Vanity, Oh Vanity, Thy Name is Elder

Bringing an Old Woman to Tears and...

UPDATE 2:40PM I have just finished a telephone call with a representative of Dotster who has promised me that he will set up a session with their tech team to work on the problem by taking control of my computer, checking all the settings while working at their end too for a solution.

It's Friday afternoon here now so this may or may not happen over the weekend. But I want you all to know that your efforts have borne fruit and I appreciate your help so much. I'll let you know how it goes.

Again, thank you, thank you, my friends.

...why I'm telling you about it.

I had planned to write about sex today - that would be fun - but technology and the people assigned to handhold those of us who are unschooled in the ones and zeroes of digital electronica have thwarted me.

Wait - I take that back. It has gone way beyond thwart. On Wednesday, when one of those so-called technology helpers said he couldn't help – that is, could not do what I pay his employer for – I burst into tears. Let me explain.

For more than a month, no email, none, sent during the night hours when my computer is off or asleep has arrived.

I won't bore you with the gory details and I am definitely not looking for suggestions from you. But there is a story to tell – an amazing and unbelievable story - and a request to make of you.

In the early weeks of this difficulty, I emailed the support site of my domain registrar, Dotster, with an explanation. In each instance, I received an answer that there was no problem and email being delivered properly - something that was patently untrue.

After too much of this, I switched to the telephone support service.

On Wednesday morning when for the 30th or 40th day in a row no overnight email arrived, I again called customer service. For the gazillionth time in these several weeks, I explained the problem to another new “helper” (I have never spoken or emailed with the same person twice).

The man listened and then said he couldn't help, admitting that he didn't know how. Awful answer but giving him points for honesty, I asked to speak to the next person up the line.

Here comes the unbelievable part:

He said he could not do that; he said he didn't have phone numbers for them. Stunned for a moment, I then found my voice and asked what I should do next.

He said he did not know.

Now you would expect someone who, in some circumstances, refers to herself as Crabby Old Lady to go ballistic and most of the time you would not be wrong. Even I would expect that of myself in such a Twilight Zone moment.

But this time, I shocked myself. Unexpectedly and unbidden, with no volition on my part, tears poured forth.

Right there on the telephone with a man whose body undoubtedly is shaped exactly like a brick wall, this 74-year-old woman, competent in all manner of things, did not just cry. She wept and wailed and moaned and could not stop herself.

This was no dainty little shedding of a teardrop or two. Oh no. It was a loud, honking, uncontrollable lamentation on the order of a death in the family.

(I blame frustrated exhaustion for the sudden tears. This has been going on for at least six weeks with no overnight email, no help and no apparent concern from Dotster.)

Many men are frightened of women's tears and perhaps that is what gave the man on the telephone Wednesday morning a swift kick in the butt because I then heard him say that he would get his supervisor on the phone (so much for an honest man earlier in the conversation). And he did.

Aki carries himself – at least on the telephone – in a manner of calm capability. My tears subsided.

Over the next hour, a seemingly useful exchange of information led to a suggestion for another solution – the sixth or seventh by my count – along with a promise that if by the next morning it had not worked, to ask for him by name on the support phone line and he would take my call.

Alas, when I booted up yesterday morning nothing had changed. The latest fix was another dud; there was no overnight email. When I phoned and asked for Aki, I was told he was in a meeting but had said he would call me when he was free.

As I finish writing this late in the day, there has been no call from Aki nor from anyone else at Dotster. I have sent some technical information asked of me via support ticket by yet another helper I've never heard of although he (she?) says the email is being delivered to me properly.

(To be completely fair, I suppose it is possible all this lengthy mess could be something wrong with my with my email program but I have now made so many changes at their direction, there is no way for me to know. And even if that is so and it is not their problem, certainly the company that handles my domain registration is obligated to tell me more than "I don't know" and not return calls they have said they would.)

Actually it is two parts.

All the email that has never been delivered to me is permanently lost they tell me. Unrecoverable. Thousands of them in these many weeks. That means:

Undoubtedly stories for The Elder Storytelling Place that have gone missing.

There are messages from friends and acquaintances responding to my emails I have never seen.

There are appointments unconfirmed (hello, Jan Adams).

And uncounted questions, Interesting Stuff suggestions and more from readers.

As you now know from all the above, I am not intentionally ignoring anyone. So here is an interim fix:

1. If your message(s) was sent between the hours of about 4PM and 4AM Pacific Time (I don't know why you would recall this, but there you are), and the message is important to you and/or me, please write again.

