Brief customer service gripe

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I use SBC Yahoo DSL, and the last time I had to deal with their customer service, it ended up being (shockingly enough) a pleasant experience. This struck me as so unusual that I wrote about it at the time (elsewhere). So, in the interest of fairness, I now have a customer service gripe regarding the same service.

My wife and I both need to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) software to access our work remotely, and I haven't been able to get this to work from home. I recently tried it from elsewhere with my laptop, and it works fine. So I concluded the problem was the firewall in the DSL modem, and today talked to SBC tech support. It turns out they know that the firewall in the DSL modem they sold me as part of my original package does NOT work with VPN software. So they are willing to sell me another DSL modem at the full price which WILL work, and won't replace my existing DSL modem which I've had for more than 30 days.

I tried to convince them they ought to replace my existing modem for free, since (a) they knew it wouldn't work with VPN when they sold it to me in the first place, yet didn't bother telling me that, and (b) it took me more than 30 days to figure out that the problem was with the DSL modem rather than with the configuration on my end. But they refused, and explained they have a disclaimer in their service agreement that says that they don't guarantee the DSL will work with any outside software. Fine, but this is worse than a non-guarantee: According to the tech support, they know that the DSL modem they sold me won't work with any VPN software using IPSEC protocols. So they effectively can guarantee it won't work. But did they tell me that? No.

Oh, well. Now I have to go buy a modem which will work. I'm not going to buy it from them, though.

That concludes my gripe for today. And I have to say, this rather outweighs the positive experience I had last time. I'm not very happy with SBC right now, so when my contract is up I'll probably go elsewhere.

UPDATE 11-14-05: To make matters even worse, it turns out that the SBC tech support people have no idea what they're talking about. I found someone who uses the same setup as me at my work and has no problems connecting to the same VPN I use. As a result, I figured out that it was just a matter of reconfiguring the firewall on the DSL modem SBC had originally given me to get the VPN to work. So I didn't end up having to buy a new DSL modem, etc., as SBC had told me I would. That's good, I guess -- except SBC's tech support shouldn't have told me I had to buy a new one when I didn't. So now I'm even more frustrated with them than I was before; if I'd listened to them, I would have wasted $100+ replacing something that didn't need to be replaced.

5 Comments

Just curious what VPN do you use? I've used Microsoft's default VPN, Cicso, and Checkpoint over my SBC DSL service without difficulty.

Actually, Cisco and Contivity (one is mine, one my wife's). The problem isn't SBC DSL, it's the particular modem they sold me originally (which doesn't work with any VPN using IPSEC, apparently).

I have the same problem with SBC DSL modem. WHAT DID YOU CHANGE TO MAKE IT WORK?

Hi,

I am running exactly the same problem as you did.

what configuration change do you have to make on the DSL modem to make it work.

For me, I spend many hrs on the phone with ATT DSL support and as well as the company's support line and no one knows what's going on. I ended up buying a new router(LINKSYS WRT54G) and still no luck.

I am very interested in knowing what configuration you had to make to get VPN working.

Thanks for sharing if possible.

Thanks

Yes - please advise - what did you change to get it to work?

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