Call-Centres & Virgin Media Superhub Awfulness



It’s been another one of those weeks when talking to Asians has been both a necessity and an enormous annoyance. Don’t get me wrong, I am generally well-disposed towards Asians, indeed one of my very good friends is Pakistani, however putting them into a call centre when they speak little more than a smattering of English is not great. Top that off with the certainty that they will treat the customer (me) like an imbecile, despite being told repeatedly that I work in IT and I do actually know what the problem is, and it’s a recipe for me losing my rag entirely. It’s just as well that I suffer fools gladly.[1]


Anyway, the first exchange took place with BT. This is to be expected as the BT helpdesk staff are notoriously bad at their jobs, talk down to everybody, deny responsibility for absolutely everything and have to work with some of the worst systems of all time. My step-father, LJ, was having problems with his mail, namely floods of undeliverable responses to emails that he hadn’t sent flooding into his Outlook mailbox and then BT Yahoo blocked him from sending mail due to suspected abuse. Well, unless he’s become a secret purveyor of performance-enhancement drugs then it’s fair to say that he hadn’t sent them. Couple this with the fact that there was no sign of him having sent them in either his Outlook or webmail sent items folders and that both virus and malware scans turned up nothing and it’s odds-on that his email address has been spoofed. But no, the wonder-kid from BT blamed Outlook (or Outlook Express as he insisted on calling it,) then Norton (I asked him at this point whether he’d ever seen a computer before) and then the computer. Brilliant, you unbelievable fucktard, you get Bully’s star prize for wildly inaccurate guesses and all-round incompetence. Anyway, after much toing and froing (yes, Microsoft, that’s how one spells the phrase, shove your spell-checker up your collective arse) he conceded that maybe I was right and that there may be an issue with the BT Yahoo SMTP server. The good news was that their specialist in third party software may be able to help and the first part of the consultation would be free. Exactly what this third party software was supposed to be remains a mystery but, desperate to speak to pretty much anybody else but this fool, I gladly accepted. Imagine my glee when a very Geordie voice answered the call when it was transferred; I explained the problem to Paul in Longbenton who immediately agreed with me, organised the account being reset and had the whole lot working again within 10 hours. Not 10 working hours mind you, 10 real hours, and this after he warned me that it could take up to 48 hours. Very good, Paul, that’s what customer service is.


It’s also worth mentioning that it’s possible to temporarily relay outgoing mail via Google’s Gmail servers, provided that you have a Gmail or Googlemail account of course. This does have the drawback that any mail sent shows as coming from the account that you use, for example Dave St Hubbins [mailto: [email protected]] rather than the BT account that it’s really using, however the actual mailing address for replies etc. is correct and for testing purposes or as a workaround this is quite useful. I’ll post a separate entry on how to do this later on.


The second brush with the bearded ones came tonight when the wireless went off on my router. Fortunately I have a spare Virgin Media Superhub still in its box following their previous feeble attempt to correct a network issue with a new router so it seemed like a fairly simple task to get this working. I plugged it all in and dutifully rang the number on the box to have it activated, then got somewhat lost in the extensive maze of push-button options. Anyway, I somehow navigated my way to somebody who could almost hear me, probably understood a little of what I was saying and almost entirely failed to give comprehensible instructions. Eventually we reached the understanding that the first step was to completely undo the whole plugging-in process that the instructions said to do, so I did this. Some 15 minutes later we accomplished the unthinkable – broadband through the piece of cheap tat Netgear twattery. This, unfortunately, was just the beginning.


The Virgin Media Superhub is bloody awful. I mean truly dreadful, utter dross. The menus are designed for children, mostly made up of pretty pictures in 3 woeful menus, and the advanced menu is the exact opposite. It took me roughly an hour to connect my phone and PS3 to the wireless, only to find that the crappy thing doesn’t support DLNA for streaming content from my NAS boxes. The boxes themselves do show up, however any thoughts I may have of accessing the actual files are thwarted by 2104 errors and the internet is strewn with reports of this sort of issue. The answer, it seems, is to disable the wireless on the Superhub and use it in “modem mode,” namely as a modem with a second router handling the wireless and actual routing. Brilliant, a brand new piece of kit that doesn’t support one of the best features in home networking, Virgin Media have somehow managed to trump their own stupidity. Still when they eventually get around to trebling my broadband speed to 60Mb for free, something that they should have done 5 months ago but are now projecting doing between May and July, the Superhub’s set up and ready to receive this magic porn-fest. Tossers.[2]

[1] I don’t suffer fools, gladly or otherwise.

[2] That’s irony.



Go back to top