Eretz Yisrael Time

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Once again my disappointment with Cellcom shines through.

Less than a year ago I upgraded my phones and signed on to a new payment plan. It wasn’t a great plan, and my wife’s plan was even better (my original plan was better, too good in fact, so they canceled it), but the new plan was good enough.

But go know.

Meanwhile my phone bill has been creeping up and up and my wife and I couldn’t figure it out – well we could have if we had bothered to do the math, but we were lazy and assumed I was talking too much.

The other day my wife gets a call from Cellcom to join a fixed monthly price plan (up to a certain amount of minutes). She could do that because her monthly talk time was pretty fixed, whereas mine jumped up and down by hundreds of minutes depending on the month – so they couldn’t make me that offer.

It was during this discussion that we discovered that Cellcom has been incrementing our per-minute fees and that is why my bills were rising so high (and my wife’s too, but not as high as mine).

What was NIS 0.36 per minute just 10 months ago on my plan (and even less for my wife) was now at NIS 0.43 per minute – a 20% increase over what I signed on with less than a year ago.

We complained to Cellcom. One person said the contract allows them to increase the per minute fees by 7% annually. Another said those are the new rates and that’s that.

Huh?! How do you even answer bold-faced statements like that?

Anyway, my wife took the fixed plan (which wasn’t as cheap as her old plan, but cheaper than what we are paying now) and I went into the Cellcom office to have a chat with them.

Obviously arguing with them was pointless.

Unlike what their phone rep said, it turns out they could offer me the fixed plan, but doing the math, it didn’t make sense for me.

Instead they offered me a new plan that lowered my per minute fees to NIS 0.39 and knocked off the NIS 50 monthly fee for insurance (the equivalent of around 120 minutes/month).

I had to agree to stay on the plan for 6 months and add on 10 months to my 3 year commitment to Cellcom (basically where I was 10 months ago).

But I don’t see them guaranteeing to keep me at those prices for the next 3 years.

This is a scam, plain and simple.

They bump you up as soon as your plan ends (or even before) and then you sign up for a new more expensive plan, and extend your commitment.

This has got to be illegal – but I doubt it is.

At a minimum, this country needs legislation that will require the cellphone companies to inform you every time they change your rates or change your plan.


Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, this is Cellcom Israel. There is a U.S. based Cellcom that is not affiliated with Cellcom Israel.

JoeSettler said...


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