I'm sure everyone has had the pleasure of speaking to a tech support hotline. You know the sort, outsourced call centre, expensive number, person on the other end who has no idea what they're doing... Yeah. I avoid them wherever possible.
This weekend, I was dealing with a relative's troublesome internet - ever since moving house, they had been unable to get online even though the ISP promised they had changed the phone number and address and whatnot over a month ago. I fiddled all the usual settings, routers, firewalls, passwords, etc., but to no avail. I had little other choice than to ring them up to ask what was up. I was a bit unsure about one of the settings, as it was set to PPPoA on this router but my own one uses a PPPoE connection so I wondered whether this was correct. I'd tried both but they hadn't worked, but there were also other fiddly bits I might have forgotten. Sooo, I decided to brave the call centre and ask them.
Support guy (with thick accent): Hello, you are through to [ISP] support, my name is [name], how may I help you today.
Me: Hi, I'm just having a bit of an issue connecting to your service. I've checked all the settings on my end and they are all correct, so I was wondering if you could help.
Him: Ok ma'am. Can you open up the Internet Explorer.1
Me: ... um, ok.
Him: Go to white box at the top. Delete text. Type [router IP].
Me: Ok, I've already done that and I've checked all the settings there, they are all fine. There was one thing I was a bit unsure about though - do you use the PPPoA setting or PPPoE?
Him: *Long pause* No, you take CD out. Type in the Internet Explorer.
Me: CD? No, I asked about connection types. Is it PPP-
Him: *Interrupting* Ma'am, no CD. Take CD out.
Him: No CD.
Me: I'm not using a CD, I-
Him: *Interrupting* Type in the Internet Explorer, [router IP].
Me: ... yeah.
Him: Type in the Internet-
Me: I've done that.
Him: What do you see.
Me: I've already logged in. I checked-
Him: *Interrupting again* Type in the Internet Explorer-
Me: I'VE. DONE. THAT.
Him: What do you see.
Me: It is showing me the settings.2
Him: You type username, password, it is [username] and [password].
It carried on like that for several minutes, him just ignoring everything I was saying. He asked me to confirm the phone number on the account, put me on hold, then came back.
Him: Ma'am you reboot now.
Him: You reboot, it work now.
Me: I rebooted before, it didn't help.
Him: No, you reboot, it work now.
Him: You reboot?
Me: Yeah yeah, it rebooted.3
Him: It work now.
Him: Reboot, it work.
Me: I'm trying it on another computer right now, this one doesn't work either.
Him: Reboot please ma'am.
Me: I don't see how that's going to help.
Him: It should work, you reboot.
Me: Yeah well, it's not working.
Him: Reboot the Internet Explorer, it work now.
Me: No, it really doesn't.
Him: Reboot, it work when you reboot.
Me: Yeah. Doesn't though.
Him: Reboot again, til it work.
Me: *Hangs up*
And guess what? 10 minutes later, everything worked. And no, I didn't reboot. A reboot won't fix a connection issue unless it was a problem with the computer, and it wasn't. Stupid ISP hadn't switched the phone number over and had the cheek to try and make me think they 'magically' fixed things by trying to buy time by making me reboot. Yeah, I don't think so somehow.
1 And what if I don't want to use Internet Explorer? ^
2 Humouring him now ^
3 It hadn't. ^