Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Massive Email Issues

Something is seriously wrong with my email and it is hardly functioning. This is a totally disaster for someone like me who LIVES through email for both work and personal communication. Any of my friends will tell you, "I hate to call you..." They all think I am so busy (which I guess I am) that they hate to call the house--so they email (yeah, all three or so of them). So, right now, I am just trying to accept what I cannot control and get by until the tech arrives sometime today (between 8-12). Wouldn't it be great if I could tell MY clients, "yeah, we can meet that day, I will be there some time between 8-12." Oh, the luxuries of a monopoly (I know what you are thinking, there are other providers than mine--okay, fine--the luxuries of an oligopoly).

Here is my day on Monday.

6:15 AM Search on Microsoft's site for a possible solution. I think I find one, print out the steps, try to implement the steps, doesn't work (on many levels).

6:45 AM Try to reach husband to have him contact his techy cop buddy who has helped me before to come over right away to help.

7:30 AM Finally page Jeff to reach him to call tech buddy. He agrees to call him.

8:30 AM Run a Virus Scan. Find three infected files and delete.

10:00AM Still haven't heard back from Jeff's buddy. Decide I must move forward with getting it fixed. Did I mention I have a huge federal grant due in about 24 hours from this point?

10:15 AM I get so frustrated, I decide to call Microsoft (it's happening in Outlook). Search on the web for number. Call--they say, that is a Dell issue because they alter the software when they install it, so call Dell.

10:30 AM I call Dell. I am triaged and sold a service package. At this point, I will pay anything to speak to a tech. But, my question was does my $219 annual service package get me English-speakers (and I am referring to ENGLISH speakers here, not learned the call interface manual in English during job training). Yes..yes...they say. Great, I will pay it. Then, she says, well there is also a call center in Thailand. It will either be Canada or Thailand.

10:35 AM I get a Dell tech who is in Canada. A native English-speaker. I occasionally heard an "eah" but I can easily translate that! He takes over the controls of my computer, which is great because this is such a weird problem, none one quite understands it when I describe it. We go through everything...I MEAN EVERYTHING. The 3-hours kind of everything. Cannot fix it. He is totally convinced it is an SBC issue with their server. He says I need to call them, very apologetically. I like this new Dell service package.

1:15 PM I call SBC. Can you see your email if you use the internet instead of Outlook, they ask. Yes, I can. Oh, then this is a Microsoft issue. Here is the number. I call it. It has been disconnected. It leaves a new number, which I call and enter a maze of prompts (of course). I get triaged again. And, again I have to buy the support. Fine. $35. Fine. But, their credit card processor malfunctions and he says, oh I will give it to you for free. Did you hear that, everybody Free and Microsoft in the same sentence FREE/MICROSOFT.

1:25 PM I talk to a very slow typing Microsoft technician. Steve (native English-speaker) is convinced early on that this is a server issue and is on SBC's end. Steve recreates my exact email account on his machine and gets the same error message. So, he says that eliminates the potential that it is a virus, spyware or anything else other than something wrong on SBC's end. Did I mention Steve was also a native English speaker?! Going to have to call SBC again he says. He explains to me that just because I can see my email on the web, doesn't mean there isn't something wrong. HE says they are two different servers.

2:30 PM I call SBC. Triaged again. Reach a tech, who is NOT a native English speaker and obviously just learned English during their on the job training for this job. Great, fine. At this point, if they can fix the problem, I don't care. It just might take more time because I have to have them repeat their instructions at least three times each time they open their mouth. This doesn't go so good. We start with "Unplug the modem." Okay, I have been on the phone with tech people for nearly four hours now. Don't you think we have already eliminated this kind of stuff? So, after an hour she says, this is a Microsoft problem. I say I won't accept that answer. She said, do you need a manager and I say yes.

3:45PM The manager gets on the phone (after holding for about six minutes) and I explain my frustration and the nature of my problem. He says, "Okay. Unplugg your modem and wait two minutes." I about died. I said, "I don't mean any disrespect here, but I have been working with technicians from three different companies for more than five hours--you name it, we have tried it." So, he agrees to reset all of my passwords. Still doesn't fix the problem. Finally, I request a human. Okay, he said but if when he gets there, he determines it is not our responsibility--that it is not related to the lines (which, come on, what are the odds they will say--yeah, it's all our fault), you could incur charges. Of how much, I asked. A minimum of $60 for a service call. Delighted, I say sounds good to me.

4:30PM Finished. All I can do now is wait for the tech.

4:45PM Start working since I have been on the phone literally all day.

11:30PM Finish my work and head to bed so I can get up at 5:30AM and start a new day.

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