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For all of you travelling to Tel Aviv to support Michela at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019,  Israel’s Consumer Council has released English language guide and tips for you. Here it is…

Dear tourists, welcome to Israel for the Eurovision Song Contest that will take place this year in Tel Aviv! We are happy to welcome you to our country, hoping you will have a good time, taste our best dishes in the restaurants of our country and of course you are invited to shop in our stores and shopping malls. The Israel Consumer Council, the organization representing consumers in Israel, has prepared for you several consumerism tips that may facilitate make your sojourn easier.

Marking of items in stores: Israeli law requires each store to present prices on items in Shekels exclusively and not in foreign currency (Euro, Dollar etc.) with the exception of duty-free shops. The price indicated on the item is supposed to comprise all components, including VAT, taxes and mandatory fees. You cannot be required to pay more! The law establishes that in the event of a discrepancy between the price indicated on the label, panel or item and the price at the cash register, the consumer will pay the lowest price.

Hotel and vehicle prices: It is not mandatory to present prices for tourists in shekels. The law stipulates that the hotel may, in any place where a price is displayed, present a price for tourists including accommodation and other services related to the accommodation, deducted from the price of taxes from which the tourist is exempt, in foreign currency, provided that the price is expressly indicated, in a clearly visible place, that this price applies only to tourists. The price applicable to tourists for hotel accommodation will be posted near the reception desk and in each room and the price of additional services related to the accommodation granted to the tourist will be posted in all locations where these services are offered, as applicable. The same directives apply to vehicles.

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Prices display in restaurants and pubs: In each restaurant, café or pub, it is mandatory to display the price in a clearly visible place. Similarly, it is mandatory to present prices in shekels on the restaurant menu for each dish or beverage. It is forbidden to ask you to pay more. You will tip the server at your discretion. In Israel, it is customary to tip 12% in restaurants and service providers. An invoice submitted for payment containing the service or security fees, in addition to the prices of the food and beverages that have been ordered, consists a violation of the law. In addition, be aware that the law in Israel establishes that each restaurant must serve a pitcher of cold water at no extra cost.

Cancelling a transaction for the purchase of clothing and shoes: The law in Israel stipulates that if you have purchased a clothing item in a store, you may cancel the transaction and recover your money, after deduction of 5% or 100 Shekels for cancellation fees, whichever is lower, within two days from the date of purchase (not including the day of purchase) and provided that the product has not been used and that the price tag has not been removed. The refund will be made within 7 days, in cash or in the same way as the payment was made. With regard to the replacement of an item, the law in Israel stipulates that it is mandatory for each clothing store to display a sign near the cashier stating: “return policy”. In the event that such a sign is not posted, you will have the right to cancel the transaction within 7 days of the day of the refusal without cancellation fees.

Cancellation of a transaction for the purchase of electrical items: If you have decided to purchase an electrical item in Israel (mobile phone, headphones, razor, tablet, etc.), Israeli law stipulates that if the device has been connected to electricity or has been used – the transaction cannot be cancelled. If the item has not been used, the transaction may be cancelled within 14 days of receipt of the item, with deduction of a cancellation fee of 5% or 100 NIS, whichever is lower. The refund will be made within 7 days, in cash or in the same way as the payment was made. In any case, it is recommended to check the proper functioning of the item as soon as you receive it. Inform the seller immediately of any defect, malfunction or incompatibility and request its immediate replacement.

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Buying tickets for events: It is recommended to buy tickets only on official sites (there are illegal resale sites against which many complaints have been received). In Israel, it is forbidden to buy resold tickets. If you buy tickets from an individual, the law does not protect you. Make sure that the ticket is not counterfeit and that its cost matches the price written on it.

You may cancel the purchase of a ticket by sending a message to the ticket sales office and/or the site from which the ticket was purchased, within 14 days of the transaction date, and provided that the cancellation is made no later than 7 business days before the date of the event. You will also be entitled to a refund based on the price that has been paid, after deduction of a cancellation fee of 5% of the transaction price or 100 NIS, whichever is lower. It is impossible to cancel a ticket purchase transaction within 7 business days or less before the event and it is impossible to cancel if two weeks have elapsed since the date of purchase.

Travelling by public transport: On buses in the centre of the country (in the Dan region) and on trains in Israel, it is not possible to buy a ticket from the driver. You must have a card called “Ra-Tav” that can be purchased and loaded in many places. For a list of charging and ticketing terminals in Tel Aviv, please click on the link

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It is also possible to buy a ticket for a single journey at these terminals. As of 1.3.2019, the cost of a single bus trip in Tel Aviv is NIS 5.90. If you have purchased a Rav-Tav card, you must ensure that it is charged a sufficient amount for the journey. More information (in Hebrew) can be found at this link

Taxi transport: The taxi driver must present you with the prices in shekels. It is recommended to ask the driver to activate the taxi meter. The customer can waive the activation of the meter and agree with the driver on the price before the trip.

When leaving Ben-Gurion Airport, it is recommended to travel only with authorized taxis, according to the directions at the terminal exit. In addition, you can travel to Tel Aviv by train.

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It is important to know: On trips between cities when the meter has not been activated at the customer’s request, there is a rate under government supervision.

We recommend that you always request an invoice for your trip from the beginning.

You did not receive your luggage: You have landed in Israel but you did not get your luggage? Do not leave the airport until you have submitted a declaration form at the appropriate desk in the baggage reception hall. Contact the airline by phone and check with them the expected date of arrival of your luggage and the rate of compensation to which you will be entitled to cover your first expenses (clothing, toiletries, medication, etc.) until the suitcase is found and returned.

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VAT refund for tourists: Israeli law stipulates that a tourist is entitled, upon leaving Israel, to a refund of the value added tax (VAT) he or she has paid when purchasing products in a business in Israel. The minimum value of the transaction on the day of purchase entitling the tourist to receive the VAT refund is 125 NIS. When purchasing the product, you must ensure that all the details of your product and your personal information have been correctly completed in the document specially prepared for this purpose and in the tax invoice. When leaving Israel, the tourist must go to the VAT refund office and presents: his passport, the goods with the tax invoice and the document for approving the VAT refund.

Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights: Israeli law is similar to European law, but it may be preferable for you to sue the airline in your country in Europe and not in Israel. In the event of a delayed flight, you should contact the airline representatives at the airport and request an immediate answer regarding the reason for the delay and the expected time of departure of the flight. In the event of a delay of over two hours, you are entitled to food, beverage and communication services. In the event of a delay of 5 to 8 hours, you are also entitled to an alternative ticket and to a refund. If the flight is postponed until the next day, you are also entitled to accommodation services. In some cases, the consumer is also entitled to monetary compensation, depending on the distance of the flight.

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