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Wednesday 18 June 2003

Lurks says fairwell to Blueyonder [lurks]

I've been prepared to cut Blue Yonder a fair bit of slack because on the whole, the cable modem service has been fast, reliable (much more so that my previous ADSL attempts) and it's good value for money. I've been with Blue Yonder since they started doing cable modems and I had their telephone and cable TV service a good deal of time before that.

I felt that my relationship with the company was established enough that it was worth my time to pen their director of consumer services a letter to try persuade him to consider increased upstream bandwidth - particularly for the 2Mb service which I subscribed to a week later.

Then things started going bad. Instead of upgrading my cable to 2Mb, they cut my cable off. Lots of telephone calls to get it switched back on, including juggling around all sorts of different numbers and different departments that handle my specific area etc. Then it gets switched back on and it's 512kbps! I post to their support group that this is getting out of hand and they go fix it up.

A week of happy 2Mb cable service and then at 14:21 on the 9th of June my cable modem reboots. It doesn't come back up. More calling of Blue Yonder and it transpires that they've disabled my account.

In one of the many phone calls, one tech support peon tells me that it's because of an open mail relay. I go over my mail server with a fine toothed comb and it's definitely not an open relay.

Tech support stops being helpful and tells me that someone from this abuse/security team will call me. I'm told they try to resolve it within 24-hours. No phone calls within 24 hours of course.

I up the ante and start getting a bit self-righteous about this and try a different tack through customer support. One of these calls yields the note attached to my account which says 'Account disabled because open proxy detected'. I suppose it would not surprise you, gentle reader, to learn that I certainly do not have an open proxy. I am not running a proxy at all.

One of the many telephone conversations today has a customer services woman manage to get through to the Blue Yonder Black Ops department. They then say that they aim to call me within 7 days after appropriate investigation. 7 days! What investigation, they've killed my cable modem so how are they going to investigate anything?!

I've had enough. This is atrocious behavior given that I'm a long standing customer that subscribes to their top-tier products. I order the clan favorite Netgear ADSL router from Dabs. I start the lengthy process of assessing the current ADSL providers (which I will discuss in another blog). I chose Nildram, I place an order with Nildram.

I phone up customer services with that sort of righteous indignant glee that one does when you have decided to hurt said company where it hurts. I ask to cancel. I'm briskly whisked to a cancellation department.

In the first few seconds the conversation goes; 'Ahh, you've been with us for some time', to which I respond 'Indeed and I had no intention of moving before you cut off my cable modem with no warning and refuse to discuss the matter'. It is finally gratifying to be confronted with someone at Blue Yonder Broadband that finally comprehends that keeping customers is a good idea. Although of course it's a joke that none of them considered this until I have actually asked to cancel my portfolio of Blue Yonder Broadband services.

The woman gets persuasive saying that she will make some calls, get things sorted out and call me back. I almost told her to FOAD but then...

I'm not like Dr_Dave, you understand, and his penchant to take it in the ass like a good British consumer ripped off over a couch. I have no intention of staying with Blue Yonder after this atrocious behavior. However I'd be delighted to tell that to the face of whoever decides to call me up to tell me what they are going to do about it. After all, I may as well extract some amusement value from this entire episode!

I shall report back on further developments. Also, consider the fact that this blog was sent up by a £40 USB modem I ran off to my highstreet to buy this morning. Rebot on a modem. What is the world coming to eh?


  1. Shame that they seem to be so unwilling to sort it out or atleast make up their minds on what it is that you have done wrong. Especially when you know that it would take them about 10 seconds to reopen the line...


  2. In fairness to Dr_Dave and his couch saga, I would point out that after we eventually recieved our sofas, we immedietely abused the Missus' position to run a company search and find the personal address of the managing director of the company. We used this as the target for a long letter in which we explained the situation, named names and demanded recompense.

    A mere few days later, we received a series of groveling phone calls in which they were only too happy to oblige our demands in order to keep my personal legal team away from them. The upshot of it all is that we got a cheque for 150 quid and 50 quid's worth of cushions.

    I would also add that we are very, very happy with the sofas.


