Before telling of my own personal experience with Pisgot Investments, I think it is best to introduce the subject of: "relevance". About a year and halve ago there was a run on the banks in Cyprus and today people are standing in long lines at ATM machines in Greece. Whether or not you believe in the “Shmitah predictions” for a Wall Street crash in September or in just plain business cycles, the fact is that in 1921, 1928, 1936, as well as 1994, 2001, 2008 businesses took a turn for the worse. At the moment, Wall street is up, but every other major economic index for the USA is down, except unemployment, which is based on false data since it equates a part time job with a university professor (i.e. They are both working, aren’t they?). Also it stops counting people after they have been unemployed for about 3 years (that does not mean they have found work, it just means that are no longer counted).

Regardless, I am having real problems getting a mere 5,000 shekels out my account with Pisgot Investments and, at the moment, the economic conditions in Israel are good, one might even say “excellent”. My question is: What, in God’s name, is going to happen when people who have large accounts with Pisgot Investments try to retrieve their funds after the economy turns sour?

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Basically the source of the problem, as I see it, is that the employees of Pisgot Investments are either ashamed, embarrassed or simply afraid to identify themselves. The second problem is that every single time I had contact with a representative of Pisgot Investments it was with a different person. The third problem was the almost 80% of the time the person who I was speaking with had no idea what was going on with my account, they simply had received “a message” to call me. They took down the details of my case and promised “someone” would get back to me, but definitely not them.

In short, my entire case was held up, and is still being held up, because the fax I sent them of my Israeli identification number was not clear. What should be emphasized here is that I sent this fax 3 times, from three different machines. The last fax was sent from a brand new fax/scanner using my original I.D. Card, yet, according to Pisgot, this too was not clear. My picture was clear, my name was clear, just the number underneath my picture was not clear. Next to my identification card, however, was my identification details from the Ministry of the Interior which were perfectly clear. There was my name and I.D. number; my wife’s name and I.D. number; and the names and I.D. numbers of my 4 children. All this information was perfectly clear.

What is interesting here is that this paper with my I.D. details is an official government document from the Ministry of Interior. The Defense Ministry grants benefits to my wife, since I am: “a wounded soldier”, based on this piece of paper; the National Insurance company pays me benefits based on this piece of paper; the Health Clinic bases my status on this piece of paper; the Post Office will hand over to me register letters in my wife’s name based on this piece of paper. All these agencies and more accept this I.D. document from the Interior Ministry, but little Pisgot Investments does not.

Pisgot Investments insists that the number on the I.D. card with my picture MUST be clear before they authorize any out lay of capital. On the other hand, they are perfectly happy to accept deposits in my name without any identification what so ever. It is just the out lays of cash that are a problem. In addition, the fact that the source of the problem is the mal-functioning fax machine at Pisgot Investments is also irrelevant.

After sending 3 faxes and 4 emails (each email containing two scans of my I.D. card and I.D. details), Pisgot was still insisting they hadn’t received the information. So, I told the representative: “I am sitting at my computer NOW. Give me your name and I will send the document directly to you NOW”. The answer was: “No you cannot send it directly to me; you must send it to the Customer Service Department, not to an individual".

As requested, I sent it and the next day I received yet another e mail saying there were no attachments with my e mail. That was final straw ! ….I decided to go to Pisgot Investment myself and give them my I.D. card in person. Of course, having read Franz Kafka’s: “The Castle” I was a little hesitant to enter: "The House of Pisgot" as their building is called , yet I was determined to end this thing one way or another.

Arriving at the Customer Service Department on the 3rd floor at 7:45, I figured it would be a short wait, since the office is supposed to open at 8:00. At 8:00 I asked the cleaning woman what time the office opens and she said it was indeed supposed to open at 8:00. A few minutes later I asked someone who worked across the hall from Customer Service what time the office opens, but she said that they usually begin working at 8:30. Nevertheless the Lord was merciful and at 8:10 a woman opened the door, looked at me, and with no “hello”, no “good morning” turned around and started going into another door. So, I called out to her: "When does Customer Service begin working?" She, matter of factly, answered: “8:00” and then left immediately with me still standing in the hallway. For a few seconds I didn’t know what to do, so I then decided to meekly enter the waiting area and sit down on one of the chairs in front of 4 doors. Two of the offices were clearly empty, but I could not see into the other two. After 5 minutes I said to myself: “Maybe you are indeed the idiot. Maybe there is someone sitting in one of other two offices”. But no, they too were empty ...

After a full ten minute wait, the same woman returned with a hot cup of coffee and told me I may come with her into one of the offices. No apologies, no smiles, no explanations, no good morning…

Just to make a long story short: I had all the relevant documents with me in an envelope and I had my Pisgot Account number written in large letters on the outside of envelope. She opened up her computer and asked me: “What’s this?” I told her it was my account number with Pisgot and she said: “We don’t use that: What is your Israeli I.D. number?”

In other words: Pisgot Investments knew all along what my Israeli I.D. was. My file is classified by my Israeli I.D. number, yet, because THEIR fax machine had printed out my I.D. a little bit fuzzy, they had withheld my payment for almost 50 days. Furthermore, they still had absolutely no idea what had happened to the other 2 faxes and 4 e mails…Or, at least, they claimed they had no idea what happened …..

Finally, the woman accepted my papers, stamped that they had been received, and then informed me it might be an additional 30 days before I received the payment, but that would be the maximum length of time now that they “officially” had my I.D. number…..

The climax of the story was when I asked her for her name she replied: “L***” Yes, but what is your full name? What is your family name? For a few seconds there was a pause, finally she said: “A******”; “my name is: L*** A******”.

So, I explained to her that I had had a similar situation with Har el Insurance Company, but there the Customer Service representative immediately told me his name was: “Ron”. Every time I sent a document I wrote: “Attention: Ron” and everything went smoothly and I received my check within 30 days.

She replied: “Yes, I understand what you are saying, but we don’t like to give out our names; we prefer that documents are just sent to the Customer Service Department….”

Gee, I wonder why…..?
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