Crazy ISP Stories

  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    I feel like we need a thread to share batshit crazy stories about their ISPs.

  • @Polygeekery said:

    I feel like we need a thread to share batshit crazy stories about their ISPs.

    Okay, I'll start, and the powers that be can Jeff this if they want.

    My mother had 5 Mbps DSL through Qwest, but she routinely got less than 100k. Also, Microsoft services and domains were inexplicably blocked. Xbox LIVE didn't work, MSN didn't work, didn't work, Windows Updates and Windows Activation didn't work, etc. One time I had to drive over to her town (I lived four hours away at the time) and take her freshly-repaved laptop around town and search for unsecured Wi-Fi that wasn't on Qwest just to activate Windows for her.

    And after one of those slowdowns where her line rate was only 38k and stayed that way for weeks, we called a tech from the phone company. We had to call multiple times to convince them something was wrong, no rebooting the modem does NOT fix it, no her PC was not laden down with viruses, and we need someone out here. It took them six weeks to send a tech!

    He showed up, checked some stuff, and said "Everything looks good!" I popped up and showed him that we were only getting 38k, and he said "Well I'm just a phone tech, I don't know anything about the Internet" and he left.

    I had my mother switch over to Cox Cable after that. 50+ Mbps and often goes well above what she pays for.

  • Fake News

  • I'm still being hunted by some debt reclaiming service because of the following.

    Some five years ago I decided to move from an apartment to a house1. We were using a Vodafone router which also came with a 3G USB dongle. When I called Vodafone to cancel the service, I was told that while they transferred the DSL line I could use the 3G connection without added fees. Of course, I moved, connected the router with the dongle and kept on browsing happily. After two weeks I was worried, but I don't remember if I called them or what.
    End of month comes and I receive a bill for 400€ which I of course didn't pay. They said this wasn't so and that they didn't have any registry about my line transfer request, so I had to pay them.

    [1] Believe me, when in this situation, cancel the service and sign up again.

  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    I was being facetious, but sure. :smile:

    We are with Comcast Business, and for the most part I am happy, but there have been...incidents.

    Most recently, while there was construction going on in our neighborhood that involved digging up pretty much all of the streets, I was sitting in my office when the internet went out.

    Shit, they must have dug through a line or something. Oh well, I have some work that can be done without internet access, so I get to it. A few minutes later the door bell rings. I answer and it is a Comcast guy. Well, that was quick...I had not even called them yet...

    He tells me he is there to collect my modem and other equipment due to non-payment on the account. Well, that is news to me as I had just recently paid the bill and always paid as soon as I got it. I tell him he is mistaken. He tells me that I had to have known as my service had been shut off for over a month. Uhmmmmm, no, I was using it up until he disconnected from the pole.

    Finally, I get him to call in and something was messed up that caused my account to be scheduled for disconnection. Maybe they offshored that part of their systems? Regardless, I tell him that my service had not been interrupted, etc.

    Come to find out, when they "disconnect" your service they do not shut down your modem or anything like that which would make sense. In my case they blocked my access to their DNS servers. As I run a local DNS server that falls back to Google DNS servers and not theirs...I had no idea that all of this was coming, and that is a pretty silly way to shut off someone's internet access. It is effectively equivalent to this:

    Edit: More correctly, when they shut off your service, any requests coming from your IP to their DNS servers get redirected to this webpage:

    It is still a silly way to shut off your service.

  • I work for an ISP - I couldn't even post the crazy stories I know.

  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Eldelshell said:

    I'm still being hunted by some debt reclaiming service because of the following.

    I am pretty sure that I have posted this before elsewhere, but I have a similar story.

    I used to live in one of the suburbs here, and I was with an ISP that is no more as they were bought out by Comcast after I moved. In the interim I was with Bright House. When we moved in to this house, I call up Comcast and they setup our service no problem. No deposit, no nothing.

    Fast forward ~3 months, I get the bill from the mailbox one day and open it as I am walking back down the driveway and it is for some ungodly amount. IIRC it was ~$1,000? I am floored, I call them and they say that the defunct cable company that they bought out showed that I never returned my equipment when I cancelled my service (which I had) and that I owed them for 2 DVR boxes and a modem. Immediately, I am incensed.

    I get the run-around for weeks about this. Everyone I call cannot help me, their supervisors cannot help me, the best they offer is to set it up on a payment plan. More than once I probably told them they could fornicate with their payment plans.

