Qwest Can't Get Wireless Working Because Macs Are "Practically An Obsolete System"

“This year I moved in May 2007. My new housemates and I decided that we wanted to share wireless internet in our house. We order Qwest wireless the first week of June 2007.

When I received the modem and start up disc, none of the codes would work for my computer, nor my housemates. I called Qwest and was told that it was because I had a MacBook. During the month of June I called Qwest over nine times, and was repeatedly told in both polite and in rude terms that the problem was my Mac, not Qwest. During one call to Qwest, an employee told me that he could get it up and running in 30 seconds if my computer were a PC. When I asked him if any of his colleagues were trained for Macs, he told me that hardly anyone uses macs and Qwest should not have to train its employees in a practically obsolete system. He then transferred me, against my will, to the apple support line.”

My computer is a 2007 Macbook that receives wireless at every coffee shop or business with wireless; i is not a problem with my computer. The apple support line should not have to pick up the pieces for Qwest employees.

The amount of time spent on the phone with Qwest in June, transfers directly to my cell phone bill. I went over my minutes for the first time in my cell phone contract by exactly the amount of time I was on the phone with Qwest. I admit, I do choose to have a cell phone instead of a landline. This means that 1-800 numbers cost minutes on my plan, yet if Qwest employees had been trained sufficiently in both Macs and PCs, I should have only had to make one phone call, and thus not go over my minutes. I do believe that part of my $57.54 monthly Qwest bill is to having access to customer service.

After this cell phone bill, I asked Qwest for a new modem to rent. I was sent a non-rental and charged roughly $100. I did not learn this until my bill at the end of July.

After receiving the new modem, I had the same series of problems with wireless not working in the household. After three more phone calls, I got a Qwest employee that knew Macs. He got the wireless up and running in under 30 seconds.

Shortly after the wireless got working, I got the bill for the charged modem. I immediately called billing and asked if I could have it transferred on my account as a rental. The first person I talked to did not think they could do it, but then I got them to transfer me to the Loyalties Department. The first person I talked to in loyalties, told me that they could change it to rental status, and because I was a loyal customer, he would give me three months for half price in recompense for all the previous trouble. He told me to wait three days to pay my bill, because he would start the discount that month. I was much relieved. Yet when I called to check on my bill five business days later, it had not changed.

When I called to check with billing they had two different computer profiles for me, one gave the information that loyalties had told me, the other had the higher bill. They could not rectify it, so instead of Qwest figuring it out its own internal error, they forced me to talk to Loyalties, billing, and customer care. I spent over two hours on the phone that day. I should not be the one communicating to each department in Qwest about Qwest’s own internal error on my bill. Qwest should be taking responsibility for making sure their profiles on the customer’s is correct. I believe this is what costumer service entails.

I canceled my service that day. This was the middle of August. I was told by Loyalties that my plan would be terminated, and essentially erase a month of service from my bill for all the inconvenience, and that she would send me a label with reference number for the modem, so that I wouldn’t have to eat the cost of the modem. I never received a reference number. It took the final bill until mid-September to arrive. Loyalties was able to give me the one month discount. Yet the modem had not been credited. I had to call again for a reference number to send the modem back. Again I was told not to pay the bill for the modem.

I sent the modem back near the end of September. On September 26th, I received notification that Qwest was going to send my bill to a collection agency if I did not pay or make arrangements for payments. The bill in question was the combination of the $100 erroneous charge for the modem, the non-credited month of service and a partial month of service. All of these charges I had been told by three separate employees to wait to pay, yet apparently interdepartmental communication had failed again. I called on the 26th and paid everything except for the modem cost, asking if that would stop them from sending it to collections. The Qwest employee told me it would.

One week later, I got another notice to pay the $100 for the modem, or it would be sent to collections. Again, I called and asked to put a stop on the transfer to collections. Again, I was told it would not be sent. Yet today, I got both a collections notice for the $100, and a phone call from collections. It was both the rudest letter and phone call that I have ever received, and it was due to the fact that I waited to pay the bill because Qwest had told me to wait. I paid the collections agency in order to save my credit rating, then called Qwest. I was told that the $100 had been credited to my account and the collections notice was a mistake.

I am dumbfounded that this went to collections despite my communication with Qwest. I feel harassed by this continued ill treatment, and blatant irresponsibility by Qwest. This irresponsibility has added up to a $100 collections bill, a threat to my credit, a $89 charge in overage minutes on my cell phone, and two months of bills paid to Qwest for wireless service when no wireless service was being received in our house. My main complaint is that as an individual paying for a service, I should receive that service in exchange for my payment. I that service should malfunction or not perform with in the bounds of its contract, then the company should be responsible for fixing it. It
is not the individual’s responsibility to call every department of a corporation to make sure they are getting proper customer service; it is the corporation’s responsibility in exchange for monthly payment to give proper service to the customer.

My house has switched to Charter and they had us up and running immediately. The one time that we have had a problem, Charter came to our house, and fixed it for us, free of charge. They did not force us to stay on the phone for multiple hours, or try to tell us that it was our computer’s problem.

Thank you for your time.

Lindsey Case

The game is called customer service hot potato. Each department receives a request, processes it, then figures out which other department to dispatch it away to, with the problem never getting solved. Lindsey did the right thing and voted with her dollar. It just sucks that she had to go through such hassle on all ends of the transaction. Well they got one part right. They had no problem signing her up as a customer and getting all her billing information.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Pylon83 says:

    First off, I admit I didn’t read the whole thing because it was WAY to long. People need to learn to be concise with their complaints if they want people to read them. Second, on the Mac issue. Let me preface this by saying I own an iBook, that’s what I am typing this comment on. However, when I bought it, I understood what I was getting into. Apple only has about 10% of the market (maybe less, depending on the figures you read). I do believe it is unreasonable to expect every company to cross-train their employees in Mac OS. When you buy a computer that is very much a minority as a whole, you cannot and should not expect the same level of support. I think that as an Apple user, you have to learn to be a little bit more self sufficient in your troubleshooting. The best way to approach Technical Support is to not even mention that you have a Mac unless it is absolutely necessary. If you know how to use your Mac properly, you should be able to do all of the required tasks without having your hand held by a tech support rep. Any information he needs you should be able to provide. Just don’t go into it expecting the same level of service that a PC owner would get.

  2. ionerox says:

    Why the heck are you leasing a wireless access point from Qwest? Buy your own (can be had for less than $60) and don’t pay lame rental fees for something you can own and manage yourself.

  3. I do believe it is unreasonable to expect every company to cross-train their employees in Mac OS.

    If they sell to and support Mac users, I damned well expect them to train those employees on how to get the product functioning with a Mac – it should be built into the price.

    Even if they only have a few people in the department trained on Macs, that’s a loot better than essentially telling the customer that they refuse to honor the products promised benefits – Internet access for Mac users, in this case.

    Besides – we’re not talking rocket science. If it’s a networking product, a half-days training and scripts should do it. More than likely, Qwest went with the lowest bidder on outsourced phone support, and the user got what Qwest paid for – rude and stupid phone support.

  4. mgyqmb says:

    This reminds me of the Sony customer services issues where the Sony rep would simply say “Can’t fix it” if you admitted to having it plugged into a power strip.

    /Typing at my Help Desk support job.
    //We support macs!

  5. Rob says:

    I work for an ISP the provides ISP Services through Qwest, and I can say that we are not trained in Macs but we will get things working in the right direction, of course we normally need the customer to know a bit more about their mac then we do ;)

  6. etho says:


    On the other hand, Apple offers support for a service (iTunes) that runs on Windows. Qwest offering a service that runs on Mac (wireless internet) and not training CSR’s to support that OS is comparable to Apple not training CSR’s to support the Windows versions of iTunes. Obviously, that would be completely unacceptable.

  7. almaden says:

    I’m with PYLON83 on this one – expecting Qwest to provide support for every platform is unreasonable. I have Qwest DSL at home, and I do not expect them to support my Linux or MacOS machines running on the network. Besides, if you go to the Qwest DSL support page, there is quite a bit of information about MacOS 10.3 and later.

