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The last week or so, Ben and I have been spending a lot of time on the phone. Generally speaking, we talk for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour every evening. We hear all about each others’ days and get a chance to catch up before he goes to bed and before I go out for the night. It’s been very nice.

All of this has been thanks to Cellcom’s free and unlimited international calling plan “to anywhere in the world.” Or so I thought.phone

This morning, I received a strange text message from Cellcom asking me to call their financial department. Because I am such a conscientious citizen, I did as I was asked. The results of the hour I was on the phone, are upsetting and not for the faint of heart.

First, I was put through to a service representative who barely spoke English. This is not unusual and also no big deal. I told him that I received an SMS and just wanted to know what the problem is. He said that everything was fine. After I insisted that he look again, because why would I get an SMS if everything was fine, he transferred me.

The second guy I spoke to spoke even less English than the first. I explained the situation again and he also told me that everything was fine. So, almost believing him, but having a sneaking suspicion that everything was not fine, I asked him to check my bill and tell me if it’s different from last month. He told me that right now it’s at 1243.67NIS. What?!?!!? I knew immediately it was from all the hours spent on the phone with India, but I played dumb.

How is that possible????” I asked in a completely repulsed tone of voice. “Where you call?” Mr. Cellcom asked me in response. “The US, Hungary, India, Canada...” I said. “Oh. You can’t call India. It’s not on the list of 55 approved countries,” Mr. Cellcom sounded so pleased with himself for figuring out the puzzle.

That’s when I let him have it. “No one ever told me that there was a list of countries. When I signed up, I was told that it was unlimited everything to anywhere. Why am I being screwed because your sales guy in the Ramat Aviv Mall lied to me? What are you going to do to take care of this? I am not paying this bill. If I knew that India wasn’t on the list, I would have never spent so much time on the phone…

So, he transferred me to manager. The manager answered and also barely spoke English. She asked if someone could call me back and, very calmly, I agreed. a few moments later, I was on the phone with a nice woman who kindly dropped the charges from this month.

What am I the most upset about? The money? Being taken advantage of because I don’t speak Hebrew that well? No. I’m the most upset that my ability to call Ben and talk to him about nothing was taken away. The fact is that I really enjoy talking to him and I look forward to our conversations where we can just talk about nothing except what’s on our minds. I feel as though I just had my wings clipped.

I’m not so willing to give up on the communication channel so easily. I will find a phone card, and we have facetime, etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.