One of the most intrusive forms of sale are purchases made from door to door sales, otherwise known as “peddling”.

The Israeli Consumer Protection Law, (CPL) provides for a “cooling off” period for these types of transactions.  In the case of a sale of a product, cancellation can take place from the date the contract was made up to 14 days after delivery of the sold product.

In the case of  such a cancellation, the peddler shall return to the consumer whatever s/he received under the contract and the consumer shall return the product to the peddler.  If, however,  the product has substantially  deteriorated , then the peddler may deduct from what s/he received the amount by which the value of the goods has declined.  If the product is  perishable then there can be no cancellation.

In the case of a contract for services, cancellation can be made up to 14 days after the date of the contract, provided the service has not yet begun to be provided.

Cancellations should always be done in writing, either by hand delivery with receipt of acknowledgment, or by registered mail or by fax keeping the fax transmission sheet.  Email cancellations should only be made with acknowledgment of receipt of the email.

The CPL also has provisions for purchases of goods or services made “at a distance” that is, where the approach to the consumer is by mail, telephone, radio, television, electronic communication of any kind whatsoever, facsimile, the publication of catalogs or advertisements or by similar means. When such an approach is made, the dealer must disclose to the consumer at least the following particulars:

(1)        the dealer’s name, ID number and address in Israel and abroad;

(2)        the main characteristics of the product  or of the service;

(3)        the price of the product , asset or service and the possible payment terms;

(4)        when and how the product  or service will be supplied;

(5)        the period during which the offer will be in effect;

(6)        particulars as to who is  responsibile for the product ; and

(7)        particulars of the consumer’s right to cancel the contract.

Upon a sale transaction at a distance, the dealer shall give the consumer – not later than on the date on which the asset or the service is supplied – a document written in Hebrew or in the language in which the marketing announcement was made, which includes the following particulars:

(1)        the dealer’s name, ID number and address in Israel and abroad;

(2)        the main characteristics of the product  or of the service;

(3)        the price of the asset or service and the payment terms that apply to the transaction;

(4)        the manner in which the consumer can realize his or her  right to cancel the transaction;

(5)        the producer’s name and the country in which the product  was produced;

(6)        information on responsibility for the product  or service;

(7)        additional conditions that apply to the transaction.

The CPL also contains detailed directions as to how a contract at a distance can be cancelled. The CPL or independent advice should be consulted for this, as there are many deviations depending on the type of product or service involved.

A Note of Caution:  Israeli consumers often buy goods or services “at a distance” from dealers who are carrying on business outside of Israel.  It may very well be that the applicable legislation in the dealer’s host country is significantly different than that of Israel and, indeed, whether it is Israeli law or the foreign law governs the contract of sale itself.  It is also not unusual for the contract of sale to state which is the governing legislation and containing an agreement that any dispute is to be adjudicated upon in the dealer’s host country, which might be anywhere in the globe.

This should be investigated by the consumer before the contract is made so as to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

The CPL contains other provisions with respect to credit card sales and how those are governed.

Everyone has had the experience of shopping in a store and wondering what is really going on in terms of pricing, sales, return policies and all the other aspects of shopping in a store.  This is especially so if there is some sort of sale going on.  The CPL has a term called a “special” sale.  These are the types of sales we all get excited about.  The CPL defines these as an end of season sale, total or partial clearance sale, a sale on the occasion of some event, a sale at which the consumer is offered a benefit in addition to the goods or service for which s/he paid, or any other sale at which all or some of the goods or services of the business are offered at reduced prices during a certain period, otherwise than by allowing discounts to specific customers.

If a dealer announces a “special” sale, whether in public or in the place of business then the dealer is required to make it clear which goods or services are, and which goods or services are not included in it, the price he charged for the goods and services before the sale and the amount of reduction or their price after the reduction, as well as the conditions of the special sale. If the dealer wants to change the terms of the “special” sale then the dealer is required to give notice in the same manner in which the first announcement was made.

If the  dealer makes a public announcement of the “special” sale of goods or services, then the shall contain  the minimum number of items offered in it and the maximum reduction, provided the provision does not apply if the retail price of the goods or service  does not exceed NIS 50.

Neither Jack Copelovici nor the Times of Israel is liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material, which is presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.  Please consult your own lawyer.