    Now, dealing with Qwest’s different departments can be frustrating, but I’ve found a real improvement in their customer service area over the last 2 or 3 years. I’d say good luck with Charter…you may find them to be as frustrating as Qwest in the future.

  8. BigNutty says:

    Could someone edit this so I can read it in one evening? All kidding aside, you Mac people know the situation. I use wireless on my PC, pay $60 per month and got the modem for free after the rebate finally arrived.

    Things just go easier for your average home user with a PC.

  9. sonichghog says:

    I deal with wireless issues all the time. You can not support everything.
    You have many different versoins of Windows and MAC systems, as well as linux, and handheld wireless devices. I would not expect them to support your MAC. I would however expect them to give you a full refund without the collections issue.

  10. Zombietime says:

    As a long term pc user, I have never had any problems with internet service or any problem at all resulting in any real longterm down time. I have had plenty of problems with macs though. It’s just easier using a pc these days.

  11. Falconfire says:

    @Pylon83: In these days, if your tech crew can not support Windows/OS X/ and the most popular flavors of Linux, you need to start firing your tech crew, or get out of the business all together.

    It is totally unreasonable NOT to support major systems, regardless of marketshare. I take pride in spending the couple of hours that is really needed to be able to work on OS X, Red Hat, and XP systems at my work. Most places, you would NEED to be certified in the basic support of all three to even be able to apply.

    The fact is Qwest has no clue how to run their companies support line, which is understandable, since to my knowledge, their support in general is laughable.

    Oh and if any of their goons are actually reading this, the settings for OS X and XP are EXACTLY the same. The only difference really between the two is they are both named differently, and Apple consolidates its settings MUCH better than Microsoft does (who instead of having one panel for Wireless, Wired, and Proxys has 3) Even if off the back you couldnt figure it out, a quick google search could help you.

    Part of being a troubleshooter is you know the basics of TROUBLESHOOTING. To quote one of my favorite lines, and one which I just recently had to send to my troubleshooting teams when they started fucking around…

    work the problem, dont give up and leave it for someone else until you have exhausted all possible avenues of attack.

  12. endless says:

    i like mac OSX and use it as well as windows.

    however, being on the PC camp for most of my life and given apples advertising. I cannot help but be a bit smug about this whole incident.

    i did not read the complaint, but judging by its length and how little trouble i have had setting up apples, i think the time would have been better spent learning to do it yourself than bitching about quest.

  13. LionelEHutz says:

    You people act as if Macs are some mysteriously difficult OS to understand. If a tech support person can figure out the crap in Windows, they can figure out a Mac in their sleep.

  14. dmilani says:

    Another vote for offering a service means being able to support that service.

    At the same time I am another Mac user that has employed don’t ask don’t tell when calling customer support. I’d summarize the problem differently though. It seems customer support can only follow their scripted troubleshooting flow charts instead of practicing some intelligent troubleshooting.

  15. swalve says:

    @LionelEHutz: I’m a technician and I don’t understand MacOs. How the heck do you use a mouse with only one button?

    I love it when people buy crap and then complain when it’s not a T1. You want excellent service? Gotta pay for it. $50 a month in the datacom world gets you best effort at best.

  16. mgyqmb says:

    @swalve: Are you serious? Apple-brand mice have had two buttons for some time now.

    If you’re talking about laptops, ctrl+click – not that there is a ton in OS X that requires a secondary menu.

  17. Falconfire says:

    @swalve: its called command click, or use a 2 button mouse…

    Its REALLY not that hard, nor is it like you NEED a 2 button mouse. Unless your a techie most people dont use the left button anyway, and studies prove this fact.

  18. Falconfire says:

    @Falconfire: ment ctrl not command.

  19. Falconfire says:

    not to mention that if your a “technician” you wouldnt be using a gui anyway. Command line is your friend… if your not using it your not qualified to call yourself a computer technician on ANY system.

  20. louisb3 says:

    @Pylon83: It *is* concise. The reason it’s so long is that the whole ordeal was so long – it’s just precise. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, you can skip to the summary of wasted time and money that usually follows these letters. If it were shorter, we’d have plenty of victim-bashers in here claiming that the OP’s a liar because they left out details.

    Failure to support Macs is ridiculous. Apple’s market share is plenty significant. It’s not hard to support multiple platforms, as anyone who reads the article can attest to: after a string of incompetent and abrasive service reps, a knowledgeable one got it working in under thirty seconds.

    I’m not in the field of IT, so don’t take my word as gold or anything, but I’m pretty sure that any worthwhile service makes some attempt to support multiple platforms. Qwest, obviously, is just an instance of shitty, ultra-low-cost customer service.

    @swalve: Sorry, you don’t get to call yourself a technician if you can’t figure those things out.

  21. sonichghog says:

    @Falconfire: I hope your kidding. I would hope a support crew would be experts at windows. Ever hear the phrase ” Jack of all trades, master of none.” Thats not the support I want.

  22. sonichghog says:

    @louisb3: Ya, can’t call yourself a tech. If you work in the field, you know what the users expect of a PC tech.

    You get BS from users all the time if your a tech and you do not know a system. Like Copier systems, Fax systems, phone systems, typewriters, ect… Your just not a good PC tech if you do not know how to fix everything that may have a chip in it.

  23. wesa says:

    Ok did anyone else catch the fact that he was trying to use a start up disk? Most likely he meant either a driver disk for the modem or one of those install programs. Those work on PCs, not on Mac’s. He should have been configuring the wireless without the disk in the first place.

    Also I agree with all the comments above that state that the complaint was too long. I only read about 3 paragraphs before skimming through the comments.

  24. dantsea says:

    Most of the people answering the phones at your broadband support center aren’t technicians and don’t necessarily have much in the way of experience with computers. Their specialty is flipping a chart in the order drilled into them during the few days they get for training.

    Mac training usually doesn’t even permit for hands-on exploration; staff are told they shouldn’t expect many calls from Mac users and that the flipcharts should do ’em just fine if they get a call.

    All the same, when I was doing QA for the Big Giant Cableco, it was always amusing to hear the terror and desperation in the rep’s voice when a Mac user dialed in.

  25. louisb3 says:

    @sonichghog: Sorry, was that sarcasm? It was mostly just incomprehensible. Yes, if you call yourself a technician, you should know how to operate a mouse.

  26. jesirose says:

    I think he was being sarcastic about the mouse people.

  27. warf0x0r says:

    I forgot how horrible quest can be.

  28. reeg2 says:


    You guys are a joke. Really.

  29. reeg2 says:


    The issue isn’t that Mac OS is so complex and difficult. It’s not; not even by a long shot. The issue is that support desks don’t understand the topic they’re supporting. THAT’S the problem, not that ignorant people can’t understand a simple operating system.

  30. louisb3 says:

    @reeg2: Exactly. Supporting Macs not only gets you access to that last 6% or so of the market, it’s also trivially easy.

  31. Why am I not surprised that the commenters here miss the point?

    Qwest says their product supports Macs, but they don’t actually do support for Macs. They lied to the customer. It’s not about whether Macs are easy or worthwhile to support (they are), but that Qwest’s support department passed the buck.

  32. eelmonger says:

    I agree with many of the comments about not supporting Macs. You can’t expect every company to support everything, imagine calling AOL for help trying to install their stuff on Linux. However the Qwest website does say their service works for Macs and as such they should support it. However, it also says that you should check with you local ISP for compatibility, so if the local guys say no Macs, you can’t really blame them.

  33. Mtroyalguy says:

    I work in a call centre for a major cable/inet/telco in Canada. Shaw cable. We give connection support to Mac or Pc customers. Yeah I am a bit slower w/ Mac customers, but I have some walkthroughs that have never failed me yet. How hard is it to provide basic support like that? Besides, did they tell her they don’t provide service to Macs? Did they offer to cancel her service since they don’t support her system the first time she called? That should have been done right away if they really didn’t support her system isn’t it?

