fly little butterfly

I recently got DSL and signed up with a DSL provider. The package deal with MSN looked pretty good so I went for that. I figured, what the heck, how bad could it be? I've had a number of problems with the service and, naturally, getting through to tech support is a nightmare. I decided to try their online chat tech support. At least I could putter around during the chat session, right? Stupidity abounds in the log that they so helpfully sent to me after our session.


Question: I have had repeated trouble with email containing attachments *not* coming in. I'm using [ae] and checking my email through Outlook. All other mail appears to be fine. Can you give me any insight?

( [ae] has joined )
( Quinn has joined )

[ae]: hey there

Quinn: Thank you [ae], for using MSN Interactive Online Support. My name is Quinn, I will be your Online Technical Support Engineer.

Quinn: Hello [ae].

[ae]: Hi

Quinn: Can you please tell me the exact error message you are receiving, if any at all?

[ae]: I am not receiving any error message and the sender is not getting a bounce.

[ae]: I can get other messages from the sender but not the one containing the attachment.

[ae]: ?

Quinn: Thanks for all the information.

Quinn: May I know the extention of the attachment.

[ae]: as far as I know it is a .zip file.

Quinn: Also do let me know the size limit of the attachment that you are trying to view?

[ae]: the attachment may be large, it contains some .fla, .swf and .doc files. I do have my email program set to remove files from server.

Quinn: [ae], thanks for all the information.

Quinn: Could you let me know if you have Flask installed on your machine?

[ae]: Flask?

Quinn: Since to view the attachment you would need to have flash installed on your computer.

Quinn: Flask, is a software to view your .fla and .swf files.

[ae]: The attachment is a .zip containing .fla files. The problem is that the email containing the attachment is not coming in. I am getting no error or email and the sender is receiving no bounces.

[ae]: Flash?

Quinn: I am sending across a page that would assist you to install Flash software.

[ae]: Is there anyone else there I can talk to? I do not need Flash installed. That is not the problem. Sorry, but that just isn't the problem.

Quinn: Thank you for waiting, I am sending you a web page that would provide you some information to download flash. It might appear in a separate window, but you can still contact me by minimizing that window and returning to the original Chat window.


[ae]: thanks but that is not what I need.

Quinn: May I know if you see the page that I have sent across for you?

Quinn: This Web site should have all the information you need about this product. The best place to get more detailed help would be in the Help area of the web site.

[ae]: What I am trying to determine is whether the MSN service is somehow preventing the email with attachment from getting to me.

[ae]: Is there a bandwidth limitation or some sort of queue that this email might be sitting in?

Quinn: No you are not able to view the attachment due to the neccessary software that you do not installed on your Machine.

[ae]: Quinn, if there is no email with no attachment then it doesn't matter what software I have because the email nor the attachment are getting to me.

[ae]: Am I making the problem clear?

Quinn: Once you have installed Flash, you would be able to view your attachments. You would be able view other attachments through Outlook.

[ae]: I have not gotten an attachment.

Quinn: You would be able to view all your emails and attachments properly that does not need Flash.

[ae]: I'm going to copy and paste my problem from above:

[ae]: I have had repeated trouble with email containing attachments *not* coming in. I'm using [ae] and checking my email through Outlook. All other mail appears to be fine. Can you give me any insight?

Quinn: Do you mean that you where not able to view any attachment through Outlook?

Quinn: I am still awaiting for your confirmation.

Quinn: Are you still there with me?

[ae]: yes

[ae]: just a moment

[ae]: I called the person who was trying to send the attachment and she did get an error message just now.

Quinn: Sure, I am standing by.

[ae]: It said that there was a 3.1 MB limit and she had exceeded it.

[ae]: What do you know about that?

Quinn: [ae], in that case you would not be able to view attachments that exceeds 1MB.

[ae]: Why?

Quinn: I would suggest your friend to resend the attachments through MSN Messenger.

[ae]: Is it on the MSN side? MSN is my ISP.

Quinn: Through MSN Messenger you would be able to send attachments that are large and quickly.

Quinn: Would you like me to assist you with the steps for the same?

[ae]: But I can't send large files through my email with MSN?

Quinn: You would be able to do that.

[ae]: I can't receive large files through MSN by email?

[ae]: Because, I don't think that the sender, a client, has Messenger. I would be hesitant to have her set up an IM client just so that she can send me a file... ya know?

Quinn: I am sorry but you would not be able to send or receive emails or attachments exceeding he size limit of 1 MB.

