Saturday, August 7, 2010

Prepaid Wireless Warning

As I posted, I got a call from the CEO of Telstra. He seemed like a decent sort of bloke, and he seemed to accept that there's a lot of problems with Telstra, and he seemed committed to fixing them. I'm sure he still is, these things do not happen overnight. Either way, having spoken to him, I've had a number of things happen to me that are very much on the scale of the things I had blogged about, and decided not to blog about them, out of respect for the fact that I believe the guy at the top knows about the issues and is trying to fix them. But, I'm going to blog about what happened to me this week, b/c I hope it might help someone.

As I am being shaped by Telstra on both my wireless accounts now, I went out and bought a prepaid device. I told the people in the store I have a Bigpond account, and I want it for overflow when I get shaped. I got it home, the memory stick slot in it is missing, which means the software is missing. These devices now come with a mini SD card that has the installer you need on it, usually.

I get online, go to the Telstra site and download the prepaid software for Mac and PC. On the Mac, it runs, but says there is no device installed, and I can't make it detect it. In my network settings, the device is there but not configured, so I assume the installer just doesn't work properly. Great. I boot over to Windows. On Windows, the installer freezes when it's installing the device. I try several times. I call support. The support guy kept asking me how many bars of signal I have in the software. I kept reiterating that I can't install the software. Naturally, he can barely speak English.

He told me he spoke to a level 2 support person, and that they said my download is corrupt. I told him that level 2 were incompetent, because if the download was corrupt it would have neither unzipped, or installed. I further said I wanted to talk to the level 2 person. The amusing part was when she asked me if I could uninstall and reinstall, and I said no, and reiterated the problem, she asked if the modem was installed. I asked her if she meant just the hardware. She had to get off the phone to ask someone/look up how to get to control panel. Of course, when she got back, I was there. The question is, how did a level two support person not know how to find if a device is installed ?

They said they still blamed the download from the Telstra site, and gave me a URL to download the software from instead ( not Telstra ). That is when I found that the prepaid software had removed the Bigpond program, and that the Bigpond installer gave me the same error, so I could not get online. That is, if you install a prepaid wireless modem, it will remove any Bigpond software you have for wireless connections. I pointed this out and was put on hold while she organised a higher level support person to call me.

While I was on hold, I went to another PC and installed the software I downloaded from Telstra, and it installed fine, and I was able to get online. So, this person who I was told was level two, both did not know how to use a computer, thought that it was possible to download a zip and have it unzip, and then run an installer from the zip, which would run and freeze during the install process. That's just all sorts of clueless. Also ( and this is the point of this post ), not the people in the Telstra store, not the support people I called at first, not the alleged level 2 girl, no-one knew that when you have Bigpond Wireless broadband installed, you cannot install a prepaid modem, because you'll break what you have, without the new system ever working. So, if you're like me, and sometimes find you get shaped by your Bigpond, if you buy a modem to use as an overflow device, you need to either buy the same modem ( I did this once, and it's it's own problem, I was sold it as a prepaid device, then later told that it's not a prepaid device at all, although I was able to make it work ), or use a different computer, which has never had Bigpond Wireless software on it, to connect to the web.

Oh, and the person who promised to call me back, never did. I spent an entire day on this, I fixed my own problem, and trained at least two Telstra staff on some basics about how computers work, and why their advice is bogus. I actually did get a call, but it was in relation to the other issue that I have open with the Ombudsman ( my wireless died, and I called several times over the space of a week, actually the people I spoke to there also suggested software I had downloaded and installed must be corrupt, and the level 2 support they promised me did not occur until 4 days after I called the Ombudsman, which I did a week after I was first told I would get a call ). They are sending me a new antenna, the one that they told me to buy last time, turns out to not be good enough. The call was because the job had been closed, because the antenna dept claimed I never answer the phone. I work from home, and I have a message service. You'd think a Telstra employee would know how to use a phone and/or how to leave a message.

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