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User Charged With Taking ISP Tech Hostage

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the to-kidnap-or-not-to-kidnap dept.

The Internet 327

User AttheCoalFac pointed us to an interesting tech support story from Canada. Halifax actress and playwright Carol Sinclair was arrested and is now facing criminal charges after a repairman says she threatened to hold him hostage until he fixed her Internet connection. Mrs. Sinclair denies the allegations and says that she merely stated, 'I don't want to hold you hostage, but would you mind hanging around until the other technician arrives so that the two of you can sort it out.' She was arraigned in Halifax Provincial Court Friday and is now free on conditions including that she have no contact with the repairman or any employee from her ISP. Having a lot of experience on both sides of this issue, I'm not sure who I'm cheering for.

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327 comments

Misleading title (2, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854755)

Threatened to take him hostage Taking him hostage - the title is misleading.

Here in US, most repairmen won't leave until you sign for the work, as I understand it. If your not satisfied, don't sign for the job.

Re:Misleading title (2, Informative)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854797)

It would be misleading if the title said that she actually did take the tech hostage; however, that's not what it says. It says that she was charged with doing so, something which did indeed occur.

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854877)

AFAICT, the title is completely made up. TFA doesn't specify the charges.

Re:Misleading title (1, Insightful)

danomac (1032160) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855021)

Yep, she was charged. You know what they say: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Re:Misleading title (4, Informative)

MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855409)

Actually, that is the common mis-quotation.

The correct quotation of William Congreve is "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

Re:Misleading title (4, Insightful)

D. Taylor (53947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855573)

Exactly. The GP said "You know what they say", not "You know what William Congreve said"..

In any case, I can see why it is misquoted...

Re:Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855279)

The article actually doesnt say what mrs Sinclair is charged with.

I've had some shitty experiences (1)

Johnny Doughnuts (767951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854761)

I've had some shitty experiences with Aliant employees as I'm from Halifax, but nothing that would drive me that far. Christ.

Seems to me (5, Insightful)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854767)

this is just a case of a disgruntled customer's remarks being taken WAY out of context.

Re:Seems to me (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854841)

You are right - taken out of context to try to teach someone that pisses them off a lesson at taxpayers expense and perhaps get a cash windfall. It's just as ridculous as the photographer that claimed he was beaten up by an Icelandic girl that is barely over three feet tall.

Re:Seems to me (4, Interesting)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854903)

the problem is we don't know what she said.

there are 3 versions of the truth here, her version his version and what really happened.

Re:Seems to me (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855267)

there are 3 versions of the truth here, her version his version and what really happened.

That would imply that all three are true. I prefer the B5 variation: "Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, their side and the truth."

Of course sometimes it is just a matter of perception and all are equally "true" in that sense, but most of the time not...

Re:Seems to me (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855599)

Yes, but when by her own admission, she seems to think it relevant to mention that she doesn't usually drink Vodka Cooler so early in the day, and that she didn't drink that much of it in the first place. Don't expect many Judges to believe her until her blood results come back from the lab.

Re:Seems to me (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855479)

Oh come on now, you must be American ;-) If she didn't have a gun pointed at the kid, or a knife at his throat, then it's obvious that she wasn't being serious. If she did, then why wasn't a weapon mentioned in the report? That would be a pretty important piece of information, wouldn't you say?

The kid seems like he's been living in his parents' basement watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds, IYKWIM.

Re:Seems to me (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855537)

Somewhere I read

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.

To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

The technician obviously did a mistake.

Re:Seems to me (5, Funny)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855157)

Having been an on-site tech for a cable company, a DSL company, and a multi-service ISP; I can assure you that customers do think that they can prevent a technician from leaving if the service isn't working to their satisfaction. I've responded in a number of different ways to customers. Here are some of the ways I've managed to vacate the premise:

1. Explain that the issue is elsewhere and that preventing me from leaving will only prolong their outage.
2. Show that the problem is with their own equipment, and that I'm not responsible for it.
3. Offer to permanently close their account, remove the equipment, and blacklist their address/company/name (this only works if you are friends with the owner of the ISP, which I am)
4. Last resort - offer to remove some of their blood through an entirely new orifice that I will create.

#1 and #2 are usually effective and will get you out the door
#3 I've used twice (one resulted in the closure of the account)
#4 I've used once (electricians scissors are truly multi-purpose)

The key is to remain cold and unemotional when delivering your chosen line. #4 requires having the scissors in your hand.