  34. Falconfire says:

    @sonichghog: If you can not understand Macs, Windows, and Linux, you shouldnt be in the support field. Its not a question of Jack of all Trades here, once you peel away the gui and get to the guts of the OS, the OS is basically the same across ALL systems and requires little thought to go between one and the other if your planning to make a career in this field. The idea that a Mac or Linux is a drastically different machine than a PC is pure FUD spread by people who probably have trouble programing their VCR. The basic operation of the OSs are the same, its the underlying OS it’s SELF thats different and superior in the Mac and Linux machines cases, as both systems are apt to dump legacy code that Microsoft constantly supports despite calls from the IT world to dump it already.

    Hell a Mac OS X machine is basically a linux machine with a few different commands, and a pretty GUI over it all. IF you can support a OS X machine your a lot closer to being able to support a Linux machine than a pure windows user would be able to. But if you cant support all three, you just need to find a better job, because you dont cut it in IT.

  35. BugMeNot2 says:

    Where I live, Qwest offers support for Macs, except for some strange reason, their highest speed DSL is not available for Macs. There’s no logic behind it. :(

    What about people who use linux?

  36. larkknot says:

    The people answering the phones at the technical support call centers are for the most part simply NOT technicians – they are typically people with few skills who need a job that pays decently. I say this because I know several people that moved from telemarketing-type jobs over to technical support lines – and these were the same people incapable of connecting the dots to figure out a virus had infected all the computers in their house. We all should know by now that most of the time when you call a big company’s technical support line, you are just getting someone reading from a script, not an IT professional.

  37. gingerCE says:

    I think it’s a matter of poor training. The tech/customer service guys need to be trained to deal with macs as well as pcs/linux. I called ATT DSL since I have their home phone service and asked if their service was compatible with my mac. The service rep said yes to my desktop iMac, no to my iBook and that I’d need buy their network card for $100 for the wireless service to work. I said my iBook already had a built in network card and she said it was not compatible. I called my apple store and was told no, I did not need to purchase a network card only a router–in fact the apple service rep told me he had ATT DSL. Well, I called Earthlink DSL instead because they advertise they are mac compatible and I had no problems–even got a free modem and wireless router. Their customer service rep was a lot more helpful and in the end, they got my business. I chose a Mac deliberately and I hate when I get smarmy pc people act like I chose the wrong computer. I have used macs all my life and am very happy. I have a newer iMac, an ibook, and old Powerbook that still works and an old first gen iMac that also still works about a decade later. I’m not going to switch computers, I’ll just find a service that is knowledgable with macs.

  38. avantartist says:

    i love a good mac / pc debate. thank you

  39. pudnana says:

    I’ve worked as a field tech for 2 major communications companies and can speak from experience about macs. Although they may be growing in popularity, what may not be realized is that most people who have macs know about them and what to do with them to get them working. For lack of knowing the exact numbers, even if macs are growing to 15% or so of the computer market, they are only about 1-2% of the dsl/cable modem jobs I’ve had to do. So, like it or not, what people forget to realize is that the point of having a company is to make a profit. It’s not very cost effective for a company to train based off that. Also, I think people forget they make mistakes themselves and whenever a major company makes a mistake like this, the first thing to do is cancel service and bash the company. I’ve reacted this way to a few thing as well, but I think a company’s reputation should be based on thier willingness to make everything right. Personally, when I have come across a mac in the field, I will take the time to do whatever it takes to make it work, or find out whats causing a problem. But, unfortunately as a field technician, the companies have standards for productivity, and will only give you about 50 minutes to drive to a house and fix a problem. Some techs who have trouble with productivity won’t take anytime to solve the problem, and just say, the service is good to your cable/dsl modem and move along. As you can see, everything is a catch 22.

  40. crazylady says:

    Some of you guys are ridiculous.

    Mac support is not impossible. And indirectly, with a certain type of Mac troubleshooting expertise comes enough knowledge to troubleshoot anything similar, i.e. Linux and *BSD. Besides, almost all of the techs you’ll encounter in the beginning will be reading off a script (in a way), so what’s the problem with providing both and then passing people on to higher level support (and hopefully more expertise), where you don’t have to hire that many experienced Mac techs to deal with the issues?

    You can’t expect a company to provide support for Plan 9 and DragonFly BSD. But it’s not unreasonable to provide support for an OS from one company that singlehandedly has a significant portion of the market. Yes, something like a 10% market share (even hard to determine given how many computers are just bundled with Windows and you don’t know if they’re being overwritten with another version/license of Windows or Linux or some alternative) sounds pretty small, but for ONE manufacturer with ONE operating system to pull that off is not small. Ask Dell or HP or Lenovo/IBM or Sony to do the same, without Windows or Ubuntu, and they’d have a similar market share too. And while we’re at it, remind yourself how small that pitiful 10% number might actually be. Apple sold 2.16 million computers in the last quarter and no doubt a significant number were North American sales, and that’s just sales in one quarter. Apple also went on to sell 2 million copies of Leopard individually and bundled on computers combined over one weekend. We’re not talking about a couple dozen freaks using OS X. We’re talking millions of users just in the US alone.

    That being said, with the last two ISP’s I’ve had (SBC/AT&T and Time Warner), choosing “Mac” support sent me to a Windows tech that tells me to do things like click the Start Menu. Thankfully the technicians they send to fix issues are a bit more smarter than that and have some semblance of humor (“are you trying to steal my job? you know how to renew the dhcp lease on a mac? you’re smarter than most people I encounter!” (oh whoops, did I forget to mention I’m cisco certified and make more money than you as a dev?)).

    Then again, if I so much as mention that I have a router or more than one computer running more than one OS, they tend to blame connection and DNS issues on my computers. Yeah, I’m sure that if my Mac OS X, Windows XP, Gentoo Linux and FreeBSD installs all had DNS issues at the same time individually connected and it wasn’t an ISP issue according to you and OpenDNS works fantastically…it’s definitely an ISP issue.

  41. twiddling_my_thumbs says:


    How true this is.It is honestly, sometimes a crap shoot for someone who is qualified and concerned about providing good technical customer service.

    After a long gruelling punting session with my ISP. Which I asked for some very simple IP numbers to complete the setting up of my LANs static IP’s. I was told for security reasons they could not give me my own leased dynamic IP or the DNS numbers. Even after telling them I can get them, but it would entail me directly connecting the machine, to get them. It was a request for a matter of convenience. The icing on the cake was me asking for at least the subnet mask numbers.. “sorry sir, for security reasons we cannot give out that information.”

    How funny is not being able to give out

  42. bonzombiekitty says:

    This is wireless networking. Wireless networks are standardized. The settings you need to have a wireless network for a Mac is the same for any other OS. I find it hard to believe that a tech support center does not have a basic knowledge base that would have step by step instructions for at least basic setup and troubleshooting for wireless settings on a Mac.

    This isn’t about cross training every technician. It’s about not having at least one available expert technician that could (eventually) solve the problem, and not having the basic knowledge base that would let a drunken monkey be able to do basic setups and troubleshooting. That part isn’t rocket science, there’s no need for a technician to be an expert on a Mac to be able to do that.

  43. calvinneal says:

    Macs not supported: Some of you people are really out their with wacky opinions. 1. Macs usually need no configuring/ they will find the DNS settings on their own. 2. I have service from a regional cable company (Wide Open West) and even they support macs. The other day I called them about an outage. The tech said it was probably my computer.I told him it was a Mac. His response was ” then it must be an outage”. Ten minutes later he called back to confirm the outage. Oh, and I do have a 2 button mouse. Buy a mac, you never look back.

