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Russia: New Consumer Protection Law

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 10, 2007, newly adopted amendments to the Russian Consumer Protection Law entered into force. The Law includes provisions aimed at introducing the right of a consumer to return an item of inferior quality to the seller and obtain a full refund. The right to almost unlimited return is expanded to large and expensive purchases, including cars, computers, and other home electronics. The Law states that if a buyer is dissatisfied with his purchase, he can return it within a 15-day period and receive a full refund or exchange. Previously this was possible only if the purchased item had "significant failures." Merchants, especially car dealers, are afraid of possible "consumer blackmailing," however. A full refund can be requested in other cases as well, such as if the repair work under a warranty takes longer than 45 days, or if an item is under repair more than 30 days during each year of a warranty coverage period.

The Law introduces a penalty for violation of a delivery date determined by contract, set at 0.5 percent of the prepayment amount. In addition, the Law obligates the issuer of a loan to inform the borrower of the full amount that will be paid to pay off the loan. (Novyi Zakon Pugaet Avtodilerov [Car Dealers Are Afraid of a New Law] (in Russian), NEWSRU.COM, Dec. 10, 2007.)