Charter Communications refused to fix Matt’s internet connection. Even two technicians, dispatched by Charter, told Matt his ISP was to blame for his weak service. When Matt called customer service to complain, he was transferred immediately to the disconnect department. Matt had internet service, but, “The internet just dies. Every ten minutes or so, the internet would just die. And it’s very annoying.”
Matt’s attempts to fix the problems were, how shall we say, less than successful.
CSR: Thank you for calling Charter tech support, my name is Bradley and how can I help you today?
Matt: Hi, I was calling to try to figure out where I need to go next with my service with you guys.
CSR: Try to go where…next?
Matt: Yeah, I’ve been having a lot of issues with my high-speed internet that you guys can’t fix, so I was trying to figure out what we need to do next to escalate this problem to get it fixed correctly.
CSR2: This is Christy with Charter, how can I help you?
Matt: Hi, what happened to the other guy that I was just talking to?
CSR2: That I’m not sure sir, the call just came in to me. I’m in the disconnect department, were you wanting to disconnect your service today?
Matt: Wow, are you kidding me? No, could you please put me back in tech support?
CSR2: For internet?
CSR2: Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. I wonder why they transferred you over here.
This was the latest in a series of slights Matt experienced over two months trying to fix his internet service. There was a problem in the line somewhere between his house and Charter’s central server. Charter was to blame, according to the techs dispatched by Charter. Matt began recording his calls to customer service.
Matt was paying $80 per month for a 10MB connection. The first tech visited Matt’s house to check the signals and equipment. He determined the problem was not in Matt’s house. Charter decided to dispatch a second tech, a tech supervisor with a laptop.
Matt raced home from work for his 5pm-8pm appointment. The tech with the magical laptop never showed. At 9pm Matt called Charter, only to be told the tech supervisor with the laptop was not really a supervisor, but a contractor. Matt replied: “The contractor let Charter down. Charter let me down.” Ouch.
For his trouble, Charter issued a $20 credit and flagged the problem as a “must do.” How committal. Another tech was scheduled for an all-day Saturday appointment. That tech didn’t show, either.
Furious, Matt called back again and received another credit and another appointment. This time, the tech appeared and promptly blamed Charter for the problems.
Matt called again:
CSR: Alright, bear with me just a second. They’re wanting to conference call me through the phone here. Give me just a minute, I’ll be back with you.
CSR: Right now they’re asking me if anybody will be home between 8 am and noon on Friday morning.
Matt: No, why are they wanting to send somebody out?
CSR: Let me see here.
Matt: You guys have already sent two techs out that have said it’s not on my end, so why are we still coming back to my house?
CSR: Alright, give me just another minute here. Alright, what they tell me is that he wants to send somebody out because if the tech does not fix the problem right now, the only thing we can actually do is send somebody out to reassess the issue again.
Matt: Yeah, the tech is saying the issue is not fixable from here. This is out on like the backbone on Charter’s network somewhere. This isn’t at my house. The only thing that tech does is check my levels, check my modem, that’s it. Everything’s fine. The levels at the street are fine, the levels at my house are fine. They switched out the modem, it’s not the modem. There’s nothing else that tech’s going to do. I was specifically told that by the last tech that was sent out here. He didn’t understand while he was being sent out again. Why are we wasting my time sending another tech out?
CSR: I just gave them that information, give me another minute. Give me another minute, they’re contacting me again. Alright, Matt? What they told me is they have actually gotten word, they contacted dispatch to see what was going on, the dispatch told them that they had checked the server on the issue and the server is not the issue, that it’s either got to be neutral there or in the neighborhood.
Matt: Okay. Wow, this is like really pathetic. That’s not the issue. Anyone who knows anything about trace route knows that the issue’s not here. Trace route sends a packet out of my house to you guys, it’s not getting to you guys. So the network is not here, it’s on Charter.
CSR: Right, he’s saying that it’s somewhere more than likely toward the neighborhood or neutral to that location.
Matt: Okay, then what does he need to come to my house for?
CSR: I’m not really sure on that, any trouble call appointments at all they always need to make sure that somebody’s available.
Matt: Okay, so tell me this: What are you guys going to do when the third guy comes out to my house and says yet again that the issue’s not on my end. What then? You guys going to send another tech out to my house? When does it end?
CSR: I mean, that’s really the only thing that we can do from the tech support is send a technician out. Your local area is really responsible for getting that taken care of for you when they do come out. I mean the only thing that we have the accessibility to do is just go to the local office and say we need a tech out for this issue.
Matt: I mean this is like really pathetic. So I’m stuck in this loop of calling you guys when the tech comes out and says it’s not a problem here. There’s gotta be something we can escalate it to, there’s gotta be somebody that knows something about networks that can come out to my house and fix this. This is like the biggest waste of time I’ve ever seen. This has been going on for two months, now I’m going to have to sit home again from work for you guys to come out here and say yeah the levels are find, this is all I can do as a tech.
CSR: Alright, give me just a minute here and I’m going to talk to them one more time. Alright, sir? Thanks for holding for me. I gave them all the information that you said, the only thing they can do is the tech would have to go back out and check everything again because it’s nothing in the actual server.
Matt: This isn’t an issue on a server, this is an issue on like a cisco switch on Charter’s network somewhere.
CSR: Right, that’s what I’m saying, they traced everything in the network and there’s nobody else in the area having the problem, so they say that if nobody else is having the problem, there’s gotta be something more neutral there. Or there’s gotta be something- because it wouldn’t only be affecting you if it was an actual system server problem.
Charter might be onto something. Instead of going through those horrific voice activated menus, you could have two options: tech, or no tech. Another tech, though, would not solve Matt’s problem.
Matt: This is awesome. I mean, what would you do? This is insane, you guys want to send a third tech out here that’s going to- so what are you going to do when a third tech comes out here and says it’s not on my end? Then what? You want me to tell him no?
CSR: The only thing that I can do is send a tech out. With it being something that’s out in the area and not anything to do with the actual signals or anything, there’s nothing that I can do to repair that. Except for send a technician out.
Matt: So what do you want me to tell the technician? He can’t leave until this is fixed then?
CSR: I’m not really sure that, I mean, the best people to talk to in this case would honestly be your local office because they’re the one that handles anything to do with the area issues or any server issues or any system issues at all. All we can do in this center is just send the technician out.
Matt: How do I talk to my local office then?
CSR: You actually have to go down there and do a formal complaint in person.
Matt: They don’t have a phone number?
CSR: Right, they don’t have a phone number because it all comes through the tech support.
Matt: Okay, where is this local office that doesn’t have a phone apparently? I mean do you not see how this is the worst customer service on this planet?
CSR: Right, I mean I understand the ongoing issues are definitely frustrating, there’s just nothing that anybody in this call center can do.
Matt: So I’m having a tech support issue and you guys can’t fix it, is what you’re telling me?
CSR: Right, I mean there’s no way that I can fix your lining problem from here.
Matt: Right, I understand that but you guys had two chances to come out here and fix it, and have failed.
CSR: Right, and that’s your local office. I mean the only thing that we can do is send a dispatch flash to your local office to get a technician out there. They have to take care of everything else from there.
Maybe the local office has the magical laptop? Probably not if they don’t have a phone.
The issue began in September and is still unresolved. Have you gotten into a finger-pointing war with your ISP? Tell us about it in the comments. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER