(^*&^%%!! USR support (rant)

John M. Klassa (klassa@aur.alcatel.com)
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 09:45:19 -0500

[ All of this, by the way, is after I sent a detailed message to
support@usr.com, a month ago, containing detailed dumps of register
settings and so forth. I never heard back. ]

So I buy an x2 modem for Christmas... I *never* get higher than a 24k
connect (even my old PP 28.8 modem got 26.4k pretty regularly).

I do the "modem update wizard" deal, it downloads a new copy of itself
(the wizard) and then updates my modem with code from 3/21/97. Bear in
mind, I bought the modem at the end of November. Thus, they're shipping
modems with code that's more than eight months old, and update wizard
software that's probably equally old. Nonetheless, my modem has 3/21/97
code in it (EPROM v4.2.21, DSP v.10.2.21 FWIW). This is an internal

I decide to live with it for a while, not happy but too busy to worry
too much about it.

Recently, batches of people at work have gotten x2 modems (external) and
through much effort have managed to discover that the latest rev for
their modems is on the order of 10/97. I try my update wizard again,
but it still claims that 3/21/97 is the latest rev for me. I'm still
getting only 24k connects. I try all manner of settings -- disable x2,
disable this, disable that. Nothing over 24k, period.

So I call USR tech support today. She asks me for my name, phone
number, address and email address. I'm thinking, but wait, I already
registered my modem... Why do they need this?

So then, she says, "I need your modem's serial number." It so happens
that one of the options in the "update wizard" is to see the details
on what your modem currently has in it. I, thinking ahead, printed
this information out. I commence to read her the information on the
line that says, conveniently, "Serial Number". Do you think that
*actually* turns out to by my serial number? No. She cuts me off,
halfway through, and informs me that what I've got isn't my serial
number. I explain to her how this information came about (mentioned
ATI6, ATI7 and the like) and she acted like I was making this all up.

Miffed at having what purports to be a serial number, but really isn't,
I say, "Well, since I registered my modem and included the serial number
along with that information, can't you just access my registration
record to obtain my modem's serial number?" She says, "No, they're
separate systems." I say, "Surely you're kidding... What good is that
if it can't be used to help you help me when I call up." Again, she
acts like I'm some kind of a mutant.

So then I say, "Well, what are your tech support hours?" She says "8-6
CST". I say, "Well, I'm not usually home, with free time, at those
hours... Can't I dump some register information via ATI6 or ATI4 or
whatever and email those to you?" She pauses for about 15 seconds (no
joke), then comes back and says, "Sir, it's best if you're with your
modem when we try to troubleshoot." Fine, whatever. I say, "Do you
have an 800 number?" She says, "No, I'm sorry."

So here I am... Generally not able to call during their hours, but left
with no choice. I have to call a toll number, now, at a time that's not
convenient to me, to give them information that I could have given them
other ways. All to answer the simple question, what's the latest code
rev for my modem.


x2 = hype

x2 = way for USR to make loads of money while crapping on
their customers

John Klassa / Alcatel Telecom / Raleigh, NC, USA <><