So you’ve got 50 MBPS. But can your ISP do this?

I was spoiled twice my first go round with TekSavvy. And, after growing an issue or 5 with Bell during the move to the new place (Yeah, because who didn’t see that one coming?) I figured it was high time I give them try number 2. Why? Because awesome sauce, kids. And not even 6 months after I give these folks a look, I get this in my email.

Dear JAMES HOMUTH,

We are writing to inform you of some really great changes to your Internet service from TekSavvy. We are lowering pricing and passing on the savings to all of our customers! How TekSavvy is that?

As of your next billing date, you will notice that the Internet package you are subscribing to will change from High Speed DSL 25 Unlimited / DSL à haute vitesse 25 Illimite at $77.99 to High Speed DSL 25 Unlimited / DSL 25 Illimité – ON – RED at $57.99.

No action is required on your part. As of March 27th, 2013 TekSavvy automatically made the updates to our system. Your next bill will reflect the new pricing.

To find the latest news from the TekSavvy Team like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or visit teksavvy.com.

Thank you for your continued support, and loyalty.

Sincerely,

The TekSavvy Team
TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
We’re Different. In a Good Way.

I deal with way too many business to measure on a daily basis, and this is the first time any single one of them, be they tech related or not, has sent me an email escentially saying “here, have $20 off your bill for the next forever”. I almost went looking for the catch. But then of course, Twitter blew up and well, it’s not april fools. So here’s a question. Why aren’t more people interested in what the smaller guys have to offer? I wish I had the answer, but heaven knows they’ve just increased my interest. Asking me to please not pay them so much money? Yes please. Common sense ISP’s for the epic win. So who wants a switch?

I vacate Ottawa. Which means: welcome back, TekSavvy.

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I gave Bell Canada (at the time called Sympatico) the middle finger. Their service sucked royally, every second or third month was a new conversation with the folks what lost my payments, and they just couldn’t seem to convince me not to drink. I still won’t touch Bell, but that’s largely now because the service I can get here–which I’d *love* to get here, by the way–is in fact not available where I’m running to. So it’s off to TekSavvy for a second go round, and the same service I can get through Bell–minus the supremely ridiculous bandwidth caps. TekSavvy said the magic word–for those keeping score, it’s “unlimited”, and Bell still can’t quite figure out where exactly Pembroke/Petawawa is on the map. So when I get myself settled, somebody goes back to DSL. Hey, it’s a downgrade, but it’s interwebs. And it’s unlimited. Even Rogers could learn a thing or three about that.

Related: Are DSL routers still insanely cheap? Just in case the one I retired a year ago did, in fact, retire…

And the TekSavvy downward spiral continues.

Right on the heels of their change in attitude, Ontario-based TekSavvy continues to come apart at the seems from a customer service standpoint. This time, in the form of a new activation so utterly disorganized that at time of posting, all of the initial issues–including the service-related screw-up that prompted the first phone call– remained unresolved. And in not resolving those issues in the first place, they had the new customer’s service shut off for a few days, claiming a new order needed to be generated. And then they wound up right back on the service they were trying to upgrade from. When a company who usually prides itself on customer service starts requiring multiple calls to follow up, restate, regenerate and follow up again, there are problems galore. When it happens to a customer who’s just activated service with that company? I don’t even know. We’ve been seeing more of this over the last few months–it’s what caused me to jump ship. When your reason for leaving the old ISP becomes worse than your old ISP, it’s time to reexamine who you’re dealing with. I suspect these folks may be thinking about doing exactly that.

TekSavvy proves even the little guy could use a drop kick. Again.

The big draw for TekSavvy used to be they were local, open, and just small enough to still care about customers. That was a few years ago–when things like this would have meant half the company goes into full defend the customer mode.

