August is the cruelest month in Israel, it is searingly hot (90-100 deg F/30-35 deg C) and humid (ca. 65%) in Netanya every day. In the middle of August our air conditioner, a large Elektra model, stopped cooling. I had someone come in June and fill it with freon, so I guessed it had run out again.
The guy came the same day I called and checked it and said he would fill it again (cost $100), but it would probably run out faster, and it’s not worth trying to repair it, particularly since its outside our balcony, and the pipes corrode because we are near the sea and it would cost about ca. $500 to repair and maybe it wouldn’t work, so the best thing is just to replace it, cost ca. $1,500. But, he asked me what are the details of the machine, so I looked in my file and found a paper (in Hebrew) that I assumed was a receipt for the a-c since it had the heading Elektra and I showed it to him. After he left I looked at the paper more carefully and found that it was in fact a service agreement for 5 years that I had completely forgotten about. I had paid about $750 in 2006 for an agreement for them to come and repair it or replace it until 3/11.
Sure enough the gas ran out after a few days, so I called Elecktra and they said they would send a technician to check it out, but it would take 5 days. So we waited in the heat and when he came he told us that it wasn’t working, well we knew that, and that it had a leak, we also knew that, and he couldn’t fix it, but he would report it to Elektra and they would be in touch with me. Eventually I found someone at Elektra who spoke English and I told him I wanted them to fix it, and he said they would send a “crew” with the new part and they would replace it.
After a few more days the “crew” came, and it consisted of two men, both very short, about 5 ft each. They proceeded to take apart the a-c, which is fixed outside our balcony and is 3 ft deep. But they couldn’t reach most of the base of it, so one held the other over the balcony by his feet, and it was terribly perilous and I asked them if they had insurance. But, they could not reach the bottom and so could not take it apart. They were trying to remove the heat exchanger which is the part that holds the freon but they did not have a replacement heat exchanger, they intended to take the old part to the factory to repair it and it would take about a week, but they couldn’t remove it anyway. So they told me I would have to pay about $200 for an “installer” to come and remove the part. Then they left and the a-c was literally in pieces. At this point I realized it was a scam.
So I called Elektra again, and told the English-speaking guy that I didn’t see why I should have to pay. He said that it was not covered by the agreement, and so I agreed if only to get it working and he said they would send someone. Then Rosh Hashanah came and went and I called again, but could not reach the English speaker. They told me they would call me back, but they never did. After another fruitless call, I decided that I had had enough. So I went to my friendly lawyer and took all the papers I could find, and luckily in my files for 2006 I found the actual agreement with Elektra that said they had to respond in 4 days (it had now been 3 weeks!) and also the receipt for the a-c dated 2004 (they are supposed to last for 7-10 years!).
My lawyer wrote a strong letter (in Hebrew of course) giving them 48 hrs to fix it, and if not I will buy a new one and they would have to refund me the cost and pay me $1,000 for discomfort. The same day I received a call from them saying a “special” team would come tomorrow and would fix it (stay tuned, watch this space).