    One day it occurs to me that I have a good friend who is in corporate sales and his company pays for his access to a database of very important people. I phone him up and ask him if he has the number for the CEO of Comcast. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He gives it to me as long as I promise to never tell anyone where I got it from, like he will be kicked out of the sales club when the Gestapo breaks down my door. Sure, whatever. :smile:

    It is around noon when I call, and I swear this next part happens: I was expecting to get his secretary or something, but maybe she was out to lunch and the CEO of Comcast answered the freaking phone. After a bit of confusion on his part, I quickly and politely explain my situation and he asks for my number and says he will have someone call me right back. Less than 5 minutes later my phone rings and it is a woman asking for my customer # and such and she tells me that the charges will be removed from my next bill and if I have any further issues on this matter to please call her and gives me her number.

    When in doubt, go straight to the top.

  • And here's a few more from my old area. Back in rural Missouri, or rather a town of roughly 10,000 in the middle of rural Missouri, we (me and 5 other college students or graduates) had Embarq DSL which was decent. We got 10 Mbps because we were only three blocks from their office and that was also the fastest residential connection available for anyone. The competitor was Suddenlink Cable which was the hilariously-evil ISP. Suddenlink was 5 Mbps max on a good day if it there an away game and nobody was in town, leaving you as the only cable user, otherwise 500 - 1000k with 700 ms ping and with very high packet loss. Literally unusable for anything but basic email 75% of the time. Just not reliable enough and normally not fast enough for gaming, Netflix, or YouTube.

    This was a college town and we'd play a lot of Xbox LIVE with other students in town, and since Suddenlink was quite a bit cheaper than Embarq most students got cable. Those on Suddenlink could rarely go through 1 - 2 games of Halo or Call of Duty without a disconnect, to the point that the phrase "He got Suddenlink'd" was a well-known local euphemism.

    We had Suddenlink at work, too, but it was business fiber because we did web hosting. It was something like $2,000 per month for 20 Mbps, and the joys of their wonderful customer service. One time we had an outage and customers started calling in because their sites were down. We called Suddenlink and they said they knew nothing about it. Right then a coworker looked out front and saw a Suddenlink truck with a big spool of fiber on our curb, and talked to him to find that today was a planned downtime to replace a segment of line. Gee, thanks for the warning! The phones were off the hooks that day but thankfully we didn't have any SLA's to abide by.

    So, anyway, back to Embarq, they were pretty good and rarely had outages, and the few times we got disconnected and I called it in they'd immediately say "Yep, there's an outage in your area, we're already aware of it and working on a fix."

    Well they got bought out by CenturyLink and customer service took a dive. As I was moving away, they couldn't just transfer the account, I had to cancel and my roommates had to sign up for new service. I couldn't even just give them the modem, I had to pay to ship the modem back to CenturyLink and then they reboxed it and sent it right back to my roommate. :wtf:

    When they sent a tech out to set service up again, he couldn't get it working. He claimed he couldn't find anything wrong and it must be a problem with the house's phone wiring, and since that wasn't phone company property they'd have to charge a boatload to come into the house and fix it. Of course this was nonsense because it had worked a few days prior when everything was under my name.

    I don't recall the full story as my roommate had told me, but I know he fought with this tech for the better part of a week. The tech would come out, mess with some stuff out in the phone box, claim he couldn't figure out what's wrong, and then leave until called again. Finally my roommate went out and looked at the phone box and noticed an unplugged RJ11 phone cable. He plugged it in and the Internet worked. My friend tried to get the guy's name or employee ID to report him, but after finding out the resident had done his job for him the tech quit answering phone calls and did everything he could to avoid contact from my roommates.

  • Holy wall of text Batman! Oops.

  • @Polygeekery said:

    When in doubt, go straight to the top.

    If someone emails our CEO (finding their email is trivial) with certain key words then it gets filtered to a specific team to jump all over it. I assume this is the same other places.

  • @Eldelshell said:

    Believe me, when in this situation, cancel the service and sign up again.


    I moved to a new flat and wanted to relocate the ADSL service. Called the ISP, agreed to a new rate (same speed, less money) and told them that I still want to use the same cable modem, and yes, I can unscrew it from the wall at the old place myself, just let me know when you can install it at the new place. They were supposed to call me and schedule a tech to install the modem at the new place. Note: I left the modem connected at the old place until they shut down the service there.

