According to a survey carried by the Israel Consumer Council in cooperation with the Administration for Research and Economics at the Ministry of Economy, one out of three consumers has been exposed to unfairness in stores selling electrical and electronic appliances.
The purposes of the fairness index developed by the Israel Consumer Council and the Administration for Research and Economics are 1) to provide tools for Israeli consumers so that they are able to assess the state of fairness in businesses and, this way, to make informed purchases and 2) to improve the fairness in commerce. Fairness is honest and transparent conduct of a business toward a consumer without trying to mislead him or to take advantage of his weakness or distress. The index was created by attorney Ehud Peleg, CEO of the Israel Consumer Council
This survey of fairness index in commerce in the field of electronic and electrical appliances, is the second survey using the fairness index. The first survey investigated the perceived level of fairness in the food sector.
The study was conducted using a telephone survey among a representative sample of 716 men and women who have purchased any electrical appliance during the last year and examined their exposure to what they perceive as a lack of fairness in the field of electrical and electronic appliances. In the framework of the study, 25 events were defined as reflecting different aspects of unfairness in the area, according to the four following interfaces:
The store - This interface includes confusing information like signs posted in the store and informing about a discount in the price of the product, while it turns out that the discount is for customers meeting certain conditions that are not stipulated in the sign, or concealing information such as terms of purchase, transportation or installation, which were not made clear to the customer previously to the purchase of the product, recommendation by the seller of a particular brand out of his personal interests or the store's interest, and more.
The setup - This interface includes, among others, unreasonable waiting time for setup or repair services, a demand for extra money for transportation and delivery despite the fact that these services were included in the price paid by the customer, and more.
Cancellation of a transaction or return of the product - This interface includes refusal by the store to cancel a transaction within 12 days following purchase, or after cancellation of the transaction, a situation in which the store did not pay back the amount the client was entitled to according to the law, and more.
Malfunctions and defects in the product – This interface includes, among others, events such as denial of responsibility or lack of vendor's accountability on the part of the supplier for repeated failures of the product purchased, and more.
The survey's findings:
- 76% of the consumers decide not to buy at the store again if they have been exposed to unfairness in that store.
- 75% stop buying at this store
- 70% complain to sellers in the store
- 66% complain to the store manager
- 58% post negative comments on social networks
- 64% of the public will not be tempted by cheap prices and will prefer to buy in stores having a perceived high level of fairness.
Israel Consumer Council CEO, Lawyer Mr. Ehud Peleg, says that the poor level of fairness perceived in commerce in Israel is once more reflected in the field of electricity and electronics stores. "Serious consequences undermine the sense of security of the consumers through presentations of retailers and service providers in this field. There is a feeling of contempt towards the consumer, and of denial of responsibility for quality products and reliable and good services. The findings reveal two sad conclusions: one is that consumers need to be on constant alert in this area in order not to fall into the trap of non-cost-effective shopping, to carefully check any information presented to them, and to increase sharing and comparison of shopping experiences. The second conclusion is that the state should decide of a national effort aimed to change the culture of lack of fairness in Israel, starting from education system up to increasing enforcement and penalization in order to create a much more significant deterrence".