Customer “Service”

1 10 2010

I’m sure we all have horror stories about having to wade through 6 levels of automated phone systems only to wait 15 minutes and end up with someone who can’t help us anyway, so in my best run on sentence, I’m not going to talk about that. I am however going to touch on the “press one now” lady while attempting to share some of my observations from today.

My new thing is audio books. I don’t think they replace real books, but they have their place and we can argue their merits in a different post. I downloaded an audio book online (you can do this from the Library now!) and it took 30 seconds! Awesome.

I finished the book, and like a real book , I wanted to share it. A friend is 50th on a wait list for this audio book so I put it in my online Dropbox and continued about my business. A few minutes later I got a Growl notification that 1 of 163 files had finished uploading to my Dropbox. WTF? One? ONE? in three minutes? This is going to take hours. The status bar confirmed this.

And so began my hour long quest for faster upload speeds. I searched, I researched (I’m punny), and I even called Shaw. The initiated among you have already figured where I am going with this. Shaw tech support. I should put quotes around “support”.

I know the drill, I dont’ wait on hold, and instead defer to the convenience of a call back. Over an hour later the call back comes. I’m at the office now, but I talk the service rep through my problem and explain that my 30 second download is taking (at this point) over three hours to upload. She asks me to look at the back of the modem and find the wire that screws into the back.

“This is called the coaxial cable and I should unplug it, clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”

Uh, yeah, I know what a coa-“

“…and now I want you to follow that cable from the back of the modem to where it goes next. Do you have a splitter?”

“Yeah, but I-“

“… well you’ll have to disconnect each cable from the splitter and I want you to clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”

“It’s not that it’s -“

“…now I want you to follow that cable from the splitter to -”

“I know wh-“

“…it should plug into the wall with the same screw type fitting as the others. I want you to clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”


I explain that  I know about power cycling the router (before she starts a step by step guide in how to unplug a cord from the wall) and that no matter how dirty the coaxial cable was that wouldn’t explain why I have tremendous download speed and terrible upload. It would in fact, affect both equally.

“Yeah well I’m going through the steps of telling you how to resolve your problem.”

“Yes, well as I said before I downloaded the same file in 30 seconds -“

“Right on.”

“…and the same file is taking 3 hours to upload.”

“Right on.”

This goes on for some time before she tells me she is getting off work and can call me back on MONDAY when she returns.

“Or,” I say, “I could just hang up and call someone else.”

I do call back, and I sign up for a call back again. I drive home and run a few speed tests on my computer. 18MBps (fast!) and 300kbps (note the small b. That’s bits people. Not Bytes. s l o w) I somehow stumble across a stats page on Shaw and discover, to my horror, that Shaw High Speed Internet has an average download speed of 7.5 Mbps and a MAX upload speed of 512 mbps! They do this on purpose!

*my phone rings* It’s the call back.

I answer and explain I probably already know the answer to my question. I don’t want to waste this guys time so I explain. As soon as I mention the 512 kilo bits thing the guy draws his breath in and lets out a slow “nooooo”

“I know!” I say excitedly as I know I have found an alli, “It should be far higher than that. But for some reason Shaw caps it at that.”

“No, it should be a way faster download than that. OH.” he catches himself, “Yeah, upload is limited to 512 max, but results may vary.”

He gives me some excuse about data volume in a fiber optic cable and sharing with other users.

“So it’s a problem with the system. It allows high speed downloads but multiple users uploading can cause issues.”

“Yes exactly”

“So I can download at 15MBps and that doesn’t load the system. But uploading does.”


“But that problem goes away if I pay more money?” I said alluding to the tiered options Shaw uses for internet users. I already knew that if I paid an extra $10 per month I would get 4x the upload speed.

“Uh -” I could hear him smile on the other end, realizing I knew what I was talking about “Yeah, well I guess that’s true.”

I hung up, and looked up Telus.

They have a cheaper monthly rate, oh and they offer a free X-BOX if you get high speed internet. I tried looking up their data rates. The more I looked, the more confused I got. $20 rate plans became $27 on their own, and it was $20 if it was in a bundle, but I had to pay for something else. It got more confusing.

Sign up for High Speed Internet and get a FREE X-BOX. $37 Cool. Ok, I’ll sign up. I go to the sign up page and it gives me an option for High Speed Internet for $25. Without the X-BOX. What? Wait. I thought it was free? WTF? Now it has an option for High Speed with X-BOX data bundle. I don’t want data for my box. I want internet. I want a free X-BOX. Yeah, the X-BOX is free, if you pay $13 more per month for 2 years. Idiots.

I give up, then search the site for a phone number. That alone was hard. They do NOT want you calling. I call the number.

Option 1 – Current Telus customers

Option 2 – New Telus customers.

Those fuckers. Now they are prioritizing you based on “We have you hooked and you can wait motherfucker.” Or “The water is great. Come on in! Handjob?”

While I’m on hold, I’m writing this.

*after several menu items* “Before you continue, please be aware the CRTC has deregulated phone coverage in your area and we have decided to rape you with a broken coke bottle while you wear vinegar goggles. If you hang up or continue to hold we consider this an agreement to our conditions.” Ok, perhaps I’m paraphrasing, but it was damn close to that.

The next menu item said, “If you are an existing Telus client you should have your bill and account information ready. If you are a new client you will need your credit card information as well as drivers license and address.” Why the fuck did I go through that first menu then? Remember? Option 1, Option 2?

I finally spoke to some call center in Delhi that referred to everything in “point OH.”

“Upload speeds up to 1.0” (spoken as One point Oh) “Download rates 6 point Oh.”

“Really? and how much is that going to cost me? 30 point Oh Oh Oh Oh dollars?. What does the O stand for anyway? Oblivious? Obtuse? You know it’s Zero right? O is a letter. Zero is a number. It represents integers. Real numbers. A value of nil. Meaning nothing. So why would you say 6 and nothing? How tall are you? 5 foot and a whole bunch of air above you all the way to space? We tend to nought mention things that aren’t measurable. See, that was a clever pun. When it gets really cold out do you say it’s sub-Oh? You sound like a back street boy with all your OH OH OH’s. I want to finish off your sentence by shouting – The Right Stuff!

Again, perhaps I was paraphrasing. I think I actually said,”Thank you.” and hung up.