Cellular Agony

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August 2013 – No Word

Posted by Paula on August 5, 2013

Still waiting for the letter that is supposed to end this absurdity. Victor said we should get it…we haven’t.

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Update – July, 2013 – Salvation?

Posted by Paula on July 15, 2013

It’s been almost 18 months since I posted. During that time, for the most part, two things have been happening:

1. We’ve been happy Pelephone subscribers. Once we had a problem where we found they had over-billed us. We called them to complain thinking we’d begun the slippery slope into hell with yet another cell phone company. They were polite. They apologized. They fixed the debit the following month with a credit.

2. We’ve been receiving Orange bills on and off. For what imagined service, God alone knows. I’m not even convinced that Orange knows! The bill when we left Orange was somewhere around 40,000 NIS (that’s about $12,000). By now, it’s climbed to over 85,000 NIS (over $20,000). You have to give them credit for creativity on this one. No services, no phone calls – and yet it still manages to go up thousands of NIS per month? No clue.

So every once in a while, triggered either by a comment or story I hear, or triggered by yet another bill – I’ll go on Twitter and Facebook and complain about the rotten service we got, the ridiculous bill, etc.

During this time, Orange contacted us a few times, set meetings with their lawyers – to which we usually responded…bring it on…and then a day or so before the meeting, they called to cancel it. No progress. I was waiting for them to sue us, ready to gather up the mountains of emails, mistakes, etc. ready…but not anxious.

Two weeks ago, I had another twitter flutter and once again got the innocuous response that they’re sorry we’ve had trouble and if we send them a private note with our phone number, they’ll be happy to call. So been there, done that…so don’t want to go and do it again.

But whatever…so I wrote them and Victor called me. On the one hand, I didn’t want to go through the whole story again; on the other hand, it all poured out – along with a fair amount of anger for all the suffering we have gone through.

Victor said he’d call me back. I didn’t believe him. It wouldn’t be the first time Orange said they’d call back; it wouldn’t be the tenth. Perhaps somewhere in the 30s or 40s, who knows?

A few days later, Victor called back. I was shocked. I was amazed. And then, I was even more amazed. According to Victor, the week before, Orange closed our account and canceled the invoice. I decided to be cautiously optimistic, hopeful. I would get a letter from Orange confirming this in the next few days.

Could you send this to me now? No…

I waited a few days and a letter from Orange came…it had a coupon for 70 NIS to spend in their store. I couldn’t believe it.

I posted on Twitter – you tell me you’re canceling an 85,000 NIS bill and instead you send me a coupon for 70 NIS? Seriously????

Victor called me back. He said I misunderstood. That the billing period ends on the 13th of the month and within a week after that, I should receive a credit notification. Could this be the end? After so many years of agony – could we finally be nearing the end of this misery?

Stay tuned, I guess…

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January 2012…still not solved

Posted by Paula on January 9, 2012

A few updates. First – nothing has happened with Orange towards resolution. We got a letter threatening to sue us for over 80,000 NIS. We called the lawyers office, only to find it was more answering service than a legal agency and the secretary wanted to handle our call.

Your lawyer took the time to write or at least sign a letter, I told the woman – have her call me.

“I can handle this,” she told me.

“No, you can’t,” I responded.

Two days later, the lawyer called and almost as soon as she said her name, I blasted her with as much of the story as I could get out. Go ahead and sue me, I told her – God help you.

She said she wanted to meet with us…and then two days or so before the meeting, they called to cancel, promising to reschedule. I’m pretty sure I posted this part already – of course, Orange being Orange, they never rescheduled.

That was months ago. I was so disgusted – yet again, but the unprofessional and simply cruel way they conduct business, I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Communication. It took several more weeks, but suddenly, Orange started calling us asking for a meeting.

Of course, they never set a date; and of course they never called back. Orange remains.

Today, I got a Twitter post – after posting a wonderful article detailing a legal firm initiating a lawsuit for 400 million shekels against Orange. The post from Orange:

If you can’t read it, it says @ASoldiersMother (that’s me on Twitter) Hello, we’re sorry about your experience. Pls send you number via DM (direct message) and we will contact you soon.

Of course, I’ve send them the number before – they never contacted us.

Of course, I checked their twitter feed; it is filled with the same post – again and again, to others.

I hope that lawyer wins; I hope Orange loses – more, I wish they would just release us from the agony of their sending bills to us, but ignoring us endlessly.

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Orange Refuses to Cooperate with Israeli Army

Posted by Paula on June 23, 2011

Why am I not surprised?

Israel is a nation at war – it always has been and some say, sadly, it always will be. The Israeli army is one of the best in the world – not because we love war (we don’t), but because we have no choice.