My parents have TS home phone, their place got flooded, and I needed to see if their home phone number could be call forwarded to their cell while they’re out of their place. Several medical folks have their main number as their contact number, and it’s just way easier to call forward than to go about the process of trying to get my parents to remember all the numbers that might need to call them on the main line. I called support on Sunday night and held for 18 minutes before giving up. I recall that Rocky had been saying over and over that they were working on the wait times issue. I believe that was 18 months ago. I finally got someone on the phone today. I asked them if they could expedite the process of getting my parents’ cell as the forwarding number. The rep I spoke to said it wasn’t ‘fair’ for other customers who were in line ahead of my parents. I said that this is a matter of two elderly people who got flooded out of their home and need to have a connection to their main line for medical reasons. Rep said ‘I don’t care. We’re not going to bump someone out for you’. I asked ‘So you could do it, but you won’t’? Rep said ‘That’s right’. I wish I could convey to you guys the tone in which he said ‘That’s right’. Like he was proud of it, like he was enjoying saying it to me. Pathetic. Please note – this isn’t an exaggeration for dramatic effect. That’s exactly what he said to me. Avoid this company at all costs. Their competitive advantage has eroded and their staff have developed a ‘screw you’ attitude.

The TekSavvy of 2008 would have very likely put their foot to the floor on this process, and gotten this customer’s parents their forwarder without much fuss–the whole emergency circumstances thing, and all. The TekSavvy of 2011? No chance. Every time I see one of these, I’m very glad I’ve abandoned this company for similar reasons It’s always bad when a good company goes to shit. It’s worse when even 6 months ago they’d of come highly recommended. Now? I’d recommend anything else. And this doesn’t improve the situation.

TekSavvy continues to go down hill. Not pretty, guys.

I’m beginning to wonder exactly what goes on in the offices of Ontario-based TekSavvy when we’re not looking. Whatever it is, it clearly isn’t to do with employee training. From the company that brought you this, have customer service failure 2.0. Where we ended up being pushed to cancelling after they escentially broke our attempt to move services pretty well beyond repair, this potential customer couldn’t even seem to get a straight answer regarding their service activation.

We ordered two internet connections at our address and Teksavvy said there should be no problem. The activation dates were scheduled for the first two weeks
of December. Problems started to arise rather quickly. The technician didn’t come on the first scheduled visit. Teksavvy and rogers both confused the second
appointment for the first. I explicitly emailed them later but no changed was made. Therefore one account got activated. I was told by their technical
support team that the modem can be activated remotely and no technician was required since the first activation was fine. This was December 9th. Nothing
has happened since. Calling frequently over the weekend, I was told different things from different people. Some people said that activation was likely
over the weekend and another tech told me that first thing Monday Rogers would activate it. I kept calling until I was told the item was sent to “provision”.
I was told Provision is comprised of a special group of managers who have better access to Rogers. I was also told that Provision managers would be contacting
me ASAP regarding my matter since it’s now of a higher priority. However, the weekend passed and no one spoke to me about the matter until I called Monday
afternoon. I was told that “x” was handling the matter. Of course, he had simply sent an email to Rogers and was told that Rogers should contact back within
24-48 hours. Amazingly, “x” was on a 15 minute break but I was to be contacted within the day. No one contacted me. When I called back in the evening,
they said the managers had left and they were waiting on Rogers. I called back today and asked about the status, and they initially informed that I couldn’t
get a manager to call back because they had too many call backs. Since this has been going for over a week I insisted on speaking to someone. Finally,
manager contacted me saying that Provision team is now in a teleconference with Rogers and the matter will handled very shortly. I was to be contacted
but that didn’t happen. I called again, and they said “nothing has been updated”. An evening representative called me just to say that “they’re on it”.
It seems like sending a ticket to Provision meant no expedient service.

The rest of the post seems to echo in several ways the issues we were facing when trying to get service moved from Hamilton to Petawawa. Lies/halftruths, inconsistencies, people who say they can do things they actually can’t, yeah it’s all there. All that was missing was the infamous “Elizabeth” episode–does she only deal with DSL customers, perhaps?