  44. mac-phisto says:

    @Falconfire: i understand your point, but i don’t entirely agree with it. the problem is rarely with the os itself & more with its integration into a system. case in point: at my house, i’ve got 3 xp machines, an imac (os x) & i’m now typing in ubuntu (decided to give it a shot after some suggestions i read here), along with a bunch of other peripherals.

    all the computers connect to the internet, but not wireless – the mac just won’t do it. i spent a few days troubleshooting it (including reinstalling various firmware versions & reconfiguring the network in numerous ways) & gave up after combing a few message boards that claim that os x & a linksys wi-g (as well as belkin & a few others) just don’t mix. pretty much the info i received was “dude, you need an airport”. yeah. let me go right out & blow $200 on a router when i can find one for $30 so 1 computer can connect correctly. that’s certainly cost-effective.

    there’s other communication problems even though the machines are all connected – the xp machines can see the mac, but not vice-versa. same problem with itunes sharing, etc.

    point is, when you’re dealing with an os like mac that likes to keep its solutions proprietary & provides little support for third-party devices (although this is getting much better these days), you’re going to run into problems that a troubleshooter cannot solve.

  45. sonichghog says:

    @Falconfire: They are different systems. Saying that all OSes are the same is pure BS. Unless you mean “similar” as they are all Operating Systems.

  46. sonichghog says:


    You can’t really be a tech unless you know them all……right…..

  47. KJones says:

    First, the idea that any alleged debt is sent to collections and damages the customer’s credit rating before there is any legal resolution is reached (eg. small claims court) is obscene. Consumers should not be treated as guilty until proven innocent; giving companies the power to damage credit ratings with impunity is one side of the blade being stabbed in consumers’ backs (the other being the removal of bankruptcy protection).

    Second, I have lost count of the number of “websites” and “internet companies” that are so stupid that they can’t handle anything but LoseXP or Infernal Exploder. They “design for” an OS or browser to the exclusion of others, oft times merely testing for non-IEEEEE! browsers to prevent people from using them, rather than any technological wall that can’t be breached. (For example, nearly all “IE only” sites I see won’t work when Opera identifies itself as Opera but work fine when Opera pretends to be IE.) How stupid are they that they can’t just design for HTML, PHP and Java which are all platform independent?

    Third, where do Qwest (and some of the less intellectually capable respondents to this story) get the idiotic notion that _every_ service person at Qwest has to know both Macincraps and LoseXP? If Macs account for 5-10% of the market or customers, then have 5% of the tech specialize in Macs and funnel the service calls to them. Is that too difficult a concept? Apparently, it is. 9_9

  48. Falconfire says:

    @mac-phisto: I can promise you your wrong, my home router setup is a linksys and it worked right out of the box. The only one I can say with certain is a issue is Belkin’s USB wireless adapter despite having mac drivers, is very poor in its implementation.

    What is the age of your iMac? is it a older iMac using a 802.11b airport card, or a g card like the Express uses? If its using a b card then you need to configure your router to talk to b and g cards. Do you have windows sharing on your iMac configured (its in preferences under sharing)

    Honestly everything you have stated from a techs view would be a 3 minute fix, so I have a hard time believing that its the iMac, and more that its the user, no offense to you. I am not trying to be snotty about it, but I have worked in a mixed environment for over 10 years now, and I can count on one hand where it was the “mac” or “pcs” fault something was not working right, while I would be here forever listing where it was a user thinking they knew what they where doing screwing everything up. And even at that, between Macs and PCs, I tend to have more issues with drivers on the Dells than I ever have with the Apples, just because of the nature of Dell machines with their commodity off the shelf parts.

    @sonichghog: The differences in even pre-intel Apples and PCs is microscopic at best, and was ALWAYS blown out of proportion on the user side. On the programming side it was big, as the chipsets are not even remotely the same, but from the user, aside from the CPU, pre-intel macs used off the shelf parts, though maybe not consumer buyable as in the case of some of the iMacs slimmer GPU cards.

    Software wise, at least on OS X systems, the difference is in label. OS X tends to stick with Linux/Unix labeling of settings, while Microsoft makes up their own terms for everything.

  49. Chairman-Meow says:


    “all the computers connect to the internet, but not wireless – the mac just won’t do it. “

    What ?!?!!?

    The only requirements for connecting on a wireless network is an SSID and knowing the 802.11 network type you wish to connect (A,B,G or N). 99% of your typical Wireless networks are B/G so your chances of getting the nextwork type wrong is remote. As for the SSID, your auto-discover will tell you this automatically.

    That’s it. No strange magic or voodoo here kids. Your wireless connection will not care if it is Linksys/Belkin/Bluesocket, etc. simply because THEY ALL FOLLOW THE SAME 802.11 STANDARD (we’ll leave wireless N out of the picture for now).

    Most people get in trouble with wireless when they add encryption during the initial configuration process. If you do not understand what WPA2/AES with TKIP means you will quickly head into the weeds because you will not be synchronized with the wireless Access Point.

    The problem described above is more about klooless techs than anything else.

    As for MAC vs PC, I own both and guess what ? You have to follow the exact same procedure to coneect via wireless. The only difference is that the GUIs are different but they do ask for the same information.

  50. darious says:

    As a sys admin for a school I ran into a similar problem. Using a non-broadcast SSID on 3COM WAPS everything worked fine with the PCs but played hell with the Macs. Everytime the macs would shut down it would flat out forget all of the security settings.

    With a limited amount of available time (60 hour work weeks were common) in the end all I could do was hand their macs back to them, shrug, and tell them that they bought a non-standard OS and this is part of the price they pay.

  51. SJActress says:

    Sorry. I would have read all of you comment, but it was WAY too long. People need to learn to be concise with their comments if they want people to read them.

  52. matdevdug says:

    Well, as one of the few who actually read the entire complaint, some of you are sort of missing the point. He finally DID get a tech that understood macs and got the system running in 30 seconds. The real issue was how nobody at Qwest knows what anyone else is doing. he spends the majority of the complaint discussing billing and how they screwed him. He also talks about how he ran up over $50 in cellphone bills talking to Qwest and yes, he knows that 1-800 calls are free from a landline.

    I did this little summary because as much as we all love the Mac vs PC vs Linux debate, that isn’t the question here nor the main issue. Props to Consumerist to attempting to get their article dugg by using that quote in the title. However it doesn’t even seem like he is that much of a mac fan.

  53. zentec says:

    It’s unfortunate that the author of the complaint didn’t detail what kind of service he’s buying from Qwest. It *appears* it’s DSL with a modem and a wireless access point.

    If that is the case, then the sole reason they couldn’t get it working is probably because the quick installation method isn’t available for a Mac. I’m sure dslrepors.com has all the information you need on how to configure your DSL modem without using the setup CD. Regardless however, Qwest should have a couple technicians who can instruct customers on how to plug into the device with an ethernet cable and use a web interface to set the thing up.

    Many thanks to those who have turned this into yet another Mac/PC debate. Please, can we just grow up? If your life is measured by your operating system, you’re seriously compensating.

  54. Outtacontext says:

    A more general and problematic issue is that the processes we, as consumers, want to enable often integrate two different systems. In this case it’s DSL with a home network. And, just as often, neither company is interested in helping set up this integration if it includes another company’s system.

    Verizon DSL often refused to help me when they deemed it a Mac issue (and I was often connected to Apple without being asked). While this is incredibly frustrating (and I’ve got some IT experience) I can understand the problem. Hence the rise in companies like Geek Squad who are set up to connect these systems.

    BTW, while a lot of negatives can be said about Circuit City, I once got a floor staff person to help me set up a complicated TiVo/TV/Home Theater/VCR set of connections over the phone. That’s the best service I ever got with a multiple system integration problem and I only spent a few dollars at CC.

  55. jamar0303 says:

    I’m a rare case- I bought a PC and installed Mac OS on it (takes a bit of skill, but not too hard if you like to tinker around). I do this knowing that I will not get support for the OS. However, I do expect support for things not related to the computer no matter what OS I use. If a company can not give me support on the Mac side then I won’t boot back into Windows for their convenience- it’s a principle that I like to stand firm on.

