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Update to an Old Woman's Tears

Yes, this is a Tuesday post – something I stopped doing about a month ago but because you were all so helpful last week with my email/computer troubles - for which I am grateful - I want to bring you up to date.

As noted on last Saturday's post, on Friday a Dotster representative, Danny, telephoned and after a pleasant chat, he said he would make certain my problems are entirely resolved. That's not a quote but it's close.

He also gave me what he said are his direct phone number and his office email address.

Soon thereafter, I received an email from the Dotster “team” that appeared to charge me $29.95 for “email client configuration.” Your big-mouth blog proprietor here dashed off a less that polite email in return before she noticed the fee had been waived.

Nevertheless, it left me wondering how thorough a fix this will be if the charge is only $29.95 and after all the changes I have made at Dotster help people's suggestion, the problems appear to me to be way messier than can be fixed with a standard email configuration.

But hey, if I knew what to do, I wouldn't need help so I let it go for the weekend except for the endless frustration of email constantly disappearing from my inbox, among other issues.

In Monday morning's email, a boilerplate message advised me to choose a day and time for Dotster to take control of my computer for the fix. With their demand for 24-hour notice, Monday was ruled out and I'm busy today so I had to choose Wednesday morning and asked for a confirmation.

As of Monday evening, no response.

Additionally, the “team” email informed me that a phone call is not allowed during the remote session to configure my email and no other help for connection problems or email client functionality are included in the fix.

That runs counter to Danny's assurance that he will see that my email problems are solved. In addition, he has not he responded to my email asking for a phone call to discuss the perameters of the help session.

Why, do you suppose, there are alarm bells going clang, clang, clang in my head?

You know, it is not difficult to keep customers happy. Charge a fair price, deliver the product and when something goes wrong, fix it. And if, as in this case, you have ignored the customer for weeks, you might try an apology and follow through with what you say you will do.

How hard is that?

Well, so far it appears to be difficult for Dotster. God I hope I'm wrong and if so, I will issue a public apology. But I don't feel good about any of it so far.

I tell you all this today because such bad behavior from companies whose services we pay for is widespread and I think it wasn't always this way. I think it has changed in our - elders' - lifetime.

Do you agree? If so, what do think has caused it to change so dramatically in our lifetime?


I have been hearing warning bells ever since you started writing about these issues. Sadly, warning bells don't sound as exciting and joyful as bells ringing in celebration.

I had one of those sessions with another company that took over my keyboard. They fixed the email issue I was having BUT they disabled my keyboard in the process so it couldn't be used after their session ended. I called and they spent 3 hours trying to fix it and finally ended up sending me a check for $80 to buy a new keyboard. After I got the new one, that one wouldn't pair either. So I took it to a tech shop who also couldn't get it to work. They ended up having to wipe my computer clean and re-install windows just to get a keyboard to work. Worst computer experience in my life. And get this, the email that they fixed no longer worked after my tech guy got through re-installing windows. So I was back to square one. I hope you have better luck than me on Wednesday but it wouldn't take much for that to happen. LOL

Well, Ronni, I hope your session goes better than my poor-prognosis thoughts about Dotster. Either they're avoiding you because they don't really know how to deal with this problem - or/and - they're not fond of customer service. Customer service and quality product - two things that define a company in this digital age to me. In some ways, I feel it's now easier to be anonymous and the idea of responsibility to the customer isn't so important.

In a nutshell, population is growing too much, too fast, and we're losing the value of accountability - this attitude is one of the casualties.

Oh, and good to have this Tues morning surprise!

Ronnie-no horror story here..I too have had my computer taken over by someone who knows better than I.

My issue was promptly repaired and they left my new but previously non-functional computer right off the shelf perfect.

Lets hope you have a positive result..and I'll wish for the best...too frightening to think about the word happening after all your issues with Dotster.

In any case, I doubt that any of your constant readers will ever subscribe to Dotster should the be in search of a hosting agent...not I, thats for sure.

Hope things go well-
your neighbor in Beaverton-Elle (aka Plantcrone)

I'm sure you've considered switching to another host.

From personal experience and having been told by representatives, companies are getting so big that they don't have to care. My daughter and I were just talking about this and how it takes several calls to get things straightened out whether it be a credit to an account or just a plain mistake. They assure you that it has been taken care of and on the next statement or call you find out it hasn't been despite assurances. It is very frustrating. On top of that it is hard or impossible to get the same person to talk to again, thus the lack of accountability!! Good luck Ronni - I hope that your problem with Dotster gets solved.

Ronni - the hocus pocus these folks are putting you through is unnecessary. It is a matter of a few moments to install the program that 'allows them to take control' and there is no technical reason why you cannot stay on the line, and you certainly can talk to them while the repair is being made. Speaking from experience, i have had conversations with the folks in India, the Philippines and yes, eventually with a repair shop in my own city for various issues while technicians had control of my computer.

As others have suggested, it may be time to drop "Dropster" and find a reliable host. Even though it will initially be another PITA.