TekSavvy’s come an aweful long way from when I started with them in May of 2008. Unfortunately, that long way’s in the wrong direction. I’m thinking maybe cancelling my service might have been the right thing after all. TekSavvy’s going down hill. And this sure as hell isn’t pretty.

So long, TekSavvy. It’s been fun.

I used to be in love with TekSavvy. I recommended the thing to anyone looking to escape the clutches of Bell Canada. Their plans were awesome, their service rocked my world, the lack of bandwidth restrictions made my geek heart do the happy dance. And on the rare occasion I had to deal with tech support, which wasn’t very often or for very long, they were rock solid beyond anything. I delt with their other departments only a tiny little handful of times, but even those were mostly all aces. The love afair ended a week and a half ago.

I’ve recently taken in a roommate. The afore mentioned roommate also used to come with TekSavvy. We’d planned to keep both services running, and attempt to combine them in such a way that internet speeds would go from borderline awesome to wicked awesome in 3 seconds flat. We called at the beginning of November, roughly, shortly after we’d escentially decided to give this whole roommate thing a try. It went back and forth between yes we can and no we can’t, and some very odd and less than amusing combinations of the two. We spoke each to several different people when we got our hands on these interesting combinations.

One thing lead to another, we wound up bouncing to the manager queue. Or rather, we thought we were bouncing to the manager queue–more on that later. Finally, we were getting something vaguely resembling consistency. We got sent to Elizabeth, who told us she was a supervisor in the sales department. Suddenly, we saw things get cleared up, straightened out, and appropriately beaten into submission. Bell got told they’d be doing what we wanted, when we wanted, and not to ask questions. We were ready to go, and all we had to do was show up on the day of the changeover. Except no, not really.

About four days before the day services were supposed to be switched over, and the day before Shane was due to jump a bus up this way, I wake up to a message on the answering machine. This message, from Alexandra, escentially undid what we’d just gotten everything but written confirmation was going to happen. Naturally, it involved a callback. And that’s when things got a little more interesting.

Apparently, not only was Bell not, as we were previously told, going to do what we wanted–on account of this was to do with an install that has nothing to do with any of Bell’s services, but for the last two weeks before this, we hadn’t, in fact, been speaking to a supervisor in the sales department. I still don’t think we were speaking to anyone managerial when we got the callback, though she claimed to be more senior than Elizabeth–whatever the hell that means. Needless to say, we were significantly less than enthusiastic to be having that conversation. We promptly canceled both our services right there in favour of Primus, who I’ve had dealings with before and left because I had a better offer.

Apparently we’re not alone on the list of folks who’ve run up against the Elizabeth issue. She’s told at least one other customer she was a manager as well, and made claims similar to that which she made to us–this customer has also, since, been corrected by someone else, including on Elizabeth’s managerial status. While I can’t say whether or not that customer’s contemplating the big switch, but it’s acts like this that ended up turning what I saw as an absolutely perfect service into something from which I wanted to run, quickly, in the opposite direction.

So long, TekSavvy. It’s been fun. In this case, you can thank your own customer service folks for the bad taste in my mouth. I do. And as of tomorrow, I won’t even have that.

If this video is legit, my ISP’s awesome just increased.

There’s an advertisement being floated by my ISP, Teksavvy, that’s made it on to Youtube. Apparently, it’s also being shown on TV in some places–though personally, I hadn’t seen it until today. If it’s indeed an actual ad for the service, it’d be the first one I’ve seen from any company up here that didn’t stink of corporate BS–like, say, filling service level guarantees you just know you’re not gonna get. And it has the added advantage of also being vaguely hillarious. Here it is, for the randomly curious.

Officially screwed… by an ISP I’m not actually with.

I promise, there’s an actual update about, well, me coming eventually. But in the meantime, have a techy rant.

