Tech support from your ISP could be a costly waste of time

BBC News reported on a Which? report today which shows that most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are using premium rate numbers for their tech support.

Why would anyone want to pay premium rates for a call to India and have to wait (while paying) for their call to be answered? Why not contact me? My time is cheaper than some premium rate tech support calls, and I’ll help you in person. Most of the calls I get are from people who have called their ISP, spent around an hour on the phone, and still haven’t got a solution. Most of the time, it’s not a problem the ISP can fix directly anyway.

Take a recent case as an example. A couple, both computer novices, had been on the phone to BT for ages because they couldn’t get their PC connected to their internet service. BT tech support had asked them to do lots of stuff on the PC to try to fix the problem, but as novice’s this was slow and frustrating. They even told them to buy an unusual type of USB cable to connect the modem/router to the PC. They did, but that didn’t work either.

I went round and started my diagnostics. I found that my laptop easily connected to their internet service, so it wasn’t a problem with the BT end of things. Their PC couldn’t ‘see’ the modem using the USB cable; the reason is that the USB socket on their BT modem is for attaching an external hard disk, not a computer, so that was never going to work. This just illustrates that the BT helpline doesn’t even know how its own equipment works.

The solution was easy. I fitted an Ethernet card to the PC (having cleaned out the dust from the inside of the PC first) and we got a connection immediately. They’ll have a good, reliable internet connection now. It’s something a novice couldn’t do on his own, and a helpdesk can’t do over the phone.

It took 90 minutes from start to finish, including cleaning out the PC, explaining everything in terms they understood, and a good chat (I know them personally). 90 minutes of personal service, compared to long phone calls, trips to PC World for unnecessary purchases, and still no solution.

I offer:

  • In-you-home PC and IT services for residential clients in Essex, UK
  • In-your-office PC and IT services for business clients nationally (if it’s cost effective for you and me)
  • Online tech support. See the link on the homepage www.bowenracing.com (requires broadband connection)
  • Payment by cash, cheque, credit card, or PayPal

Whatever you need, if it involves computers or IT then please contact me by using the Contact menu item at the top of the page.

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