26 November 2014

Returning goods, cancelling services for cash

Consumers may return purchases or cancel services for a refund.  However, one must take into account lots of details and exceptions.

As of 14 December 2010, consumers have the ability to return goods and cancel services according to the law.  The regulation creates a variety of categories of purchases with varying criteria for return, so you must be careful to understand what you can return and under what conditions.

Basic criteria for return
To return an item, the following basic criteria must be met.
  • Value of the item: 50 NIS or more
  • Method of payment: Payment cannot have been made with gift certificates (תווי קניה or שובר מתנה) or cash value cards (כרטיס מגנטי נטען).
  • Proof of purchase: You must be able to present a receipt or exchange slip that lists the item, the date of purchase, the amount paid, and the method of purchase.
  • Condition of the item: Undamaged and unused.  Being in the original packaging is considered proof of it being unused.  If the consumer had to purchase a good to use the service, the consumer is allowed to return the item even if used as long as the item is undamaged (e.g., mobile phone purchased with mobile phone service).
  • Ongoing transactions: In the case of an ongoing service, the consumer can cancel the transaction and only pay for the service used.
  • Where you can return: Returns can be made at any of the branches of the company, unless the purchase was made at a franchisee (which is clearly marked as a franchisee).
  • Item delivered 6 months or longer after purchase: This transaction can only be cancelled before delivery of the goods.

Specific conditions for each category of goods
To keep you on your toes, there are seven categories of goods each with its own additional conditions and restrictions.

Category 1
  • Items included
    ● Furniture (except for furniture assembled at the customer’s home, see Items that cannot be returned)
    ● Home and garden equipment (except for unwrapped kitchenware)
    ● Electrical appliances and electronic devices
    ● Items in original, unopened packaging (this is the catchall if your item doesn’t appear elsewhere)
    ● Items ordered but not yet delivered which were standard and not customized
    ● Water purification system
    ● Watches / clocks
  • Time period: Within 14 days from the day the item was received
  • Condition of the item: Opening of the original packaging is not necessarily considered evidence of use or damage.  However, connecting the item to electricity, gas, or water is considered use.
Category 2
  • Items included: Clothing and footwear
  • Time period: By the end of the second non-rest day after purchase
  • Condition of the item: Price tag must not have been removed
Category 3
  • Items included:
    ● Hospitality, travel, vacation, and entertainment packages (domestic, not international)
    ● Chugim (חוגים) and courses (except for psychometric courses)
  • Time period: Within 14 days from the time of sign up and at least 7 non-rest days prior to the beginning of the service
Category 4
  • Items included:
    ● Cosmetic and aesthetic services including hair removal
    ● Long-term vacation transaction (longer than a year where the consumer receives discounts and benefits on accommodations, travel, etc.)
    ● Membership in a discount club
    ● Landline phone service
    ● Mobile phone service
    ● Internet service
    ● Cable and satellite service
    ● Gym or spa membership
    ● Matchmaking services
    ● Lottery and gambling subscriptions
  • Time period: Within 14 days of the transaction or delivery of the written terms, whichever is later
  • Condition of the item: Cancelling of the service is possible even if the service has started
Category 5
  • Items included: Goods and services sold at a show (אירוע הצגה)
  • Time period:
    ● Product or on-going service – Within 14 days of receipt of the good or purchase of the service or within 14 days of delivery of the written terms, whichever is later
    ● Non-ongoing service – Within 14 days of the transaction and at least 2 non-rest days before the beginning of the service
Category 6
  • Items included: New vehicle purchased from the importer
  • Time period: Within 14 days of the transaction and before the vehicle has been registered in the consumer’s name
Category 7
  • Items included: Jewelry purchased for less than 3,000 NIS
  • Time period: By the end of the second non-rest day after purchase
Items that cannot be returned
  • Custom-made items
  • Goods which cannot be returned according to the law
  • Food products
  • Medications and nutritional supplements
  • Perishable goods
  • Information as listed in the Computer Law (such as software)
  • Goods that are possible to record, reproduce, or duplicate and the original packaging has been opened
  • Undergarments including bathing suits
  • Gas
  • Furniture assembled at the customer’s home
  • Jewelry purchased for more than 3,000 NIS (except for watches)
  • International hospitality, travel, vacation, and entertainment packages (does not include domestic)
Cancellation fees
  • Cancellation fee: 5% of the purchase price or 100 NIS, whichever is less
  • Installation charge: If a house call was made to install something for a service, a fee of up to 100 NIS may be charged.
  • Credit card fee: If the business can prove that it was charged a fee by the credit card company for cancelling the transaction, the consumer can be required to pay it.
Refund
  • Method of refund: Money will be returned in the same method it was given.  (If paid by cash, check, or credit card, refund may be made in cash or check.)
  • Time period: Money must be returned within 7 business days from the date of return.  (If paid by check, refund must be made within 5 business days.)
If you are refused a refund…
Most merchants will likely honor their legal obligations.  However, if a merchant denies you the ability to return an item or cancel a service, your alternative is to sue them in small claim’s court.  The Israel Consumer Council has put together a guide on how to handle this situation including fill-in-the blank letters to send to merchants and suits to file with small claim’s court.

 

Of course, merchants can always offer more generous terms, but this is the baseline that all merchants must provide.  Happy shopping!

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Comments

  1. karen romm says:

    great article, very informative, thanks for all the info
    happy shopping to all!

  2. AngloIsraelit says:

    Someone needs to open a Better Business Bureau for Israel, or at least a BBB website where people can lodge such complaints regarding specific businesses. Then there would be far fewer fryers…

    • AngloIsraelit, there is an organization which is based on an idea similar to the BBB in the US. Emun HaTzibur (אמון הציבור) or Public Trust does enable consumers to submit complaints about businesses. It’s worth a try if you’re having a dispute with a business, but I have heard pretty mixed reviews about it.

  3. I won’t be a fryer no more! :-) Thanks, this is really useful information!

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