I’ve never really been an overly huge fan of Bell Canada. Usually, I’d default to them only because the alternative–which, at the time, was Rogers–isn’t exactly a whole lot better. I’d heard halfway good things about some of the smaller ISP’s, but couldn’t be bothered to switch–most noteably because they still escentially sold their services over Bell’s equipment. Then they started throttling their customers for doing anything they didn’t agree with–like, for example, downloading a season of a TV show via torrent. Then, because the kicker for the smaller ISP’s was they could start advertising they didn’t do that, Bell decided shortly thereafter to start throttling the smaller ISP’s in much the same way. Meanwhile while this was going on, they were inventing new and creative ways to try and screw me over entirely.

In May of 2008, shortly after word came out about Bell’s throttling of third party ISP’s, I switched my internet service to TekSavvy. While yeah, they’re still borrowing Bell’s services for their own uses, at least my money wasn’t going directly into their pockets this time. And I ended up paying less of it overall. Apparently, Bell’s decided users from third party ISP’s should be paying through the nose for their services, much like they would be through Bell directly. So they’ve opted to introduce a rather ridiculous overage fee on a per-byte basis to the third party ISP’s. It amounts to, according to the linked article, roughly $1.13/gigabyte. And naturally, it has CRTC approval, so prices will probably start going up even while the appeals by the affected ISP’s are being drafted. Way to go, Bell. If we had a third option, you’d get none of my money entirely. Sadly, I’m still not entirely enthusiastic about the alternatives.

And, of course, while I was writing this post, a friendly neighbourhood nag agent from Bell itself thought it might be fun to call me up on a Saturday afternoon and inform me my apparent new phone bill is now approximately $11 higher than it should be for same service. Once again, Bell’s got the wrong idea here. Here’s a random thought. You already lost me on your internet service–largely because your internet service, and the folks who support it, fail–contrary to the regular junkmail I’m still seeing in my mailbox encouraging me to reconsider. Are you trying to lose me on your phone service, too? You’re succeeding, if you are.

Update: And now I read Bell’s doing exactly the same thing to its direct customers. So much for unlimitted plans.

The CRTC noted almost all the individuals who voiced their opinions were “unanimously opposed” to Bell’s application.

And yet, the application was approved anyway. Officially screwed, again.

My headache, let me share it.

Welp, the internet connectivity problems of the past couple days continued yesterday. I spent 3 hours and a bit fighting with it yesterday morning, got it connected, and after making a phone call and flexing my newly reconnected interwebs for a couple hours, I shuffled off to bed. When next I woke up, guess what wasn’t playing nice, yet again? I had no interwebs. The rat bastard modem had dropped the ball for the 5 billionth time. I’d do my usual thing of powercycle, kill the router, plug directly into the modem, and try the web interface. Notta. Then I’d powercycle it again, restart the computer, and I’d have a connection. I’d reconfigure the modem as, yet again, it had forgotten my settings (by the way, another tech support person told me powercycling won’t result in losing my settings–well, shouldn’t, anyway–and as evidenced by the fact it hasn’t before, I’m inclined to believe him), and I’d be connected. For… 10 minutes, or less. So after placing another call in to TekSavvy, and telling them everything I’ve already done to try and fix the problem on this end (trying to factory reset a Speed Touch 516 is queen bitch, just FYI), they agreed with me this modem’s on the borderline of being finished. So, I’ll probably spend most of my time offline except for instances wherein I can get this modem to cooperate with me, at least until I can get my hands on a replacement. I’m told it shouldn’t be longer than a week, but we know how courier companies are. And I *think* they use Purolator, so God only knows. But at least the problem’s been nailed down. Now I’m just afraid to go to sleep lest this damn thing fall sideways on me again. Ah well, I’ve just run out of caffeine so sleep it is. If I suddenly don’t show up online and I’m needed, people have my phone numbers. Those that don’t, cope or ask someone that does.

The thing about tech support: you’re never *really* done.

