Nimas Lee: An open letter to HOT

To: HOT customer service, fax number 07770 78231

December 1, 2010

To Whom It May Concern, HOT:

I have been extremely frustrated, for some years now, by the supreme incompetence of HOT’s customer service . . .

Whenever I call HOT, its automated telephone system fails (unfailingly) to recognise my mobile number: 054 554 11** [asterisks for melchett mike]. So, too, do HOT’s customer service representatives (when they eventually pick up, that is – rarely before 10-15 minutes of recorded bollocks, and if the call does not ‘spontaneously’ disconnect beforehand).

The aforementioned is my number. It has always been my number. It was never the number of Robert Lee [nimas li, for non-Hebrew speaking readers, means “I am fed up/have had enough,” hence the wordplay in the title], a visitor from the US who rented my apartment in 2001/2: one of HOT’s many mini-brained customer service representatives must have added it to Mr. Lee’s account when I left it as a contact number after informing HOT that he no longer lived here.

I live at (and own) apartment 3 at (building number) ** Melchett, Tel Aviv. I don’t live (nor have I ever) at 3 Melchett. Even if I succeed in persuading a customer service representative that I am not Robert Lee, I then have to spend a further 10-15 minutes getting them to believe that I live at ** (and not 3) Melchett. This whole process, as you can perhaps understand, can be extremely tedious and irksome.

Following numerous calls to HOT last year in an attempt to resolve this situation, I was asked – in order to prove that I live at ** (and not 3) Melchett – to fax my ID card, together with its address supplement, to HOT’s Finance Department. This I did, even confirming receipt over the phone. And, yet, still to this day showing as my address in HOT’s customer service records is . . . yes, you guessed it . . . 3 Melchett.

For some insane reason – essentially, because 012 Smile’s telephone service does not work very well (in fact, it is shit) – I called HOT last week to order its telephone line (without time commitment) instead. Once again, your customer service representative, Simona, was unable to locate my details. Moreover, she went on to insist that I must be Robert Lee, because . . . wait for it . . . I have the same telephone number as him and live in his apartment! On the verge of tearing my hair out, I attempted to reason with Simona that it was highly unlikely that two individuals would have the same telephone number and that the problem, therefore, must be with HOT’s customer service database. But to no avail.

Neither did the facts that I have had HOT Internet and TV services in my name for one and two years, respectively, satisfy Simona: I provided her with both my ID number and the last four digits of the credit card with which I have been paying HOT, but . . . nada. Most infuriating of all – listen to the call (HOT claims it records them) – Simona seemed to expect me to resolve the problem. She eventually agreed to call back when she had located my details . . . but, surprise, surprise, zilcherino! Further telephone conversations – with Mor and Talia, from the “Chanit” and “Maya” teams, respectively – failed to yield results, or even the return courtesy calls promised.

HOT’s customer service – a misnomer if ever there was one – is, even by the abysmal standards of Israeli customer service, an absolute shambles and disgrace. Indeed, never have I come across such incompetence and ineptitude in an organisation (not to mention a commercial one). Even former clients from my days in criminal defence law were more reliable than anything I have encountered at HOT.

You will be unsurprised to learn that I did not renew my contract for HOT’s TV service when it expired a fortnight ago. And neither will I for its Internet service when it runs out in June 2011. In fact, as I slowly disentangle myself from all things HOT, I am starting to feel a remarkable weight lifting from my stressed, tired shoulders.

Happy Chanukah.

Yours respectfully,

Mike Isaacson

PS I have also posted this letter to my blog, melchett mike, at

[See also HOT . . . in the bedroom and under the collar]


11 responses to “Nimas Lee: An open letter to HOT

  1. i have a solution…move house and change your telephone number…and then reorder!!!!

  2. Shuli, you have no idea what we are dealing with here: The morons at HOT would then link the new house and telephone number with my old ones . . . and, thus, Robert Lee and 3 Melchett!

    Anyway, my advice to you: Stay in Bridge Lane . . . your Austrian yekke missus would have a nervous breakdown here!