2. Because the problem (hereafter referred to as the torture) is ongoing, I have set up a short-term, webmail address. It is ronnib[at]outlook[dot]com

3. That address will be available for only a short time - a few days. Please be judicious in choosing to email or not. I'm already spending excessive amounts of time tracking such time-critical items as electronic bills, notes from dentists, doctors and insurance people, banking and other personal matters.

4. I will respond if necessary, as soon as is reasonably possible.

Here is the second thing, if you are up for it. In such extreme circumstances as I believe this is, sometimes shaming a company that has behaved badly helps resolve the problem.

Dotster has a corporate Facebook page that is regularly updated with sales information and not much else – the point being, someone at the company monitors it.

You might go there to ask why, for more than a month, they have been torturing this nice old woman who has faithfully paid for their service for more than a decade. Then link to this post. If you do that, please be polite.

Whatever happens with this debacle in the next few days, we'll get back to that subject of sex on Monday.


Do you get email during the day?

Yes. But there are issues with it disappearing so please use the webmail address for the time being.

I am on the Dotster Facebook page. It seems they don't allow others to post. Hoping I've overlooked the tab. I don't understand why companies do that.

You know, Linda, I can't face that now. Perhaps my post today expresses my utter despair. It doesn't surprise what you say is so.

Here is a Dotster Twitter page to try.

I've not vetted it either as I've already, at 6AM now, been been trying to figure possible new solutions for three hours - that's early waking even for me.

Sorry - the post above is the best I can manage at this point.

I truly didn't mean to upset you. I am so sorry. I have left a polite tweet.

Please do whatever you need to do to relax and be kind to yourself.

As I said in a comment on a different post. Ronni, you know "I love you more than my luggage".

It's not that you upset me - sorry it sounded like that. It was just an explanation for why I can't do any more to help out.

I'm at the end of my technology rope.

Dear Ronnie,

I am so very sorry this is happening to you! I hope you find a solution soon. Coincidentally, or ironically I came to your page to send you an e-mail about something that showed up on my FB feed about seniors and the internet. A friend posted a "heartwarming" clip of young people helping seniors with the internet. Wondering what you thought, here is a link to the movie site:

About your e-mail woes, Can you send from a different device? If you can it might narrow down the cause of the problem. Hang in there!

Yes, I wrote about the cybersenior documentary last year.

You might try threatening to move your account to another host?? Just a thought.

I sent them a message on Facebook. Sorry, I don't tweet.

Good luck resolving your issues.

I commented on one of their recent posts: "You may not be aware that, for more than a month, your company has been torturing this nice old woman who has faithfully paid for your service for more than a decade. Here's more, and I hope you can boot up and help her:" Because you said to be nice, I refrained from saying, "boot yourself in the ass and help her."

Sorry Ronni, as me ol Irish Mother would have said, those dirty bastards will spend many days in purgatory for this.....reminds me of the real old days when faceless people turned off folks gas and electric for non payment....hugs...Hellskitchen Kid

You're a brave lady to keep-on-truckin'. This is so not good for your health! As if you don't know that already.
And being a bit-between-the-teeth kind of person, I'm sure you'll keep on going.
All this says so very much about the age we live in right now. If everything is "hooked up " right, all is swell and just too terrific. And then there's the other, dark side of the coin.
If there was a terribly smart person to start a business that would be full of computer experts to help ordinary people ... who am I kidding.

A month!? Such fortitude. I'd have been in tears by the end of the first day. Was going to suggest you immediately set up a gmail account and be done with obvious amateurs, but you beat me to it with Outlook. I'm guessing that's been the problem, since everything else seems to work round the clock. Crossing my fingers for you.

Use to work in IT and from experience know that getting this bumped up the queue is going to take a lot of pressure. Do you or can you publish the support ticket number you've been using with them? If you can it might be worth it for as many of us as possible to call, give the ticket number and lodge many complaints as possible. Also, put entries on our Facebook, Twitter, IG, and tumbler accounts. The support number is 800.401.5250... And you're right, shaming them is likely the best tactic now.
Good luck Ronni, this blog is so very important to so many of us!

I read through some discussion groups. Seems many others have been having troubles with Dotster. Email problems mentioned by several.

There is probably nothing Ronni can do on her end to correct. It's up to Dotster engineers. I wonder if they are simply a reseller and it's their providers that have problems.

Thank you all for the help. Susan, and others, I'll be late for a breakfast appointment if I don't leave the house right this second. I'll followup with everything when I return.

