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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to give something for free without giving something for free - Part 2

Here's why I've been wasting a lot of time today. A couple of weeks ago, Bezeq International, which unfortunately became our internet carrier when they took over our beloved Actcom (which had been our carrier since 1994) a couple of years ago, called up and said they had a great deal for us: They are increasing our capacity and giving us a new router - for free. All we have to do is show up at the Bezeq store and pick up the router.

There are only two Bezeq stores in Jerusalem. One is in an Arab neighborhood, so that's not really an option. The other is next to the Central Bus Station, where there is almost no on-street parking, and where you will wait in line for quite some time. So Mrs. Carl and I have been avoiding going there to get the router for the last two weeks.

This morning, there was a flicker from our horrible electricity (the general contractor who built our apartment swore he would never work with the electrician again because the guy was so awful), and while it didn't shut the house down like it usually does, it was just enough to shut off the router and our internet connections. When I couldn't get it to restart, Mrs. Carl had a 'great' idea - I should go to the Bezeq store and switch the router.

So I went to the Bezeq store, parked a ten-minute walk away, waited 30 minutes on line, and discovered that - surprise! - it's not free after all. You see the router costs NIS 600 (a bit more than $150 these days), but you pay it in 24 payments for which you receive an offsetting credit, so long as Bezeq continues to be your internet provider for the next 24 months....

I get it home, Mrs. Carl starts hooking it up (she has the Masters in Computers - not me) and it doesn't work. So she spends half an hour on hold for a technician, and then another half an hour on the phone, and lo and behold the router is hooked up. Except that when I go to log in on my laptop... there's no network recognized.

So I spend half an hour on the phone with another technician, and he tells me to press the reset button on the router, but the reset button doesn't work. The technician informs me that I have a defective router (which of course only happens once in several thousand routers - lucky me!) and I have to come back to exchange it. I said the hell I'm coming back, send it with a messenger. He says that will take a few days (they have messengers that distribute phone bills - they claim that the post office does it but the phone bills always arrive separately from the mail so I don't buy that). I decided to try hard wiring the laptop to the router - which succeeded - and told him that I could wait a couple of days and he could send the router by messenger.

I won't tell you the rest of the story because I then made a demand and told him that if my demand was not fulfilled, the story would go on my blog.... They fulfilled the demand....


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

I have been in Jerusalem visiting my daughter and her husband and family for the last 5 weeks. Bezeq has been here at least once a week in that time and they replaced the router twice. Maybe they have been responsive due to a fact similar to that mentioned in your last paragraph - my son-in-law is a well known reporter here and some things only get done when bad publicity is threatened (and the threats can be backed up).

Nevertheless, I have come to understand, as you also noted, there are some serious quality issues with the installation of electric, phone, and cable in many homes here, and that may be a principal factor causing intermittent service, and not just crummy routers (which Bezeq often blames). I'm just saying . . .

At 10:48 PM, Blogger rickismom said...

Yeah. When my bezeq router died, they almost charged me for not returning it.


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