Yesterday there was a national drill. Our country simulated a major attack across the entire land…one that we all fear will come one day. The air raid sirens sounded in the morning and again at night.

The army is constantly looking for ways to improve and one of those improvements includes alerting civilians immediately of an incoming attack. How brilliant, the army thought, it would be to use everyone’s cellular phones. So they approached the cell phone companies and asked them to cooperate. Two of the major ones agreed – Cellcom and Pelephone understand. The army requested to send the following message to all cellular phone users: “Drill — have a nice day, from the Homefront Command.”

Orange/Partner refused to cooperate – how pathetic!

Yesterday there was a national drill. Our country simulated a major attack across the entire land…one that we all fear will come one day. The air raid sirens sounded in the morning and again at night.

In a real emergency, many in our country would be alerted – all cellular phone users…except those unfortunate enough to have chosen Orange as their cellular phone carrier.

The full story of Orange’s pathetic refusal to cooperate can be found here:
http://en.trend.az/regions/met/israel/1894578.html

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Sad and Expected Update

Posted by Paula on June 23, 2011

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. The fact is, we moved 8 lines to Pelephone and have been immensely satisfied with their service. What a refreshing break from the horrors of dealing with Orange and Partner!

Pelephone made an accounting error – they took about 4,000 NIS from our account without permission. It literally made my husband sick. Not again. Oh God, I thought, not again! We called them up – we sent emails – no one got back to us. This can’t be happening again, we thought. Do I need to add a page for Pelephone here?

And then – they answered. They came to a meeting – and even before they did, they admitted they made a mistake and credited us for the amount. No, this is not Orange and no, this is not happening again.

See, there is life – and justice – after dealing with Orange. We still technically have 8 lines with Orange, but since they cut them off, we have yet to understand why we should have to pay for them – and, in fact, Orange can take those numbers and do whatever they want. All the people have replaced their service with another and gone to the tremendous inconvenience of telling everyone their new numbers.

Orange – you are such a failure!

As to the update – we got a letter from a lawyer from Orange. When we called, we were told we could not speak to the lawyer, but could talk to Stella. She handles the letters.

“Are you a lawyer?” we asked her.

“No,” she answered.

“Fine, we want to speak to the lawyer who sent us the letter.”

A week later, the lawyer finally called and I told her to read this blog, to read the emails, to be prepared to explain why on the same day we got a letter from the lawyer saying we owed 85,000 NIS, we got a bill from Orange saying we owed 48,000 NIS.

Be prepared, I said to her, to explain how Orange took 16 lines and turned them into 75 – and billed for all of them long after they were told about the dishonest of their representatives.

Be prepared, I told her with anger, to deal with the fury for the agony your client has caused, the damage.

Be prepared to explain the forgeries – the illegal use of electronic signatures and the straight outright forgery of my name on one document.

Be prepared.

She called back to schedule a meeting next week with a representative of Partner.

They will come to our offices – hopefully prepared – I know we will be. Prepared with all the facts, evidence, and anger.

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Emails from Others

Posted by Paula on April 12, 2011

I am amazed at how many emails, Facebook comments and Twitter tweets I get detailing ways in which people have been cheated by Orange. Here’s the latest from a woman named Shira:

I have been lied to by several agents at Orange. I think that’s how they make their money. Most recently was at the end of January, when they were trying to pressure me into taking a plan with a contract – the guy was telling me that there is a new law in Israel, that would be going into effect on Feb 1st, whereby communications companies would not be allowed to hold ppl under contract. I then got a manager calling me back trying to pressure me into signing up for this “1 year” contract that would supposedly be automatically voided on Fed 1st – not only did she keep changing the time limit of her offer, but it was a complete lie! There are also services on my acct that I’ve cancelled but am still being billed for. I’m switching to Cellcom once I get up the koach [strength] to deal with it…”

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An Update

Posted by Paula on April 4, 2011

About a week ago, my mother got a phone call. It was from a lawyer who said he represented Orange. He wanted to know who the owner was and who he could talk to about outstanding invoices. My mother was partially amused, partially amazed. Isn’t it funny that Orange and all cellular phone companies are careful to designate “Contact” people – and suddenly, their own lawyer doesn’t have a clue who to speak to, “do your own work and figure it out,” she told the lawyer.

A few minutes later, my father’s phone rang and my mother answered it, “You again?” the lawyer asked. Again, my mother refused to give him my name or phone number. He called my son next, eventually my husband. He never did call my number.

A week ago, on one day, I received two envelopes from Orange – one was for a bill – the latest they claim we owe them is about 48,000 NIS (about $15,000). Amazingly enough, despite disconnecting 8 phone lines and not using any of the remaining…67 they have magically assigned to us, or bills still hover in the thousands of shekels mark. But the really funny thing was the second envelope. This was from the lawyer who claims we owe over 80,000 NIS.