  3. LOL … quite droll (as long as one doesn’t have to deal w/ it) & all too familiar. But if misery loves company, you can take a modicum of solace in knowing that oxymoronic cust svc exists & thrives the world over. At least these individuals aren’t on the public dole, stealing our tax dollars/shekels/krugerrands … no … they get their stipends from the extortion we’re forced to pay on a monthly basis. But a bit of advice — save the hair pulling for a HOT night w/ a HOT date. 😉

  4. Daniel Greenspan

    But Mike, you are the Neanderthal here.

    After years of conclusive proof that HOT are a bunch of f*ckwits, you believe your life will be better if you use their phone service – rather than forking out a few tens of shekels more to Bezek for a proper line…

    …and there’s a good chance your 012 line was lousy due to HOT Internet problems!

    By the way, I had a delicious time a few years back when HOT informed me I owed them hundreds of Shekels due to unpaid bills. Ribit. Hatzmada. Lawyers fees. Not only was I able to point out that they had my phone number in their system but had never even tried to call me – but I has the carbon copy of the original contract where I gave them credit card details they’d never bothered to enter into their system. I enjoyed torturing them into removing the charges, one by one, even down to the 2 Shekels of Hatzmada (I was on miluim at the time, so had more time on my hands than they could cope with).

    Currently, I give my worst customer service awards to Orange (screw the customer any and every way they can) and Netvision (insist I honour my commitment to them despite sticking me for weeks without working email due to botched changes in their system)..

  5. Please, please – – – – do not tear your hear out!!! It would be such a pity.

  6. Bloody hell mate, do you go round looking for trouble so you can blog about it?!

    In your previous posting about HOT I wrote I had had a good experience with them, and this last Sunday had to call them again (and whilst I generally HATE Israeli customer service), the technician was dispatched and arrived on time and sorted out the problem quickly.

    I find in Israel, if you don’t get good service from someone, put the phone down on them, have a coffee, calm down and call again later.

    Chill out Mike, it’s only Hot.

  7. So set up, Steve, to rival this . . . and see if you can get a minyan!

    Daniel, I will put in a Bezeq line and Internet when I am completely out of contract with HOT . . . though “a few tens of shekels more” is rather disingenuous, wouldn’t you say?! I also have an 013 Netvision horror story: twats registered wrong telephone numbers for my international calls, and then tried to worm out of refunding the more than 1,300 shmekels overcharged.

    And thank you, Laura, for alerting me re the typo (I know you loved that!) . . . proving that even the greats can err! 😉

  8. Mike you can add Bezeq to this list.

    Having spent a similar amount of time in trying to locate a human being at Bezeq in order to seek advice on how to trace anonymous phone calls going to my father-in-law’s phone at all hours of the day & night – even as many as 30 in an hour, their advice was ‘report it to the police’ who in turn said that Bezeq had to deal with it. More time spent, frustration with the answering machine, finally a human being by which time I had given up on tracing the calls and just asked for a new number to be Ex-directory to which they said that I could only request the change from the ACTUAL phone at the address with that number, which is also registered in my name. I told them that that is ridiculous in this modern age where communication and actions can be made and taken from anywhere, so they replied that I can also request the change from my OWN fax! This has to be Chelm.

    AS the last straw, having sent the fax we could not get through to my FIL on the phone so we went to his house and found the line to be working. We then realised that Bezeq had changed the number but hadn’t advised anyone as to what it had been changed to. We called a friend and asked if the number had come up on the display, which it had, so we had the number but clearly it wasn’t Ex-directory!

    Another fax was sent which also was totally ignored. I had also suggested that there should be English on their answer service, as there is Russian and Arabic and there are actually quite a number of English speakers in the country let alone the thousands of tourists. This suggestion, too, was ignored.

    The Bezeq motto is “Bezeq Hachi Tov Babayit” . . . well it’s not!!

  9. Woudnt life be absolutely perfect if one could somehow position ones self on the other end of the line when these customer service jam-for-brains need to call customer service themselves for something – and then just absolutely play with them. I’m sorry, according to our records you died two years ago. You will need to send us proof that you are still alive before we can resolve your issue. etc etc.

  10. I read this latest blog with total amazement: I had no idea you had any hair to pull!

  11. Mike,

    I was sent the following – a real-life customer complaint letter sent to NTL (a UK phone company) a few years ago – and it seems that your issues may be universal. Just so that you know that misery loves company . . .

    Happy channukah.


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