Good luck.

I agree with Simone. I think it is worse because there is so little accountability. Even being dragged through poor reviews in cyberspace is now fleeting and that kind of fire can be doused relatively easy. All a company need do is just wait fifteen minutes. Usually the answer to this kind of unaccountability issue is to go local and actually connect with the business you are dealing with. Outside of that being possible, perhaps you should hire a "Tech Doula" someone who you can pay to run rough shod on these types of problems. Someone who is cyber savvy enough that the companies cannot easy jerk around. Leverage in the game, I guess is what I'm suggesting, if one is going to play at all. So sorry this happened to you.

I hate to say it, but courtesy and standing by a product, and providing customer service after the sale - all are things I rarely encounter, in any field. I hope this is the exception. Perhaps sending them your blog address so that they know how public this mess is would help. I would certainly never use their "service."

What's wrong with their admitting they don't know how to fix it and setting you up anew in a properly functioning state? They don't realize how the cyber world can disable the entire company. Standing ready to share in as many ways possible.

You aren't asking for advice. I just think I would tremble at turning my computer over to someone who will not be on the phone with me. Phones with speaker phones and/or ear buds are hands free, right? If that can't be accommodated, I would ask to think about it (while I shop alternatives.) Think we would all have much patience if it meant your being down a few days until re-established with whatever new service.

Best of luck!

Remember when the phrase "the customer is always right" was the rule of all companies. No more. I think Diane nailed it when she said that companies have gotten so big they no longer have to care.

I have been through a similar problem with Google and lost my blog because they couldn't (or wouldn't) fix it.

My doctor was sending prescriptions for me via computer and was having trouble. He said he hated computers and I think we have all felt the same way many times.

I hope you get this fixed soon and Dotster is not just giving you the runaround.

As a former customer service rep. (not IT or computer related), I can tell you this. If Dotster is outsourcing its tech and customer service, don't hold your breath for resolving this soon. Offshore customer service departments just don't care as much . especially if the problem is something out of the ordinary. They want to get you off the line as soon as possible and hope, that if you do call back, you'll speak to someone else.

Oh Ronnie. I hope you can get the issue fixed. I have recently had problems with two different companies. In each case, the customer service person on the other end of the phone promised that they would be able to fix the problem. Neither was true. The AT&T person promised to call me back, but didn't. The American Express person called back once to assure me that they were working on the issue, but it is not fixed and I did not hear another word from them. I think the workers are now given a script that they should be reassuring and promise they will be able to help when this is too often a vacant promise. I hope you have better luck than I did.

A professional email service would have a way to backup your lost email. But that's a tremendous amount of work. Even fixing the current problem might cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars if they actually did the job. Figure $100/hr. on the cheap side. That's why you can't trust hosting services. If there's no easy quick fix you get ignored. You're only hope is to find an angel on their team that has the savvy to problem solve. That does happen sometimes. Mostly you get people who try to solve 10-20 tickets an hour.

I'd recommend off loading some of your current email to Outlook or Gmail and test how well they treat you.

Here are the reasons you asked for, Ronni: Fear,Greed,Lack of Energy, Ego. I owned my own company for 26 yrs. When a problem like yours appeared, I authorized all-out efforts to fix it, track the process, and review it after the customer had said that it's OK. Fixes can be done, but they cost time & energy. Analysis: Fear underlies it all: Fear of losing market share and profitability. Greed: Get the company bigger, faster. Big short-term profits feed ego & provide perks, huge salaries. Isolation in executive-only environs breeds lack of empathy for customer's needs. Lack of Energy: It takes both energy & money to fix problems. Even the sloppy fix on yours, eats into profits, Ronni. More greed.
Fear, Greed, Laziness, Ego. The '4 horsemen' of the badly-run corporation. Thanx for asking!

It looks as though Dotster have deleted the Facebook post with our comments, so they solved that problem easily enough...I hope they come good for you tomorrow, sending positive thoughts...

Joan in MN makes an excellent point about so-called Customer Service reps just reading a script.

When you call, you'll probably get a different rep every time, but exactly the same script. So frustrating.

Ronnie, I feel your pain, having spent three hours - yes 3 hours - on the phone and computer earlier today trying to resolve a tech problem. My suggestion, in your case, is to deliver your problem to the "fixer" person at the major Portland newspaper or to the same person at the NYT. I read these consumer advocate/problem solver columns regularly, both locally in Naples and in the NYT. Your situation sounds like the perfect sample for these writers to address. I'm sure you know who I mean. The technique is usually to shame the company into solving the problem AND delivering an apology. Often the problem being addressed has occurred repeatedly and the company well-knows it. At least the problem might get solved if exposed to the light. Anyway, it can't hurt to send it in to someone. Good luck!

Thank you for your suggestions but as with my original post on this, there's not much in the world of email and domains I haven't already thought of.

A. There is a backup for my email. It's not working. I've done all the homework on switching to another domain registrar - it is detailed, irritating and not easy.

