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Better business comes to Israel by: Orna Yefet, Ynetnews


Are Israeli consumers finally going to have a gritty, independent consumer organisation?

Emun, translated as the Public Trust Organization, was launched this month under the directorship of Galit Avishai. A lawyer by profession, she resigned as the director of the government funded Israel Consumer Council 18 months ago and has been working ever since to set up the new consumer group.
Emun aims to be an independent authority that will provide consumers with information on how various companies and shops conduct business.

The main objective is to formulate consumer laws as well as get businesses and public authorities to pledge to respond to consumer complaints in a fair and equitable way.

The new authority is based on the concept of the American Better Business Bureau which protects consumer rights and monitors the ethical practices of businesses and shops. That organisation has representative bureaus throughout the US, Canada and England.
The local group believes Israeli consumers need an address for their complaints or problems; a place for information on all aspects of consumerism and for information about the track records of companies and shops they may need to patronise.

Consumers will receive lists of businesses and companies who have committed themselves to upholding the organisation's rules and procedures.
The group will also serve as a sounding board for complaints should a member company violate or compromise on its commitment to good business practice.

Emun's board of trustees includes prominent lawyers, economists, academics and bankers. Several major companies have already signed up, including Paz, Proctor and Gamble, Bagir, Tambour and others.

Emun's bylaws include the creation of consumer law and the demanding of accuracy in advertising, protection of privacy, fair business practices and the pledge to respond to all consumer complaints. The group's guidelines will be published on the Internet and in the media.

Business and public authorities wishing to join Emun will be required to undergo three months of Emun supervision (at company expense). If the company or business passes, it will receive a sticker indicating it is now Emun approved.

Emun officials say they are prepared to handle tens of thousands of public complaints. Quarterly reports on business practices will be published Complaints can be sent in through the post, by fax, telephone or to its website.

Emun also hopes to offer mediators in an effort to help consumers and businesses resolve outstanding disagreements.

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