke English, which is just about the high point of the encounter. Another run through the whole thing, including the ridiculous step of resetting the modem yet again and still no go. I asked for and much to my surprise, got connected to a supervisor. Who came up with a truly crazy excuse, my order number was a duplicate of some order in 2004. He could not give me a new one until Tuesday because of the holiday.

So, my service is severely limited for the first week that I am being charged.

I can’t wait until I find out that the rumors of MSN not providing SMTP servers are true.

Linked to: basil's blog.

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