Since July 2013, the Israel Consumer Council has received about ten thousand complaints (!) from consumers claiming that lawyers required them to pay Iqtec different amounts of money for the purchase of content services they did not purchase.
In addition, the Council received hundreds of complaints a year from consumers stating that they have received letters of request from lawyers regarding past debts, which they do not recall at all, including thousands of shekels for "collection costs" of such debts. Many consumers are intimidated by the contents of the letter and by the fact that the letter was sent by a law firm and are quick to pay the amount mentioned in the letter without further examination.
Due to the existence of the phenomenon that prejudices the consumer's right to defend himself against a request for payment and its extent, the Consumer Council has initiated and drafted a bill that was submitted to the 19th Knesset by MK Boaz Toporovsky – the bill requires the business to specify the reason for the debt collection and evidentiary data to consolidate its request. Due to dissolution of the Knesset, this legislation did not come to an end. The original bill drafted by the Council stated that the business must inform the consumer about the nature and the origin of the debt before starting proceedings for its collection.
In the 20th Knesset, three bills were (separately) submitted by MK Uri Maklev, Yoel Hasson, and Mickey Levy. These bills are substantially identical to the proposal conducted by the Consumer Council. Today (Monday, July 13th), the Economic Affairs Committee held a debate on this bill.
During the hearing, the government submitted an alternative bill. At the end of the debate, the basic principle was adopted in agreement. The proposal was approved in the first reading plenary committee and will return to the committee after first reading, preparing for second and third readings.
Consumer Council CEO, Adv Ehud Peleg: "The right of defense of the consumer against claims and demands for payment of debt is a basic right. The aim of the bill is to fight the successful and bothering method of 'runaround" between lawyers' offices. Seizure letters induce consumers to pay through fear without being able to examine whether the debt is at all true. The Consumer Council has initiated a bill for the Iqtec issue in the previous Knesset after having helped approximately 10,000 complaints through counseling and guidance. We have also worked for the drafting and filing of a class action lawsuit against Iqtec. The bill would provide the consumer with the means allowing him to control and to know whether the debt is real or not.