I’ll try to make this story short… This all happened in the month of April 2011, but I’m just getting around to posting it now in September 2011.
I’ve long since realized that Canadians aren’t the so called “nice” people all outsiders think they are. I’m not for one minute suggesting they are all nasty, but a lot of them are very cold, mean spirited & online they can be terrible bullies.
I’ve been the subject of their endless bullying on multiple forums I’ve been on that don’t even have anything to do with expats, but some do.
They think they know it all & while some are smart, the rest don’t know what they are talking about, they just think they do.
I think part of the problem is that Canadians never voice their opinion in real life. They generally let the government walk all over them (nothing ever changes for the better in Canada (or at least Ontario) & the only times they complain about companies, is when they are bitching to their friends or family. They rarely complain to the company, so again, nothing changes & the customer service in Canada is on the low end of the scale.
So this isn’t a post to bash Canadians, it’s just a precursor because the guy Joseph Ennis who owns www.spanishpanama.com is Canadian.
I was researching Spanish schools to go to when I arrived in Panama because I wanted to take a month & learn Spanish. I knew that if I didn’t study Spanish right away, the chances of me doing it later on were slim to none & I was right, I’ve been here 4 months & never got to go again.
I came across the Spanish Panama school – www.spanishpanama.com & was trying to figure out if I should go to that one, or the one in Boquete.
I do remember that when I was asking Joseph certain questions via e-mail, at one point he was snippy with me & I asked him point blank, “IS THERE A PROBLEM with me asking you questions?”
He responded back with, “NO NO, go right away, how can I help you?”
The one in Boquete was VERY nice & never had a problem with my questions, but my plan was to get to know Panama city a bit because I didn’t want to live there. I wanted to live in the Interior (country) since I knew Panama city was expensive, very polluted & dirty (plus there was no nature around there).
The school in Boquete was also more expensive & while it wasn’t by much, since I am not a wealthy person, I had to budget every last penny because the move wasn’t going to be cheap. My last reason for not going to the Spanish school in Boquete, was because it’s very very far from Panama city, & I was waiting for my boxes to arrive. They would come in through the airport which of course is near Panama city.
So I decided on Joseph’s school (I didn’t know he was the owner at the time), but I had to wait until I had more money to give him the deposit.
I was going to go with the homestay program where they put you up with a local family so you learn Spanish quicker, but when I stated I HAD to have access to the modem & wired internet for my business, that was the deal breaker. It seems all over Panama they ONLY offer wireless. I later on found out this isn’t true, it’s just that most people in Panama know very little about computers, the Internet, etc. (this includes expats).
I don’t use my laptop for anything but personal mail & if I need it when traveling, otherwise I use the tried & true method of a desktop. In fact I hate laptops for a myriad of reasons, but I won’t go into that here LOL.
So the end result was, I had to find a place to live for a month & take one of Joseph’s different programs. I naturally asked Joseph Ennis if he could recommend places & what he gave me SHOCKED ME. He gives me a link to a friend of his for apartments that run around $2,500 per month.
YES, you heard me, I didn’t make a mistake with the last “zero”.
I laughed at him & said I DON’T have that kind of money.
That should have been a clue that there was something wrong with this guy because who goes around assuming that everyone is made of money? Or at the very least, give me 2 different options, one that costs a ton, one that doesn’t. If I were running a Spanish school & had people flying in from all over the world to study Spanish, I’d have a myriad of sites to give to them to help them find a place to stay.
Anyway, I had to spend time trying to find a place to rent & I finally found a room to rent for $600/month from a guy named “Tom” (more on him later in another post).
I told Joseph I would get back to him closer to my arrival & after speaking to Tom on the phone, told him I’d take the room. (you have to be careful with whom you are dealing with in Panama, that includes expats who you “assume” are on your side but may not be).
Around 2-3 weeks pass & days before I’m about to fly out, Tom wants me to bring him the new iphone that just came out. I’m telling him I don’t know if I’ll make it into the mall to get it for him because I’m SWAMPED with prepping for the move.
I was doing this entire move all by myself including garage sales, dealing with packing, selling my items online, figuring out which airline to fly with & the list goes on & on & on.
About a week or so before I’m supposed to fly out, I contact Joseph Ennis & ask him for the link to pay the $100. This is where the problem starts…
Joseph never bothered to put a payment link on his site which any real business should do. Instead, he tells me that I can either pay by wire transfer, money gram or pay pal.
I told him that I’m NOT paying $25 to do a wire transfer (another sign he thinks everyone is made of money), I don’t have time to rush into a Canada Post Office to send out a money gram (I had tons of errands I had to do, there was no way I was adding another to my list. I just wanted an online option to pay via credit card) & I don’t keep money in my pay pal account, so I asked him simply to put a Pay Pal payment link on his site which he should have already done ages ago.
