HOT as Hell

A few months ago, I upgraded my TV and Internet package with HOT, formerly a cable TV company, whose client I have been since cable TV arrived in Jerusalem, but now, a communications giant whose tentacles encompass not just TV, but also the internet, mobile phones and heaven knows what else.

Their customer service is a byword for incompetence and has been the subject of more than one court case (which they have lost).

Lured by the promise of a much faster internet connection, access to all their TV channels except for the “adult” channels and their Premium sports channels (whatever that means, since, even with only “regular” sports channels, I have more than enough – at least half a dozen), a new Wi-Fi modem (I hadn’t had Wi-Fi before, and hadn’t really needed it, since I have only one computer, but it has proved useful, since I can now surf with my smartphone, without cutting into the limited internet package I have with the mobile phone company) and a free telephone attached to the modem, all for a monthly fee of 315 NIS (only 30 NIS more than I was paying already), I decided to take up their offer for “the Triple”.

Frankly, I haven’t felt any difference in the speed of the connection. Moreover, the Wi-Fi is very unstable. Most worrying of all, I felt the modem was getting very overheated. At least, it felt very hot (no pun intended) to me.

So I called HOT Customer Services.
They have one of those ghastly automatic call-routing services, which tell you your place in the queue and then suggest you leave your number (if it’s not the one from which you are calling) and they will call you back.

As my place in the queue was about seven or eight, I decided to let them call me back. Big mistake. I would have been able to speak to a Customer Service representative much faster if I had stayed on the line. It took about three hours before someone identifying himself as Abdullah called me back (HOT is, at least, an Equal Opportunity Employer, I will say that for them). Abdullah was from Customer Service and, after hearing what I had to say, put me through to someone called Adir, from Sales. Adir handed me over to David who claimed that he didn’t work for HOT, but for HOTNET, a subsidiary company and that I needed the Technical Service (I could have told him that!). I was then handed over to someone who identified himself as “Ronny from Hidra’s team”. Once again, I explained my problem(s) and he promised me that “someone from the Technical Department” would call me back.

I have to admit, he was as good as his word. Matan from the Technical Department did indeed call me back – at 6 pm the following day!
When I had explained my problems to Matan, he opined that the overheating of the modem was due to the fact that I turn it on and off too often. I switch it on first thing in the morning, and switch it off last thing at night and when I go out because (a) it is not needed at those times and (b) the Electricity Company advises switching off (and even unplugging) electrical devices which are not going to be used for a long time. Besides which, I have always been taught that leaving on electrical devices which are not in use increases the risk of fire.

Be that as it may, Matan promised to send a technician round the following week to install a new modem.  We settled on Monday, between 9 am and 12 noon.
Shortly after that, I received an email from HOT which I was unable to read, because the letters appeared as gibberish, as well as an SMS to my mobile phone, informing me that I would be visited the following Tuesday by a FedEx courier, who would bring me a new modem, which I was required to install myself!
Furious, I tried to message them back, but this proved to be impossible, so I dashed off an email pointing out that they had made a mistake – well, a number of mistakes, in fact. To my annoyance, I received a return email, thanking me for my email and informing me that someone would get back to me within 3 working days!

That would have been too late, so I phoned them again, and once again, went through seven gates of hell before getting hold of someone who could help me. This was Chaim (from Ghanim’s team). Chaim,  although he brought forward the visit of the technician, who would indeed bring and install a new HOTBOX modem, could not fit me in in the morning, so I was forced to settle for the early afternoon slot, between 1 – 3 pm.

Naturally, a confirmation email arrived shortly afterwards, at which point I discovered that my address was wrongly registered with HOT!

Once again, I dashed off an email and once again, I received a standard reply telling me that someone would contact me within three working days.

I decided not to rise to the bait and phone them, especially as the confirmation email had stressed that the technician would contact me by phone shortly before arriving, in order to make sure that someone was actually at home and I would then be able to explain that I actually lived next door to the address he had been given. In any case, the following day, I received yet another email from them, thanking me for my mail and informing me that the correct address had now been noted in the instructions to the technician.

At about 8.45 on Monday morning, just as I was sitting down to breakfast, the phone rang. It was the technician – the one who was supposed to be coming between 1-3 pm. He happened to be in the neighbourhood, he said, so would it be okay if he came round sometime within the next 10 minutes?!

Despite the fact that I now had to bolt down my breakfast, I said yes. And he came – with the new modem. And he installed it. And he, too, explained that I should leave the modem on all the time, even though, in his opinion, the modem was not overheating. The heat, he said, was quite normal. And he showed me how to properly check my internet connection speed. And he explained that the fluctuations in the Wi-Fi (which, as I said,  I use mostly for surfing with my smartphone) depend on where I am in the apartment and on how many walls and what kind, lie between my mobile device and the modem. And he also helped to set up my smart TV to receive Wi-Fi (I had already figured it out, but it went much faster with his help).

A few days later, I received an SMS from HOT, asking for customer feedback. There were only about four questions. Three of these related to the service provided by the HOT technician.
Let me re-phrase that 😉
Three questions related to the service provided by the technician from HOT – had he been punctual, etc.
One question alone called for me to give a general rating to the service I had received. Since, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would have awarded something like minus 7, and since there was no place for a detailed description of what exactly had been unsatisfactory – and I did not want them to think I had any complaints about the technician, who had been professional, friendly and courteous – I ignored the request for feedback.