Re:Seems to me (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855425)

#4 can get you shot. You can't claim they started it if you're dead with a pair of scissors in your cold dead fingers.

Re:Seems to me (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855481)

Scissors = tool of the trade in my hand

If someone is willing to take it that far for an internet connection; I'm in a bad position from the moment I step in the door. There are some scary people out there, no doubt, but I don't let anyone get away with trying to intimidate me.

The day a gun gets pulled on me, I'll be taking a piece of that person with me.

Re:Seems to me (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855699)

How exactly did they prevent you from leaving? Even if they were dancing around in front of you blocking your escape I would think picking up your cell phone and starting to dial the police is the one method that always works (and is what the tech in this case should have done if he weren't such a crybaby).

Re:Seems to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855399)

"customer's remarks being taken WAY out of context."

In other news, a missing pizza delivery boy and 2 mailmen were found in Ms. Sinclair's basement and freed after explaining to police they had somehow gotten lost and ended up there.

Gives a whole new meaning to... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854769)

Vendor lock-in.

Re:Gives a whole new meaning to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854801)

/me does drumroll

Re:Gives a whole new meaning to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854993)

YYYEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!

Typo (4, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854775)

That should read "Threatened to take him hostage (is not the same as) Taking him hostage - the title is misleading. I had a less than and greater than that were scrubbed out of the final posting - sorry.

Her story about the Vodka Cooler doesn't seem beli (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855505)

That should read "Threatened to take him hostage (is not the same as) Taking him hostage - the title is misleading. I had a less than and greater than that were scrubbed out of the final posting - sorry.

It depends on who you believe. Read the article. According the Tech, she took him hostage, then he escaped. Or if you believe her *side* of the story, the Tech shows up at 12:30 PM, works on her computer, and then takes off running for no reason whatsoever, and then she sits down to drink a third of a vodka cooler [thepeoplescube.com] as the police knocks on her door.

What was wrong with her pc? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854799)

What was wrong with her computer?

I mean, what was it in the end. To go through this whole song and dance just to realize maybe Cat5e patch cord went bad?

What was so beyond wrong with this computer that took 20 phone calls then to a site visit?

Are there no local IT company's in the town they can recommend to the women that can fix computers?

Re:What was wrong with her pc? (5, Insightful)

Annoid (1160621) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855333)

No doubt there are companies that do computer work. But she would have had to PAY them.
People don't expect that they might have to actually pay someone to fix their computers after they frak them up.

Re:What was wrong with her pc? (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855501)

They didn't know what was wrong with her internet connection / computer from what I can tell. "There's something wrong with your computer" was just a way to make her go away.

 

It's sad really all real geeks should love solving problems, but I've worked with loads of people who'll spout some excuse like that even before the customer has explained what's happening. What's even worse is that they do it in a such an obvious way that even non technical people can tell it's bullshit. And it's not like they do anything else instead of work, they just spend a bit more time in idle mode than people who actually try to fix stuff.

Re:What was wrong with her pc? (1)

topham (32406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855515)

Many ISPs will -NOT- fix a customers computer. Why? they don't want the responsibility.

If they determine the connection itself is fine, well, then the customer can call somebody who works on computers. It is NOT the ISPs responsibility to get the computer working.
When you call the telephone company because your 3rd party fancy new cordless phone doesn't work, do they fix it, or tell you take it back to where you go it from?

Re:What was wrong with her pc? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855723)

You're not reading what I said. I think "there's something wrong with your PC" was just something they said rather than interupting their web surfing to investigate.

No contact with any ISP employees? (5, Funny)

sokoban (142301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854811)

Wait, so up in Canada they have ISPs where you can actually get in contact with the employees instead of the automated phone system from hell?

Lucky Canadians.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1)

Al_Lapalme (698542) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855009)

Meh, not always lucky.

I have shockingly different experiences with Bell Home phone and Bell Sympatico (internet)

When my Internet stopped working, I called them, got some outsourced call center, they confirmed that there's a problem, sent my problem up to the test centre. Sometime in the next week, I get a call and have to re-explain the problem. Some time a week after that, the problem went away, the lights on the DSL modem went green again, magically, and nobody from Bell ever contacted me to let me know it's good now or what the problem was...

