Shufersal sued after secret haredi discounts revealed, will halt service

A secret website for haredi shoppers owned by Shufersal is providing products for significantly cheaper than the chain's main site.

A WOMAN pushes children in a shopping cart in front of a Shufersal ‘Sheli’ in Ma’aleh Adumim (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
A WOMAN pushes children in a shopping cart in front of a Shufersal ‘Sheli’ in Ma’aleh Adumim
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

A lawsuit was filed against the Shufersal supermarket chain on Thursday after it was revealed by Channel 12 that the chain was providing discounted prices on a special site for haredi shoppers. The food giant will halt the service on November 15, Channel 12 later reported. 

Channel 12's "Tochnit Chisachon" (Saving Plan) program revealed that Yashir L'Mehadrin, a site run by the Shufersal chain, was providing products for cheaper than the chain's main website, with 2,000 identical products found to be cheaper on Yashir L'Mehadrin.

The website doesn't deliver to some major cities in Israel, including Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ramat Gan and Ashkelon.

Shufersal told Channel 12 in response to the report that Yashir L'Mehadrin is intended for populations that purchase products with a mehadrin kashrut, saying "There is no room for comparing this product or any other between these sites nor between the different formats."

After the Channel 12 report was published, the prices on the chain's main site were lowered on some products.

 Pizza on Shufersal site for NIS 21.9 and Yashir L'Mehadrin's site for NIS 15.90, a 31% difference (credit: screenshot) Pizza on Shufersal site for NIS 21.9 and Yashir L'Mehadrin's site for NIS 15.90, a 31% difference (credit: screenshot)

Many products on the Yashir L'Mehadrin site, ranging from pasta to meat, were still cheaper than on the regular Shufersal site as of Thursday, although some items were more expensive, such as fresh lamb and beef.

MK Michael Biton, chairman of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, has requested that the subject be checked to see if there is discrimination based on sector, according to Channel 12. Biton stated that there is no economic or business model that justifies such a difference in prices.

A number of consumers filed a class action lawsuit against the company for NIS 500,000,000 in response to the report, claiming discrimination based on sector and that the difference in prices was "due to greed." The lawsuit was filed by the Uri Keynan and Co. law firm.

An additional NIS 10 million class action lawsuit has been filed by attorney Hani Tannous, according to Channel 12.

Keynan and the other attorneys filing the lawsuit with him called the suit "one of the most important consumer lawsuits filed."

"This is severe and blatant discrimination against the background of sectoral affiliation. It is inconceivable that an entire sector that contributes to the state on a regular basis would be discriminated against in this way," said Keynan.

"The secular way of life of the plaintiff and the other members of the group does not teach anything about the connection between this figure and the decision to sell them products at higher prices than the ultra-Orthodox public," read the suit against Shufersal, according to Channel 12.