One of my web hosting providers, Bluehost, upgraded their cPanel software over the weekend. (cPanel is software that configures the computers, “servers,” that run websites.) At about the same time they changed spam filters from Postini, a filtering service run by Google, to Spam Experts.

I’m not sure which of these changes was the one that messed up the outgoing email. All I know is that since Sunday morning, email sent from mailboxes on that server don’t make it to their final destinations. They don’t bounce back. They sail off into the void. We get mail alright. We just can’t send any.

I’ve gone three rounds with their support team. They keep saying my mail program is misconfigured. “What are your settings?” they ask. I tell them. They write back, “What mail program are you using and what are your settings?”

It’s not my settings. I logged into their mail program with their settings on webmail. I sent a message to myself at another account. It never arrived.

I get that they deal with people all the time who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. I get that they have to ask the obvious questions. It’s their protocol.

But I try to help them by telling them precisely what’s happening on my end, and I still can’t get past the “You must have screwed up your settings” stage.

I get the same runaround from tech support everywhere, it seems. The first line always implies, “You’ve screwed it up.”

All I want is a little respect.