Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodman Family Moves part 2

Welcome back!

Our Challenges………..

When I ended part 1 [blog below this one] of my blog last week, we had found an apartment in a haredi building, received permission to install the YES satellite dish on our balcony and signed the lease. We called YES made the arrangements and they said no problem. Everything was working out beautifully…..

Two days later, Yaffa, our landlady, called to say that if we give her 2800 shekels we could stay until August 1st. She was going to rent an apartment in Beer Sheva for 6 weeks. We told her that we were moving on July 1st.

I should note that we offered her 2500 shekels, the rent we were paying plus an extra 100 shekels for the month of August when we told her we needed the apartment for 1 more month and she refused to even discuss the matter.

This was Wednesday, a week before we moved. My daughter Devorah and I decided to go to the apartment Sunday morning and see what needed cleaning and get the apartment ready for our move on Thursday.

We also wanted to bring some things over to the apartment since we would be moving a couple of days after the three weeks started [from the 17 of Tammuz to Tish B’Av with the first day on Tuesday. We were told by the Rav that if we wanted to move during the three weeks, we had to start the move before the three weeks.]

While we were cleaning the technician from YES came to the apartment to see where he could install the dish. Our nightmare was about to begin……..

Our lease was very explicit, the dish must start on our balcony and not go on the roof. We told this to the tech. but he said that even though we have 2 balconies, they both face the wrong direction for the dish to work.

He said that he has experience in haredi buildings and usually if you tell the people on the top floor what you want to do, there aren’t any problems. He said that he could put it up between the dudes [solar tank for hot water] and it won’t stick out.

With that, before we could say anything, he went upstairs to knock on doors. Two minutes later he was back telling us that the building has a rabbinical ban that there can’t be any televisions.

We called our agent, and he said that there wasn’t any ban on our street and the tech should put the dish on the roof. The tech said that he can’t because they told him if the dish goes up they will cut the lines and throw it off the roof.

Devorah called our owner and spoke to his wife. She said that she and her husband had no problems with us having the television but told the agent to deal with the neighbors before anything gets installed. The agent never spoke to anyone in the building.

I said that I didn’t want the apartment because the agent knew that we wanted YES and only agreed to sign the lease after we got the issur [permission].

We stopped cleaning and went home to discuss what actions we were going to take. On our way home we met a very respected Rav in our area and Devorah told him what had happened. He volunteered to go and speak to the person who was the most vocal.

An hour later, the Rav came to our house and said that they use the roof for ‘events’ [whatever that meant] but they had no objection if we put in HOT. [cable company]. Avraham agreed to call HOT and see if they would be willing to give us service since there wasn’t any infrastructure on our street.

After speaking to a fellow at their customer service and explaining the problems, the agent said that he would have to check with their technical department to see what can and can’t be done and said he would get back to us with an answer.

Two hours later, the he called us back and said that since our address is 26..the last house that had cable in the building is across the parking lot at 22, it would not be a problem to pull a line and give us service. He said that they do it all the time. He then proceeded to take the cable order and installation date and tried to also sell us telephone and internet service. He went so far as to give us his cell phone number and said if we had any questions we should call him directly. So far so good…...

We called the rental agent and the Rav and told them that we made arrangements with HOT and asked the Rav to inform the person he spoke to in the apartment building.

Thursday, moving day finally arrived. The movers were supposed to come between 7:45 and 8:00 and when they didn’t arrive by 8:20 we called the company and spoke to the owner. He said his workers didn’t show up for work and he was trying to get other workers. I can’t start to tell you what was going on in my house. Here we were packed and ready without any movers.

Twenty minutes later 2 men showed up at our apartment and said they were movers and that the truck would be there in 10 minutes.

The movers turned out to be terrific. They treated our furniture with such care. Every piece of furniture was wrapped with blankets and clear wrap and carried carefully out of the apartment onto the truck.

As they brought our furniture to our new apartment they were just as careful. They unwrapped the furniture and placed it where I asked them too. They certainly earned the tip we gave them.

With the movers gone we preceded to start to unpack and make our new apartment our home. We were expecting Bezeq [the phone company] and HOT.

Devorah came over with 2 of her daughters and brought us lunch.

Feeling exhausted, I was not prepared to have the phone company tech. tell me that he could not install a telephone outlet where I wanted it. He wanted to drag wires all over the walls. I just lost it and told him to leave. He opened the existing outlets and left.

