Cycling, Writing, & Apple

Tech Support - Anyone Can Do IT

Over the past few months I have had two technical support issues with two different companies, Bitdefender and Netgear. In both cases, technical support has known far less than I do. It seems that literally anyone can work in technical support if they can read a flip chart. In the case of Netgear, you don’t even need to understand the things you’re saying.

Let’s start with Netgear. I recently purchased a cable modem router. Not their cheapest one either, a C7800 which cost $379 and offers quite a few nice options. Too bad the thing doesn’t work. After two days it quit working on the 5GHz band. By that I mean it stopped transmitting altogether. The 5GHz light was off on the router and no devices could see a 5GHz network. Rebooting the router would fix the problem for a few hours, then it would drop off again. Netgear support had be turn WiFi off then on. That worked for a day then it dropped again. They then had me change the channels on both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless. No difference. Next, they made me complete a hard reset of the router. That seemed to work, but then two days later the problem came back. So I got this female support agent who insisted I change my WiFi network name. What that has to do with the issue I have no idea, but I wanted to have this resolved or have the device replaced so I was willing to play their game. Changing my WiFi name meant that I also had to reconfigure four nest camera, a nest thermostat, four smoke/CO2 detectors, a Yale lock, four Apple TVs, three laptops, phones, iPads, radios, Lutron lights and outlets, and more. In all almost forty devices and it took me two days to complete it. In fact, I had to contact Chamberlain tech support for help to reprogram the garage door opener and hub (those guys were awesome). Three days later the router dropped WiFi again. Netgear support finally issued an RMA and sent me a replacement device. I installed and configured the replacement and it worked for four days, then stopped transmitting on the 2.4GHz wireless. I started the process all over again. Each time I called I gave the support agent my case number. I don’t know why because it didn’t seem thank any of them, except one, took time to see what the issue was and what had been tried before. I essentially started the whole process over. Finally I got to the female support person I had before and she started again with wanting me to change channels, reset the modem, and change WiFi name. By this time I’d had enough and was openly challenging the support person to ask why she was wanting me to do what she was asking. I mean, if your TV is off, changing the channel isn’t going to make a difference. So if a WiFi router is not transmitting at all changing the channel it’s on also isn’t going to make a difference. After twenty-eight days of dealing with unreliable Netgear hardware and idiot support people who knew less about computer networking than I do, I had had enough. I contacted Netgear customer service, who were very friendly and helpful, I got a return authorization and sent the modem back for refund. At least Netgear has a 30 day 100% satisfaction policy and as far as I can tell there are some issues with the C7800. I will never buy another Netgear product ever again.

Now Bitdefender. I have two MacBook Pro’s and an HP laptop. The Macs have Bitdefender AV for Mac installed and the PC has Bitdefender Plus 2020 installed. What is strange is that when I go to my Bitdefender central account I only see two of those three at any given moment. Usually, it is the 2015 MacBook and the HP. If I uninstall Bitdefender from the Mac (which I have to do at least once a week because Bitdefender keeps uninstalling its own VPN software) then both Macs will be listed and not the HP, until I boot the HP in which case the 2018 Mac is removed and then only the HP and 2015 Mac are listed. In fact, starting or even restarting the HP will cause Bitdefender updater to launch on the Mac and it downloads the Windows version of the AV software and attempts to install it, which fails. I’ve been working with Bitdefender since May 16, 2020 on this issue. I’ve sent them numerous log files, BD Profile reports, screenshots, and even now a video of both systems screens. No luck. In fact, I happen to have the desktop wallpaper from macOS 11 on my 2018 machine (I have the developer release installed on the 2015 because that device is used to testing) but Bitdefender technical support has said that since I am running macOS 11 they won’t help me. Except that I’m not running macOS 11, I’m running 10.15.6. They just assumed from my desktop wallpaper which version of the OS I was running. Good thing I didn’t use a Windows themed desktop on the Mac, they’d really be confused, or assume that I was running Boot Camp or virtualization.

It seems literally anyone can now work in computer technical support because you don’t actually have to know anything or be able to do any kind of logical reasoning. All you have to know is how to follow a flowchart or flip chart of questions and canned answers. I’ve in all cases provided support personnel with case IDs so that they can see what the issue is, what the systems configurations are, and what has been tried. I have no idea why because they don’t seem to even both looking at them. I start back at square one with everyone. Looks like I will be going to another AV firm once my Bitdefender subscription expires.



7-4-2020 - Happy Independence Day. Can I still say that?

6-26-2020 - Coming up on my last week of summer break. At least the weather looks like it will be good for getting those last few rides in before I have to spend all day in the books.

6-19-2020 - Getting a lot of little projects done around the house. Now maybe I can add a few more bike rides…if the weather will cooperate.

6-3-2020 - Well, wife is in quarantine back in Germany. Bachelor for the next 69 days, so plenty of uninterrupted study time.

5-31-2020 - Almost done with the latest project, removing carpet and installing laminate flooring.

5-10-2020 - Happy Mother's Day mom. We miss you.

4-25-2020 - Leadership is easy when everything is running smoothly and going well. The real test is when the crap hits the fan and everything starts to unravel. Trump has epically failed that test.

4-10-2020 - Haven't really been out of the house since March 16th. Now that most large assignments are behind me maybe I can get a few bike rides in.

4-7-2020 - Latitude 88 North

4-5-2020 - Just got a mix of ELO playing and listening to Can't Get It Out of My Head. So many memories.
© 2020 David Stempnakowski

San Marcos, TX USA 78666