    And nearly obsolete? Compared to XP, Tiger *flies* on my laptop. I bought it accepting that it was a low-powered POS, and Mac OSgave it oomph I never thought it had (1.2GHz Core Solo, 512MB). But enough of that.

  56. cerbie says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: EXACTLY.

    I don’t know how hard it is to set up DSL, but in the worst case, Qwest should have sent one of their install techs out to get it working. There’s no way it’s that hard, unless it all relies on Windows software (unlikely, as they claim to support OS 9+).

  57. cerbie says:

    @eelmonger: Apples and oranges (pun intended). Installing software for platform X is not the same as configuring a separate networked device with a web server on it on platform X. If the DSL modem has a RJ45 on it, any computer with a NIC and a web browser has everything that should be necessary to set it all up.

    Their techs should know how to get things working without installing special software (even though said software should work, according to Qwest’s website). If he had been scheduled for a tech to arrive and do it, chances are he would be happily using his broadband service, rather than complaining to consumer advocacy blog.

  58. grundy says:

    I work for an ISP who also works with Qwest. The setup process we use for setting up a Mac is no different than a PC. Log in to the web interface and configure, it’s just that simple. I can’t figure out why Qwest is insistant on having people install more useless software on their machines.

  59. NoWin says:

    @almaden: “expecting Qwest to provide support for every platform is unreasonable.”

    Wrong (sort of).. I expect any major TECHNICAL COMMODITY providing entity to provide competent staff to at least try to work through any Windows/Mac hardware. I’ll grant you the opinion to let them waffle on Linux or OS2, etc etc….

    I’m not saying they need to be 100% savvy in both Win/Mac, but the settings (for the most part) used/needed are generally the same, it’s only the control panels/preferences icons to get there that are different.

    /Helpdesk staff at a bank that provides phone support for both systems. That’s OUR competitive advantage.

  60. tedyc03 says:

    The difference between a technician and a technically inclined sales representative is troubleshooting. A technically inclined sales representative won’t do the work necessary to resolve a computer issue. A technician will. A technician will figure out what the errors are, figure out varying methods to fix those errors, and then resolve them. A good technician doesn’t need to know every OS to fix it; they need to know how to use Google and use it well, not to mention use reasoning to solve the issue.

    I’m a tech, and I have never run across a problem I can’t solve with enough effort and thought. The problem is likely that Quest’s router has firmware that is not compatable with the Mac wireless card, and a Linksys or something similar will work. The technician themselves must take the time to eliminate all possibilities in order to resolve the issue, and clearly here they didn’t.

    It doesn’t matter that it’s Mac OS X. It only matters that the technician didn’t do their job.

  61. neithernor says:

    This seems to be SOP for wireless companies — when I called Verizon about a speed problem with my DSL, it took me three calls before I found a tech who said “Let’s fix this together” instead of “Sorry, can’t help, it must be your computer.” I run Windows XP on my very old laptop, but the hardware on the consumer end is a convenient thing to blame.

  62. mac-phisto says:

    @Falconfire, Front_Towards_Enemy: i’d be happy to let you guys come over & fix it. =)

    actually, this problem happened awhile ago, so until FTE mentioned encryption, i forgot to mention that we set up WEP (i know, i know – but we have a couple DS’s in the house). & i think we determined that was the problem. methinks os x no likes the WEP.

  63. ryanh221 says:

    @Pylon83: Her lengthy comment was readable
    and interesting and to comment with such haste is irresponsible.
    Obviously from your lack of proofing/editing skills, you fired off your
    tirade without much thought. More on topic, however, I loathe using a
    Mac. That being said, it is a viable system for any consumer and more
    and more the choice to use a Mac is the convenience of the system. If
    you are a major technology company dealing directly with a public that
    has a large share of Mac users, yes, they should definitely have
    someone, somewhere, with training in Macs. Furthermore, their business
    practice of ignoring the Mac user and simultaneously proverbially
    slapping them in the face is reprehensible. I may hate the Mac but I
    respect the users. Sorry for your inconvenience Lindsey.

  64. samurailynn says:

    My little ole’ macbook connects to just about every wireless network it can find. In fact, when you’re running Leopard, it not only connects to the wireless network, it allows you to view the contents of any computer connected to that network. Of course, that is if they are not password protected. I now know that some one of my neighbors has a computer named “Erection”.

  65. Rob says:

    @grundy: Um, shes attempting to setup the WiFi on her Mac (most likely so that she can, you know, be wireless) she is not attempting to configure the DSL modem. The Qwest Techs most likely were able to setup the DSL modem with the PPPoA UN/Password and enable the WiFi but were not able to configure her Mac.

  66. phrygian says:

    I used to do support for GTE Internet (back in the mid-90s when GTE still existed). I was one of a handful of people on the Mac helpline; I think the ratio was about 10:1 PC to Mac support people. At any rate, I was told by several adamant Macs users that I’d be out of a job in no time because “Mac users don’t need support.” Add that opinion to the big company opinion that 10% isn’t worth spending money on… well, you end up with service like this letter.

    I still use a Mac. I rarely call tech support — but when I do, I lie and say I have a PC. Otherwise, the “techs” will give you the blow off, even if you’re only asking for something simple like a dial-up number.

  67. Jasmo says:

    Sounds like Qwest is a “practically obsolete system.”

  68. captbob says:

    I own Mac, Windows boxes, and a couple Linux boxes, but my main machine is a MacBook. I have VAST experience with Qwest “customer service” and DSL. I also knew someone who worked as a supervisor in Qwest’s local customer service department, their local head of consumer affairs and their vice-president for our region. Didn’t help. And frankly, I’m not sure it’s a “Mac v. Windows” issue, but more of a “it’s outside the box and therefore we can’t fix it” issue.

    My most recent encounter was to upgrade my DSL speed and get a new modem/router (the old one was routinely dropping the DSL connection 4-5 times a day). I was told that I was using an old protocol, and that I’d be sent a new router, and my phone line would be re-provisioned. The modem/router came in 48 hrs (amazing!) and I hooked it up. It fired up just fine, I was able to get into its status screens, figured out where it’s log files were, and….nada, zip, zilch.

    Phone call to Qwest, got a tech in India. After running through their standard questions, they blamed the problem on my ISP (a third-party ISP, not Micro$oft: they give me a great deal on a fixed IP connection and I know the local techs). Talked to my ISP’s local tech: no signal from the Qwest circuit.

    Called back. Got India again, oh…the line hadn’t been provisioned for the new service, but the old circuit had been taken out of service. “We’ll have it up by Monday.”

    Monday: No service. Tuesday: called and asked status. New service has been provisioned. Check circuit from my end: no PPP connection. Asked to talk to their local tech guy (our local Qwest POP is 4 blocks from my house). One person comes over, tests all lines outside, finds a problem. Says to wait until he fixes something back at the POP. Next day, nothing. Ask for another tech to come out. He says everyting is ok. While he is here, we call my ISP. Turns out that the Qwest process for re-provisioning their circuit caused them to initiate a new account, for that circuit and they created a new username/password login. Get the right PPP user/password, get a connection. For 24 hours. Then it’s dead as a doornail.

    Now I’m getting to know the Qwest local escalation engineer (Mr. Tuttle?) by his first name, and have his personal cell phone number. He comes out on his lunch break 2 days later. Sure enough there’s a noise problem on the line. He brings a replacement modem/router. Signal slightly better. He gets a cherry picker out and narrows the problem down to a connection between my house and the local POP (about two blocks away). Since then, my connection has been mostly fine (though not anything like the connection speed I’m paying for).

    None of this had to do with my being on a Mac: it had everything to do with Qwest’s process for dealing with tech questions, how they treat third-party ISPs, and how they communicate internally. Every step of the way, the techs stated that the problem was a Mac. My only salvation is that I could read the modem/router logs and knew enough about DSL to throw the failure to connect codes and log language in their face. Finally, only though the persistence of a local engineer (who had a Mac at home BTW) were we able to figure out the problem.

