Sep 102007
 

I first used Earthlink’s internet service more than a decade ago, just after they first went National. I choose Earthlink because they had excellent customer service as well as a decent price point.

After a period of homelessness, I signed up for Earthlink again in 2000. My past experience with them had been excellent, and they were offering a free DVD player 😉 Not only was their customer service excellent once again, but the DVD player is the best I’ve ever owned. After being with them for a few years I got a new roommate who worked for the phone company, so we switched to their DSL service as it was a free employee perk.

When I moved to Morgan Hill a couple of years ago I was told that Verizon was the only home phone service available to me, so we signed up with them for DSL as well. It was horrible! Not only did our internet cut out on a regular basis, but their tech support and customer service departments were run by people less competent with computers than the average retirement home resident. Just as I was nearing the end of my rope, Earthlink came to town.

Praising the heavens I signed up for full phone and DSL service. Everything’s been great, but when our telephone service went out over the weekend I needed to use their online chat to communicate with tech support. Here are the transcripts-

Chat InformationWelcome to Earthlink LiveChat. Your chat session will begin shortly.

Not at home and you want to read your email? With EarthLink Web Mail you can check your email from any computer with an internet connection!

Chat Information’Shane C’ says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: I don’t have a dial tone on my phone line, but my DSL is working fine
Shane C: I understand that you need help with your phone service, I will help you.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: Thanx
Shane C: Please let me know the make and model of your Modem and Router/Adapter.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: It’s a ZyXEL P-600 series modem, but the DSL is fine. It’s the phone that has no dial tone.
Shane C: Yes, but the phone service is assosciated with the connection.
Shane C: Please reset and reconfigure your Modem first

Of course, resetting my modem kills my chat connection, not to mention that it didn’t do anything to help my problem. With no other options, I went back to chat-

Chat InformationWelcome to Earthlink LiveChat. Your chat session will begin shortly.

Not at home and you want to read your email? With EarthLink Web Mail you can check your email from any computer with an internet connection!

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond. While you are waiting, please feel free to begin typing your issue in the box below. Try to be as descriptive as possible. Once an operator responds, click SEND to transmit what you have typed.

Not at home and you want to read your email? With Earthlink Web Mail you can check your email from any computer with an Internet connection!

Chat Information’Bryan V.’ says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: My DSL is working fine, but I have no dial tone on my phone. I just reset my ZyXEL P-600 Series modem, as per ‘Shane C’. Didn’t help, though it killed my chat with him
Bryan V.: I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. However, let’s do some steps to resolve the issue now.
Bryan V.: From how long are you not having the dial tone service?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: I don’t know exactly. At least an hour.
Bryan V.: Remove all hardware connected to the wall jack (This includes items such as DSL Modem, Router, Fax, TiVo, satellite equipment, etc). Then plug one telephone (preferably corded) into a wall-jack using one of the provided micro-filters.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: I’ve already done that and then replaced the modem and one phone. If I disconnect the DSL again I can’t communicate with you
Bryan V.: Have you tested for Dial Tone at a different phone jack in the house.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: Yes. all three of them. None have dial tone.
Bryan V.: In that case, since everything is properly set up, you need to now contact the Voice Repair Support on 888-356-5864.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: Except that I can’t call them since I don’t have a dial tone! Earthlink customer service has really gone down the drain since I was a member 5 years ago 🙁
Bryan V.: Don’t you have a cell phone with you?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: No. I don’t need a cell phone because I pay you guys for phone service. One phone is plenty when it works.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: So, is that it? Is there nothing you can do to help me?
Bryan V.: Do you have a computer headset with a mic on it?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: No I don’t. It’s either chat, email, or I have to go to a friend’s house to use their phone.
Bryan V.: In that case, please give me a moment as I need to do some steps from my side.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: I’m not going anywhere 😉
Bryan V.: I have completed the steps from my side after which now I will be running a loop test for which you need to get disconnected from the Internet session and then plug everything back after 10-15 minutes.
MrAahz@earthlink.net: Okay thanx
MrAahz@earthlink.net: Whatever you did, my dial tone is back. So no more worries here.
Bryan V.: It was pleasure assisting you. Is there anything else I could assist you with?
MrAahz@earthlink.net: That’ll do it. Thanx.
Bryan V.: You’re welcome and thank you for using EarthLink LiveChat. Should you need further assistance, please feel free to contact us again.

This second chat took over an hour, with an average of 10 minutes wait between me posting my comments and waiting for their (useless) response. I have no idea why my dial tone went out, nor what brought it back, but I somehow don’t believe the latter was a result of anything tech support did.

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