Thursday, 11 April 2013

Changing Internet and Other Service Providers in Israel

It seems that today we are all connecting to each other through a variety of ways - from using the Internet on our computers to connecting via smartphones. It is the "carrier" or "agent" who takes our "information" from one location to another. Better yet, or more commonly, we call that carrier a Service Provider.

If you're in Israel, you'll notice a host of service providers eager for your sign-up! Once you're in, they'll want to keep you forever. You'll be set up on a debit order or a recurring debit on your credit card once a month. With that comes their authority to simply debit you whenever they want, with whatever amount they want(!) It's hard to believe it, but this is true. This post will tell about our own personal experience and then tell you just how to get out of your current deal if you're not entirely satisfied, and how to break free into a whole new life with someone you feel may be more trustworthy.

Recently I noticed another change in my Smile (Internet Service Provider) debit amount. Actually I have been connected with them for years. Have I felt personally satisfied with them all this time? I'm not entirely sure. I had joined them when they were still known as "Zahav." Actually Smile was another separate company - as far as I understand - and Zahav then merged into Smile. It seems that our original agreement with Zahav (which was working nicely,) was terminated, and we never again got back to that wonderful agreement. Since then, I've found my own connection (especially in recent months) to have slowed down tremendously with no reasonable explanation on their part. I've called once before to cancel, but they "suckered" me in to a new and "better" deal, which service providers here are fond of doing. I stayed on, but noticed the deal wasn't quite what they said, and within a few months, my credit card was slowly being debited with a higher amount yet again! I still stayed, as "holding on" while I listen to the same music for an hour at a time just isn't worth the few extra shekels added each month. 

After the amount continued to climb, I called in again, totally frustrated at their apparent permit to simply debit me with whatever amount they wanted to. The service provider checked out that I had been with them for some time, and offered me 20 shekel off the original amount. Okay - so I stayed! Incidentally they called the next day to find out if they had given me good service. When one asks the day after the discount - one can only assume it was good. But when the monthly amount was debited, they had taken off only 5 shekel! They had not kept their word, and I had had enough of their inefficiency. 

I called to complain concerning their two-faced approach to keeping clients - and I did indeed wait for over half an hour, only to hang up after not receiving a response. I called again a little later hoping things would move faster. Unfortunately I waited an hour - literally - for service. When I told the representative I was disappointed with their service (and about to explain what I wanted now) she immediately hung up. I was livid!

Later we did actually manage to contact someone who did not hang up - but refused outright to ut us through to a manager or cancel our account - instead offering us her special deals. Threats of any kind make no impression on such people. Once you're on their books being debited monthly, you may well remain that way forever unless...

We did our checking into some other service providers, and have selected a provider that we feel will give better service. For those interested in seeing a list of providers, do see the Israel Science and Technology page of Internet Service Providers. What caught my eye especially was the line that follows immediately underneath the list. Do check it out, and you'll understand what I mean! I wished I had seen this sooner!

The new provider we called answered the phone within a short period of time, spoke English, and explained how their offerings work and how easy it was to join. We went online, joined up within 5 minutes, and made the change to the new provider. This was a far cry to what I had experienced with Smile. When I went online with the new provider, something else changed drastically! The speed of the Internet! It seems that my previous connection was indeed kept down mysteriously by Smile - though I cannot understand this, and they will obviously not explain!


The problem of disconnecting the previous provider still remained. It was just at this point (before formally making the change) that we found out about a terrific service called Netek ("Disconnect") which does all the work for you! There's no need to lose hope or even talk to a provider to do the work for you - and best of all, it's free!

On the site, you'll see a list of Israel's service providers and be able to select the provider you'd like to disconnect from. After just three easy steps, they will fax a legal document to the provider concerned informing them that you wish to be formally removed (including the monthly debit on the credit card of course!) and warning them of the legal consequences should they not respond within three days! GREAT! It's clean, no mess, no fuss and keeps everyone away from the need to shout, speak to "managers" or lose hope that you'll be stuck with your old provider for ever! Indeed, the law in Israel today is that a service provider must disconnect you at your request. The concept of lengthy contracts no longer applies, and it is your right to choose to change over to someone more suited - whenever you'd like to!

Of course, my experience with Smile is just that - it's mine. You may well be getting great service from them. But as for me, the frustration of staying with this provider with the constant change of terms and prices (without notice) was beyond honest (and perhaps even illegal!) 

It's been quite an experience, but I've gained much! If you find you're not satisfied with your provider, send a powerful and strong message to them using this service. Disconnect! Find someone better - and encourage proper honest service in Israel. That's what we need, and it's time we stand up for our rights!

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