Monday, July 27, 2009

A mounting tide of irritation!

Last February, I noticed that I could get all I wanted from my ISP, Demon, by using their Demon Home 8000 service rather than my current service, Demon Home Office 8000. Thus saving £4 a month! I wrote to them and they sent me the paperwork which I completed and sent back. And thought nothing more of. In May, I switched credit card numbers and noticed that they were still charging me for the Home Office service. I told them and they asked for a copy of my original paperwork. I sent it in.

On July 14th, we had a power interrupt during a thunderstorm. The computer went off, but the router didn’t. Later that day, I noticed I had no broadband connection. The next morning I spoke to the Demon Help Desk. I have always found them to be very helpful, and at the price of a local rate phone call, very cheap.

After checking I had all the correct things set, username, password and so on, they said it was my router. I then spoke to the router people, Draytek. They said it didn’t seem to be the router, but as it was 6 years old, it would probably be a good idea to get a new one. I popped into Truro (using my free bus pass!) and bought one.

Started setting up the new router using the disc supplied by Belkin. This had a set-up wizard, so I used that. The details I inputted were from the previous router, already checked as correct by Demon. The start-up Wizard failed, sticking on the 6th of 6 steps. On the phone again, this time to Belkin. Set up the router using the browser. Nice and easy, except that I couldn’t make a web connection.

Back to Demon. They didn’t know anything about Belkin of course; but we went thru’ the whole rigmarole again and again. Username, password, email address etc, etc. No joy. Finally, they declared that it was a BT line fault, involving my local exchange. This would take 24-48 hours. As I was going away the next morning I decided to leave it for now. In the event, I accessed my email over the weekend using Demon Webmail. I also have a Googlemail account.

On my return home, I took up the phone again with Demon. Every time I contacted the Help Desk I had to go over the whole problem; the notes they are supposed to make don’t seem to avoid having to do this. Eventually they decided it was another BT line fault (they had supposedly fixed the first one) and this time it would take up to five days. I just gave up.

The next day, they phone me – made a change. The gentleman calling identified himself as the BT Line fault guy. It was not a line fault he said. He gave me a new username and said that he was sure it would work. And it did. I had my broadband connection back after 8 days. Why was my username changed? He didn’t really know he said. Nor did he know why the numerous so-called “advisors” I had spoken to hadn’t known either.

So – everything fixed. Of course not. I could not connect to collect emails by my email programme, or by webmail. In both cases, the Demon server said the passwords were wrong. Back on the phone – passwords re-set – still no joy. Whilst waiting for something, I idly sent myself a test message from my Googlemail account. It bounced – domain not known! Back on the phone; and then it dawned on them, someone somewhere had changed my domain name by adding a 1 at the end of Medeschole. It wasn’t the passwords after all.

Although I can’t get them to admit it, what I believe happened was that the change of service from Home Office to Home involved a change of username. They made this change and told no one including their own Help desk. Some days after this change, they also changed the domain name. Once again, they didn’t pass this change on to anyone. I subscribe to a number of mailing lists and companies. All of these are now broken because of the change of domain name.

The Demon Help Desk is helpful but you can’t help feeling that they know little about Apple computers (although they are supposed to be the UK ISP of choice for Apples). And of course, they are based in India or somewhere and English is not their first language. I could hear myself getting more and more irritated!

I am now looking for a new ISP – any ideas?