Cellcom to Compensate 27,000 Kosher Phone Subscribers for Not Advising of Price Increase

A Cellcom service station in Yerushalayim. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Cellcom is to compensate over 27,000 subscribers with kosher phones for not sending them a voice message in advance about the increase in the cost of their plan.

According to the class action lawsuit filed by attorney Tzviel Moskowitz, Cellcom refrained from sending subscribers on their “unlimited kosher” plan, intended for the chareidi community, a voice message that their plan rate was to increase by NIS 50 after 12 months of purchase – from NIS 29 to NIS 79 per month.

According to Moskowitz, based on the Communications Ministry’s instructions from July 2017, cellular companies must inform their subscribers in advance  – in the period between 14-21 days before the change – that the tariff is about to change, via a message which will most likely be transmitted to them.

Apparently, Cellcom did not change its regular procedure, and while the company sent text messages to the subscribers of the kosher phone plan, including text messages warning them of the expected change in the tariff,  it is not possible to send or receive text messages on a kosher phone, so these messages, if at all sent, never reached their destination, said Moskowitz. “The only way to update such subscribers is by telephone calls or recorded messages.”

The class action lawsuit was filed by Attorney Moskowitz of Schwartz Moskowitz & Co. on behalf of a chareidi woman who had a phone on that plan, and claimed that if she had known in advance that the price of the service would rise, she would have changed to a different company or tried customer service to ask for a similar low-cost plan.

Cellcom, on the other hand, claimed in its written defense that the reason for not sending voice messages was a malfunction, which was later resolved, and that since then voice messages have been sent in accordance with the law. It was also claimed on behalf of the company that Cellcom informs the subscribers regarding the update of the plan price at the time of the contract – both orally and in writing – in the terms of the plan and in an abbreviated document of the main points of the plan.

In addition, Cellcom claimed that customers were notified in writing, close to the time of the change, on the invoice and in a prominent manner, so that the change was easy to follow. In its defense, Cellcom estimated the number of subscribers who did not receive advance notice stands about 27,400 customers.

Following negotiations, the parties reached a compromise settlement, which was also agreed upon by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, in which it was determined that Cellcom will transfer NIS 20 to each of the members of that plan, either by crediting their account or by bank transfer.

The Central District Court of Lod, which is currently hearing the agreement, approved it and gave it the force of a judgment.