on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
Home page
Blog front page

If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed

Syndication / Categories


Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Tue, 29 Aug 2006

Lying to customers is so easy

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a customer of mine who had problems with their ADSL provisioning. For much of this month, the same customer has had further problems with the same so-called service.

The trouble started around 11 August when their ISP performed some unspecified maintenance on the ADSL services in the region where my customer has their offices. In the middle of the night, their connection went down. They complained to the ISP, who promptly blamed Telstra. Neither the ISP nor Telstra wanted to do anything about the problem.

After some days, and several followup calls, the ISP stated that the problem was definitely in the customer’s ADSL modem. The customer shipped the modem to me. I plugged it in as a replacement for a different breed of ADSL modem attached to a computer running the same OS and ancillary software to connect to the same ISP and it just worked. Clearly, the problem was not the modem. To be on the safe side, I then performed a hardware reset on the modem, reconfigured it as required, and returned it to the customer. It did not solve the problem.

The customer then tried to insist on some service from the ISP, but found things difficult when the ISP made it clear that they do not do house calls under any circumstances. Eventually, the ISP told the customer that they would check the modem if the customer attached it to a Windows computer and followed instructions. The customer sourced a Windows computer, plugged things in as required, followed instructions (including another hardware reset of the modem), and then the ISP said, “There, that’s all it needed; we just had to fix the modem and now it’s fine.”

It’s clear enough to me that they did nothing to the modem (beyond getting the customer to break its configuration for our purposes) and instead finally got around to fixing whatever they had fucked up at their end. Of course, this meant that the modem still didn’t work when returned to its normal position and it was returned to me to be reconfigured a second time. When it finally arrived back at the customer premises, it was plugged in, powered up and just worked.

By then, it was the 24th. So they were off the net for two weeks. There was no apology from the ISP. There was no offer of any reduction in the exorbitant monthly service fees they charged. The ISP lied to their customer and stuck to their lies. I’m not going to name either the ISP or the customer, as the argument is between them and it’s none of my business—other than as an astonished bystander. But I will certainly recommend against that ISP if people ever ask me for my opinions about possible service providers.