A survey carried out for the Israel Consumer Council by the Geocartography research firm indicates that 96% of those making use of the “Star” function are unaware of its cost, which is 61.05 agorot. CEO of the Consumer Council: “The public has a basic consumer right to receive all the information it needs to decide whether or not to purchase a product or service”
The Israel Consumer Council calls on Bezeq (the government-owned corporation responsible for telephony and information services) to inform consumers in real time about the price of the “Star” service from Telephone Directory Assistance (144).
A survey carried out in September 2013 for the Israel Consumer Council, by the Geocartography survey firm, among a representative sample of 500 respondents, indicates that 46% of those consumers who use Bezeq’s 144 Telephone Directory Assistance service to obtain telephone numbers, also use the “Star” function, which automatically connects the caller to the requested number. The fee for this is 61.05 agorot; this is in addition to the 1.74 shekels collected for the Telephone Directory Assistance service – a total of 2.35 NIS for using Telephone Directory Assistance with the “Star” function.
The survey also showed that 96% of those making use of the “Star” function were unaware of the price, and that 47% of the consumers who made use of this “connect me” function would have dispensed with it had they known of its price.
At present, when a consumer calls Telephone Directory Assistance and asks for a telephone number, he is informed that he can connect directly with the wanted number by pressing the “Star” key. After the number is given, he is told that there is a price for the service – but the price is not stated.
Adv. Ehud Peleg, CEO of the Israel Consumer Council, says that the public has a fundamental consumer right to receive all the information required to decide whether or not to purchase a product or service.
The survey’s findings indicate that half of those using the service would have decided otherwise, had they been given complete information as to its price, the Council’s CEO added. In light of this, Bezeq should publicize the price of the service when offering it via a recorded message, rather than just making the information available on its website.
The Council pointed out that, in the past, Bezeq did not even warn consumers that the “Star” function involved a fee. However, as a result of the Consumer Council’s intervention – by activating its volunteers across the country, and having numerous consumers write to Bezeq’s CEO – this situation rectified within a few days. Unfortunately, Bezeq only went half-way, says Adv. Peleg, and the time has come for them to finish what they started.