Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Beware the rogues!

Motivated to write this post after an interesting experience I had today. I had some problems with my Outlook Express. I tried to send an email to my lovely tax man but it kept bouncing back to me saying it was being rejected as spam. I tried several things myself like closing the program and re-opening, writing to different addresses and so on. Nothing simple seemed to work. I didn't try turning the computer off and turning it on again as a friend later suggested I should have, so who knows...that may have fixed the problem. However, it seemed to me that I needed some expert guidance or advice. I started the hunt with Optus as they are my inet provider but they led me on a wild goose chase. I spoke to two different people there on their technical support team. One told me to find the messageblocker email address on their website and to send the blocked email to them explaining what I was sending it for and blah, blah, blah. Of course it wouldn't send so there was not much point...but I tried. The second person suggested all sorts of things to try, many the same as person number one, but he didn't send me to the messageblocker page. He did try his own email and said it was blocking I said goodbye and decided to leave it a while. He rang me back soon after and said his was working again...was mine. I went through a lot of the same processes yet again and mine still was not working. 

It doesn't take long to write about it but it took up a lot of my day, let me tell you. Having no joy there, he suggested that there must be a problem with my Outlook Express system and to contact them. I Googled and found a phone contact and rang. A very nice man spoke to me about what was happening and offered to put me in touch with a technical support. This started to feel right. He was so kind and helpful. The techy support was an on-screen chat. I had to enter a code to allow that to happen and without letting me know first I found that I had given the techy access to and control over my computer. Not to worry...I have nothing to hide or be too concerned about I don't think. We had a friendly chat and 'cathy' told me that I had loads of problems with my computer but NOT to worry because she could fix it all so everything would be safe and working properly. She used my computer to find some coding and put a big red circle around some code that she said was the problem. Great I said, that will be great...let's do it. Sure, she said. There are two ways we can do it. Would you like me to tell you about the two plans we can use to do it? 

That got my attention. It had all been very smooth and sweet up until that point and now they had me feeling vulnerable they were coming in for the kill. We can do a one off fix today for $179 or you can have push-button access to our support for two full years for only $399! I might not have the figures quite right but you get the drift. Well, I don't like to cry poor, but I have only a two days a week contract this year and the odd relief day. I haven't sold a terrible lot of toys and I don't have a bank all really. So I didn't have the money to do any of these things. I said I couldn't afford to do anything like that today. Well if you can pay $79.99 I can fix it for you right now! Wow that was a big drop! If I wasn't completely suspicious to start with, I was by now. I'm sorry I said, I can't do that either. I'll just try to live with the problem and see how I go. A little box appeared...Would you like to end this conversation...yes or no...What had happened to friendly and helpful cathy? She was gone. I only got a box with two options to click on, yes or no. When I clicked on yes another box came up saying not very politely...This conversation is ended. Wow. Then a little feedback form appeared. Well, I said, perhaps you should mention at the beginning that you are going to charge for fixing the problem and it could save a lot of people a lot of time. But no, they could not get you into that vulnerable position if they let you know up front. Beware. Never feel guilty to say no, no matter how sweet and helpful they are. If you don't want to pay then don't. If you want to try something else first...say no thank you...or I'll get back to you later. 

This is what I did next. I thought to myself that I could accept that there were probably some problems in my computer...perhaps some viruses or something...and I had allowed my AVG trial to lapse. I went to the AVG page and downloaded their trial version again. I ran the repair option and then did a scan. It found nothing and it seems that with a simple shut down and restart all the problems have disappeared. For now anyway. Just thought I'd share that story as it's easy to feel like you have to pay for someone to fix it all when in fact perhaps you don't. Whilst I didn't get to work today, I did save myself nearly $200 by being alert and not too scared to say no. In fact, I think many of the people would choose the almost $400 deal because it is by far the better option. But if you can sort it out with AVG and not spend anything then you're way ahead. At least it's worth a try before you part with your hard-earned cash. 

Best of luck, and as my friend says (with an Irish accent...I'm not sure why but it's very funny) 'Have you turned it off and turned it on again?' Always try that first! And really now, I should leave you with an Irish Blessing. I found this online and hope the owners won't mind me sharing it with you. 



  1. Poor you Kerry! Computers are all very well until they dont do what they're supposed to do... rather like a car - but worse. At least if your car stops working you can walk. Or catch a bus.
    As for the Irish blessing - "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" Its from an English TV series called "The IT crowd". Classic.

  2. I hate it when my computer throws a paddy - guaranteed to waste a day or so fixing the problem but seriously, a restart can work wonders (sometimes). Hope it is behaving now xx

  3. My phone would not work today it restricted me to emergency call only so Brian rang the help desk at Virgin and after checking the bill had been payed the phone had reception the only thing the techie could suggest was turn the phone off and turn it back on again. It worked but he could not tell me why it had stopped.
    Fran xx