    Total time to solve the problem: 10 days. Workdays down: 8. Hours on the phone: 12. Hours with onsite techs: 5. How long would it have taken had I connected with the engineer in the first place (or someone with a requisite skill level)? Significantly shorter. And it would have cost Qwest a lot less in the long run.

    The only thing that allowed me to thread this needle was my own knowledge of what was going on. Had it been my wife dealing with this, we’d be using a cable modem.

  69. joshuaer says:

    The Funniest thing is
    ” he told me that hardly anyone uses macs and Qwest should not have to train its employees in a practically obsolete system. He then transferred me, against my will, to the apple support line.”

    Why because 6 of the last Qwest TV commercials in the last year have been made on with Macs. I worked on them and I only own Macs!

    If you see the Qwest ad that shows some windows photos loading and a person installing Qwest one click install software it was all run on a Mac Running Mac OSX using Quicktime and was not really even windows it was a program I call CurtainsX which looks like Windows but is built in Apple Shake and played as video!

  70. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    As a PC user of over ten years I made the switch to Apple a few years ago… I seriously dont know what the issue the poster is having could be?

    Mac doesnt really view wireless in much diferent of a way than Windows does. Its a very slight difference in setting up… in fact, I find my Mac easier to set up for wireless than my Windows PCs.

    There isnt any real “configuring” to be done. Turn on wireless on the Mac(if it isnt already on), view available networks (click the little wireless icon in the upper right) and select one. Youre connected. If you can connect to coffee shops, then you can connect anywhere.

    In reality, the type of OS should be beside the point. The access point should be broadcasting a signal, and short of some encryption key you might need, you should be able to connect. If it isnt broadcasting a signal, then it is a hardware issue with the modem/access point, not the computer being used.

    I have mixed feelings about this post. Maybe qwest isnt providing good service, but it seems as if the poster maybe does not have basic knowledge of OS X. Qwest should be able to help set up your service, but they arent responsible for teaching you your OS. I think some facts are missing from this story.

  71. Kero says:

    OK, admittedly stupid statement. But to be fair, I had a ‘Genius’ at an Apple Store tell me (within the last 6 months) that they don’t work on Windows PCs ‘because we don’t like to mess with IRQ settings’. I asked him if TRS-80s and Commodore 64s were on their support list.

  72. Buran says:



    Really? Then why was a new OS revision released just at the end of last month? Then why are Macs based on the latest standards? And so on?

    Sounds like Qwest is too stupid to realize that not everyone is a Windows user and fails to appropriately train its workers and won’t admit this oversight. Yes, I said oversight. A negligent one.

  73. Chairman-Meow says:

    @mac-phisto: Thanks phisto. The encryption is where wireless typically breaks. Always configure the SSID to be OPEN first. Once it works properly, then cut in the encryption.

    As for Wireless, since I build large coroprate wireless networks for a living, I do speak from experience.

    If you need help, please make an appointment.

    Oh yes, for everyone else, friends don’t let friends configure linksys/Cisco wireless devices. That is the road to the dark-side.

  74. SoCalGNX says:

    Since about 85% of the worlds graphic design is done on Macs (as in publishing etc), maybe they need to get a grip on reality. I was told something similar by the NPG cable company.

    The hot set up is to maintain other Mac users as contacts for help and to join a MUG if possible. Most Mac issues are easily resolved unlike PCs aka the machine of the devil.

  75. sqnzcjc says:

    Sorry, if i duplicate the answer. I never got through all the comments. I believe it is something with QWEST modem (actiontec) not having initial support for IPV6. You need to update the modem.

    I did and it solved for my Wii as well.

    looks like you solved through another provider but just thought I would share.

  76. ecartman says:

    Sorry man but vote with your wallet and change from quest. Oh and reduce the verbage. Not sure if Quest is the only option as I never read anything so long unless its to purchase a house or something. good luck


  77. louisb3 says:

    @sonichghog: Saying that a knowledgeable technician needs to be familiar with all the major OSes is infinitely less ridiculous than saying they only need to be familiar with the biggest one. You’re talking (I assume) about ignoring EIGHTEEN PERCENT of the market in that case, according to the link you posted.

    I wouldn’t expect anyone to be an expert at any given OS, necessarily, but I would expect a tech to be able to complete an easy task with any of them. Qwest failed to do so. They are not competent techs. Swalve cannot use a mouse. He shouldn’t claim to be a tech.

    @darious: Guess you didn’t do your job then, unless you were being paid by Microsoft to further some nefarious monopolistic goals. A 6% market-share OS that, for the purposes of networking, follows all the standards but simply uses a better GUI is hardly “non-standard.”

    @Jasmo: Yes.

  78. mammalpants says:

    ironically, but seriously, i ask…what’s Quest?

    they need to get with the times and stop hanging out with my dead grandfather and sharing stories about 1929.

  79. ihenni says:

    As an earlier poster said, setting up a Qwest modem is as simple as plugging in the Ethernet cable and using a web browser to go to – then following Quick Setup or Alternative/Non-Windows Setup, depending.
    To not support OS X when setup of the modem is through a web browser is ridiculous.
    Also, it should take a competent trainer an hour to fully explain how to setup Internet Connections on a Mac, Ethernet, Modem and Airport included. Being able to support most major operating systems means better support, which means customers that stay with the company. I say that’s win/win, even if it costs an hour per employee to train…

  80. timkline says:

    To all those above who say using a PC is easier than a Mac, that is an absurd statement, and you have zero credibility. Just stop.

  81. magus_melchior says:

    The “obsolete system” excuse is a smokescreen for “we’re too cheap to hire support techs who have used other systems, and we’re too paranoid to face the odd lawsuit for ‘officially supporting’ OS X but failing miserably.” Buck-passing at its finest.

    @swalve: I smell a troll. The “one-button mouse” argument is a red herring, and the guy doesn’t bother to respond to comments.

    Come to think of it, I generally don’t come back to a post after commenting. Hmm…

  82. ParadigmABQ says:

    Saying that Qwest shouldn’t have to support Apple products because they are only 10% of the market share is just like saying that Qwest doesn’t have to support 1 out of 10 Windows users that might have a minority issue crop up.

    Not to mention, calling them obsolete when they were recently valued as the top dollar computer manufacturer by stock price. Hmmm… obsolete?