  3. Fucking atrocious behaviour - but Telewest isn't exactly alone in this. NTL's email service (a pretty damn basic service for ISP customers, you'd think) has been down for the guts of a week now and calls to support are greeted with extremely curt messages about how it's being worked on and customers should be patient.

    Thankfully I use Nildram for my actual net usage these days - the cablemodem is for saturating with BitTorrent and stuff like that. I'd hate to be relying on NTL for a net connect, they're an atrociously poor company, and their customer service seems to use a different definition of the word 'service' from the one I'm used to.

    Good choice with Nildram by the way - I've been with them since January and they've been an absolute pleasure to do business with. Extremely reliable service, great pings and download speeds, and their customer service people on the rare occasions I've had to speak to them have been incredibly helpful, even to the degree of being prepared to offer support for problems I was having which turned out to be nothing to do with them and down to a fault in one of my network hubs. Best ISP I've ever used by far.


  4. Don't blame you at all for ditching them Lurks. I wouldn't be suprised at all if they go the same route as NTL soon and impose bandwidth restrictions. I took some pleasure recently in cancelling my NTL account and switching to ADSL (mainly because I'm moving, but because it's a good enough time to make the switch anyway). The guy at 'customer services' was trying to get me to stay, but I said I can't tolerate the bandwidth restrictions to which his only response was 'well they may start to do it on ADSL soon too' but at least it's easy to switch providers at short notice on ADSL and without minimum 12month contracts like cable companies.

    Good luck sorting out ya connection anyway.


  5. Called up their cancellation department again. Same thing, they go straight into their 'obviously the customer is pissed off so we'll fix things' mode without actually acknowledging that you've twice indicated in this call that you want to cancel the service.

    Again I thought I'd indulge them a bit more. This time I got put onto technical support. Haha, the poor guy I spoke to. He tried to explain to me in idiot terms about the whole open proxy thing and at that point I lost my rag.

    Finished conversation with 'Basically you have nothing new for me, you're just reading the note that is attached to my account and given the only reason I'm talking to you is to get some further explanation for your actions, I suggest we terminate this conversation before I get really angry. Now can you put me back or do I have to call into the voice mail hell again from scratch?'

    Amazingly, he actually forwarded me to one place and then they put me through to the correct place (which covers North London), indicating that they have this ability after all and their whole handing out new numbers to call is an artificial construct of their own making. Why am I not surprised?

    Amusingly when I got back to the same woman whome I spoke to twice before, she kicked off into this mode again and then brought up the fact that they've been trying to call me but the numbers are duff. Of course I pointed out I gave them fresh numbers on the very first call I made.

    She had apparently sent me a letter to call technical support. Eventually I think I managed to get her to understand that technical support can't help me, it's their abuse and security department which wont allow you to call them. Apparently they tried to call me and isn't it a shame that I want to cancel due to measures they put in place to protect me.

    This was going nowhere so I laid down the law. I know what I'm talking about, says I, there is no proxy running on my service. Three days I have been telephoning you dozens of times each day to speak to someone to resolve this. I have given you numbers, you have transferred me dozens of times to department which patently is not in full reception of the facts nor can they resolve the issue.

    Finally, I have ordered ADSL to replace the cable. I have ordered Sky to replace the television. The only reason I have discussed this issue in as much depth is to aid you in finding out what is wrong but I find no real remorse and still no assistance in resolving the matter at hand so I'm calling our agreement null and void and I do not expect to do business with you again.

    That's pretty much it, verbatim. She actually sighed. Then agreed to cancel my service with 30 days notice. Which is amusing, so I'm expected to pay another £50 for an unworking cable modem in that period am I? Arseholes.

    Fuck them. Never have I encountered a company that tried so hard to lose a customer.


  6. Sorry to hear you are having probs Lurks - I shall continue to campaign for broadband here and the right to have similar problems of my own one day..haha

    p.s. Blueyonder arent connected to Pentax are they? :)


  7. It doesn't make sense. You get this sort of behavior when companies don't really care if they get your business or not. The thing is, the cable operators are seeing their market share go backards due to the intense competition from BT and Sky (phone and television). You don't get mucked about like this by mobile operators because they know full well that you can just walk up to your highstreet and migrate to someone else right away and they'll give you a nice shiny phone into the bargain.

