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Dec 14, 2022

Interesting Psak: Recycling Complaints

Kikar is reporting on an interesting psak from Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Braq. 

The question posed to Rav Zilbershtein was regarding the recycling law. The law requires any store selling bottles that include a recycling deposit to also take the returns of bottling, returning the deposit to the customer. 

Someone asked Rav Zilbershtein if he is allowed to file a complaint against a store owner who regularly refuses to take back the bottle returns. This person collected tens of bottles over some time form what he bought and used and every time he goes to the store to get the recycling deposit back the store owner gives different excuses why he cant take back the bottles (only certain times, only certain days, etc). Filing an official complaint would incur upon the store owner a fine of 1800nis (for each customer that files a complaint) that will get paid to the customer. 

So, the question is, if one is allowed to file an official complaint against a store owner in this situation..

Rav Zilbershtein responded explaining that going into business has benefits, such as profits and whatnot, but it also includes obligations. The store owner collects money from the customers as a deposit for the bottles, and his obligation is to return the money when the bottles are returned. Even though the store owner is not anything more than a pipeline between the customer and the organization responsible for the recycling, he is still collecting the customers money and holding it until the bottles are returned.

Even though collecting the bottle returns might be a pain in the neck for the store owner, in addition to profiting form the store he also has to fulfill his obligations the come with it. He cannot just do what is good for him but has to stand by his commitments even if they do not give him profits directly, such as the bottle returns.

So, the store owner should be brought to beis din to be warned that if he continues to refuse to accept the bottle returns a complaint will be filed. And then, if he continues to avoid taking the bottles, one is allowed to complain and get the fine. The threat of the fine is for the benefit of the customers, to ensure they get the service promised to them. The store owner cannot just do whatever he wants but has to fulfill his obligations, and this ensures that.

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1 comment:

  1. Wait...where do you go to complain about this? I want 1800 NIS


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