  83. Zephyrspecial says:

    This is actually pretty typical of the Qwest experience. If a Qwest rep tells a customer incorrect information, or if a sales rep just plain lies about prices, the response is “Sorry you were given misinformation”, but you’re still held responsible for the charges. The notation system only allows up to about 105-110 characters, so no matter how complex and numerous the issues you may have dealt with during the call, the notes the rep can write have to be shorter than a text message. This leads to completely unreadable abbreviations, where spaces, vowels, and every other consonant are removed, and still much of what was discussed in the call is left out. It is possible to go into a legacy VAX/VMS system to leave more verbose notes, but to do so after a call is likely to get the rep in trouble for call avoidance. Anyone who can’t deal with the constant unfair treatment of customers quits in disgust, making it so the only people who are still there are the ones who don’t really care too much about the customers. If you have to call, be sure to be polite, as the reps are human and they will do their best to help nice people. Be obnoxious, and there are about 15,000 different ways to either not help you or make your problem worse, and you can rest assured that no matter how much you make a stink about the service you received, the rep won’t be held accountable. Remember? The people who would care already quit. The supervisors had to make it through being a rep. The people that are employed by Qwest are union employees, and it seems to be their main goal in life to avoid talking to actual customers. (Who can blame them? The customers are always pissed off about the previous rep lying to them, or something else that is probably Qwest’s fault.) The people you talk to on the phone are “vendors”. Otherwise known as outsourcers. They are getting paid 1/2 to 1/3rd of what the Qwest employees get paid and deal with 10x the BS. Oh, and by the way, their MSN internet service officially doesn’t support Macs. You can get basic internet only (same speed, but without the MSN extras, with throttled bittorrent, and for more money), which supports Macs. When you think about it, it does kind of make sense that the MICROSOFT NETWORK (MSN) would not support Macs, doncha think? It will still work just like any other wireless setup. Heck, their online help files will even tell you how to set up a Mac to work with the service. I, ahem, know someone who used to work for an outsourcer for DSL loyalty. “He” would get people with Macs that tech support couldn’t help, and would read them the online help file ( from [www.qwest.com] which is the same site tech support directs people to for more info) step by step, and get their service up and running. It’s not that hard, as it’s really hard to screw up wireless networking on a Mac. I have no idea how the guy who wrote the article did it. Oh, and the modem – good luck getting your money back on that. Over 30 days they won’t credit it unless there are notes saying it was to be returned. See above about notes. Your best bet in dealing with Qwest directly is to write to their executive complaints department. They can even access the recording of your phone call if you talked to a vendor. Qwest internal employees are only recorded about 1/8th of the time, so good luck if it’s an actual Qwest rep that lies to you, but then again, it’s unlikely that you’ll talk to one of them anyway. I don’t know how they respond to BBB, FCC, or PUC complaints, but I’m surprised they don’t get more of them. Oh, but try not to get too mad at the individual reps you speak with – they probably work for a vendor, and can only do what they’re allowed to do. The supervisor is still an employee of the vendor, and the vendor can only do what Qwest will let them do. The vendors have no way to get you to a Qwest internal agent. They will get fired for even attempting to contact one. The executive complaints department is a vendor too. The company is a model of bureaucratic inefficiency. For example, orders that are placed in the computer system are not really computer generated – they go to ORDER WRITERS who then RE-WRITE the orders in the coded system that is compatible with the old VAX/VMS hardware that runs everything behind the scenes. The computer ordering system writes the orders that way to begin with, but to process the order without an order writer re-writing it would be too efficient because it would reduce the number of employees required to do the job. Unions hate that sort of thing. It’s amazing the company actually managed to turn a profit recently. They are only open from 8am-6pm. The reason they can’t have individual departments (except sales, which can’t do anything other than sales) open after hours is because to do almost anything would require a call to another department (or two or three) that would be closed. Their internal policies are so numerous that to even find the official policy on an issue is often nearly impossible, and when you do it is usually not the way things are done in practice. There is an internal atmosphere of entitlement in the company – the internal employees believe they deserve to be paid very well, and the customer is always wrong when it comes to billing disputes, even though their VMS-based billing system is often in error. Often only the loyalty department will issue credits for legitimate billing errors, and to speak with them you have to threaten to disconnect your service. They are making a major effort to turn the company around – and went from last place in customer service to 1st or 2nd in a survey, but I suspect part of the reason is that people with higher expectations have already changed providers. The attitude of us against the customers is still very strong within the company, and as a mostly regulated utility facing limited competition, they can continue to due business this way.

  84. West Coast Secessionist says:

    All this bitching and moaning is missing the point. This isn’t about whether you “should have to” support one OS or another.

    The problem here is simple: Networking hardware, by its very design, is 100% platform-independent. There are no “system requirements” for Ethernet, nor for 802.11a/b/g/n. There’s a STANDARD. And if you make or distribute hardware that supports that standard, and your customer has hardware that supports it too, then that’s ALL that’s needed. What’s fucking this whole thing up is that now EVERY vendor has to stick in some proprietary, nothing-to-do-with-the-standards CD, whose main job is to muck up your Windows settings to drive traffic to the telco’s “portal” and install adware and crap on your computer. They also try to make it so you “have” to use this CD to initialize the “modem” device, or your Internet connection itself. Or at least give you the impression you have to, even if you can do it another way (You know what I mean, the stickers they put over all the ports that say “ZOMG RUN CD FIRST DON’T JUST PLUG IN YOUR COMPUTER!!!”)



    WHY the hell can’t the telcos (this includes cablecos) just provide instructions without making frankly rude assumptions about what kind of computer you have?

    Step 1. Plug everything into power.
    Step 2. Plug an Ethernet cable (included, see figure 1) into a router port marked “LAN” and your computer’s Ethernet port (illustration, figure 2).
    Step 3. Restart your computer.
    Step 4. Open a web browser.
    Step 5. Click Stop and ignore any error message.
    Step 6. Go to [192.x.x.x]
    Step 7. Follow the prompts.

    There, I just did it. Instructions that will work for any computer from Win98 to Mac OS X to Mac OS 9 to Linux to RiscOS. And hell, I did it for free. Why can’t the companies who are paid to do this, do it without resorting to crummy custom software that only runs on Windows?

  85. Seacub says:

    When Qwest was USWest I had that job. The lack of service is entirely sales-driven. The more people you can get to activate using your sales code the more money you make and the fewer threats of being laid off you will receive. Can’t say I never had to do the same just to save my job. I had bills to pay and quotas to meet. Sucks for sure. You wouldn’t believe the amount of pressure that management can put on agents. We were trained under the rule of if it won’t generate a sale in 30 seconds get them off your line, it’s no longer your problem.

  86. Xkeeper says:

    @Falconfire: Ignoring the rest of the comments, but I fail to see how being able to play a silly memory game means anything.

    Then again, a lot of people like making everything difficult. “Hey, why bother using this easy set up dialog, when I can do it in only 17 commands on the terminal! derp derp derp”

    But then again, I think Linux is absolute shit for usability and I hate Macs with a passion, so what do I know. Blah blah blah.

  87. theycallmetak says:

    But, but… But, it just works!!! (sob)

  88. ThomasT0001 says:

    Lindsey, thank you for the post, and personally I didn’t think it was too long. I am running two Macs with Qwest DSL, but I don’t use wireless. I bought my own router/switch (a D-Link), and “avoided” Qwest’s smoke and mirrors charges for multiple computer home computing.

    It can be quite helpful to have a DSL modem and a separate wireless router/switch. This allows for easy isolation of problems. Lindsey, if you got a combined “Advanced Network Modem” I’d HIGHLY recommend returning it and getting a standard one (without router and switch). Then buy your own wireless router/switch. You can ask around for recommendations of a good model.

    With separate components you can troubleshoot the individual parts of the connection. You can test the DSL modem communications by hooking your computer up to the modem directly with an Xbase-T cable, and you can test the wireless communications between systems in your LAN through the wireless router/switch independently from the DSL connection.

    As for all the other comments, folks, Qwest SAYS EXPLICITLY that they support Macs. Thus their tech support MUST support Macs. NO DEBATE. END OF STORY. See [www.qwest.com] (just click on the bracketted link)

    Note how local ISP requirements are IN ADDITION to the ones listed, and don’t EXEMPT them from supporting Macs. FYI, I had no problem in AZ getting Qwest DSL support for my Mac setup, and I’m not even using a “standard” configuration!

  89. SoCalGNX says:

    If you watch any of the crime programs that feature DNA information, many of the geological/earthquake computers, Sell that House, ads for Rosetta Stone software, you will notice they are all Macs.

  90. jesirose says:

    @timkline: It is easier at first if it’s what you’re used to. I now have a mac and a pc and for the first few days it was VERY frustrating not being able to do what I could do in a second on my PC, simply because the keys are different and the interface is different, and I didn’t have everything memorized. It’s easier to stick with what you know, than learn something new, even if that something new is easier to use in the long run.

    Now after days of using my mac, I had to do some work on the PC and kept trying to hit the apple key.

  91. crazylady says:

    @SoCalGNX: Even Microsoft’s been known to slip up and use macs (I assume they’re just stock photos or something) in some pics on their website ;)

    @jesirose: I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m probably not the average user, but it only takes a day or two to get used to a new interface. Sure I won’t know all the little quirks (“that weird key combo does what?!”) but enough to get the idea that I’m getting fairly comfortable using it. Given all the people I know who’ve switched from Mac OS to Windows and vice versa, none of them are having major interface usability issues (I mean how different is cmd+c as opposed to ctrl+c for copying text?). It’s just the little quirks that are left for you to learn over a longer period of time (i.e. on a Mac apps don’t always quit when you close the last window).