Half an hour later HOT was supposed to come and install the cables on the televisions. When he was an hour late, we called HOT and they told us there was a slight problem and we would have service in 1 week.

This day was just getting too much for me.

That evening our other daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Naomi, Eliezer and Yoni came over to help us unpack and brought us supper and an entire Shabbos meal.

Day 1 in our new apartment was finally over.

Friday, day 2 went a little better. We unpacked a lot of boxes and the house was actually getting a Shabbos look. That evening, when I was washing the Shabbos dishes, I felt my feet getting wet. The drain pipe from the sink was blocked and it was backing up, leaking and we had water everywhere. By now, I was starting to hate this apartment.

Sunday morning, we called the agent and asked him to send us a plumber. Although the plumber said he would come that afternoon, he didn’t show up until the next day. Our plumber turned out to be a moonlighting handyman.

We decided to call our HOT agent and see what was happening because we didn’t see anyone working in the building to put in the infrastructure. The HOT customer service agent assured us up and down that the work order had been approved and it would take a week to 10 days and we would have service.

Back to the apartment. We have 2 balconies. Our upstairs neighbour has her air conditioner dripping water on the balcony off the living room. The balcony is unusable. We asked her to attach a hose and direct the drippings in another direction. She said she would call a service man. It is now 1 month later, my balcony is flooded and we have pigeons bathing in the pail that I put outside to try and catch some of the drippings.

As I write these words, I am so fed up, I am actually laughing.

I love pictures hanging in the house. Usually, one of the first things we do in a new apartment is hang up the pictures and curtains. This personalizes the apartment and makes it our home. This time I didn’t feel I could hang up any family pictures. The one exception was a ceramic picture that said Shalom that we hang outside our front door with a Bracha [blessing] for our home.

The shalom picture has special meaning to me because it was a gift from Naomi, the first time she came to visit Israel with my mother a”h. One morning a week after we hung up the picture, Avraham opened the front door and he called me. The picture had been stolen. Just the nail and the Bracha were left. I felt disgusted.

Back to HOT. Three days after being assured of service, Avraham called to see what the progress was even though we knew nothing was happening and was told that they didn’t want to pull the cable wire like they said they would to give us service. They didn't have the professionalism to call us and advise us they couldn't give us service, they waited for us to call.

I won’t bore you with the details, but you can just imagine the flurry of phone calls I made to managers. I was furious because we believed them and took this apartment. Had they not guaranteed service, we would have not taken the apartment, but waited for the apartment that was available in August.

HOT claims that they came to the building 5 days after we moved in to install the infrastructure but someone in the building threw them out. All I know is that no one from HOT ever knocked on my door to say that they weren’t being allowed to install their cables.

My son-in-law Hagai knows someone in management from YES. He asked him to go and see if anything could be done for us. Eli came and said short of putting the dish on the roof we would have to turn the building around to get service.

HOT and I were still battling and when I told them I was going to the media to say that they were dishonest and would say anything to get an order the strangest thing happened.

It was 9:45 in the evening three weeks later. The phone rang and the woman on the phone asked for me and said that she was from HOT and that the manager wanted to come to speak to me in person and when would it be okay. I gave her a day and time and she told me she would confirm the time with the manager and get back to me the next day.

The next morning when Avraham checked his e-mail, there was a 6 page e-mail from HOT saying that they were going to install HOT in our apartment and gave a time and date. The women never called me back and HOT never showed up on the day or time they chose.

Bottom line….we called the rental agent and told him what was going on.

He said that he would speak to the district manager of HOT [who was his friend] and try to get him to give us service. This past Sunday, our rental agent told us they gave him their final answer. To much work for just 1 family……….They don’t want to get involved in Haredi buildings.

That afternoon, we met with the agent and he agreed to break our lease and help us find another apartment.

HOT is not a company to trust. They proved this to us by lying, cheating and will say anything to get the order. I am going to go to the media as I told them I would.

YES agreed to cancel our new 1 month old contract with them without penalties because they couldn’t give us service. In our next apartment, we will only use YES.

And oh yes, the water is still dripping, drip drop, drip drop……………..

So it is now back to the drawing boards and the classified ads …………………

I am sorry this blog is so long and I got carried away. In some ways, writing this blog has been good therapy for me.

Until next time [and I won’t be so long winded]