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Source: US Global Legal Monitor

(Dec. 16, 2020) On November 23, 2020, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed an amendment to the Consumer Protection Law, 5741-1981, as amended, to enable consumers to opt out of phone and digital marketing communications and to authorize the issue of temporary injunctions for the protection of consumers, including persons “with special characteristics”—that is, those who may be especially vulnerable to suffering harm as consumers. (Consumer Protection Law (Amendment No. 61) 5781-2020. References below to the “law” are to the text of the law, including Amendment No. 61. For explanatory notes for the amendment, see Government Bill, 5744-2020.)

The law requires the head of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) to report to the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on implementation of the arrangements included in Amendment No. 61 in accordance with specifically defined periods. (Law § 8.)

Establishment and Management of a Consumer Opt-Out Registry

The amended law requires the CPA to establish and manage an opt-out database that will contain contact information of consumers interested in restricting marketing communications. The restrictions would apply to marketing communications made by “dealers”—persons and manufacturers that engage in the sale of property or the provision of a service as an occupation in order to engage in transactions, including those involving gratuities, discounts, or the provision of a benefit. (§ 16B (a–b).)

A consumer may request that one or more telephone numbers be registered in the database, and may at any time request that numbers be changed or removed from the database. The CPA is required to take reasonable measures to prevent the registration, change, or removal of contact information from the database without the consumer’s consent. Before issuing any marketing communications dealers must check to ensure that the consumer’s contact information is not listed in the opt-out register. The database will be subject to requirements enumerated in the Privacy Protection Law, 5841-1981, as amended. (§ 16B (c–d) & 16C (c).)

The law authorizes the minister of industry, trade and tourism, with the approval of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, to adopt regulations regarding the establishment and management of the database, including procedures for the registration of consumer requests and identification of registered requests by both dealers and consumers. (§ 16B (e).)

Issue of Temporary Injunctions to Protect Consumers

The law authorizes the CPA head to issue temporary injunctions to prevent or correct, as relevant, “undue influence” as defined by the law, as well as any violation of the law’s legal requirements that may affect a large number of consumers, inflict significant harm on consumers, or impair the discretion of a consumer who is a person with “special characteristics.” Such persons include persons with disabilities, seniors, minors, and those not versed in the language in which a relevant transaction was made. (§§ 3(a) & 21C.)

Effectiveness

While the provisions regarding authorization for the issue of temporary injunctions takes effect immediately, the requirements for the establishment and management of a consumer opt-out register will take effect 18 months following November 24, 2020, the official date of Amendment No. 61’s publication. (§ 7.)

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