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Sophia Yan 嚴倩君 @sophia_yan
, 31 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Life in #China — a little tale of how this country deals with problems like squabbling children: I move into a new apt to discover upset neighbors who pay a visit to scream unintelligibly at me.
I finally figure out that they think the electric ac/heat in my unit is creating much noise in theirs. I learn this was a previous issue that the prop mgmt company I’m renting through failed to resolve.
Takes a week or so to get new unit; now it needs to be installed and I schedule this for two days later as I have a job that I can’t exactly drop everything last minute to supervise workers.
Meanwhile I turn on my electric heat unit a bit before going to sleep at night as it’s getting cold. But as my neighbors are increasingly jerkish and upset as this phantom sound problem hasn’t been resolved (that nobody else hears) - and not my fault as was longstanding problem
They complain to the building compound managers, who in turn decide to shut down electricity to an entire three floors, and then turn everyone else’s back on except mine — to prove a point.
Kids, not the way to resolve a situation - though perhaps this provides insight into how the Chinese deal w larger problems!
UPDATE: So the already new ac/heat unit in my flat gets swapped out for yet another new one by the property firm I’m renting thru, Ziroom (自如). That night I turn it on; my electricity still goes out, which I discover in the morning.
By now, as my power has been cut several times in the less than 2 weeks I’ve been in the flat, I’m pretty sure at least once it was done by the compound management (the time when 3 floors lost power) and very likely the many other times done by my neighbour.
The fuse boxes for all units are outside in the hallways, so anyone can pull the switch. This tells me my neighbour probably still thinks there is a noise - FYI the external bit of the unit is directly outside my bedroom window so if there was truly a noise, I’d hear it, too.
I go downstairs so I can tell my neighbour we’ve swapped the unit and that if there is still something bothering him, I would like to take a video to show the property agent, maintenance workers and compound management to see what else can be done.
I am polite but he again is aggressive and thuggish, getting in my face and yelling at me in the hall, hurling verbal insults and expletives. I get him to calm down and he agrees to let me in his flat to check out the noise he hears.
I go in and he tells me to stand in a specific spot and put my ear by the wall. By this point, it’s clear to me that the “noise disturbance” is really simply white noise so he’s either insane, crazy audio sensitive, or both.
I say it’s not so loud and proceed to try to record a video but then he gets extremely mad, grabs my upper arms from behind and forcefully drags me thru the entire flat and pushes me out the front door. I don’t fight back bc I’m a woman and am alone.
He slams door, then opens/slams it a few more times, screaming at me, as I put my shoes on. I head upstairs & jump in the shower; by now I’m late to work and I need to figure out next steps, bc this is untenable - harassed & assaulted by a neighbour (whose name I don’t even know)
I get out of shower, and my doorbell rings - three cops are at my door! Turns out my neighbour has called in a complaint about my ac/heat unit being a noise disturbance, so the cops ask me for ID and to turn on the unit so they can go down to check.
I do so, and they never come back up again, so I head to work. I spend the day ringing up compound management and Ziroom about this crazy situation. I also learn that police have found that there IS NO NOISE DISTURBANCE.
Still, I arrange for the compound management, maintenance workers and property agent to all be at my flat the following morning for a last ditch attempt to see if they can muffle this phantom white noise to the point where the neighbour is happy.
They arrive and try a couple of things, but it’s clear nothing else can be done - neighbour is simply too sensitive to noise. So now with an entourage of 6, we all go down again to check with him, and he gets super aggressive and in my face - slamming the door when he sees me.
He’s fine w everyone else, however. By now I’ve decided my situation could take a dangerous turn for the worse w this unstable male neighbour who is probably around my age and taller than me.
So I go to the police station to make a statement so that my side of this is clear, to express concern about my safety in case god forbid something does happen, and to confirm that they have a record that the noise disturbance complaint called in the previous day is not valid.
I learn: pushing/grabbing is not considered assault in China, and apparently restraining orders don’t really exist. But they do note there is no noise disturbance and agree to speak with compound security and management.
I now tell Ziroom I want to cut my lease after less than a month, move out, and have all my money - deposit, remaining unused rent, service fee - returned as they clearly did not do their job. This never should have gotten this serious.
Instead, the Ziroom agent actually kept calling and yelling at me to turn off the ac/heat unit, because the compound mgmt was calling them up to complain every time this neighbour called them w noise complaints...when in fact, there never was a problem in the first place.
By now, I’ve wasted most of the two weeks I’ve lived in the flat dealing w an issue that I was paying Ziroom to handle. They say they can find me another Ziroom flat, but heck no, I’m getting out as they have not been helpful thus far and I doubt they ever will!
I’ve found a new flat - but Ziroom, amazingly, has yet to give a firm answer on what they’ll refund. I knew they had loads of bad press in the past, but I’m all about trying new startup-y ideas... guess I chose wrong.
This is a glimpse into China’s service industry (and “rule of law” that doesn’t really seem to be able to protect the individual). A circle game of blame-a-thon, fueled by an interest to get your money.
Oh, also, the customer appears never to be right. Will update on my sitch in due course. But I’m fine and safe - just very annoyed I have wasted so much time! Facepalm.
All things I knew in theory about this place having lived here before, and covered it for years... but another to experience it to this degree. I hope y'all have better neighbours (and prop agents) than me! #China
Now: Ziroom says they’re gonna keep deposit AND one month’s rent. Sure not returning deposit makes sense in other break lease instances, but ambdoing so bc due to Ziroom failure to do their job from the start, I WAS ASSAULTED. Didn’t even show me new apts after I asked repeatedly
I shld hv known better given Ziroom track record - at least 1 died poss also because of Ziroom negligence… by @phoebezhang
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