In a meeting held on November 10, 2014 in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, the issue of compliance of Hot - telecommunication company - with legal requirements and its license with respect to customer service was debated. Israel Consumer Council called on the committee, through Mr. A. Prizment-Botton from the Legal Department, to reconsider and to temporarily cancel HOTs' license until HOT brings evidence of having improved customer service. As an immediate step, Israel Consumer Council seeks to issue an order regarding temporary reduction of the package deals prices, to a rate that will reflect damages incurred to consumers.
Each year, Israel Consumer Council receives thousands of complaints from consumers against HOT. In 2014 (January-October) 1435 complaints against HOT have been filled. See below for details:
About 45% of the complaints concern the quality of service - unreasonable waiting time at the telephone service center; technicians coming late on scheduled appointments without payment of compensation as provided by law; "Customer running-around": for instance, it was argued that HOT made an appointment with a customer in order to replace some equipment and in practice, they could not proceed since the equipment was not available in stock; telephonic harassment (dozens of calls from sales representatives despite the consumer's request to stop calling); failure to resolve mishaps on time.
About 20% of the complaints dealt with financial matters - overcharge in contradiction with agreements; billing for services that were not ordered; rising rates without the customer's consent.
About 13% of the complaints dealt with deception - deception on transaction terms and rates.
The Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting has imposed fines on HOT since 2009. The continuation of the phenomenon raises the concern that these penalties are neither sufficient nor deterring. HOT is in a state of continuous violation of license provisions regarding waiting times at the service center (for instance, in June 2014 a monetary sanction of $ 1.3 million NIS was imposed upon HOT for failing to meet waiting times at the service center). Each time the Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting conducts a hearing on monetary sanction against HOT, the company delivers a festive statement in the media, stating they are upgrading the service center and will make a significant improvement.
Israel Consumer Council CEO, Adv Mr. Ehud Peleg, says, "Getting value for money is a fundamental principle of fairness in the life of consumerism. This arbitrary company continuously fails to provide proper service to consumers and violates their rights acts in contravention of this principle and on a regular basis. In a civilized society, such a conduct leads to massive abandonment of consumers. In circumstances of lack of competition in a duopoly market, such behavior should lead to punitive action by the regulator, which will ensure the respect of consumers' rights".