A sign of just how eventful my week’s been; this is pretty much the only thing of any real significance, since I’m still waiting on things like, you know, job applications to come to fruition (I’ll post more on that tomorrow, or later on tonight). I did my usual thing of late, that being staying up until whenever o’clock in the morning instead of going to bed, well, when most normal people would consider going to bed. When I did decide to finally crash, I did so for maybe an hour or so. Got up, futzed around for a bit, then fended off the mother’s insistent demands that I absolutely must go to Pembroke next weekend. And then sat down to do my usual routine of check email, laugh at email, reply to the occasional one, then cruise the flist. Except no internet. Checked on my various TV show downloads, no connection. Went into the other room and futzed with the router for a bit, notta. Powercycled both modem *and* router, she still no worky. Well fuck, my first official TekSavvy outage. And what craptastic timing.

So I call them up, somewhat reluctantly (I’m still used to Bell’s tech support. Sue me.), and turns out it’s a known issue with the modem that when powercycled, it loses the configuration settings and needs to be set up again. Well fuck, again. At least these guys have a clue what they’re talking about, anyway. About 20 minutes later on my slower than the second coming laptop, we had us a newly reconfigured modem. Another 30 seconds and I was back online. For… 45 minutes. Further investigation revealed it had decided, yet again, to forget my settings. And this time it wasn’t because I powercycled. Well fuck, and fuck again. I didn’t wanna do anything productive tonight anyway.

So while on the phone with someone because, well, I likes me some damn good conversation and she usually provides an awesome one, we get to talking about music. It gets to a song she hasn’t heard that I figure she’ll find absofuckinglutely hillarious, and then I’m reminded. Duh, moron, you can has no internets. Which meant another 20 minutes because, to demonstrate my utter lack of preparedness for chrisis situations, I’d turned off my slow as hell laptop in favour of the much faster beast in the living room, which I’m using now, and which is conveniently nowhere in ethernet cable range of the craptastical modem. Clearly I was on some serious crack when I planned the layout of this network. Needless to say it managed to be fixed a second time, and it *looks* like the temporary bout of amnesia we were fighting has apparently subsided. Or at least has gone on a hopefully permanent vacation. I did learn something from all this, though. Speedtouch modems, or at least ones of this particular model, are absolute crap, and should be set on fire. *After* a suitable replacement is located.

Officially ridding myself of Bell Sympatico.

I keep saying I should, I’ve even threatened to a time or 3. But today I actually did so without thinking about it. Well, okay, I actually *did* think about it. After apparently 3 more times in the span of an hour last night I got the royal boot off teh intarwebz. So I call up ma Bell, and they do their usual song and dance about let us see what we can do to help you first, please. I figure, okay, I’m probably gonna wind up leaving anyway so I might as well give them one more chance to strike out. So they do their thing, and apparently do some tweeking with my phone line (I dunno what the hell they did, the tech made me hang up while he did it). So now my connection issues are supposedly all fixed up. Well, they may very well be, but considering he said he didn’t touch my download capabilities in any way, shape or form and they now come in at under 1MB/S where they used to be 1.5 or thereabouts, I’m still not a happy camper in the slightest. So I call them back, and the guy I get a hold of is decidedly against doing, well, anything to address the problem. Apparently since his line test says I’m at 6 MB/S, it can’t be their problem. Well, uh, it’s not mine, so yes it can. I promptly told him at that point where he could stick his DSL service, and cancelled it. Effective April 27th, Sympatico gets the hell out of my house and is replaced by TekSavvy, who so far has the only drawback of still having to be on part of Bell’s network; Canadian monopolies are so much fun. We’ll see what kind of improvement if any we get out of it at that particular time, but in the meantime, I’m going to very much enjoy wiggling out from under Bell. Who knows, if they’re any good I might switch my phone service over too. They’re cheaper and provide more than Bell does.

PS: “It gets to you the exact same way as it does with us, and besides we have more servers than they do” is not exactly a very decent way of trying to convince a customer not to give the big fuck you to your company, just for the record. Or maybe I just expect people to be able to form an actual argument on a technical level.