    There's clearly something very rotten with the cable operators. They just don't seem to have grasped how important competance and technical support actually is to staying alive in a competitive environment.

    Update, 17th June: My shotgun letters to the heads of Telewest broadband yielded a response. I've had a discussion with 'Emma' from the Chief Executive's Office of Telewest broadband. At this stage it was just to acknowledge my letters but she said that as I had left the service and provided an entire account of why this had happened, she was taking this to the heads of departments to work out what had gone wrong and then would get back in touch with me in a couple of days. Obviously it's water under the bridge, to a large extent, since I've left Telewest but I certainly wouldn't mind hearing their explanation for all of the behavior described in this blog. They can at least address why I am paying a full month for a cable service that doesn't work, for a start!

    Incidentally, my cable modem suddenly lit up with all lights but refuses to hand an IP to anything connected to it. I presume that is because they have binned my account.

    Update, 18th June: I was called back by the same woman from the CEO's office. Quite a long call, covered all the bases. She acknowledged what went wrong, apologised and said they were looking into the faults to rectify them. Also offered to refund the fee for the 30-day notice period.

    Of course I had to go to massive lengths to find someone in the organisation and extract the kind of result I was looking for. It's a shame that they don't have people with the same sort of outlook operating remotely near the regular customer-facing side of the business.


  8. Today we had the Telewest Installer arrive to fit Modem, I did not want to move from Aol but the phone line was suffering. I am afraid I don't like it , £14.99 a month, cheaper yes , but I miss my instant E-mails, and I dont really understand or like browser

    Can I get out of it or do I have to stay for 12 months


  9. Eh? You didn't want to move from AOHell? Why?

    Telewest Blueyonder cable internet access is the best in the UK as far as I can see; I've had their 2MB, then their 3MB offering for yonks and it's bang on each and every time.

    As for not understanding or liking the browser - er, eh? you can have any browser you want.

    And it's a 12 month contract I think.


  10. That's got to be a wind up surely? Prefering the AOL browser shite for a real web browser? Please!


  11. First off Hi all,

    I'm with TW at the moment, but had a bad experiece with Bulldog previously, thankfully for me I'm like a dog with a bone once I get going.

    Having ordered their 8mb broadband in May last year, I waited patiently to be connected. The 30 days past from getting disconnecetd from my old service, and bulldog told me I would be connected in 10 to 15 working days. 20 wroking days came and went, so I put a call in to them to find out what was going on. I was told there had been a delay getting my line reopened but I they expected me to be "going live" in a couple of days.

    A week later, no broadbad or call from them to explain why. I called back and was told there was a problem at my local exchange, and I was goven this reason every week for the next two months.

    Finally enough was enough, so I went down to my local exchange and camped out waiting for a BT engineer. After 3 hours of waiting a chap turned up, listened to my case, explaiend to me there had been no problemss with this exchange and let me in and showed me BT's offical list of engineering requests. He ran a search for my telephone number, and nothing showed. He explained to me the task would be simple, but couldn't do it without offical say so.

    When I relayed my findings to bulldog, they were amazed that someone had actually gone down to their local exchange. One call center worker actually commented, "I can't beleive you did that, no body has done that." They were lying all along, just a standard response to bamboozle the average stupid consumer. They connected me two days later, and the speeds were great.

    Shame I'm with Blueyonder now, they are efficent but my speeds suck.


  12. Bulldog, or BullWank as I'm now calling them, are well known for their appalling customer service.

    A couple of months ago I received a letter through the post from them; being as I am on their 2MB service as it was either that or NTL... anyhow, this letter basically said "Dear customer, blah blah, strategic directional shift in Bulldog's business paradigm, blah blah, no more residential customers, etc. etc. existing customers will be fully supported going forward, no cessation in service blah blah holistic retasking of corporate focus etc. etc".

    So I figure fine, at least the internet remains on and is reliable. A week or so after that letter, I get another - which basically boils down to: "Bulldog currently flogging entire residential customer base to highest bidder - standby, anything could happen in the next half hour".

    'Course, as of receipt of that letter BullWank fell abruptly to the position of Utter Irredeemable Morons in my estimation and the hunt is on for another provider.

    The irony being that it looks like it'll end up being NTL.