Pipex: a resolution

27 August 2008

Time to conclude the tale of woes I went through trying to repair my internet connection (previously documented here and here). I got a working connection on Friday, 22nd August – 12 days after my connectivity first disappeared – when a Pipex/Tiscali engineer came around to my house.

The solution?

A new router. Specifically, a Thomson Speedtouch, supplied free by my ISP. Both the Netgears I tried weren’t up to the job, apparently, despite having worked for four years prior.

(I think what happened is that, after a failed attempt to migrate away – another broadband provider being incompetent – that when my MAC code expired, my line became a “new” Tiscali line, which all of a sudden only works with their own modems).

Anyhow. Back online. The disappointing thing is that if I’d been able to get through to a second-line engineer on the Tuesday after my problems had occurred, I might have been able to get through to UK-based support sooned, and had an engineer around over a week prior to the 22nd.

As it was, I became stuck in call-centre hell. All the first-line support staff at the call-centre were courteous, and concerned about my problem – especially when they saw from their own (well-kept) records how long it was taking to solve.

When I escalated the issue, the team in the UK at high-level and network support were all sharp, courteous, and quick to call me back or track progress. It was they who ultimately asked from an engineer to come.

The engineer himself was courteous and sharp, and had the decency to contact me several times when he turned out to be running late.

The gap was in “second-line support” – essentially, call-centre staff who perform more technical tasks, such as testing the line. They consistently failed to call me back when they said they would, and given I needed to be in to respond to their tests, this made it impossible to progress beyond them. Added to that, it was impossible to be transferred to them; they had to call me back direct. As a result, I frequently called to report that they had failed to call me back, only to end up back at first-line support again.

Still, we’re back online, and that’s what matters; it’s a shame it had to play out like this, though. For now, I’m just sticking with this ISP for the time being. Having a connection is better than no connection, at the moment.

(As a footnote: when I signed up to Pipex, about four years ago, they were not the cheapest, but they had dedicated, knowledgeable support staff in the UK, on the phone from 8am to 8:30pm. They’ve now been bought by Tiscali – something they never informed me of – and the quality of service just isn’t the same.)