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New rules for retail trade

Starting from the beginning of 2021, new rules for the retail sale of goods1 (the “Rules”) entered into force. The Rules will be valid until January 1, 2027. The Rules are developed within the framework of the regulatory guillotine and replace a few previously existing documents (rules for retail trade, rules for distance selling of goods, rules for commission trading). The Rules preserve the basic provisions connected to the rights and obligations of consumers and sellers and supplement them with some new requirements resulting from the existing practice. 
1. General provisions
1.1. Cancellation of the seller’s obligation to have a book of comments and suggestions
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the book of comments and suggestions is an outdated mechanism that does not meet the market economy conditions. Now the Rules establish the seller’s obligation to provide a response to the stated claims in the event of a consumer complaint instead of the obligation to have a book of comments and suggestions.
1.2. Securing the consumer right to photograph the goods at retail facilities
Under the Rules, it is not allowed to restrict the consumer right to search for and receive any information in any form from any sources, including photographing the product. This rule does not apply to sites that are not intended by the seller for free access, as well as in cases where such consumer’s actions would violate the requirements of Russian laws and international treaties of the Russian Federation.
The Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) additionally clarifies2 that now the consumer can record those violations that he/she encountered at a retail outlet using a mobile phone camera referring to this norm.
2. Distance selling
2.1. List of mandatory information for the seller to disclose
The Rules establish a list of information that the seller must disclose on the Internet on the website (if available) and/or webpage (if available), as well as in the corresponding computer program (if available) when using the distance selling (including online selling). The list of information depends on the legal status of the seller:
For legal entities: full company name (brand name), main state registration number, address and location, e-mail address and/or phone number;
For individual entrepreneurs: last name, first name, patronymic (if any), main state registration number, e-mail address and/or phone number.
2.2. Requirement for the seller to inform the consumer about the form and methods of sending claims
In addition, information concerning the submission of claims is also subject to posting on the Internet and in the corresponding computer program. Otherwise, the consumer can send a claim to the seller in any form and in any way.
2.3. The seller’s obligation to provide the consumer with a confirmation of the purchase and sale agreement
This obligation is established in relation to online distance selling (using the Internet and/or computer programs). The seller’s confirmation must contain the purchase order number or other method of identifying the order, which allows the consumer to obtain information about the concluded agreement and its terms.
2.4. Updated list of information (documents) for receiving the goods by a third party
Now if the consumer is not present at the specified delivery address, the goods can be handed over to any other person who can provide the order number or another confirmation of the conclusion of the contract or order processing (including electronic confirmation). The retail sale agreement can establish other conditions, including more rigorous rules for the delivery of certain types of goods.
3. Automatic vending
he Rules oblige the seller to inform the consumer of the following:
Information about the seller: name (brand name), main state registration number, location and address, working hours, phone number and e-mail address;
Rules for using the vending machine for entering into a retail sale agreement;
The refund procedure if the goods are not provided to the consumer.
In addition, the Rules contain provisions on the specifics of the sale of certain types of goods (food products, technically complex household goods, cars, jewelry, other products made of precious metals and/or precious stones, animals, plants, and other types of goods).
1Rules for the sale of goods under a retail sale agreement, approved by the Decree of the Russian Government No. 2463 of December 31, 2020

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