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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In a big step towards increasing customer protection, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai proposed a bill to the Knesset Economics Committee on Monday that will greatly expand the country's consumer protection law by requiring businesses to offer customers their full money back when a sale is cancelled.
"The purpose of the bill is to expand the protection that is given to customers in Israel," ministry said. "The bill will provide customers with more of an option when they make purchases and will grant them more time and freedom before they must make up their minds when deciding to return an item."
According to the proposed bill, customers will be provided with a 14-day window in which they will be able to return an item and be refunded their money fully. The bill will not include food items, medicines, jewelry priced above NIS 500, recording equipment and any item that cannot be returned as stated by Israeli law. In order to be fully refunded, the item also must be unopened.
The bill wasn't welcome by some business leaders.
"It's hard to think of approving a bill that will be harmful to businesses and not in any way be helpful for them," Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, said at the Economics Committee meeting. "The bill is asking businesses to absorb a loss without getting anything in return and it will certainly cause overall sales of businesses to decrease."
On Wednesday, the committee will continue to discuss the bill, reviewing the window of time in which customers will be allowed to return an item. it has invited various government representatives, including those from the Industry, Trade and Labor, Justice, Communications and Finance Ministries, to attend the meeting. Additionally, officials from some of the country's largest companies, including Bezeq, HOT and Yes, are expected to attend.
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