Wednesday night, my DSL line quit working. Not just an inability to log on - the blinkenlights on the DSL modem were indicating problems even establishing a connection.
Called Earthlink support line on Friday, and we established there was no dial tone on the DSL line, and that I should contact my local phone company to have them fix the line.
Now, here's the problem: My "local phone company" doesn't provide my DSL line. See, the deal originally offered by Mindspring (before Earthlink bought them out) was $50/month to cover both the physical DSL line and the ISP service. Granted, I assume they contract the physical line out to local companies, but I've never dealt with that local company, whoever they might be. My payment goes direct to Earthlink. Someone from Covad originally installed the line, but now (4 years later), there's no listing for Covad in the local phone book.
I explained this to Earthlink service reps. Repeatedly. In no uncertain terms. I probably talked to 8-10 different people. Most of them didn't understand what I was telling them (that, from my point of view, Earthlink is both my ISP and the telco that provides the DSL line itself), and the ones that did understand it refused to believe it. I did finally get someone who somehow figured out that they needed to get their local installation techs to deal with the problem. They said they would call me back Saturday morning (it's Monday - still haven't heard from them), but also transferred me to talk to someone right away. Of course, the nice electronic hold lady voice told me that "right away", in this case, meant after a wait of "greater than 30 minutes".
Unfortunately for them, in the time it took to get to this point (actually half the time, since she started about midway through the call), Brenda had gotten Time-Warner on her cell phone and arranged for them to set us up with cable modem service, at a better price. Which made it sort of pointless to sit there on hold for half an hour, beyond the hour or so I had already been on the phone, getting increasingly frustrated and irate.
It's a shame: Earthlink has been a perfectly good ISP for four years, up until we actually had a problem. Their tech support line pissed away that good will in an hour and a half. Basically through a stubborn inability to deviate from their pre-written scripts, which weren't written to cover my specific situation.
Anyone care to hazard a guess as to whether that support was in-house or outsourced?
Unfortunately, this does mean I'm without internet access at home until the 31st or so, although since we'll be out of town for most of that time, it's not as bad as it could have been. It did make for a somewhat tense weekend.