Sent a note to Dobster at their messages on FB. Good luck!

Oh how frustrating and maddening. The older I get the less able I am to cope with technology problems.

If I don't get a solution from the first guy I talk to I ask to speak to his manager or supervisor. The customer support (an oxymoron) person is usually sitting in a cubicle with a book of answers and doesn't know any more than you do. He/she is just reading from a list of solutions that fix the easy problems. Anything unusual or complicated is beyond their ability to help.

I just went through a problem with my ROKU and talked to several people and sent an e-mail to 2 more. I had already found the problem (faulty streaming stick) by myself and told the first person I talked to that I knew what the problem was.

But that didn't fit into their little book of answers so I wasted an hour with the last customer service person and finally talked to the manager who admitted that I was right and sent me a new stick.

Because this is a service that you are paying for you would think that they would be more helpful and would listen to you. Sometimes I long for the good old days when you dialed your own number and got a live person immediately. And that person listened to you instead of trying to make you feel like an idiot and there is no problem.

And, sad to say, tears still work better than anything when dealing with a man. :-(

Try this: I went to Dotster's FB page, chose one of their own ads, selected "Share"; at the top of my message I chose "Share on a Friend's Page" on the drop-down menu, typed in Ronni Bennett to get correct share page. Then I wrote my message, hit "share" and it showed up on their page as well as RB's. Don't know if that's the preferred way to do it, but it worked easily. Hope that helps.

I was able to write on their FB page and also did some Twitter posts. I have a large following on Twitter so they may take notice and respond. It's all about customer service and this nonsense Ronni has gotten is NOT good customer service.

dkzody. How were you able to write on there fb page?

I've run an email server for a college. It's a tremendous responsibility that I passed over to the university when they set up a standard email service. Our university eventual outsourced it's email. Managing email is a nightmare because it's almost as important as managing people's money.

I would never trust my email to a small company, especially a hosting company. They depend on making money on large volumes of customers they don't expect to help much. Hopefully Dotson will fix things and things will run smooth for years. Losing volumes of email is a real bad sign though. I'd consider sticking with that Outlook account.

I would have cried too, and I never cry.

I'm so sorry, Ronni, but try not to get too upset.

About two years ago, I bought a new laptop. Once I got it home and set up, it would not recognize my printer. Spoke with several people at the computer company, who eventually told me to get in touch with the printer company, which I did. I was on the phone with the nicest, most patient, young man in India, who tried his best for hours, but couldn't get it to work either. During the hours we were on the phone, we talked about our lives, where we lived, how it was to live there, etc. Up to this point, the story is recognizable for almost everyone, but the next day this nice man called me to find out how I was doing because he knew how frustrated and angry I was the previous day, and to apologize once again for not being able to help. I was shocked, but very happy. I don't think the company tells their techies to do this, but we had made a connection.

That same day the laptop went back to the store!!!!

Ronni, here is my comment left for Dotster on FB. It appears they drop off all comments so let's see if it sticks.

"You have a customer who has paid for your services for over ten years. Why don't you take care of your customer ? She has talked to so many different people at Dotster and tried so many things to no avail to receive her nighttime emails your company needs to step up and deliver! Telling her that her emails are being delivered when in fact they are not is insane. This has been going on for over a Month!!!"

FYI I posted this as a comment to one of their posts advertising their "Perfect Website" ads.

I sent the company a message via Facebook. Good luck finally solving your dilemma.

Going to give it a go right after this, Ronni.

How frustrating for you - best of luck getting this solved, or switching to another.

For now:
Cry, eat ice cream, cry, eat ice cream - repeat....

This is just terrible. I am so sorry you're being subjected to this, torture is the right word.

Ever thought of showing up at their office in Vancouver, WA?

Come armed with custard pies.

How secure does anyone feel with information floating on the web?

The people you pay for service keep increasing the fees and continue to not deliver service, and you feel like you are a fish on a hook on the bank of a river because you have become dependent on the web.

With the recent data thefts that seem to get more prevalent, why do people continue to place faith in
this technology?

My guess is that the answer is "convenience". I suggest that "convenience" is a 4-letter word.

We have given away our individuality and privacy for a bright and shining new toy. And those in the business, want us to pay them to do all our banking and hook up our whole house to their sticky web, and "they" will "take care of us."

If we could even know who the "they" is, we might have a chance of recrimination , but that will not be happening in our lifetime.

What I want to know is, what will people do, when there is nothing left up to them to do for themselves? (Too farfetched a question?)

