I have been noticing that on the first of every month, the wi-tribe connection that I am using stops working as soon as I receive the invoice email. Browsing stops. Replies to ping requests stop. All Internet activity comes to a halt.
When this happens, I get in touch with a customer support rep and describe my problem to them. After a while, they figure out what is wrong, tell me to try again after a brief moment, and take their leave. They never clearly explain the cause of the problem, beyond it being due to some glitch in their systems. But whatever it is that they do, works and makes me happy.
In the early afternoon on the first of January, my connection stopped completely soon after I received the invoice over email. From that point on till an hour before midnight, I tried relentlessly to get some human to pick up the phone at the customer support site — I had the impression that the support staff got drunk and passed out over the new year’s eve, and didn’t come to work the next day. And when someone finally did, they were not able to fix my problem, promising me that a complaint was lodged and my problem will be resolved shortly.
However, one question that they asked me during my brief conversation with them on the phone, gave me an idea about what could be wrong. Because I have come not to trust DNS resolvers that local ISPs use, I always use either OpenDNS or, recently, Google DNS resolvers. With that little detail in mind, I edited the network settings on my computer to not use any external DNS resolves but the local ones. My mail didn’t still work, nor did replies to ping requests show up. But what did half-work was any attempt to access any webpage on the browser. The browser redirected automatically to a wi-tribe internal page which told me that my invoice has been released, and this or that will happen if I don’t pay beyond the due-date. However, what caught my attention and also made me feel extremely silly was a big button in the middle of the page that read to the effect, ‘Click to continue browsing’. And clicking on that button did as advertised. I felt extremely stupid.
So, what was the problem? The problem was that, since I was using external DNS resolvers, wi-tribe was not able to redirect me to their internal page on the first of the month when the invoice was generated. When I switched to their local DNS resolvers, I was able to see that page, click on the big button, and continue using the Internet.
To think that I wasted a lot of money in calls to customer support, torture myself from being pissed at not being able to both use Internet and get someone at customer support to pick up, only due to a thing as silly as I’ve described, I feel an uncontrollable urge to curse out loud.