Abgefeimt, trying to find a good example, would be like a person who legally engages in something that really sort of underhanded and fraudulent. How does Jewish Law look upon the concept of Abgefeimt?

Say for example, Rogers, the phone company here told me that if I bought a 3 year plan, that on top of getting a "free phone" with that plan, that at the end of the 3 years, I would get another "free phone".

What they meant by free phone, is that I would have the opportunity to buy another 3 year contract which gives me a "Free phone".

Another example would be the same company disabling my service because I did not pay my bill, but still charging me for the disabled service. (I yelled at them at the ridiculousness of that policy, charging me for something I can't and am not using)

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    Akiva, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! I'm hoping that this question will turn up some good sources on business ethics. I also hope that you'll look around the site and find other material that interests you, peraps starting with our 13 other emes-truth-honesty questions.
    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 21 '14 at 12:28
  • The 1st example doesn't sound problematic unless that was never explained to you up front. You can turn down the offer. As for the 2nd example, if you were bound to a 3-year contract, technically, they are allowed to charge you even for the months that you have no service. You are still bound to the contract. I assume that the company did explain this to you when you signed the contract. I don't like fine print any more than you, but all that small print and legal contract language is legal, and if you sign the contract you agreed to all the terms whether you read and understood it or not.
    – DanF
    Aug 21 '14 at 16:38
  • @DanF, I disagree with the second example. If you have a three year contract, that obligates both sides. If they want their money, they can't withhold service. I'm sure what they did is legal in their country as most any company will ensure that before establishing such a policy, but that may be a special allowance for their industry in the law. If a tenant stops paying rent - you can sue them for the money, or you can evict them. Once you evict them and deny them the apartment, you don't get to collect rent as well.
    – Yishai
    Aug 21 '14 at 16:48
  • @Yishai good points made. Not sure if that can be applied to a phone contract, though. I do agree though, that most phone cos. that discontinue your service don't continue charging the monthly service fee. But they do charge you the early termination fee if they end your contract. They tell you about that, it is legal, and I also think it's fair for them to do that. Likewise, if a landlord bound you to rent for a year and you get evicted before the year, he can charge you a penalty for his lost income while he finds another tenant. Usually, not done this way, but if he's upfront, I c no prob.
    – DanF
    Aug 21 '14 at 17:01
  • @Yishai - many hotels charge you for the full length of your reserved stay if you did not cancel within 15 days. But you didn't use the room! Yes, but the hotel can't find another guest to use the room, either b/c they were holding the room for you until the hour before you were supposed to arrive. The hotel is charging for lost income. They are upfront, they tell you their policy, and you agreed to it. Some hotels are nice to refund your payment if they do manage to rent the room at the last minute, but that's a "chessed". How is the hotel policy different from the phone cos. policy?
    – DanF
    Aug 21 '14 at 17:06

There is a grest deal of Jewish literature on Business Ethics. But to the point of your question see this article at Jewish Law from where I abstracted this quote under


Any type of deceptive act or practice, including deceptive advertisements and deceptive packaging, would also be a violation of the Biblical principle (Exodus 23:7), "Distance yourself from a false matter."

See also this article from where I abstracted this quote:

There are all sorts of dimensions to what sins are. After a whole day of beating one's breasts, we come to the end of Yom Kippur which is the prayer of Neilah, the final moments in which we beseech God. Neilah doesn't have a lengthy confessional. The Vidui is only a few short paragraphs. But if you look at Neilah you'll notice that the one thing that it stresses is theft. We ask God for His forgiveness for the appropriation of other people's property, the appropriation of theft. You see how severe the notions of appropriating other people's property are. The Talmud says that only a minority of people commit sexual offenses, most people sin in matters of theft, and that will become clear as I go on, and all people sin with respect to evil gossip that they say about others.

See also for general interest Jewish Association for Business Ethics .

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