The Knesset Economics Committee approved a bill yesterday to let consumers sue for compensation regardless of the economic damage caused by a business. Compensation is not meant to reflect the economic damage caused to a consumer, but to serve as a deterrent and as a punishment for mental anguish.

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor submitted the bill, which was approved in its second and third readings. The ministry said that consumers often relinquish their rights in court because of difficulties in proving the extent of damages.

The revolutionary bill gives the court the authority to award up to NIS 10,000 (or up to NIS 50,000 in the case of an identical, recurring instance):

b If a consumer seeks to return a product and a business fails to act in accordance with its advertised returns policy.

b If a consumer seeks to return a non-defective product purchased from a business with no advertised returns policy, and the business refuses to reimburse the consumer.

b If a consumer cancels an door to door, Internet or phone transaction or the acquisition of a vacation unit within 14 days, and the business refuses to reimburse the full amount.

b If a consumer is charged a higher price than that marked on the product.

b If a consumer seeks to pay at the exchange rate on the date of the transaction, and the business refuses to accept this price.

b If a consumer seeks a warranty and is refused, or if a consumer seeking to repair a malfunction that occurred within the warranty period is refused.