Our friends at AT&T recently announced they were making changes to their web based email system. We received a lot of emails on what they were doing, but key to the whole thing is that there were to be no changes to the system if you were accessing emails by any email client such as Outlook, Thunderbird, Pegasus, or Outlook Express, which is what we happen to be using.
A few days ago, we started having problems with accessing the email sub accounts. Thinking it was a temporary glitch, we let it sit for a day and then called AT&T.
The first person with whom we spoke could not differentiate between web based mail (their term) and mail accessed by a mail client. They continued to tell us that getting email via Outlook Express and signing into the att.com site to get email were the same things.
Obviously, they are not.
The second person we spoke to asked us to do something to verify the sub accounts. When we went to the site he gave us, any attempt to update the settings resulted in an error message saying the system was down for maintenance. He didn’t believe us, so we let him try and sure enough, there was the error message. This becomes important because the call center technicians have a screen where they can check the status of the servers. That screen, according to the tech we spoke with, said all servers and services were up and running.
When we asked why if all servers and services were up, why were we both getting the same error message, he couldn’t answer.
We gave up.
Yesterday we tried again. We explained the error message we were getting was a server error message, meaning the error was on their side. The message is very specific. It is not something that a setting here on our computer can change. So after 15 minutes with the first technician, he said “there is something wrong, so I am going to bump you ‘Level 2 Support.”
After a few minutes of waiting, we got some guy who said he had no idea what was wrong, had never heard of Outlook Express and was trained only to deal with web based email.
When we read the error message off to him, we explained how that could only be a server side error. He agreed. (That should have been an indication that he wasn’t quite sure what he was saying.)
He then said that what he wanted to do was to reset the modem. Our modem. Here at the worldwide headquarters of Raised on Hoecakes.
We asked “why?” because it is only the sub accounts that aren’t working. The main email account is working. Access to other accounts on other email systems (Gmail, etc) are working. We wanted to know what he hoped to accomplish by resetting the modem.
“Because the modem and the server are the same thing,” he said.
“So AT&T’s servers are the same thing as modems?” we asked.
“Yes sir,” he replied cheerfully.
We thanked him and hung up.
And this guy was supposed to be the more intensely trained service representative.