Answer 1: First, do you want or need to continue
dealing with your current ISP? Some people can simply and easily move to
another ISP and immediately get better service, but often there are fewer and
sometimes worse options for most of us. If you have a contract, you might not be
able to do this without paying a penalty. Then again, the stress of dealing with
long-term complicated problems can make moving on worth every penny you might
end up paying to get away.
Answer 2: If you want to stick with your current ISP,
make sure you tried everything in the book to fix your problem; tweaks, testing, isolating your computer and DSL modem, disconnecting everything in the house, anything at all that might have the slightest effect on your connection. Also take into account external forces on your DSL, like
that new AM radio station that just went up next to your house. ;)
Broadband - especially DSL - is very complex, and the issues surrounding it are not always understood well by DSL providers. Consequently your ISP's limited and costly support resources are often over-burdened, which can make it very hard for them to respond to you when you really need the help.
Many DSL problems can be difficult to correct because there are often at least 3 different companies that have their hands in your DSL connection: Your ISP, Telco, and network provider. Since these companies may not let you communicate with anyone else but the ISP when you have a problem, resolving a problem with your telco or network provider may require a lot of persistence, patience, and hold times with your ISP.
Since in the end you may need to call your ISP for help, follow these instructions. Sometimes you'll get through to exactly the right person,
and sometimes you will speak to Satan himself. You should know how to deal with them both:
1. Keep a record of every call on a fresh sheet of paper. Write down the time and date, the name of each person you talk to during that call, get their direct number if you can "in case we get disconnected", and write a brief description of the events during the call. You may have to talk to several different technicians during one call, so don't be
surprised if you get bumped to a higher level of tech support - be thankful, and write down their info.
This may seem like a lot of work but in the end it will be worth it especially if your problem requires a complex solution, and also if it involves people who prove to be a
hindrance to getting your problem resolved. I guarantee you will not even remember the name of the tech after 5 minutes, and keeping track of what you've already tried will help you narrow down future problems as well as the current one.
2. Be polite, be persistent, and be patient with the people you talk to.
Technical support call center jobs are often very stressful, and techs are usually overworked and under quotas to get as many calls completed in as short a time as possible. Getting angry with them doesn't do you or them any good, and your problem will probably not be resolved immediately anyway if you tried everything else before the call.
3. If you follow Step 2 religiously but the person you are talking to is abrasive or is refusing to help resolve your problem, you should stop dealing with them and demand to speak to their
manager immediately - be polite, but firm. You WILL be put on hold at this point. If
the hold time goes on too long (15-30 minutes) then hang up and call Customer Service (not Technical
Support). Calmly explain the problems you had with the previous tech, and request to speak to a manager.
4. If you speak to a Manager, remember that they
are even more over-worked than the phone techs are, but they usually know
their employees: they can and probably will assign you to a better tech to
help get your problem resolved. If they are good at their job, they also want
to know if and where their employees need improvement - just be truthful when
you relate your experiences with a bad tech.
Repeat Step 4 as necessary until you get to someone who
cares enough to take charge of your problem and work it through with you.
There is nothing stopping you from demanding to speak to a higher authority if
all else fails, but as with everything else in life, the higher you reach the
more difficult it is to get there.
5. If you've tried everything and aren't
getting the help you need, you can try contacting the ISP's CEO, and then
service agencies that regulate the industry. This can actually have quick
results, but don't expect anything instantaneous:
- Try writing a letter to your ISP's CEO or other
corporate executives. Many people actually have gotten positive
results this way
- Your Public Utilities Commission may help you.
Below is the California web site address, but others may easily be found
using a search engine such as http://www.google.com.
- Contact the FCC Consumer Complaints: 1-888-225-5322
6. Failing all else, cancel your current ISP and go
with another provider. If you have tried your best, and still can't get
what you need, then either there really is no current solution to your problem
or you need to move on to another ISP or broadband provider.
If your ISP can't provide you the service you contracted
for, they are effectively in breach of the contract you both agreed to and
they should not penalize you when you cancel. Though this has potential to
turn into a battle over billing, your documentation of calls and letters will
help you much more in this event than if you didn't keep track of anything at
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