The Consumer Council submits its annual report of consumers' complaints in Israel. The report highlights the relationships between consumers and businesses and puts forward the areas of concern to the Israeli consumer and the reasons for which he has chosen to complain. All data and conclusions are presented to you here.
In 2015, the Council has received 43,194 complaints, which constitutes an increase of 5% as compared to last year, with 41,034 complaints. 36,439 complaints were closed in the system dealing with the requests. This is an increase of 5% as compared to the number of complaints that were closed in 2014.
81% of complaints that ended in 2015 were found to be justified. About 72% of the complaints turned out to be justified, while the Council successfully handled them. In addition, in 10% of all received complaints, the consumer's interest was concluded in his favor after the consumer involved the Council in his matter of concern.
The communications sector is the area in which most of the consumers tend to contact the Consumer Council. Telecom leads the list of complaint addressed to the Consumer Council for the seventh year in a row. Little more than a quarter of all complaints addressed to the Council (28%) were in the area of communication - telephony, internet, multi-channel TV and more. In the field of media, telephony and mobile services are still the leading subfield. The number of complaints regarding the Internet increased by nearly 50% as compared to last year.
In second place of the complaints was the field of electrical appliances. 15% of the complaints were in the area of appliances, 11% in the field of house items in general and in the field of furniture in particular, 8% in the area of clothing and footwear, and 5% in tourism. The sharpest increase (in percentage) in the number of complaints that were received was in the field of shipping, haulage and post office services (an increase of 58%), and the second increase was in the field of transport and vehicles (an increase of 23%). The largest quantitative increases were recorded in the fields of media and electrical appliances.
In the field of house items, as usual, furniture constituted the most dominant component. This year, there has been a decrease of 13% in complaints regarding touristic services and a decrease of approximately 15% in the food sector.
In 2015, the consumers got back a total of approximately 8.6 million NIS through handling complaints with businesses. This is an increase of 50% as compared to 2014. The field in which consumers got the highest amounts of money back is the field of furniture - over two million NIS. The fields of communications and electrical appliances were also fields in which consumers got back a total of over one million NIS.
To our satisfaction, we see a slight decline in the field of healthcare and cosmetics; however, in the field of public transport, we have witnessed a dramatic raise of refunds to consumers as compared to last year
The essence of the complaints
The main issues consumers complained about related to the product (23%), various deceptions (21%) and quality of service (19%). Refusal to cancel the order and financial matters constitute each one-sixth of the complaints in 2015.
Within the main category of refusal to cancel a transaction, the sub-category that has increased the most sharply is the refusal to release the consumer from an ongoing service (59%). The main sub-categories in the field of deceptions were deceptions regarding the price and regarding the service. The total number of complaints in the deception category increased by 50% as compared to 2014.
Most complainants who turned to the Consumer Council are secular. . The rate of distribution of people turning to the Council is similar among women and men. Half of the complainants turning to the Consumer Council have an academic degree. Most of them are married. A similar representation was found among people from all income levels turning to the Consumer Council.
In which cities residents complained the most? And in which did they complain the least? The comparative measure between cities was conducted according to the index of the number of complaints per 1,000 residents. The first places are one more time Givatayim and Yavneh, that have maintained their position from last year. It is clear that in cities with a population of residents ranking in higher socioeconomic levels, they tend to complain more. However, cities / settlements in the periphery with a large share of population from the Arab or Jewish orthodox sectors are at the bottom of the rating and their inhabitants tend to complain relatively rarely.
Israel Consumer Council CEO, lawyer Mr. Ehud Peleg, says that tens of thousands of consumer complaints indicate how much dishonesty affects commercial life in Israel. The Council's CEO stresses that the large number of complaints also indicates that the consumers need the services of the Consumer Council representing them against businesses, among other things because of the difficulty many of them face to understand their rights as articulated in contracts and laws in a complex legal language. In light of this – Mr. Ehud Peleg points out that the Council also puts much effort in explaining consumer rights to the general public in a simple and friendly language in the Council's website and in educational programs that the Council develops in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.