He starts to tell me how this will take several days, & tries to push the wire transfer option. I start getting irritated with him – doesn’t this guy understand English, I am NOT paying for a wire transfer. I should have asked him if he will pay the $25-30 fee associated with a wire transfer.
I said to him, “I don’t understand why you can’t just put the Pay Pal button on your site.” It’s very simple, you just copy the html code, find any spot on a page or even a blank page & whalla, it’s there. I’m sure even Pay Pal would help him do it if he just called them.
I then suggest or tell him that I will just pay him the entire amount when I get there. I mean we were talking 4 or 5 days hence.
That’s when Joseph decides to be an asshole & tells me that he will NOT process my application, I can just wait & sign up when I get to Panama & take the course starting the following week.
This was NOT okay with me, because that would mean I’d have to stay an extra week in Panama city paying more money than I intended.
While all this is happening, Tom is also still e-mailing me, so I tell him that this guy is nuts & I’m having problems with him. Tom then comes up with the idea that he’ll pay Joseph since he’s right across the street from his apartment, & I’ll pay him back when I get there. Before I had a chance to even think about this & the ramifications of giving someone like Joseph my money (it’s my policy never to do business with a company who treats their customers with disrespect), Tom had already rushed over there & gave him the $100.
So I then receive Joseph’s receipt & paperwork which then leads to him pressuring me to get the paperwork filled out by the next morning.
I laugh out loud saying ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I’m stressed to the gills with this move (I’m behind on my errands) & yet he’s demanding I get him the paperwork filled out.
Then another problem arises.
I had asked about the times of the classes & he had told me there’s a morning & afternoon class. Since I’m not a morning person, I was naturally going to take the afternoon class that starts at 12 if memory serves me.
The next thing I read, is that Joseph is telling me I have to be at class at 8 am & I’m like WHAT????? I never agreed to this. Where’s the afternoon class?
That’s when he tells me it’s not available & that “WE” (he likes to use that word to make himself seem bigger than he is) told you this.
Now I was REALLY pissed off. I thought maybe I was going insane & he did tell me, but with all the stress I had forgotten, so I started looking through all of the e-mails between him & I, & NOWHERE did it mention that he didn’t have the afternoon class available. This meant I’d have to be up at 6 am to make it to the class by 8.
While I was going through the e-mails between him & I, I brought up his site again & started reading it in more detail. This is a guy who claims he is spiritual in nature (there’s nothing spiritual about being an asshole). Also, when I went to look at the pricing of the programs on his site, I tried to find the program I was taking that didn’t include the homestay. I couldn’t find it although I really didn’t know the name of it. All I found was another program that seemed like the one I was taking for $100 less.
So I politely asked Joseph (even though I already knew the answer) to forward me the e-mail where it states the classes are only in the morning. I also asked him to provide me with the link to the program I’m talking.
Joseph Ennis from Spanish Panama Spanish school then decides to ignore me (I knew he would), so I waited 24 hours & then wrote him again stating that I hadn’t received a response from him, can he please address my e-mail.
I already knew what was going to happen because I know people like Joseph.
If you haven’t already guessed it, he writes me an e-mail & says that WE have decided to REJECT your application. You aren’t welcome in the school. He THEN calls up Tom, tells him to come over & pick up the $100 LOL
Can you believe that????
It’s 2-3 days before I’m supposed to be flying to Panama & this PRICK leaves me high & dry with no school to go to.
Now that I understand expats in Panama a lot more, I’m positive he was overcharging me $100 so in order to get out of me figuring out there was a problem, he had to exit out since he couldn’t provide me with a link to the program I was taking. And of course he never told me about the 8 am class so he couldn’t forward me that e-mail either, which is why his only choice was to toss me.
Because of Joseph Ennis’ actions, he ended up screwing up my entire month because I had everything planned out & once I was there, I was at a loss as to what to do next since finding a new school wasn’t going to be a 1-2-3 experience.
After I told my story a few times to a few different people, I heard that he’s nasty to a lot of people. I’ve also heard he abuses his staff, but I am NOT saying this is true because I don’t have any proof. This is just what I’ve heard.
He later on told someone he knows that I knew that he just couldn’t handle me because I was difficult.
I find that companies who don’t like to do work or don’t want to be asked the tough questions will always blame the customer. I had done absolutely nothing other than ask for him to put up a credit card payment link on his site which should have been there before, provide me with the e-mail where he told me I’d have to take the 8 am class, & show me the link to the program that I was going to take that was $100 more than what he posted on his site.
If that’s difficult, Joseph shouldn’t be running a business. Poor baby.