Israel to Establish No-Call List for Telemarketing

YERUSHALAYIM -

A new law will, when passed, give Israelis the option of opting out of telemarketing lists. Legislation for a “no-call” list has been approved by the Ministerial Law Committee. According to the law, violators could be slapped with a hefty fine.

The law is being promoted by Economics Minister Eli Cohen, and will be similar to other measures that have been enacted elsewhere. “Everyone will be able to sign up for the database, and if they do, telemarketing firms will be forbidden from calling them,” Cohen said. “The law will be especially helpful to the elderly and disabled, who are badly taken advantage of by unethical telemarketing firms.”

The list of offenders is long, with the Ministry receiving many complaints each year about intrusive “hard-sell” phone calls from cellphone companies, insurance firms, banks, health funds, and others. Many elderly people who complain say that they were threatened that if they did not buy, dire consequences could follow – with the result that they bought services or product they didn’t need.

Violators could be fined as much as NIS 66,000 for each phone call, according to the law. Cohen said that with a fine like that, companies would more likely dispense with the phone calls.