Cellular Agony

Dealing with Phone Companies

Archive for June, 2014

Ever been cheated by a phone company?

Posted by Paula on June 11, 2014

Ever been cheated by a phone company?

I bet tons of people have. In Israel, problems seem particularly bad. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that at least 50% of all Israelis have been cheated…and because of the additional challenge of interacting in another language, I bet at least 80% of immigrants (new and old) can answer that question in the positive. To date, we have been cheated by all three of the major phone companies. That has to be some kind of a record.

We were really insulted when Cellcom overcharged us for 8,000 NIS for a service we had canceled. When we tried to get the money refunded – they told us we had to sign up for another three years. We eventually got the money back, but by then, we’d moved on to Orange, thinking nothing could be worse than Cellcom.

Things went bad with Orange right from the start…when they took our 16 regular Cellcom lines and registered 75 lines – most of which we obviously never received, and I won’t mention the forged signature. By then, we thought nothing could be worse than Orange – they even made Cellcom look good! We never really resolved it with Orange and finally, we pulled out and went to Pelephone with all sorts of promises…most of which they have now broken.

But as bad as Orange was – and honestly, I thought NOTHING could be worse – what happened yesterday in Pelephone’s Talpiot office in Jerusalem is so very bad. It goes beyond the horrible service and the fact that they canceled many discounts without telling us so that our monthly bill increased almost 300%.

It goes beyond the ignored requests to speak to a manager and their ongoing refusal to cancel services we weren’t using. Yesterday, my husband walked into the Talpiot office – we have the whole thing in an audio recording – and spoke to Moshiko, the manager.

Moshiko immediately tried to sell my husband 12 tablets…and then insisted, “yes or no…yes or no…yes or no” – to my husband’s attempts to communicate further. My husband is an amazing man, wise, capable and determined to make himself understood even though his Hebrew isn’t at a great level.

Moshiko didn’t want to understand – he wanted to perform in front of his employees; he wanted to embarrass my husband. And he did. When my husband informed him that he was recording his ongoing attempt to cancel Pelephone services, Moshiko switched tactics, “This is Cellcom,” he responded. “This is Cellcom. This is Cellcom,” to the laughter of his crowd.

No, actually, what that was, was an immature man given a ridiculous amount of responsibility and little sense of decency. We immigrants from the West came to live in this country out of love and dedication. When we moved here, we made a choice to settle in predominantly Hebrew-speaking communities to help our children acclimate more quickly. And we found work quickly so that we could support ourselves at a time when there were no major financial institutions helping immigrants beyond a small rent subsidy and a small one-time payment for shipping our possessions. No grand welcoming ceremonies and grants given, no politicians meeting our plane.

We found work by taking advantage of whatever skills we had – and some of those skills included our ability to communicate in English. This was good for our financial viability but bad for our own ability to acclimate into a society whose native tongue remained difficult to learn. Despite these ongoing challenges, we created a company that has helped hundreds of other olim find work and remain here in Israel.

I challenge Pelephone to either fire this Moshiko for his insensitive and rude treatment of a customer, or demand that Moshiko call my husband and beg his forgiveness. Moshiko can chalk it up to a moment of insanity, a moment when he let his mouth overpower his brain.

In the last 8 hours, I have heard from over a dozen people who have left Pelephone citing the treatment they received. I wonder if the CEO of Pelephone is named Moshiko too.

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Leaving Pelephone

Posted by Paula on June 10, 2014

We decided to leave Pelephone and are now investigating possibilities. We won’t go back to Orange – not if they gave us 10 years of free service and 15 letters of apology. We considered Cellcom. We have called Golan and Rami Levy – both possibilities.

We decided to give Pelephone one last try. New members can join for 50 shekels a month…they’ll offer us 65 shekels to continue. Yeah, that’s great.

My husband went today to the Talpiot office of Pelephone to speak to them. And met an incredibly insulting manager. When he saw my husband was recording the conversation – the manager took the loudspeaker and started calling out “We’re Cellcom” – “We’re Cellcom” – “We’re Cellcom” –  most of the other Pelephone workers laughed though at least the security guard had the decency to look embarrassed.

Pelephone – what do you do, hire 5-year-olds to manage your offices?

How insulting!

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Pelephone Joins Hall of Shame

Posted by Paula on June 8, 2014

We’ve been debating what to do as the Pelephone contract comes to an end for our company.  As we began evaluating our contract and bills, we noticed that they had stopped honoring their contract and the agreement.

Gone was our direct business contact.

Gone was the agreement to have an English speaker provided to us – the company now repeatedly tells us they have no one who can speak in English.

More upsetting – gone are the discounts they promised would last the full term of the contract – and of course they canceled these without notice so that our bills have steadily climbed from a regular 800 shekels a month to our last one which was 2,000 NIS – for the same amount of lines.

What is this, Orange all over again?


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