This article was previously published but somehow, more and more New Immigrants “get in trouble” for not knowing few important facts they should know before enrolling in any type of purchase or payment Israel.
Here are a few simple suggestions to simplify your transactions and avoid any future complications as you purchase goods and services in Israel.
Paying in Cash: Paying for a purchase in cash is totally acceptable in Israel but not every transaction can be paid for in cash—especially large transactions (the law as changed in 2018 and many limitations were imposed regarding paying in cash).
If you pay in cash, always ask for a receipt.
Paying in Installments (though your credit card): Most large purchases in Israel (including food shopping) which are paid for with a credit card can be paid for in installments. Depending on the firm you are buying from, these purchases can be with or without interest. Please be careful as to which one you have agreed to. If you are getting an interest-free purchase, be assured that the credit card company will take its cut (or charge you a “symbolic sum”) for the delayed transactions. Many stores will give you a discount if you pay in one lump sum – it all depends on the annual ration of inflation in Israel. The higher the current inflation is, less payment they will allow you to pay. Ask for it any way.
Just be aware that it is very easy to sign the forms to begin installments, but you will find it extremely difficult to stop or cancel these payments if you later decide you need to.
If you give donations paying by credit card (in installments) you will find impossible to cancel the payment – Be aware and avoid at any cost.
Paying with Post-dated Checks: Post-dated checks are legal in Israel! Many companies, schools, supermarkets and local service providers allow you to pay your bill with several post-dated checks. The amount of checks can vary at the discretion of the company that needs to be paid. When paying with post-dated checks, it is very important that you keep track of the dates, the check number, the amount of the check and to whom the check was issued, etc.
Receiving Goods after Purchase: Be assertive about receiving your merchandise immediately after purchase. The delivery of goods in Israel has been known to be at least problematic. Delivery can also be very expensive, and often is due in cash (to a different company) upon delivery, so before agreeing to have something delivered, confirm what it will cost you and insist on receiving that information in writing. It may be possible to pick up the merchandise yourself. When buying through the Internet, be sure you understand the price and terms, and try to obtain recommendations from past customers to ensure you are buying from a reputable company. Many people have been burned.
A word of wisdom:
Why not just ask before paying a large sum for something you want to buy? In general it will be a free answer and coming from a professional it can save you future problems.