----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Earthlink, My Enemy

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Earthlink, My Enemy

Perhaps you are wondering where I have been lately. Perhaps not. Either way, I'll tell you. I have been on the phone with Earthlink's technical support, which apparently is in India.

Last week was very busy and quite fabulous (more about that later), but this week has been a battle of wills between me and Earthlink. Last Sunday, my Internet connection went down, but after some fiddling around with the modem and the cables and the new router that I bought last month when my Internet connection went down, I got it working again. But then it went down again, and no amount of resetting the modem or restarting my computer could get it to work. So, I had to make the dreaded call to tech support. Actually, it was three calls, because after waiting on hold for 20 minutes or so, I would be inexplicably cut off. The first time it happened, I hadn't even gotten the chance to talk to a person yet. The next time it happened, I told the technician that I had been cut off previously, so he told me he would take my number and call me back if we got disconnected. But--surprise!--he didn't. So, on the third call, we fiddled around with the modem some more, and then my problem got upgraded to a "trouble ticket," which is very serious. I was transferred to the advanced technical support group, but they closed at midnight Eastern time, which meant I got to repeat the whole process the next day.

When I called to check on my trouble ticket the next day, nothing had been done yet, so I had to call back in four hours. Then, of course, I was on hold again. Finally, someone told me that there was nothing wrong with my line, so it was probably a problem with my modem, but I could have a new modem for just $49.95. That's when I lost it. "Why should I have to pay for a new modem? I didn't do anything to this one. It's a faulty product and I'm not going to pay for another one!"

"Ma'am, how long have you had the modem?" the tech asked.
"For about a year and a half."
"Then how can you say it is faulty? We only warranty them for one year."
Okay, perhaps a year and a half is an eternity in technological time, but I still don't think I should have to pay for a modem when it just stopped working for no reason. And I expressed my feelings very strongly to the tech.
"Well, we can send you a modem for free if you sign a year contract with Earthlink," he said.
The gall! "I'm not going to sign a year contract! I've gotten lousy service from you! Why would I want to sign up for another year of the same?"
"Fine. We can send you a modem, but you will have to pay $19.95 for shipping."
"How long will it take to get here?" I asked.
"About five to seven days."
Not fast enough. "No, I'm not going to do that. I want to cancel my service." So, I got transferred to customer service, where I had to be on hold again, but at least I didn't get cut off this time.

I explained the situation to the customer service rep and told him that the only way for Earthlink to keep my business was to overnight me a new modem for free. I work from home. I need the Internet. I can't go into an office and surf the Internet for free anymore. And I have several assignments pending. So, I was quite distressed. But there was some good news--after much back-and-forth with his supervisor, the rep said he could overnight me a modem, but I would have to pay half the shipping costs--$19.95.

The new modem arrived as promised and I got it all set up and it didn't work. But I didn't have time to make another call to tech support--I had a voiceover audition to get to. And when I came back, the modem was miraculously working--for a while. When I tried to hook it up to the router so that Mr. Pink could use the Internet on his computer, too, all hell broke loose. Earthlink couldn't help me, of course, so I had to call Linksys, where I spent an hour on the phone doing the same thing over and over: "Restart your modem. Now restart your computer. Now select "run" from the start menu, enter "cmd" and type 'ipconfig.' Now type 'ping Now reset the router with a paper clip. Unplug everything from the router. Restart your computer. Plug everything back in." After an hour, literally, nothing had changed, and I had no Internet connection at all.

So, it was back on the phone with Earthlink, where I was assigned a new trouble ticket. No one could solve the problem, so now a technician is coming out in person, but not until May 18. Meanwhile, I have signed up for DSL with Verizon, in hopes that their service will be a little more reliable. That should be turned on by May 11.

Until then, I watch the little green lights on my modem obsessively, and when they all turn solid green, I know it's safe to go online. I can access the Internet sporadically, for a few hours each day. And now I realize that a fast Internet connection has become a necessity to me, like electricity or hot water. How quickly we become dependent!


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