[ae]: So, MSN puts a restriction of 1MB on files for sending/receiving through email but not through the IM service?

Quinn: Yes, that's correct.


Quinn: May I know if you see the page that I have sent across for you?

[ae]: Yes I see the page.

[ae]: Is there a page you can send me outlining MSN bandwidth guidelines?

Quinn: You are most welcome to reach us at any moment.

Quinn: For your reference you will receive a detailed transcript via e-mail with our complete conversation that will include all links I have provided to you

[ae]: Is that it?

Quinn: Yes, in order to view attachment I would suggest you to ask your friends to send them through MSN Messenger.

Quinn: Would you like to send across a page that would assist you to install MSN Messenger?

[ae]: Just to double-check, is there a page outlining size restrictions of attachments sent to me through MSN?

[ae]: No thank you. I don't need install instructions.

Quinn: [ae], we are available 24 hours a day and are always glad to help. For your convenience and future reference, you will receive by e-mail a detailed transcript of our chat, including all site links. Thank you for using MSN Interactive Online Technical Support. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you need further assistance, please come back and visit us again.

( Quinn has exited )
( [ae] has exited )


The one bonus about online chat is I can jump up and down and scream horrible epithets at the computer while tearing my hair out. Anyway, enough of that crap, head over to the homepage.


I'm finally reconnected to DSL. Still through Qwest but now working with a local ISP. So far, things have been immeasurably better in terms of uptime and email. And, actually, working with Qwest to get this resolved was a pretty pleasant experience until I got the bill.

For one month of service with MSN -- $139. For setting up my new ISP -- $69. After a number of phone calls we got the $100 "activation fee" from MSN waived. At first I was told I would need proof that there was no fee in the advertisement for the service. I had a little fit. Why the hell would I sign up with MSN if it had an extra $100 attached? Eventually they dropped it. They also dropped the $69 fee for changing ISPs.

During all of this, MSN sent me another modem and welcomed me back to their service. I called them up and they promised to send a return mailing label. I reminded them that they would need to send two if they wanted both of them back. I've received one mailing label. Not sure what to do with the other thing. I guess I'll see what happens.

The lesson, if you haven't already learned it: do... not... seek... the... treasure. Um. I mean, avoid MSN at all costs. And, Qwest, I guess. Actually, it might be best to just drop out and head for the hills.


I called today to cancel the service (I've already gone through the trouble of getting set up with another provider) and mistakenly got routed to support. A young man with what sounded like an Indian accent answered. He was incredibly polite. He tried to transfer me to the right number. I was on hold for awhile and then he came back on saying that he had been instructed to have me try another number since being on hold was tying up his line. He apologized and gave me the number. I thanked him.

Isn't that always the way? They're total assholes to you and then when you decide to break up with them they hit you with the cuteness and the stammering and the whole "Is there anything that you need that I can get for you?"


When I finally got through the automated phone labyrinth to the "To discontinue your service, press 4" I was told automatedly that due to the high number of calls, I would have to call back another time. You don't say?


[Addendum, 10.20.2001]
I decided that while I was cancelling their service that I would submit the support log you see at left into the customer support feedback form on their site. I wrote:

"This support log is ridiculous. You all should be ashamed that you have this kind of tech support work for you. This is just the last in a series of bad support and bad service I have gotten from you in my month of being with you, signed up through Qwest DSL/MSN. I will be cancelling the MSN service tomorrow."

Here is their response:

Thank you for your recent E-Mail to MSN Member Support.

This is Roderick and I am writing in response to your E-Mail regarding your feedback on our service.

We understand your concern and appreciate the time you have taken so that we may address this issue. Comments such as yours help us in guiding our ongoing efforts in improving our service. The MSN team has been informed of this matter and we at MSN Internet Access apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced in this regard.

Please accept our sincerest apologies for any difficulties you may have encountered with MSN Internet Access.

[...wait for it....]

We are pleased to announce our chat-based support for MSN members. With this service, you can receive personalized, real-time interactive assistance from our chat support professionals for MSN Internet Access technical and email issues, features and navigation. To take advantage of this service, go to and select Online Support under the “assisted support” category.

If you have additional questions and would like to speak to a representative, you can call the MSN Internet Access Member Support Center at 1-800-386-5550 Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 1:00 AM Eastern Time, and 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.

Should you need further assistance, please feel free to write us back. Thank you for choosing MSN Internet Access as your online service.

MSN Member Support