Meanwhile, we have moved 8 lines to Pelephone and are receiving lower bills and better service – hey, at least they actually answer us and when they say they will call back, they do!

In the meantime, we have identified another name of someone similarly cheated by Orange using the same representative. And so life continues. The lawyer we first discussed the case with won’t work – sadly, our wonder workers seem to have broken up their company. The very helpful one has left; the other refuses to answer our emails. Luckily, we insisted on their writing up their conclusions that we can use in court to details Orange’s faulty and criminal actions.

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Comparing Cellular Services

Posted by Paula on February 22, 2011

They say you should never compare your children. Luckily, the same is not true of your cellular phone companies and the services they offer. Case and point: reception.

Where we live, by far, Orange reception was the worst; Cellcom was better. Pelephone reception was unknown to us when we closed the deal to move eight lines away from Orange – it was enough to just escape the agony of having to deal with Orange. Almost immediately after opening the service with Orange in January of 2010 (despite their beginning to charge us in September, 2010 for phones that were not activated), we realized that my husband was virtually unreachable in the apartment downstairs at ground level. Reception was non-existent. We asked Orange to do something and right away, they told us there was an easy fix – that was yet another of Gal’s pathetic lies.

We have emails promising to bring in a repeater; we have a recording of Eliron promising to fix the problem quickly. Well, as you probably know by now, Orange’s idea of quick service is about equal to the amount of time it would take a dead turtle to crawl a mile…as in – it isn’t going to happen.

We waited almost a full year, repeatedly asking for the repeater – and nothing. All they could offer was to redirect the phone calls from my husband’s phone to the house line when he was in the office – gee, that’s great service. Why bother having a mobile phone if all you do is redirect to the land line?

So, with a bit of concern, we mentioned this bad reception to Pelephone. They promised a repeater and my husband and I looked on skeptically. We wondered how we would get thTwo weeks later, they came today to install a repeater that has less radiation than a standard phone, and increases the reception dramatically. Not only did they install it; not only did they make sure it looked esthetically pleasing, they even stuck around to do tests to make sure it works.

Man, Orange – they sure made you look pathetic today!

Posted in To Pelephone | 2 Comments »

The Lawyer

Posted by Paula on February 12, 2011

We went to our first meeting with the lawyer on Friday. It was a good meeting. He listened, he saw, and the evidence is so amazingly clear. He feels confident that we can easily win on the financial damages, the over-charging, the ridiculous claims of lines we never got, equipment we never received, etc.

That was the easier part. The harder part will be showing the tremendous damage this has done to our family, to our business. That is what the lawyer will now check and do research on and then get back to us.

How do you put value on the agony we have suffered?

The lawyer feels this is so obvious, we could likely get Orange to compensate us for the monetary issues that Gal caused by forgery and fraud, by manipulation and falsehoods. But he also is sure that Orange will never pay for the time they have stolen from us, the endless hours of phone calls begging them to listen, the damages to business and clients. This is not something they will recognize without it going to court.

But it is something that the courts will likely pay attention to – if the judge has elderly parents, she will be infuriated at the dangers of cutting elderly people off without means of communication.

If the judge has a son in the army, the situation in which our son found himself and our inability to call him, will resonate there.

Further, a simple look at the emails and lists of phone calls will be enough to show what Orange has done – in malice, in spite, in indifference.

Before we started this, in the first meeting with the wonder workers, they asked us what we wanted. As I wrote here – all we wanted was for Orange to just release us. Take their stupid phones and their stupid billing and just end our agony. As the Orange manager so eloquently put it, that deal is gone; water under the bridge; ended, over, not on the table.

Now, we told the lawyer, now we go for the damages they caused, for the agony of having made the huge mistake of dealing with them.

No longer towards resolution, now we go for justice.

Posted in Lawsuit, Towards Justice | 1 Comment »

The Day This Goes to Court

Posted by Paula on February 10, 2011

I keep imagining having to explain this whole situation with Orange in court.

“So what happened?” the judge asks.

“Well, we decided to move to Orange. We had 16 Cellcom lines and when the smoke had cleared, we had 74.”

“I’m sorry,” the judge says, “I didn’t hear you. Could you repeat that?”

And so I explain again, that which we cannot understand ourselves. The judge sits there for a moment staring at us. He turns to the lawyers for Orange, sitting there looking so serious with their stacks of paper and their black suits.

“Do you have something to say to this?” the judge asks.

“Your Honor,” says the Orange lawyer, “they signed the contract. Surely they must know what they signed.”

