Amendment to Consumer Protection Law Restricts Telemarketing Calls
Israel’s Knesset recently passed an amendment to the Consumer Protection Law. The amendment aims to prevent aggressive telemarketing, particularly for vulnerable groups such as senior citizens and new immigrants.
The basis for the statutory amendment is the understanding that the law’s provision allowing the cancellation of a remote sales transaction does not resolve the preliminary issue arising at the initial engagement. This is the use of marketing pressure and deception, as well as harassment of the consumer with marketing calls.
Under the amendment, the Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority is to establish a “don’t call me” database to include phone numbers of consumers who wish to limit marketing phone calls from different businesses.
Accordingly, a business, or anyone on its behalf, may not target a consumer whose phone number is registered in the database, unless in cases and circumstances detailed in the law’s sixth annex. These include:
- An explicit request by the consumer that the business get back to him via phone call;
- Outreach by a business to a consumer in an ongoing transaction regarding that transaction and during that transaction’s period, but not with respect to the extension of the transaction period;
- A business who received explicit consent from the consumer to contact him for the purposes of telemarketing (as long as such consent was not secured during a phone call to the consumer);
- A consumer who reached out to the business at his own initiative and gave explicit consent for marketing calls (with such consent in effect for a year and the consumer allowed to revoke it at any time);
The statutory amendment obligates a business to ensure, prior to making telephone contact, that the phone number it wishes to contact is not registered in the database.
In addition, the law authorizes the head of the Consumer Protection and Fair Trade Authority to issue administrative orders to halt any violations, to perform any action required to prevent or correct a violation, and to impose monetary sanctions.
We note the amendment only deals with telemarketing and not with other means of digital marketing. Businesses that use telemarketing should arrange to comply with the new requirement when it comes into force in the course of April 2022.