    @Xkeeper: Depends on what you’re talking about. Sometimes the terminal commands are a bit more flexible than a setup wizard type thing which ideally is supposed to prevent the end user from fucking up too much but to give them enough power to get the job done. I’m much better at troubleshooting connectivity issues with command line tools than I am with Apple’s connection utility, etc.

    @sonichghog: That’s a pretty retarded statement about the similarities of operating systems..or should I say dissimilarities, according to you. Networking basics are something all these operating systems supposedly different all have in common. It’s just a matter of knowing how to go about doing that one common thing across multiple OSs, and that’s something easily changed to fit your needs. Yes, each has its quirks and bugs and incompatibilities and hardware issues, but for basic setup and troubleshooting it usually won’t be a big issue.

    Frankly I’m not even sure why Macs are playing such a prominent part in this discussion or why this is titled as though it’s the entire story. So Qwest sucks and they fucked up, but I would imagine the bigger problem here is the bigger picture and the hassle involved with everything else more than the Mac itself..or that’s what you’d think after reading that long email that talks more about the twisted business practices of Qwest than it does about the MacBook.

  92. jesirose says:

    @crazylady: You’re not sure that something you’re familiar with is easier to use at first than something you’re not, but you agree that it takes a few days to get used to a new system. Okay…

  93. BugMeNot2 says:

    As a former employee of this company I have head stories such as this more times than I care to remember. But I would like to point out one thing to you. The SALES rep is required to ask what operating system you run. If you have a mac they are obligated to inform you that they do not support it in any fashion. It is “try at your own risk”. The MSN ISP services they offer have almost a zero chance of working with your mac but the QWEST.Net with a basic modem should be plug and play. If you want wireless you are best off to buy your own third party wireless router and attach it to the basic modem. While in all likelihood the rep did not inform you of this for whatever reason. Many customers are told and simply do not care until it bites them. Its not Qwest’s responsibility to make all their service or any of them for that mater compatible with anything. But some responsibility does rest on the shoulders of the consumer. ASK, its that simple. and if you would like to be treated well, treat the rep well. If you call in yelling, screaming, making threats or unreasonable demands, thats your choice, and all choices have consequences. Just like your choice to use your cell phone. Quest did not make the choice for you. You did. You chose to pay by the minute. Calls to any company, for tech support especially, are time consuming. EXPECT IT. As for the modem fiasco LISTEN TO YOUR ORDER RECAP. It’s their for a reason. So are the order conformations they mail you. If there was a mistake be cordial about it, and if NEEDED ask for a manager. Mistakes do happen. And most of all remember this about Qwest: THEY ARE FEDERALLY REGULATED! Simply put, they have special restrictions and processes REQUIRED BY LAW. They are not optional.

  94. brodie7838 says:

    “Qwest went with the lowest bidder on outsourced phone support, and the user got what Qwest paid for – rude and stupid phone support.”

    Actually, that’s not how it works. I used to work in aforementioned “outsourced phone support” company. I worked right next to the Loyalty Department. It’s not the outsourced companies fault. They trained us the best they could, but Qwest provides virtually nothing to train with. You have to follow EVERY step, jump through EVERY hoop laid out by Qwest for fear of losing your job. We never got trained on any other OS but Windows. If you tried to help a customer, and didn’t follow their best practices steps to the T, you risked being fired.
    PYLON83 said it right. If anything, blame Qwest for this.

  95. Loudog1 says:

    If the answer was no the first time why the hell would it be yes the next 500 times?

    Assigned responsibilities 101:
    Your ISP has minimal responsibility in trouble shooting a stubborn system. They only know the most basic and rudimentary hook ups.

    Your PC tech has more.

    They should know the basics on both a MAC and PC, unless their disclaimer details that wireless hookups are self installs. In that case it’s all you. Not saying this is the case but people should know how to completely operate something they own. Not just how to turn it on and click the browser icon. Not saying that everyone should learn programming…just saying they should actually read the manual before calling their ISP or cable provider to give them free help. They sure as crap won’t get free help from a computer tech.

  96. alsehendo34 says:

    Speaking of Charter:
    The tec that came to my house said that things were running too slow because, I had too many things running on my PC–there was about 50 shortcuts to apps on the desktop :-)

  97. MemyselfandmyMac says:

    Thanks for the informative article. I think it is pretty succint and to the point. People with the attention span of a dead mosquito need not read it.

    And of course DLS companies have a right not to support any OS they are not comfortable with, but in such case they MUST inform prospective clients BEFOREHAND, instead of wasting people’s time and money. There should be laws in place enforcing that.

  98. qazwart says:

    Let’s go through those figures again: Macs represent 11% of all new PC sales. Not the total percent of all PCs. So, there may only be about 4 to 5 percent Mac users.

    Still, Macs are a growing presence on the PC scene. Remember that’s 11% of all new PC sales. See that ATM by your bank? That’s a PC inside there. See the automatic toll collection system at your local subway/el? That’s a PC in there. About 15% of all PCs are not used for desktop use.

    Now, that 11% also represents all PC sales at both home and business. Since businesses buy about 60% of all desktop systems, and are about 100% Windows, that means Macs represents about 20 to 30 percent of all consumer sales. And, it’s growing. This Christmas shopping season, Macs may represent up to 15% of all PC sales.

    So, right now, Quest may not be getting a lot of Mac business, but it is the fastest growing segment of the PC market. They better be prepared.

  99. Buran says:

    @brodie7838: Actually, since Qwest says they support Macs, they support Macs. That means that it’s up to you to support Macs. Stop blaming someone else for your own inability to do the job right.

  100. jeblis says:

    I thought macs “just work.”

  101. asscore says:

    thats what you get for buying a mac, trendy faggot!

    hilarious – that qwest cant support a operating system made for the computer illiterate.

  102. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    Dial it back on the homophobic slurs.

  103. Mr. Gunn says:

    tl;dr for both the story and comments

    why are mac users such whiny babies?

  104. accessmemorex says:

    Qwest is bad, Qwest customer service is bad, They have a long history of having and using the most irritating and downright stupid rules and policies. Now on to the main event. Why did you not call MAC, They can provide you with support that is where there TS should end, If the service is working it is there responsibility, as the mac is there product. there is no way every CS rep can be trained on every product while you pay 5$ a month on high speed internet. This was a combination of stupidity I hope people learn from this.

  105. superf88 says:

    Quest might care more about their missing 10% — same could be said about Mac for their missing 90%. In this context it is a Mac “userability” flaw.

  106. Joeyjojo says:

    Wow. Crazy comments in here. Qwest is smiling happily just like Karl Rove: “See, we got them arguing about something completely irrelevant to the issue and now they’ve long forgotten how evil and crappy we are!”


    Qwest support sucks mainly because it’s not Qwest. Most anyone you talk to via any of the phone lines is actually an outsourced vendor. From what I can tell, most are working on commission, so that explains why when you call to complain about your current service, they attempt to ‘solve’ the problem by upgrading you.

    And, ultimately, they suck because they are a monopoly. No real reason to care.

    Anyways, this thread takes me back about 10 years ago when we first got Qwest DSL. And yes, this was with a Mac.

    Anyways, several months after getting DSL I got a brochure in the mail advertising a new Qwest service called something like ‘ring through’ that allowed the phone to still ring even though you were on dial-up. Some odd things about this brochure:

    1) I had DSL. Why would they send me this ad?
    2) They knew I had a Mac, why bother sending me a service that only worked on Windows?
    3) Why make a brochure advertising a service that only works on Windows, but have the only computers pictured in the computer be PowerMacs?

    Anyways, Qwest always has been, and always will be an incompetant, clueless, uncaring behemoth of a corporation. And we’ll keep paying because, well, it’s them or the evil cable company. ;o)