Ronni, your post gave me the incentive to do what I have been threatening to do--I am no longer on
fb. It may be too late for me to make that decision and avoid any harm, but, maybe I will no longer have dreams of someone being in my attic and bursting through my ceiling. (That woke me up
screaming last night and could be from anything, but I am feeling really antsy about being too visible on the web.)

A pox on technology! It has gotten WAY too complicated. Technology was supposed to make our lives simpler and easier to manage. In my experience, it's quite the opposite far too much of the time. Ronni's situation is an excellent case in point.

Most people do NOT need to turn on their stove from their cellphone, but we do need reliable basic services, like email! Speaking of cellphones, mine "lost" my email connection months ago, and I've never been able to reconnect. I've managed without it, but when I get a new phone (soon I hope) maybe I'll have it again. Who knows?


NOTHING worse than intractable computer problems!! God.

Would it help to know that you--unlike me--have NOT had a catastrophic hard-drive crash in the last few months on a computer that was inadequately backed up? (My fault, my fault.)

And, of course, one way or another, this WILL get resolved. Meantime, major sympathy.

Wish I still had resources Ronni..but ale 15 years out of the tech business leaves one awash in lack of knowledge.

I can say for sure that they will find the problem. My son inn law works at home for a company that provides the service for iPhone, android ect. Square credit card processors. There are times when someone puts in a bit of endless code and everything goes burp. a 1 minute bit co code can take weeks to find!

I've seen him work 20 hours, get a nap for a few and go back to work here at home for another 20 hours. We throw Red Bull and tostitos into his office and occasionally make him brush his teeth and maybe take a shower!.

When my 2 tech boys return from their road trip, I'll ask if they have any in's at Dotster or might be able to help in some way. Who knows...but be of good faith sweetie.

We all love you!
your neighbor elle in Beaverton!

I'm very sorry you've been having this frustrating experience, especially as long as it's gone on! Just the thought of calling anyone anywhere for customer service these days gives me such anxiety; sometimes that worry turns out to not have been warranted, but often it does, especially if technology is involved, which it so often is.

I hope this situation turns around for you very soon. I just posted a comment on their FB page too, but I'm guessing it will be taken down like those of other commenters here.

I also posted a comment on their advertisement - which is what they seem to use that FB page for. If, as you hope, someone actually reads those comments maybe a flood of complaint will help. In any case-I know there should be a one point of contact for an ongoing issue-at least we had that at Ma Bell when there were bad issues. Good luck with your trials with tech!

Well-Dotster is monitoring their FB page-at least they have someone deleting comments in reference to Ronni as soon as they are posted!. I lent one a few minutes ago and ITS Gone! amazing. Hopefully someone is tallying the comments and will pass it one-sigh-but it's probably an unpaid intern whose told to delete any non relevant to sales comment.

Tech sucks.

The parent company has responded to Ronni on Twitter.

Forget about Dotster's FB page. Everyone here who has a FB page or blog should repost Ronnie's story on their page which in turn will be posted on their friends pages etc, etc. etc.

Hurrah! Good to read you've gotten a response from Dotster.

I have two friends who are very tech savvy and they both have very good things to say about 'GoDaddy' support. At this point in your tragedy, I would call GoDaddy to inquire as to what would be required to switch!!

Since readers weren't getting very far on Dotster's website and I won't use FB, I decided to try Dotster's sales inquiry option. I did get a response, which I forwarded to you at your Outlook address. They are still stonewalling by not admitting any problems with email. Anyway maybe they "got the message." Good luck on your session with the Dotster tech taking control of your computer. I have done it many times with Geek Squad and I confess I like it. It's sort of like watching someone clean your house.

I, too, have heard good things about Go Daddy. But the most important criterion is what they do when there is a problem.

I came late to the party but figured I'd jump in since I'd not yet heard the problem was solved. I went to their June 2nd 15% off ad for making your own website and wrote the following comment:
"Why in the world would I do that since a 10 year client of yours with a very popular elder blog has been unable to get any kind of customer support for her email problem? She has lost hundreds of emails and the last customer service person she actually spoke to said he couldn't help and did not have the phone number of his supervisor."

Then I "shared" the dotter ad publicly on my status page fronted by the above comment.

It may not do any good but I get really pissy when someone treats my friends (albeit a virtual one) badly.

Done (by leaving a comment on one of their own posts).

Tech issues upset me more than almost anything else, and I don't know why. Feeling your pain and sending hugs your way.

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