When I moved and my phone wasn't working, I called at roughly 9:30 AM and before 11AM the same day, a Bell van appeared in my driveway. Problem solved in no time at all.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855473)

dsl co problems ticket have a reply time of 5 business day, and the test center will not bother calling a customer if it just works(usually after re installing the dslam that has been mistakingly removed)

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (4, Funny)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855049)

Yeah, and after the 20th time, they reward you by sending someone to your house. Next, they waste an hour of your time, tell you they can't fix your connection, and then file criminal charges against you.

Gotta love the Canadian ISPs ;)

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855225)

"...and then file criminal charges against you." She had her fingernail file pressed against his jugular vein demanding he fix it, OR ELSE! What did you expect?

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855455)

Fingernail file? Jeez, if a fingernail file brandished by a woman can drive terror into the soul of a technician, no wonder those bumbling idiots were able to take over a plane with boxcutters!

Lady: Hold it right there mister. You're not going anywhere. If you even try to leave me with no internet I'll... I'll... I'll give you a manicure!

Tech: No! Please don't! It's taken me weeks to get into this disgusting state of personal hygiene, and if you clean my fingernails, the other geeks in the office will make fun of me again!

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855591)

Next, they waste an hour of your time, tell you they can't fix your connection, and then file criminal charges against you.

If they were only going to waste an hour of her time they'd have turned up at 8:00am. Rather than 12:30pm.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1)

ColdSam (884768) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855671)

How do they fix it if there is nothing wrong with it? That's beyond even the best customer service and that's the part we're missing - if it were actually just the connection it's understandable that she would be snippy with them, but it sounds like it was her computer and she's just a freak.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (2, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855059)

Actually, it's kind of both. We (Shaw customers anyways) go through about 3-4 menu options (English/French, phone/internet, sales/inquiries/support), then get put on hold for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. After that it's a real person, every time!

Not only that, but usually (definitely not always), the tech guys actually know what they are talking about and they are always local (never India, etc.) If at the end of it no resolution can be found, they'll almost always arrange to have a Tech show up within a week.

All in all, yes we do have it VERY good up here. Now if only we weren't getting hosed for our cell phones :(

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855285)

the tech guys actually know what they are talking about and they are always local (never India, etc.)

Canada has enough Asian immigrants that they don't have to outsource. ;-)

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855377)

Actually, it's kind of both. We (Shaw customers anyways) go through about 3-4 menu options (English/French, phone/internet, sales/inquiries/support), then get put on hold for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes. After that it's a real person, every time!

Do they play Rick Astley looped when you're on hold? Because that would be a genius touch.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855075)

Well now we know what ISPs do to reduce the demand for on-site service: sue the customer!

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855107)

Yeah, it only takes three or four weeks until they get tired of telling you "we're looking into it" and they send out a technician. Usually he takes a look, calls up his buddy at the switching station and they quickly realize that you haven't had Internet for the last two months because some idiot at central office didn't get around to filing the disconnect order for the previous tenant until after your connect order.

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855215)

I got out of a two year DSL contract with Bell because of their slow response/broken promises.
The phone tech mad the mistake of telling me they would send someone on site 'within one week' to diagnose my sudden, horrible connection issues.

Since I knew it was just his way of getting me off the phone, I made a note of the time and his name. I used the week to read the terms of service on my account and gave them a call back exactly a week later.

Since they hadn't (of course) done anything further to diagnose the issue, an hour of arguing with the manager got me out of my contract without paying the ridiculous cancellation fees.

A few days later I was hooked up (on the same lines and equipment) with a 3rd party reseller, paying less with no contract and flawless service. Teksavvy FTW!

Re:No contact with any ISP employees? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855245)

Must be nice. Telus is smart enough not to EVER make promises. That and they're the only DSL game in town. Now I have cable.

Even if she was serious, the threat was not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854843)

It's like me saying, "If you don't do what I want, I'll blow up the world!"

Even if I mean it, it is not a credible threat. Unless there was some physical aspect to this--holding a gun, a hammer, or locking her doors, etc.--who really thinks that an unarmed woman talking about taking a repair man hostage (who probably has a knife, hammer, or at least a screw driver equipped on his repair belt) is unto itself a comment worthy of police action? Was there any physical possibility of her holding him against his will?

I would hate to think manners of speech are now subject to a PC crackdown.

At any event, unless there is a record of the conversation, it's not sufficient evidence of anything at all.

Re:Even if she was serious, the threat was not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855257)

George, its time for your meds.

