shopping new york 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Consumers will be able to receive money back when they return many of their
purchases, when a law passed by the Knesset six years ago finally goes into
effect on Tuesday.
Until now, very few stores would give shoppers back
their money, with consumers often having to fight just to receive store
Ramat Aviv ranked 35th-most expensive mall in the
Shopping: Big & small
The cash-back law has some catches. The item purchased must be
valued at over NIS 50, and the return will be granted in the same way the
purchase was made (cash, check or credit card). Consumers who opt to exercise
their right of return will have to pay a 5-percent cancellation fee (up to a
maximum of NIS 100) and must return the item within 14 days of
The regulations on returning apparel and footwear are more
stringent, allowing money-back returns only within two business days, and only
if the items bear the original tags and were not worn. The law does not apply to
underwear or bathing suits.
The return of electronic devices will carry a
10% or NIS 100 cancellation fee (whichever is lower) if the packaging was
The new law does not require refunds for food, medicine or
foreign-vacation package cancellations. The law will apply to hotel
reservations, mobile phone plans and gym memberships, with the retailer required
to return the value of the unused portion of the service plan, minus a
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) originally sponsored the bill,
which passed its third and final reading in 2004. In the ensuing six years, the
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor was tasked with drafting the guidelines to
In February, Cabel petitioned the High Court of Justice against
the ministry, complaining that it was dragging its feet in determining the
criteria for which cash refunds would be permitted under the law.
some chains such as Fox and Super-Pharm have already allowed cash returns on
products, for other chains the new law will require training and
Upscale department store chain Factory 54, which operates
six stores in Israel, released a statement on Monday describing the preparations
its 360 employees were undergoing for the new policy.
Because much of the
stores’ merchandise “includes luxury items costing thousands of shekels, we are
acting with caution. For now we have issued guidelines for the new policy and
over the course of the week we will hold briefings and simulations of situations
that our stores could face,” the statement reads.
On the eve of the
regulation’s rollout, the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee held a hearing to
plan for the new rules.
“This is a consumer revolution,” committee
chairman Ophir Akunis (Likud) said, adding that the regulation ushered Israel in
to the front line of Western countries in terms of consumers’ rights. “The 14th
of December is a holiday,” he said.
Deputy Finance Minister Orit Noked
(Labor) joined in Akunis’s celebration, but warned that there may be changes
made to the law’s guidelines in response to questions and problems that arise
once it is put into effect.
Cabel said he planned to establish a website
to gather buyers’ complaints against businesses that fail to uphold the new
“We can enlist the Internet and Facebook to the struggle
against those business owners who don’t want to work according to the new rules.
I intend to make sure that business owners know that those who fail to operate
under the new standards will enter a black list,” he said.
participants, including attorney Ronit Perl of the Israel Manufacturers
Association, warned that the blacklist could easily become a tool for sullying
the reputations of law-abiding businesses as well as those who ignore the new
rules. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has already set up a hotline at
1-800-800-132 for consumers and business owners who feel that their rights have
The new regulation comes as music to the ears of many
Israelis from Anglo countries, where money-back refunds have long
“For me [the new law] is brilliant,” said Tanya Ford, a
28-year-old Sydney native living in Tel Aviv. “Having grown up in Australia, I’m
used to buying things knowing that I can get a cash refund. Here I’m often
hesitant to buy things knowing I can’t return them. With this I’ll probably be
more likely to buy now and think later, and I probably won’t return most
Sabra Efrat Levin, shopping in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Mall on
Monday, agreed that the new law would probably increase earnings for
“It would give me more interest in making purchases because I
know I’ll be able to return it afterwards and not be stuck with it or some other
product from the same store,” she said.