Additionally, it can take from two days or so to two weeks or more to make the transfer during which time - ta-da - no blog.

So keep your fingers crossed that the fix works tomorrow.

Because I go so many places online, I am always picking up weird things. Here it isn't them, it's usually me. Compounding everything is the fact that all my computers are old tho running Win 7. I have two techie gurus that make suggestions, and without them I wouldn't be here at all. I truly appreciate your problems and wish I could help. Crossing my fingers and toes.

This is enough to make a customer ignite his or her hair.

Who can we trust these days?

Our sweetheart nephew is a computer wizard. He is right now, far, far from home, so we are walking on tiptoe until he gets back.

We hate trusting anyone with our computer issues. But now we are looking for a backup IT wiz, just in case something goes wrong while nephew is away.

It's darn hard to find such a person.

Ronni, hope everything gets resolved to your satisfaction.

Service today is hit and miss. We recently had some work done on our bathroom. Went shopping for a new toilet.

Today's toilets are way expensive, all different sizes, shapes. What the h3$&!

We choose one. It weighs a ton. The big box store dude hauls it to my car.

We drive it home, our carpenter carries it into the house. He opens the box. Toilet tank lid is broken.

The guy has to haul it back to my car. His face is purple, sweaty. The box is like a brontosaurus, and it isn't even the Rolls Royce model.

I wanted to punt that thing into the lake, but would have broken my foot, thus another problem.

It's a long story.

I'll put it on my blog.

Why is customer service so bad? People who are hired don't give a fig. They want to do the quickest/easiest job possible for the most amount of money. There is no buy-in to their company, not loyalty to the boss. Put in the hours, go home.

It's a "if it doesn't work, throw it away" society. Read the handwriting on the wall!
Run fast and find another startup that wants to work harder for your business.

WARNING: In my better judgement I have developed - be very cautious about 'turning over' your PC to an outsider. (In fact many say DO NOT DO THIS!)

At a minimum back up everything and be prepared to scream holy (expletive) when you see the mess they have created.

Good luck . . .

I must agree with Simone and many others, including Tim Hay. Too many people, insufficient resources, failing infrastructure (both tech and non-tech) and anonymity. Add Tim's Fear, Greed, Lack of Energy and Ego and voila! The Perfect Storm for what many ordinary people experience one way or another every single day: inconvenience, delay and incredible frustration!

Why is this pattern not only persisting but continuing to worsen? You can bet that the 1% aren't slogging through their days getting the "3rd digit" from corporate America. But, what doesn't affect them personally they probably won't take the time or trouble to understand or even acknowledge. That's American Oligarchy in the 21st century. And since our elections are now "For Sale" thanks to Citizens United, I don't expect to see much positive change in my lifetime.

Maybe one reason employees don't give a fig is because their employers don't. Layoffs, downsizings, paying the lowest possible wages, union-busting: all these have contributed. Two-way employer/employee loyalty is, unfortunately, gone with the wind! I was totally loyal to my employer for 40 years--until they laid me off with 3 weeks' notice last December.

Just so you all know, there is at least one helpful, honest company out there.

I noticed a JDI Computer Backup.com charge on my husband's credit card history for 3 months. When I finally asked him about it, he was mystified. He agreed that I should have it cancelled.

When I called Customer Service with the cancellation request, I was treated to a polite young man who spoke American English well. He took my information and assured me that it would not appear on any future credit card statements. It didn't, much to my relief, since I was doubtful that it would only take one call and dreaded the next step.

This was decidedly less complicated than your email problems, but it does give a little hope that somebody out there cares about customer service, even when it means a loss of revenue.

I agree that service is getting worse, and I think it's caused by two things: 1) Companies treat us terribly, and we still buy. Airlines are a good example. 2) We are not the customers; the customers are the shareholders.

On the other hand, I got 'way over the top good service from a local plumbing supply company today--a nice surprise.

I agree; good customer service is almost a lost art. I will drive a lot farther and spend a lot more based on customer service alone. Most products and services can be purchased many different places. I patronize those with the best customer service.

As for those alarm bells ... I've become such an old crank that I hear alarm bells during almost every business transaction.

Get new company,,,

I agree customer service has deteriorated, as well as product quality and pride in workmanship. I blame poor and no parenting skills, lowered educational standards, globalization and a lack of leadership, cohesiveness and direction by our elected officials. Technologies such as "smart" phones are drastically changing how we interact with one another and I don't see a positive outcome. I am thankful to be on the downward slide of life.

I, personally, have no problem with having others remotely operate my computer, having done that many times for various reasons over the years. However, I will only do that if I placed the call or if I have agreed with someone whom I called that they should call me at a specific time.

I think I can tell you why you "can't" talk to them while they are remotely operating: the remote operator is a techie who fixes problems but who may not speak English well.

It didn't take me long to figure out what was going on when I was having problems with a new computer and I could only talk to the techie through IMing. The customer service reps are the ones who have a better command of spoken English.

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