Re:Even if she was serious, the threat was not (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855301)

The difference between you threatening to blow up the world and this ISP customer threatening to take the tech hostage is that the customer might have the capability to attempt the act.

Personally, I would've worked it out on my own....but that is because I detest lawyers. Besides, most people respond to reciprocal threats.

For example:
Customer: "I'm gonna kick your ass if this isn't working..." --><-- Me: "Bring it on" (electricians scissors in hand)

Re:Even if she was serious, the threat was not (2, Informative)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855571)

if you want to see an interesting application of this... say "bomb" on an airplane....

Nothing to see here (4, Insightful)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854859)

Just a retarded employee with a completely artless grasp of language. Public education sucks. Get over it. Move along, please.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854971)

Acquisition of spoken language has nothing to do with public education (especially given the fact that one learns his or her language before attending public school). If you are going to criticize public education at least base your criticisms in fact.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855109)

Bull. If kids spend 7 hours per day 9 months a year for 12 years listening to presumably well-educated adults orate on various subjects including English language, I expect them to have a little more abstract grasp of communication than only the first entry in the dictionary. And... it's precisely youngsters that have difficulty seeing things in shades of gray. It's always Good and Bad, Right and Wrong, Democrat and Republican.

And yes, I realize I'm somewhat wasting my time here since you haven't bothered to log in and are likely just trolling, but what you said is just plain wrong.

Re:Nothing to see here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854983)

Prolly a fucking rag-head Arab. Canada is full of 'em. Jesus, I'm lucky to live here in the fucking US of A. My Mexican fucking lawn boy would never pull that kind of shit.

Re:Nothing to see here (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855163)

No, he's just fucking your wife :)

Not Sure Who To Believe (4, Interesting)

Caraig (186934) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854867)

The part of me that burned out on tech support oh so long ago is quick to jump on the side of the repair tech. I have known people who were crazy enough to do that sort of thing when they reached their breaking point.

On the other hand, it's possible that even if she was at her breaking point, the tech -- caught between the rock of the customer and the hard place of his employer's prior actions -- found he had to get out of there before the customer got REALLY angry.

On the gripping hand... I've found that in the vast majority of times that I've had internet connection problems, with the exception of Verison DSL on Staten Island, NY,* especially when I was the only one in the neighborhood with connection problems, especially after several weeks... the problem has almost invariably been with my computer.

So, wild-ass speculation here, but I think the customer vented her frustration a bit too firmly (she did say she was not going to be polite, always a bad way to start a session); the technician hit his own breaking point and rather than go off on the customer he found an excuse to flee and a story to lay on his supervisor; his story of a crazy customer with a gun who wanted to hold him hostage got blown out of proportion and the woman was taken to court... ... and in the end, it really will be something wrong with her computer.

While my sympathy automatically lies with the technician, rationally I'm certain the truth is going to be somewhere between these two stories. And in a larger view, this might kick up the tension between residential end-users and technicians by a notch. While residential end-users might be a bit more inclined to be more polite to techs, it might also raise their animosity towards same and the relationship becomes more hostile as a result. At best this will fade into a footnote.

* - Kids, not much is worse in a customer sense, than a telco who sells you DSL and then moves some equipment around the central office such that you are now further from the central office than they rate DSL for. You're not actually farther from the CO, but the wiring inside the CO is now long enough that you are outside the CO's radius. And then they don't tell you. Fortunately, Verizon did the right thing and finagled something so that they returned my DSL. Part of me is pretty sure I wasn't the only one who had this happen to.

Re:Not Sure Who To Believe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855035)

There's not really enough information to decide who to believe. We don't have Scott's version of events. We have the police's intentionally brief and detail free account of Scott's version of events. We don't know, for instance, why Scott believed a gun was implied.

If this goes to trial, that will probably be the most important piece of evidence. The police didn't find a gun, so for charges to stick the implication that she had better be rock solid. Without the gun or the implication of a gun, there was no credible threat even if a threat was made.

Re:Not Sure Who To Believe (3, Insightful)

Caraig (186934) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855073)

You're entirely correct, of course. There's not enough information in TFA to say one way or another. Heck, even if it goes to trial, it's literally 'he said, she said.'

