Question:

I live in Israel. I was late paying a phone bill and now they want me to pay an interest fee charge. Is there a problem with ribbis?

Answer:

There are various heterim to pay the bill yourself, such relying on the companies heter iska (if they have one). Another heter you can rely on, is that the reason your are consenting to pay the phone company the ribis is not because of the loan or the lateness of the payment, but only in order that they shouldn’t shut off your service, therefore it is permitted. Others however say that what should be done is to have a friend consent to pay the ribis instead of you. You give him the sum of the charges except for the ribis and he pays the ribbis instead of you. This is permitted because ribis is only forbidden when it is going from the one who borrowed the money to the lender, but not if it is coming from someone else.

Best Wishes

Sources:

Shulchan Aruch Y:D 160-13, Bris Yehuda (Ikrei Dinim) 59 ftnt. 68, Nesivos Sholom 160-13(16) in the name of R’ S> Z. Auerbach and R’ Eliyashiv zt”l, Parshas Ribis 4-7, Poskim.

Tags: Ribis

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