The judge looks at the Orange lawyer. Having signed his own share of these ridiculous contracts, he says, “have you ever read one of these contracts? No one can read them. Did your client take an order for 16 lines and turn them into 74?”

“Well, your honor, there does seem to be 74 lines on the bill and it could be…”

But the judge cuts him off and turns back to us. “How many lines do you have?”

“Well, we have 8 lines and my parents have two lines and a former employee of ours has 5 lines and we have one spare. So 16 lines. And we got phones for all of them – but they are charging us for 49 pieces of equipment.”

“FORTY-NINE?” the judge shouts. Already he turns to the Orange lawyers. “FORTY-NINE? For 16 lines?”

“Your honor,” the Orange lawyer starts again but the judge has already turned to us and instructed us to continue.

“Then there’s the line that was billed thousands of shekels but we never even got it. We don’t have that number. And we agreed to 27 agurot per minute and they charged us 70 agurot.”

The judge looks to the lawyer but before they can say anything, the judge holds up his hand and turns back to us. “go on.”

“And we signed up for a virtual network so there would be limited free calls for everyone within our group, but they never gave us credit for that.

“And they told us we could have 10 free numbers – that would be included in the virtual network and we gave them the numbers, but they never credited us for those calls.

“And they billed us for machines we never got – the proof is that in 16 months, we never used them.

“Oh, and they took my husband’s signature, the electronic one, and they cut and pasted it onto more than 40 pages of a contract without telling us.”

The judge looks at the lawyers as he speaks to me, “they did?”

“Yes, your honor,” I respond. “And they signed my name for me.”

“Really?” says the judge.

“Oh yes, just look at the papers, it’s so obvious even a child can see the obvious fraud,” I continue. “And when we tried to settle it, they shut our phones without any warning.”

By now, the entire courtroom is staring at the Orange lawyers. “No warning?” the judge echoes.

“None – not to our son who is a soldier!” I hear a collective gasp from the people in the room; even the judge looks angry.

“And my elderly parents were cut off and my youngest daughter.

“And my older son is an ambulance volunteer and they need to call him if there is an emergency.

“And my youngest son learns away from home and I couldn’t call him.”

“What did you do?” the judge asked.

“What could I do? I asked Orange to at least open the phones for incoming calls so that we could call the person from another line. Or if my father got separated from my mother, we could call him. But they refused. So we went out and bought new phones for the most critical lines. Then we found these amazing guys who convinced Orange to open a few lines for two weeks while they figured out the accounting and we sent them a letter from a lawyer telling them exactly how much damage they were causing our business and our family – but Orange never even bothered to answer that letter. Finally, we got someone on the line and they agreed they’d open those few lines in 30 minutes. Of course, they messed that up too.”

“Of course they did,” agrees the judge. “What did they do?”

“Well,” I say with my first smile of the day, “they opened one line completely by mistake – in and out calls; and the other lines it took them 3 hours to open for incoming only. But they shut them again after two weeks even to that.

“Oh, and when they didn’t even answer our letter, we did what we said we would – we moved the critical lines to Pelephone and demanded Orange open our phones to other SIM cards. That IS the law,” I told the judge.

“Yes, it is. Can I assume they did not do that?” the judge will ask me.

“Well, it took them days. First they said “maybe tomorrow or Sunday. Then on Sunday they said they meant the NEXT Sunday. Then they opened most of the phones, but not mine.

“So my son had to call them almost every day. They said they wouldn’t open my phone unless I paid what we owe them. I tried to explain that we don’t even OWE them money and about those 74 lines but they didn’t care. So my son really yelled and finally, after three weeks, my phone was unlocked.”

“So,” says the judge as he turns to the Orange lawyers, “we’ve got fraud, forgery, over-billing, lying. Failing to follow Ministry of Communications laws regarding unlocking phones and apparently a representative who doesn’t know how to count,” he says as he turns to Gal, sitting there next to the lawyers. Gal’s face is all red and for once, he isn’t charming and smiling at all.

I could continue this fantasy, but there’s no reason. Soon enough, Orange will hear all of this and more and though I don’t expect any judge in Israel to act as this one does in my story; I have no doubt that the judge will be as disgusted as so many others have been.

The law in Israel requires everyone to do their best to minimize damages – Orange did everything that they could, in spite and malice, to increase the damages. This is true in how they cut our phones; this is true in how they took three weeks to unlock my iPhone.

“Did your client take an order for 16 lines and turn them into 74?” – oh yes, they did. That…and so much more.

I am confident that when this comes to court, a competent judge will see the fraud, the forgery, the lies.

And I am confident that Orange will be stupid enough to let this go to court without offering us a reasonable settlement.

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