Monday, 9 November 2009

The Technician’s Law

For many years services given by technicians in Israel were more like a no-man’s zone, with no laws or regulations. The situation was so bad that we, the consumers, were many times “held hostage” to the technician’s good will.

Finally, on June 2008, a new law came into effect in Israel. The problem, as usual in Israel, was that when a law favoring consumers, and not providers, comes into effect, very few know of the law. In this short article, I will try to summarize the rights and obligations of those providing services.

A short clarification is in order: when speaking of technicians, this includes any one providing a service in your home (we are talking about a service done only in your home or workplace, and not when you receive a service at a store, etc.).

Technicians are those working for or sent by importers or manufacturers. The fields included in the technician list are: electronics, gas, electricity, furniture, services provided by cable companies such as “YES” and “HOT”, any kind of mechanical device, such as a door lock and many other types.

The range of the law is mainly for the time of the warranty and depends on the level of maintenance during the time of the warranty, meaning if the product was misused or abused, the warranty will be generally void.

The rules below are applicable to any contract within the warranty-stipulated time. There are other rules and laws pertaining to the obligations of the providers beyond the warranty-stipulated time.

The rules to provide services to fix an appliance, to change the product, in its entirety or partially, are as follows:

1. The provider must stipulate a day and an hour the service will be given.

2. The waiting time for a technician cannot be longer than two hours more than the given time. The grace period is two hours only.

3. The provider is entitled to offer the consumer to wait for a phone call in place of giving a specific time, on condition that the waiting time of the consumer in his home will not be longer than 2 hours. The provider must also clarify to the consumer that this method is only a suggestion, and the consumer is not obligated to accept this.

4. The providers are entitled to notify the consumer until 8 pm the day before the specified day of arrival of any change of time of services or a cancellation.

5. The above-mentioned rule was not made to infringe on the rights of the consumer. Any existing rule concerning the rights of the consumer before this new law came into effect will not be affected. As an example: the law stipulates that from the moment the consumer asks for a technician to repair a washing machine, the provider has 3 working days to provide this service. For a freezer or a refrigerator, it is one day. So let’s say on Sunday the consumer asks for service to repair a washing machine. The date is settled for Wednesday morning. In this case, the provider cannot call on Tuesday until 8 pm to cancel the visit for Wednesday, because this will clash with the consumer’s rights to receive this service within 3 days.

In breeching the above rules, the consequences for the providers are:

6. The consumer is entitled to compensation without having to prove any damages. To clarify this point, let’s say the consumer has two refrigerators. One breaks down and the consumer calls for a technician, who does not appear within the specified time. Even though there were no damages to the consumer, because he could easily use the second refrigerator, he is still entitled to the compensation stipulated by law.

7. The consumer will be entitled to more compensation if he had actual unlimited damages of any kind. In this case, the consumer is obligated to give proof of the damages. As an example, the consumer did not have a refrigerator in working condition and the technician did not arrive in the stipulated time, and as a result there was an actual loss (the food spoiled, etc.). In this case, the consumer can sue the provider by the Law of Damages for unlimited damages, if he can prove it.

8. A delay of more than 2 hours of the stipulated time of arrival (4 waiting hours in total), entitles the consumer to compensation of 300 shekels.

9. A delay of more than 3 hours of the stipulated time of arrival (5 waiting hours in total), entitles the consumer to compensation of 600 shekels.

10. If the time specified was according to what was said in clause 3 above (waiting for a phone call) and there was a delay for more than 2 hours, or the provider did not explain to the consumer that he has the right to refuse this proposition, entitles the consumer to 300 shekels compensation.

11. The provider is entitled to offer monetary compensation, products or any kind of coupon, etc., for the same amount, but only with the agreement of the consumer. The burden of proof that the consumer agreed to anything other than monetary compensation is on the provider.

12. In the case that the provider could not anticipate any delay in providing the service, or could not know in advance (for example, if the technician had a bad car accident on the way to the consumer’s home or extreme and severe weather conditions that prevented the technician from arriving) then the provider is exempt from providing compensation.

How do you actually receive your compensation?

When claiming compensation (and not the damages stipulated in paragraph 7), contact the provider by phone or fax. Always keep a record of all paperwork, phone calls, etc.! If the provider refuses to pay, the consumer can either contact our organization and we will write a letter or you can sue using the Small Claims Court.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Tzvi (Henrique) Szajnbrum can be found at:

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