How Not to Do Customer Service, By Yahoo

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The other day I had a question, and decided to try out Yahoo Answers for the first time. I put together my question, filled out the necessary items and hit submit. Unfortunately I received a Yahoo 999 error.

FirefoxScreenSnapz001
Neither of these bullet points seemed relevant, but it was late at night and I let it drop, knowing I could attempt again from the work the following day.

The next day at work, on another computer, from a separate ISP I tried again. Same result. So I decided to follow up with customer service at http://help.yahoo.com/.

I don't have a copy of what I said in the form I completed, but it basically said that I had attempted to complete the form from two different machines, on two different browsers, on two different ISPs, that I had no malware so I was wondering if they could help. Their response:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

We're sorry you've had difficulty accessing Yahoo!. The error you
received is typically caused by unusual activity from either your
computer or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to Yahoo!. While this
type of problem is usually temporary, if you continue to experience this
error, we recommend that you try the following suggestions:

1) Contact your ISP and let them know you are experiencing connectivity
problems with Yahoo!. You may have difficulty accessing Yahoo! if we
detect unusual network traffic coming from your ISP. Only your ISP will
be able to address and resolve this abnormal activity.

2) Check that you are not using any third party software program or
application to access Yahoo! services. Please keep in mind that these
types of programs are not supported by Yahoo! and may violate our Terms
of Service, and therefore may contribute to your receiving this error.

3) If you have not scanned your computer for spyware and viruses, please
do so now. Some spyware programs and computer viruses will run separate
programs on your computer for a variety of purposes, sometimes slowing
your computer down in the process, and even preventing you from
accessing certain Internet sites such as Yahoo!.

For detailed information on virus protection, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/malware.html

For detailed information on spyware, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/spyware.html

4) You may want to try accessing Yahoo! through a different computer or
through a different Internet connection.

We hope this is resolved for you soon so that you may continue to use
Yahoo!.

Regards,

Yahoo! Customer Care

65064008

For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:

http://help.yahoo.com/

Frustrated, I emailed them back:

It really feels like you didn't read my email, but have an
auto-responder ready to go. I'm sure that saves you time, but it adds
time to my schedule to respond to it, and to reiterate what I already
said:

This happened twice. Two different days. Two different computers. Two different locations. Two different ISPs.

I'm not experiencing any connectivity problems w/any other part of Yahoo (or any of the sites you own), nor do I have any viruses.

Now, hopefully you can take a slightly closer look and let me know if you find anything.

Their response:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

We're sorry you've had difficulty accessing Yahoo!. The error you
received is typically caused by unusual activity from either your
computer or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to Yahoo!. While this
type of problem is usually temporary, if you continue to experience this
error, we recommend that you try the following suggestions:

1) Contact your ISP and let them know you are experiencing connectivity
problems with Yahoo!. You may have difficulty accessing Yahoo! if we
detect unusual network traffic coming from your ISP. Only your ISP will
be able to address and resolve this abnormal activity.

2) Check that you are not using any third party software program or
application to access Yahoo! services. Please keep in mind that these
types of programs are not supported by Yahoo! and may violate our Terms
of Service, and therefore may contribute to your receiving this error.

3) If you have not scanned your computer for spyware and viruses, please
do so now. Some spyware programs and computer viruses will run separate
programs on your computer for a variety of purposes, sometimes slowing
your computer down in the process, and even preventing you from
accessing certain Internet sites such as Yahoo!.

For detailed information on virus protection, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/malware.html

For detailed information on spyware, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/spyware.html

4) You may want to try accessing Yahoo! through a different computer or
through a different Internet connection.

We hope this is resolved for you soon so that you may continue to use
Yahoo!.

Regards,

Yahoo! Customer Care

65064008

For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:

http://help.yahoo.com/

Holy deja vu, Batman. At this point I contacted my local ISP to see if they perhaps were experiencing the problems Yahoo laid out. Nada. So I wrote back to Yahoo:

Yahoo,

OK, here we go for the 3rd time.

Some clarification points: I'm not having difficult reaching Yahoo; I'm having difficulty reaching one specific page after tons of pages that I can reach.

This happened to me twice, over two days, on two different machines, on
two different browsers, at two different locations on two different
ISPs.

1) I called my office ISP and they're not experiencing any problems.

2) I'm not using 3rd party software, unless you call Firefox 3rd party software.

3) I'm running a Mac, and I run a safe machine.

So, what say you?

Not surprisingly, this was Yahoo's response:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

We're sorry you've had difficulty accessing Yahoo!. The error you
received is typically caused by unusual activity from either your
computer or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to Yahoo!. While this
type of problem is usually temporary, if you continue to experience this
error, we recommend that you try the following suggestions:

1) Contact your ISP and let them know you are experiencing connectivity
problems with Yahoo!. You may have difficulty accessing Yahoo! if we
detect unusual network traffic coming from your ISP. Only your ISP will
be able to address and resolve this abnormal activity.

2) Check that you are not using any third party software program or
application to access Yahoo! services. Please keep in mind that these
types of programs are not supported by Yahoo! and may violate our Terms
of Service, and therefore may contribute to your receiving this error.

3) If you have not scanned your computer for spyware and viruses, please
do so now. Some spyware programs and computer viruses will run separate
programs on your computer for a variety of purposes, sometimes slowing
your computer down in the process, and even preventing you from
accessing certain Internet sites such as Yahoo!.

For detailed information on virus protection, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/malware.html

For detailed information on spyware, please visit:

  http://security.yahoo.com/spyware.html

4) You may want to try accessing Yahoo! through a different computer or
through a different Internet connection.

We hope this is resolved for you soon so that you may continue to use
Yahoo!.

Regards,

Yahoo! Customer Care

65064008

For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:

http://help.yahoo.com/

At this point I just gave up on Yahoo answers. (Although I did try again as I put together this blog post, and received the same error message.)

I'm not saying Yahoo's at fault here. It seems quite possible that I'm making a mistake, or it's happening on my end. (Although the fact that it's happening in multiple locations, on multiple computers through multiple ISPs makes me wonder.)

My frustration is the complete automation of the process, where at no point was it elevated, or did Yahoo make it easy for me to elevate it to a–dare I say it–human being.

I ultimately posted my question to LinkedIn and got a dozen good answers. I'll be blogging about that later this week.

Rich Brooks
I Don't Yahoo

  • http://www.organizewithjulie.blogspot.com Julie Bavington

    I've been having issues with yahoo all week and all I want to do is check my e-mail! Thanks, Rich. Glad to know it isn't just me.
    @juliebavi

  • http://www.organizewithjulie.blogspot.com Julie Bavington

    I've been having issues with yahoo all week and all I want to do is check my e-mail! Thanks, Rich. Glad to know it isn't just me.
    @juliebavi

  • http://timmyjohnboy.com tim

    Although I did not have this problem so I can speak much to it, I have always enjoyed using Yahoo Answers by searching for the same or similar questions already asked and answered.

    Just one place I find answers to my questions!

  • http://timmyjohnboy.com tim

    Although I did not have this problem so I can speak much to it, I have always enjoyed using Yahoo Answers by searching for the same or similar questions already asked and answered.

    Just one place I find answers to my questions!

  • http://www.businessprodesigns.com Angelina Parker

    Hi,

    You are absolutely right. We also face the same problems.

    Angelina Parker
    Website Design

  • http://www.businessprodesigns.com Angelina Parker

    Hi,

    You are absolutely right. We also face the same problems.

    Angelina Parker
    Website Design

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