    A month passes and I get a bill for internet service at the old and the new place (also the relocation fee), so I call the ISP and explain this problem. The lad on the phone says that the double bill is surely a mistake which will be fixed ASAP. So I ask about the relocation I ordered a month before. He says that the modem is online and working, and what's my problem. You dense mother :point_right: :ok_hand: , yes it is working but at the old address, which kind of ruins the concept of relocation!

    It took them two whole months to sort everything out.

    Also: the hand icons don't align as they should.


    @eskel said:

    Also: the hand icons don't align as they should.

    :point_right: :ok_hand:

  • That reminds me of text alignment via   :smile:

  • @eskel said:

    You dense mother [point at ok handsign]


  • Fake News

    Where's :vsign:?

  • :P

  • Fake News

    Where's the other V-sign? :wink:

  • Was the icon selection here inspired by UNICODE, or the other way around?


    @eskel said:

    Was the icon selection here inspired by UNICODE, or the other way around?

    It's emoji. Which are now in Unicode. So... both?

  • SockDev

    @eskel said:

    Was the icon selection here inspired by UNICODE, or the other way around?

    You're assuming there was logic and thought put into it…

    <!-- Emoji'd by MobileEmoji 0.2.0-->

  • @RaceProUK said:



    @RaceProUK said:



    @RaceProUK said:

    into it


  • You can copy stuff without much thought. The stuff being dumb doesn't make it any harder.

  • Mine is pretty tame, and may be overly Canadian, but here it is.

    Several years ago, back when "ISP" and "dialup" were practically synonyms, I moved across the country and shortly before leaving paid my final phone bill and attached a polite note confirming that I did indeed want the service disconnected (I had also called to request this in person, but wanted to be sure there was no confusion about it) and also left a forwarding address in case they needed anything from me.

    I then left and never heard anything from them again so I assumed all was well [1]. Fast forward six months into the future when a letter arrived at my forwarding address[2] informing me that if I did not pay up immediately they would be forced to disconnect my service. [3]

    It seems that The Phone Company had quite happily accepted my forwarding address, but "forgot" to disconnect the line until a few weeks later. Naturally they called to ask if I really wanted it disconnected at which time the new tenant residing in the house said "No, dude, he totally wants to keep it. Don't touch anything!" [4] Thoughtfully respecting my wishes, they left the line connected where it provided free twenty-four hour long distance service for several months.

    Much to my amazement, when I contacted The Phone Company about this the agent I spoke to understood what had happened, apologized for the mix-up and dropped all charges from my account.[6]

    And that was the end of it.


    [1] Yes, this was mistake number two. Mistake number one most likely involved connecting the thing in the first place, but I as trying to correct that one.
    [2] Yes, the one that I had only provided with my written request to disconnect the line. There was no other way they could have gotten that address.
    [3] Yes, you all saw this coming right from the first sentence. I didn't promise any dramatic reveals here, and how much did you pay for the tickets anyway?
    [4] I have no evidence that this actually happened, but the only other explanation involves the phrase "hopelessly incompetent" so I'm just going to stick with this one.[5]
    [5] Yes, you thought I was going to start that footnote with "Yes", didn't you?
    [6] Yes, I had trouble believing it too.

  • I know this is a megabump but I don't feel that my story is worthy of its own topic.

    My grandfather needed to move to a smaller apartment in the same apartment complex, so we let AT&T know well in advance that this was going to happen. The tech guy came with his truck early at around 10am and got started setting up the new apartment to have AT&T service, said it should only take an hour or two. I had already moved over all the electronic stuff including modem, DVR, and computer, and plugged it in as much as possible.

    Hours later, internet is still not available. It turns out they need to call in someone else to go to a telephone pole somewhere at a nearby street and physically turn on a circuit. WTF? Why wasn't this done already?

    Our tech guy can't do it himself. So, how would you expect our tech guy to call in and ask for this service to be performed? You might think that as an employee he can call some special number or use an online interface to request support. Actually, no, he has to call the same phone number that customers call and speak to the same customer support people that customers speak to.

    Then, the only guy who can perform the telephone pole circuit enabling ritual doesn't show up for hours. Our tech support guy had to wait in his hot vehicle in the hot Texas summer air from 11am to past 9pm before the ritual was finally performed. Then he verified my grandfather had internet and finally was able to leave. Poor guy, he was a trooper.

  • This exact same thing happened to me (also with AT&T): first tech guy can't get internet working, first tech guy calls the same customer support phone number I would have, second tech guy shows up 6 hours later. The only difference was that the first tech guy left during the six hour wait to install service for someone else in my neighborhood, then showed back up at my place with the second tech guy.

