Friday, October 31, 2003

NTL email broken; Virgin just plain shite

by Suw on October 31, 2003

One thing that ticks me off is when one of my email accounts breaks for no readily apparent reason. My NTLworld address is currently knackered, for reasons I'm not sure even NTL understand, and it's very annoying.

I don't mind so much when I can't get my email as I tend to assume that it'll still be there when the server's been fixed, but when I find out that emails are being bounced with a 'permanent fatal errors' message saying that my address is invalid, I get really very cross. I use that address quite a bit and have no way of knowing how many emails I will have missed. All I can say is that if you've emailed me and it's bounced back, try me again at this email address instead.

I'm also getting increasingly irritated by Virgin's flat rate dial-up service, which has been a bit crap for ages and is now descending to really very crap. When I dial up I usually get one of a whole variety of error messages and no connection. Perseverance usually wins through, but then I get a connection which refuses to transfer any packets, instead just sitting there like a dumb puppy doing nothing. Or I get a connection that works for half an hour, then just throws a strop and decides that it doesn't like this data transferring business and it'll be buggered if it does any more of it. Or I get a connection at 6bps which downloads pages at a rate of about one a year.

It really is a bit shit that this service that I am paying for is so shoddy. I was prepared for the frustration of having a cacky dial-up connection that ran like a three legged dog, or even a two legged rabbit, but the general shiteness of Virgin's service is getting to be beyond tolerable.

I'm all for sticking by small tech start-ups such as Blog-City, because I understand that they're a small company with growing pains and as I'm paying them peanuts for this rather well featured blog I'm quite happy to see them through their development period and hope that things improve. Besides, I can hassle them directly and when I do they always get back to me with some sort of nice reply.

But NTL and Virgin are big companies who have absolutely no excuse for giving such shoddy service. NTL I can't even get to talk to on the phone about my old broadband account (which they appear to still crave payment for) because, get this, I'm calling from the wrong geographical location.

Their system can tell where you're calling for, and routes you to the 'correct' call centre, except that I've moved so I end up at entirely the wrong call centre and they don't seem capable of either calling up my records and sorting out my query or transferring me to the right department. How shite is that? What do they expect me to do? Drive up to Reading so I can call them from an 0118 number?


I’m usually a very patient person when it comes to technology. I’ve been online for bloody years. I’ve had a computer since I was nine – the first family computer that we got and which I used on a regular basis was a ZX80 – and I’ve had a computer ever since. I may not be the world’s greatest geek, but I am surely one of the most patient, yet NTL and Virgin between them are sorely trying my patience.

So, my question to you, dear reader (particularly the British ones), is this:

Can you recommend a good, not too expensive flat rate dial-up ISP whose email service doesn’t faint every time you try to send an attachment?

Comments, emails, messages on the blog board all welcome.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }