Elders Coping with Summer Heat
What Should Be Elders' Place in Society?

Final Update on an Old Woman's Tears

Here I am again, as I was Tuesday, on a day of the week on which I otherwise no longer publish. But it's important to do this today.

As you know, I was angry and frustrated after weeks of non-help I had received from the company where my domains are registered, Dotster by name. The two biggest problems were that

  1. I was not receiving a lot of my email and
  2. What did arrive in the inbox would just willy-nilly up and disappear, never to be found again.

The stress was constant. I was missing regular subscriptions, personal email from friends, blog reader email, banking, medical information and more, including electronic billing. I've relied on that for more than a decade to make sure the lights stay on, insurance remains in force and all the rest.

Including, I might add, Dotster itself. Without email notification, I have only the vaguest idea when the ones I pay quarterly, semi-annually and annually are due because it's easy to lose track with so much time in between. I rely on those emails to pay on time.

At the end of my rope, last Friday, I posted my story and asked you, dear readers, to help out.

You responded fantastically, leaving messages on the Twitter and Facebook pages of Dotster and you succeeded. Late that afternoon, a company representative, Danny, telephoned me promising he would see that my problems were corrected.

He's a smart and pleasant guy and I had hopes that my troubles would soon be over but my subsequent contacts with the support staff through their boilerplate emails setting up a remote session to work on the fix would have been funny as a parody of bad customer service on Saturday Night Live.

But not so funny to me as I explained to you in Tuesday's followup post.

Your responses Tuesday were filled with your own support horror stories so I approached the session on Wednesday (yesterday) morning with hope but also prepared for disappointment.

In fact, I had already done the homework necessary to switch to a new domain registrar and change the domain mapping for the blogs. It is detailed, not necessarily easy and according to various sources, can take from a couple days to several weeks to complete.

For me, that was a desperate last resort.

The Dotster service helper was right on time, at 10AM yesterday. He and I communicated via a chat window for more than hour as he worked and he was remarkably good at explaining in words I could understand what he was doing.

He kept me informed of how he was testing, what might have caused the problems until he narrowed it down, and what I needed to do to help as the cursor moved around my screen seemingly on its own but definitely with purpose.

As it turned out, there were several errors working in concert that had screwed up everything but in the end, the problem was solved and we finished off our conversation thusly:

RONNI: Thank you so much for this. The only name this program gives me for you is "serviceman1" so - again, thank you, serviceman1. I greatly appreciate your work here.

SERVICEMAN1: Haha, my name is Warren. It was my pleasure. And I'll also be sending you a follow up in case you need anything else.

And so he did. Then, a few minutes later, Danny telephoned as promised to see how the session had gone. He had already spoken with serviceman1/Warren so it wasn't necessary for me to explain details.

Because I can't help myself in such situations, I mentioned to Danny that perhaps Dotster could improve their customer relations both on the phone and those ugly, off-putting emails.

He agreed and said that he and his team are using my service difficulty as a learning experience for their company.

So perhaps some customer service good, even if it is only one company, will come from my mess, your help in pressuring them and the professional response of Danny and serviceman1/Warren.

Wouldn't that be terrific.

Through this ordeal, I came to see that this is bigger than one person's trouble getting one non-functioning email fixed.

When we old folks were growing up, it was landline telephones and snailmail that were crucial to our daily lives. Fifteen years into the 21st century, it is mobile phones and email that we cannot, anymore, live without.

Pretty much all the business of our lives is conducted with these two services and when they are broken, life is broken. Bills don't arrive, appointments are missed, friends, acquaintances and businesses are left hanging without responses.

For that reason, companies from whom we purchase these services cannot blow us off when they break. In fact, in a perfect world, mobile phones and email would be public utilities, as closely regulated as water, natural gas, electricity, railroads, etc.

Well, that's a conversation for another day.

Meanwhile, thank you, dear readers for your help and thank you Danny and Warren of Dotster for coming through. I appreciate you all.

Comments

Happy news indeed. I appreciate Ronni doing this Thursday post, because I was wondering. As I'm sure everyone else was.

I am going to pop over to Twitter to tell Dotster and Domain.com that I read this post. After all, I complained about them on Twitter.

Ronni, I dearly hope you have a happy, relaxed day. Also, please write more in the future about depending on computers, emails, etc. We are changing back to getting statements in the regular mail. I worry that if I weren't around, Mr. Bruce (aka husband who can barely turn on computer) will have no idea what's what money wise.

I would love to know where the fix was in this saga. Not a virus? Dotster routes?
Anything the rest of us could understand even vaguely? Just the Dotster's own system?
Not the user I am guessing.

Faith...
It was a conflict between my email (IMAP) and gmail (POP) (don't ask) and Dotster servers. There were other settings errors too.