Not finding a gun is a major piece of evidence in favor of the playwright, true. Although I've known people who will use threats like that without anything whatsoever to back it up, if they thought they could get away with it; but I'm not getting that vibe. Fortunately, the trial will not be decided on vibes. =)

Re:Not Sure Who To Believe (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855459)

Not really relevant to your story (the footnote), but I ordered verizon DSL a few years ago online; they sent me everything, I hooked it up (to a computer I installed Windows on just for this, so that support can't tell me "sorry we don't support lunnax") and nothing happened. A week and 3 calls later, I learned that my residence doesn't get DSL...
Online application still says that I qualify for DSL. I tried to chat with one of their support people recently (it's cheaper, so I wanna buy it) and it was quite interesting of a "chat":
me: I would like to confirm that I really qualify for DSL. (insert my story above here) --- supportperson: Did you try the online form? --- me: Yes. Could you double-check with your own records somehow? I wanna make sure I qualify for this. I don't want to deal with sending back equipment and phone calls again. Thanks --- supportperson: Would you like to proceed with your order now? --- me: have a good day.

The situation sounds so awkward... (1)

MarkusJB (1356421) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854899)

Between this 50 something broad trying to threaten a young buck with an implied gun, to him undoubtedly waddling away at top speed with tool belt to his car as she yells curses after his hasty retreat, it's the kind of scene I'd expect to see in a Christopher Guest film.

Isn't that the dream (2, Funny)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854923)

of any technician to be bouund hostaagee to a laaady?

Maybe there is another sort, but I wouldn't like them to be near my peripherals!

Those krazy Kanuts at it again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854931)

What is it with long nights and cold weather than makes them so fruity you may ask? Scientists would like to know but, being Canada, there are none.

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24854959)

That's just poor choice of words on her part. The tech should have just left. So what if she's pissed afterwards. I've worked with some cable techs in dispatch and have left houses when the place was infested with rodents or bugs, had fresh "carpet stains", a mess around everything. Never mind computers were infested with viruses, cheap hardware, a condo that needs wiring installed and they don't have written permission. No matter, the customers are bitchy, want everything now and always call to complain. I just hope with that attitude they aren't successful in business. That or they maintain a really bad family.

It's a figure of speech (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854977)

It's a figure of speech ... "I hate to hold you hostage, but ...". That is said in a lot of contexts. If things went down as this story claims, then the ISP tech didn't understand and just blew it all out of proportion.

Re:It's a figure of speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855673)

I'd agree with you, except I'm not sure what to make of the Constable's statement that "she implied that she had a gun". If it were a simple misunderstanding over a figure of speech then why would she have implied that she had a weapon? Sure, it's possible that there was another misunderstanding involved. Maybe she said something like "I hate to hold you at gunpoint..."

Without knowing what was actually said there's no way to evaluate whether she was truly threatening, or whether he overreacted.

Counter-suit (4, Interesting)

s0ckratees (524991) | more than 5 years ago | (#24854985)

The actress said she called her provider, Aliant, one last time, disguising her voice to sound like a man and telling the company she needed her connection right away because she was a businessman. "Lo and behold, they said someone would be over between 8 and 11 the next morning." This after the usual wall-of-please-holds she got earlier.
Sue their asses away.

Re:Counter-suit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855147)

"Lo and behold, they said someone would be over between 8 and 11 the next morning."

My general experience with ranges is, it pretty much means they'll be there at 10:55AM, as close to the end of that range as possible.

Overreacting customer. (1)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855037)

Angry customer was probably annoyed that the technician couldn't solve the problem, so she overreacted and the technician got annoyed that the incompetence of others led to verbal abuse against him though he had nothing to do with what happened prior, and then called the cops. I read the headline, figured the customer was irate and overreacted against the technician, and the technician retaliated. Then I read the article and it pretty much proved my theory.

Theatre People (2, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855087)

Theatre people, they're almost as bad as carnies. If you have to do on site support for theatre people, make sure there are people who know where you are going and how long you should be. If they don't hear from you after that, they should call the police.

Complete misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855105)

The guy obviously overreacted to having a gun put to his head and a pit bull chewing on his leg. Also the quote "I want to either see the internet or your brains splattered across my computer screen" was taken out of context.

This is so messed up (5, Interesting)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855133)

I'm a Haligonian and I have met Carol Sinclair (acquaintance of an acquaintance).

What a small world. She doesn't seem like the "hostage holding" type at all, and the local ISPs are known for their shitty customer service. Seems like quite a misunderstanding.