  • I left AT&T years ago. The service is just terrible.

    A simple call to them is guaranteed to take at least an hour. I've been told that the phone service cuts out in bad weather because I live in an older part of the city and that's just how it is. The straw that broke the camels back was a failed DSL modem. I had been a good customer for approx 10 years with the modem died. They were giving them away with to new customers but wanted $80 for me. I suggested that it might be less expensive to provide the modem free of charge than to lose a customer but they wouldn't go for it. When I was transferred to the customer retention dept, no one was available to answer and naturally the voice mailbox was full - click. Next call to cable and I have to say, I have very few problems with them and the people have a clue. Equipment problem? just exchange it at the local storefront.

  • SockDev

    @brianw13a said:

    I've been told that the phone service cuts out in bad weather because I live in an older part of the city and that's just how it isthey're lazy cheap-ass motherfuckers who refuse to improve base infrastructure.


  • mod

    @brianw13a said:

    I left AT&T years ago. The service is just terrible.

    A simple call to them is guaranteed to take at least an hour. I've been told that the phone service cuts out in bad weather because I live in an older part of the city and that's just how it is.

    That's nothing. One of our Phoenix offices loses internet and phones any time we get a measurable amount of rain (as in, something not reported as "<0.1 in"). Apparently one of the underground switches is only a few inches above the water table. Since the switch is at a low end of the valley, the cumulative water collecting there ends up flooding the "protective" box the switch is in. After every rain storm, AT&T goes out and digs up the box so that it will dry out faster. But they can't be bothered to do anything to make it more impervious to water.

  • @abarker said:

    any time we get a measurable amount of rain

    So, like three times a year?

  • when I was a sysadmyn i got a call from one of the users saying that their internet wasn't working intermittently.
    after a couple of routine diagnostics i came to the conclusion that the problem was in the ISP DNS servers. the things couldn't resolve addresses outside our country.
    so, i called their callcenter:

    me: hello, your DNS servers are borked
    support drone: hello sir, would you tell me what problem you have?
    m: mmmmprfh, i cannot access some sites.
    sd: which ones?
    m: for example
    sd: oh, yes, google is down right now. try again in a couple of hours

  • area_deu

    I moved in into my sister's old apartment. Since we both had contracts with the local ISP, I just hooked up my old modem and router and could connect fine with 20+ MBit.
    A few weeks later the ISP decided to "install" my line because I had moved, after all. Rates dropped to 300 k and the phone went dead.

    Five calls and three tech visits later (of two different companies because of the fucked up situation here in .de) they have exchanged pretty much everything on my end and FINALLY one of them decides to check the other end of the line.
    Result: One wire at the DSLAM was just broken enough so that ISDN didn't work, but enough of the higher frequency DSL signal went over the gap to provide some signal. They switched me back to the "old" wire pair and bam, 20 MBit again.

  • mod

    @NedFodder said:

    So, like three times a year?

    More like 5 or 6.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Wow… that sounds like an average day round here.

  • Back when dialup was new[7] a friend of mine got a second line so he could run a BBS. The tech must have run out of clips or glue or else he had too much telephone cable[4], because he wound[8] the cable lots of turns around a metal pipe on the way[9]. Friend called them several times (using his normal line) to tell them that the quality of his second line wasn't good enough for the modem, but was met with total incomprehension. Finally he thought to hook up a normal telephone to the second line, and called them with that. The voice quality was so bad that they sent out a tech on the spot.

    [7] a really long time ago
    [8] like, uh, "to wind", but [7]
    [9] reserved for future use
    [10] unrelated footnote[12]
    [11] induction anyone?
    [12] because recursion[10] is cool
    [13] I think I've recovered now

  • area_can

    @Eldelshell said:

    When I called Vodafone to cancel the service, I was told that while they transferred the DSL line I could use the 3G connection without added fees.

    Rule 1 of dealing with ISPs: never trust anything a support person tells you…anyone who's dealt with Bell or Rogers can back me on this.

  • Never trust any ISP.

  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    [4] You left yourself open for a CPFI attack

  • @Yamikuronue said:

    [4] You left yourself open for a CPFI attack

    Yes! Or no:

    @DCRoss said:

    [4] I have no evidence that this actually happened, but the only other explanation involves the phrase "hopelessly incompetent" so I'm just going to stick with this one.

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