New authority for consumer rights enforcement planned

Consumer rights in Israel have long been marginal on the agendas of generations of industry and trade ministers mainly due to ongoing discussions and disagreements between the trade ministry and Israel's commerce industry.

By SHARON WROBEL
March 15, 2006 06:55
1 minute read.
consumer brochure 88 298

consumer brochure 88 298. (photo credit: Courtesy)

In the run up to World Consumer Rights Day, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor, announced plans to set up a fair trade authority following approval of the 2006 budget 2006. Raanan Dinur, the Ministry's Director General, said establishment of the new authority would represent a big step towards improving public services and particularly towards improving the enforcement of criminal proceedings of the Consumer Protection Law. "We are in favor of any additional body which would enforce consumer protection rights. We have the legal framework, but enforcement has been the weak side of the government's policy - due to lack of human resources," said Attorney Yaron Levinson of the Consumer Protection Authority of the Histadrut. "Sufficient budget allocation would be key to improve enforcement." Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this week signed consumer protection regulations for warranties and services that would force manufacturers and suppliers of new electronics and electric and gas appliances and products to provide a one-year warranty certificate for each of their products priced at a minimum of NIS 150. Passed by the Knesset in December 2005, attorney Yitzhak Kimchi, who is in charge of consumer protection at the Ministry, said the regulations were just being published and were expected to be implemented in October. Consumer rights in Israel have long been marginal on the agendas of generations of industry and trade ministers mainly due to ongoing discussions and disagreements between the trade ministry and Israel's commerce industry. The two bodies in charge of consumer protection in the country are the Consumer Council, subordinate to the Trade Ministry, and the Consumer Protection Authority of the Histadrut. Other consumer protection regulations in the pipeline for 2006 is the "price per unit measurement" regulation, according to which prices would be fixed by the unit price of, for example, 1 kg of washing powder or 100 grams of coffee. "This is a crucial regulation for the consumer's ability for fair comparison of prices between different brands," Levinson said. To celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, today (Wednesday), the Consumer Protection Authority of the Histadrut is launching its new consumer protection guide brochure. In a special promotion for Wednesday only, the information brochure on consumer rights, can be obtained for free by visiting the Histadrut's website www.histadrut.org.il. The brochure, which gives practical advice, tips and guidance providing detailed information on day-to-day consumer rights, is made available in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.


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