By SHARON WROBEL
Consumers may soon be able to cancel business contracts for services acquired from cable, Internet and satellite television companies within 14 days of purchase.
The Knesset Economics Committee on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Consumer Protection Law that would give consumers the right to cancel business transactions entered into through "distance selling" via mail, Internet or telephone. The amendment, which was proposed by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, must pass second and third readings in the Knesset.
"The amendment will provide clear and transparent guidelines and replace misunderstandings, embarrassment and time-consuming investments by many consumers who are dependent on the goodwill and policies of the different companies, which vary from business to business," Deputy Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Orit Noked said Tuesday. "A significant part of transactions entered into by consumers is for Internet and television services.
"It's about time that consumers get the right to cancel services and don't fall prey anymore to the benevolence of one company or another."
According to the amendment, consumers would be able to test services for 14 days, from the day of purchase or the day of receipt of written confirmation of the business contract.
At its next meeting, the committee intends to deliberate cancellation fees charged to consumers.
"This is another step to strengthen the position of consumers vis-a-vis companies," Noked said. "I intend to make sure that the cancellation fees charged to consumers will be realistic and reasonable."
In August, an amendment to the Consumer Protection Law came into effect that bars many companies from automatically renewing contracts without prior notification and from ending the business relationship without giving early notice of 30 or 60 days.
The new regulations do not include essential services such as basic landline and cellphone service (for voice calls only), cooking- and heating-gas suppliers and subscriptions for emergency medical services. It is permissible for suppliers of these services to renew service contracts automatically if they have informed customers one or two months before the contract ends.
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