I should just mention that, the evening before the technician’s visit, there had been a problem with the HOT television service. There was no signal whatsoever. When I phoned them, I got a recorded message to the effect that they had detected a general problem in my street, and that their technicians were working to fix it. If I wished, they would send an SMS as soon as the problem was solved. I did wish. A few hours later, and long after the programme I had wanted to watch had ended, I switched on the TV again – just in case. My instinct proved sound. Services had been restored. It was not until the following morning, however, that I received the promised SMS informing me of the fact!

And, just in case you were wondering – the modem is still overheating, the Wi-Fi connection is still unstable and the Internet download speed is still lower than promised.


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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18 Responses to HOT as Hell

  1. David says:

    Ben Gurion was right when he promised “a country like any other”!!!!!!!

  2. And why does this surprise you? A couple of years back for a slight increase we were able to upgrade to a faster internet speed. Neither of us could detect a difference. If it was faster, it was nanoseconds. We eventually dropped it when they came up with an even better deal (that also wasn’t so great). We never turn our modem off unless we are gone for a few days. That’s what we were instructed to do.

    • Well, for the first day or two, it did actually seem faster, but then it dropped back. It was probably a case of wishful thinking.
      As for switching off the modem, I googled that and opinions appear to be divided, although there seems to be general agreement that switching it off at night doesn’t actually do it any harm.

  3. pilch92 says:

    I am frustrated just reading of all your frustrations. That stinks that after all this aggravation, you still have troubles.

  4. mariodacat says:

    A year ago or so a salesman with a cable company knocked on our door and talked us into taking their service at a much higher internet speed and competitive price to what we had been paying. We signed up. Little did we know that this company is famous for slowing down your internet speed after they have had you as a customer for a couple of months. Their phone service was lousy too. We went back to our old company, and they were happy to get us back again at the same rate we had been paying, which is very competitive.

    • Well, they haven’t done that. It’s possible to check the speed of one’s connection. But it’s possible that when the speeds reach a certain – well, speed – one doesn’t really notice the difference. It’s like the weather. Once it reaches about 30 Celsius, I can’t really feel the difference between 30, 31 or 32 😉

  5. David Allon says:

    The saga of the hot technician…

    צרת רבים חצי נחמה

    In Sweden the situation is not much better. Exchange Hot with Comhem and it’s what we have here with our TV service provider.

  6. David says:

    The faster speed usually means a faster maximum speed – in other words “up to x bps”. BTW there are various online utilities for checking your internet speed at different times. Try this one:

  7. David says:

    Another problem is the lack of net neutrality. That is they prioritise some services over others. So when you’re trying to watch an online video or use Skype, they effectively throttle your speed – at precisely the time when you need it most.

  8. CATachresis says:

    Goodness! You could be talking about BT! Trouble is we would have to talk to India in Hindi if we wanted help! Which is why I changed providers. The broadband speed they give is maximum only. Very rarely in my experience does it reach that AND it depends on time of day and how many others are accessing the internet. We have also been told that it is better to leave wifi on all the time, especially for the first month or so while they find optimum speed. We do now turn it off at night. The modem does get warm. Do you have filters for you phone? Also we were told the wifi works best if it is plugged in to the main phone point and not into any (if you have them) subsidiary ones.

    As you say at least you got an amusing blog post out of it 🙂

    • I don’t even know what filters for my phone are or what they are for, so I’m assuming I don’t have them. The phone is plugged directly into the modem as the study/workroom was the only one with no phone point. It is separate from my regular landline.

  9. anneinpt says:

    Oh Shimona! You have described our own woes with HOT exactly! My parents have the HOT Magic box, which allows you to digitally record programs. Theirs wasn’t working, and in fact the whole memir (what is that in English?) wasn’t working. So we called HOT. And they (eventually) sent round a DELIVERY BOY with a new box, leaving my parents to install it! My parents are in their 80’s! And while they are pretty up with all the new technology their fingers aren’t dextrous enough to fiddle with the wires at the back of the TV. Not to mention which cable goes where. It was impossible to get through to HOT to ask for a technician.

    So… I posted on their Facebook wall how disgusted I was with their service, how you can’t get through, how they leave old people with no technical help, I just laid into them.

    And they called back IN 5 MINUTES!! And we got a technician to come AND install the box within a day or 2 (this was a couple of years ago).

    The solution it seems is simply to embarrass them into action. This post is a great help in that respect. But post it on Facebook and Twitter too.

    I’m so glad you got it fixed eventually. We thought about the Triple but decided to keep only the TV on HOT. We have Bezeq for the phone and Zahav for our ISP. This way we’re not totally dependent on one company.

    • Yes, I, too, refused to let them “take over” the Bezeq phone, and use the existing phone line, so I’m still paying Bezeq, but at least that way, I’m not dependent on HOT for my landline services. And I absolutely refuse to use their mobile phone service, so I have two telephone options which aren’t dependent on HOT and (when I get round to buying a new printer which is also a Fax machine), I shall keep the HOT line (no pun intended) as a Fax line.
      The truth of the matter is, my original intention was merely to get the faster speed and the Wi-fi, but when I enquired how much it would cost just to boost the speed, it was almost as much as taking the Triple. I forgot to mention that they also threw in “for free” a new ממיר (digital converter?) that also records (HOT Magic).
      I think EVERYONE has their own tale to tell about their woes with HOT 😦

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