[Insert "so, do you know Bob/Joe/Cathy from Canada?" Jokes here]

Re:This is so messed up (1)

Bad Ad (729117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855253)

I'm a Haligonian and I have met Carol Sinclair (acquaintance of an acquaintance).

so why did you go fix it? :-)

Could have been worse... (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855197)

She could have strapped him to the bed and taken a sledgehammer [wikipedia.org] to his ankles. (or, if you're a bookworm: cut off his foot with an axe and blowtorch it to cauterize the wound).

Court order for what happens anyway? (3, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855255)

...is now free on conditions including that she have no contact with ... any employee from her ISP.

Granted, I'm used to trying to call an engineer out from US ISPs... But how is this different to what you get without a court order?

Best Tech support (1)

partowel (469956) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855269)

Don't call.

Just go to your back up system.

1. Morse code.

2. Quantum Accelerator.

3. Prayer [ hah hah ]

4. A book.

My sympathies lie... (3, Interesting)

Yalius (1024919) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855315)

...squarely with the tech. I do field repair work for a smallish ISP myself, and it is absolute, zero flexibility policy that if any sort of threat, even in a joking manner, is made to our safety, we leave the premises immediately. Now to the best of my knowledge, the only circumstances this has actually been invoked under have involved unruly dogs, but were a subscriber to joke about holding one of us hostage, we're required to get the hell out, even if it means leaving equipment, up to and including entire vehicles, behind if necessary.

The policy does allow us to return to the customer's premises at a later time, at our discretion, but only when accompanied by another tech.

While I cannot vouch for the following, it is what has been described around the office here. "Back in the day" a subscriber apparently did use a shotgun to, ahem, "troubleshoot" a wiring ped right in front of a field tech. So, no, I have no doubt whatsoever that some people are more than capable of threatening what's implied in the article.

Re:My sympathies lie... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24855533)

Your policy is nothing more then a bullshit cover your companies legal ass policy. If someone actually threatens another person, the law supersedes any company rules and the situation is what it is. The policy is just so later in court the employee can't sue the company saying he was forced to be in that situation or he's lose his job.

Now for your sympathies, as the tech being a person, I can sympathize with him as his customers won't know what they are doing and are going to be upset before he gets to the door so it is a shitty job in that regard, but looking at him as just a tech person, screw him. The company has created a situation where it take multiple calls and requests for the tech to be sent in the first place and the phone support offers nothing other then it's your computer with no direction for assistance since the customers keeps calling back for help.

If tech support was actually anything other then an expense that companies try to minimize, it might actually be useful to people and the whole situation wouldn't even have occurred to begin with.

I know her computer is completely screwed and probably has more viruses then the local hooker but someone from support needs to be able to say more then "Everything is fine on this end, it must be your computer." If someone could explain what she needs to do, and I mean during call one (1) things would be different.

I think there is too much expectation from a customer to be knowledgeable even though they are the ones paying for a service.

Re:My sympathies lie... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855677)

A new get rich quick plan:

1. Order ISP stuffs to be installed at a vacant house.
2. Make passing remark including word hostage, poor service.
3. Watch hapless field tech scurry off leaving behind all valuable gear.
4. Profit.

Physical restraint? (4, Insightful)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855331)

Did she physically prevent him from leaving? Did he even try to leave? If not he should be buried up to his neck and be pelted with muffin fans from 20 paces.

I bet it is her computer that is the problem. (1)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855365)

... she went back upstairs to the condo and cracked a vodka cooler. "It was five hours earlier than I usually drink, but I was frankly a little frustrated.", laminated Sinclair. Don't drink and Internet, it's the computer.

getting out (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855405)

how is she gonna cancel her contract with the ISP if she is not allowed to contact any of their employees??

She's an actress and a playwright (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855421)

Seems to me that she was just being humorously dramatic. Summary says nothing about a weapon being presented at any time.

ISP excuse, thinks I (2, Insightful)

randolph (2352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855639)

It's a remarkably good excuse for the ISP not doing their job; the customer is forbidden to contact them. I think it's probably system-abuse on the part of the ISP.

It's clearly her fault! (1, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#24855713)

Not to directly jump in and take sides, but if you want a service, and have to call twenty times with no result, anything else that eventuates is your fault. If someone can't provide you the right service after one call (okay, throw in a second followup call just for good measure) then do business with someone else. Uselss companies will flounder, good companies will flourish. People seem to have lost the ability to look at a service and say "Hey, you aren't doing a good enough job here. Pack up, leave and I will give my money to someone better than you."

Why accept such poor service at all?
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