I could understand Warren's explanation but I cannot repeat it and anyway, it undoubtedly is a series of events peculiar to my situation.

I's so happy you had a good outcome! It gives us all hope in similar situations.

Actually -- I too have had IMAP/POP conflicts. Not that I understand that really. What hell!

Ahhhhhhh, that feels better!

So glad to hear this good news.

Yes, you are right, our technology is our link to the world. Without it, I cannot function. I hear from elderly people who see no need for any of this "connectivity" and I can only shake my head. This is my world. It must function well.

Wonderful news. You must be so relieved! That stuff has to work. It just has to.

I am so happy to hear of a success story. This restores some of my faith in the corporate world.

It also proves that you should never give up.

Thank you for the Thursday post to update the situation. I was hoping and wishing for your successful outcome. Looks like that is what ultimately happened.

Keep those names/numbers somewhere in hard copy for any future issues. I keep a log book to track computer issues and passwords in case of hardware meltdown. I may never need to use it, but the fact that it's there is like a security blanket for me.

So happy and relieved for you Ronni! And for all of us, given how we depend on you.

janinsanfran...

When I typed your phrase "IMAP/POP conflicts" into Google, all kinds of fascinating explanations came up, to clarify why it's a problem. So thanks for that! We learn something every day on this blog.

So grateful. May this indeed be a sign of the return of true customer support.

I"m so glad your problem is resolved and tickled that your situation is a "learning experience" for them. Hope it is.

So happy your problem got fixed and that many are learning from the experience. Technological advances get us expecting (rightly so sometimes) instantaneous or at least timely delivery of our communications and services.

Sorta scary how an Internet problem can mess up our lives!

I' with EasyDriverChris..keep those numbers for future use..but of course you know that, Ronni.

So glad you can heave a big sigh and go on to better and more interesting things.
elle

I just Love a happy ending!!

I too am pleased you received some reasonable customer support after all, finally.
Interesting to note that our dependence on these technologies can also ls work in our favor, when our friends and service providers come to realize what we can in fact mount as a campaign by way of comment and protests. Where there is in fact competition, unlike the world of Cable TV and internet, they get complacent and we have to put up with inferior service.
I am however a firm believer that ultimately lousy service will bring down a provider, it is still
being tested however by the likes of some large cable and satellite companies.

While my toes are dabbling in the 21st century, my heals are well dug in around my landline and postage stamps.

Ronni, How gratifying to know that your persistence and many reader comments to Dotster ultimately worked.

Linda's comment about using snail-mail at times is something that my husband The Engineer and I have had experience with recently.

He uses TurboTax to prepare our income tax return, but when their website was hacked into this year, he didn't submit the return and payment online.

Instead he printed out the prepared statement, deleted the online version, and mailed the copy to the IRS by snail mail.

Sort of a Back to the Future scenario?

This is good news indeed. Happy to hear that your life will be less complicated and frustrating, and that sometimes speaking out for someone else, as was done, actually has positive results! A win-win situation. Now I will also go give them a public thank you since I too had left a scolding FB post earlier.

Good to read that your problem has been resolved (or I hope it has)... but I cannot give Dotster a pass for treating you (and probably a lot of other customers) so badly and for so long. You have the means to raise a large public stink... to which, finally, they responded. Not everybody has that arrow in their quiver.

Although we use the 'net for many things, my husband and I have resisted the impulse to handle our bill-paying online. There are just too many factors that can go wrong, as your situation does attest.

I urge you to double-check with all your accounts to make sure that everything is in fact paid at the proper times -- so much depends on our credit scores these days that it is horrifying to depend on people that we can only know by "assumed" names. And whom we can only contact with a tenuous "link."

I am glad that you're back in business, so to speak, but we are all still at the mercy of unknown characters....

Welcome back. I'm so sorry about your problems, and glad your readers could be of help.

Yeahh, Antonia! I'm with you!

Ronni,I don't know how "bad customer support" can be parodied. It's a given, and occurs across the electronic service spectrum. I would agree with you that the internet should be a public utility, but government is also quite good at fucking everything up, so I'm not sure that would work. If I could get rid of outsourcing so-called customer service to foreign countries I would consider that a step in the right direction. So many of the CS reps don't speak English nearly as well as they think they do. Of course, it is the fault of the company that hired them right off the deportation bus. The big companies (I'm talking to you, Comcast and Amazon) obviously don't care enough to do the necessary testing and/or inservice training. For them, a script is good enough. After all, we're only customers and they're probably going to get our money anyway. But if I hear once again one of those canned phrases about how they appreciate my call and they are working on my problem if I'll just hold the line for half an hour or so, I will scream. Oh yeah, I have screamed.

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