Review of judicial practice on consumer protection cases of the Presidium of the Supreme Court as of 20 October 2021

29 November 2021
Ellina Izotkina
Associate
Ksenia Skoromolova
Legal Trainee

The Supreme Court provided clarifications on why during the moratorium on bankruptcy, the penalty cannot be paid even in disputes with consumers, in which cases the software update entails the seller's obligation to compensate the cost of the goods and why even a resident of the apartment is considered a consumer.

    On quality of goods

  1. The Supreme Court considered a case in which the owner of a car twice within a year applied to a maintenance center to repair the car. For the second time, the owner refused to repair, because, in his opinion, the detection of a malfunction in an expensive vehicle twice a year indicates that it is impossible to use it for its intended purpose.

    The Supreme Court consented with this position and reminded the lower courts that even various defects of the goods shall be recognized as «repeated» if they lead to the impossibility of intended usage of such goods. The inability to use it for its intended purpose makes the defects significant.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  2. Smart devices stopped working after their manufacturer updated the software, and its old versions became unavailable for download. The buyer requested a refund of the cost of the goods. The courts emphasized that since the warranty period for the goods has expired, and the service life has not been established by the manufacturer, the claim must be dismissed.

    The Supreme Court disagreed with this approach: the device shall function during its entire service life (or ten years from the date of transfer of the goods). Consequently, if the manufacturer ceases to support the software on which the purchased devices work, this leads to irremovability of deficiency and the inability to use such devices.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  3. On forfeit and penalty

  4. The consumer applied to the court with a demand for the award of a sum of money, as well as the prescribed compensation payments, including a fine. The defendant (business entity) voluntarily paid the disputed amount during the proceedings.

    The Supreme Court pointed out that if the buyer does not abandon the claim in connection with the payment of the debt, the fine is subject to recovery in accordance with the Law on Consumer Protection, without considering the amount already paid. The Supreme Court also once again drew attention to the fact that parties shall have the right to collect a penalty on the day of the actual performance of the obligation.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  5. The Supreme Court stood on the side of legal entities in disputes arising from the Law on Consumer Protection. The approach of the Supreme Court is that the prohibition on the collection of a forfeit during moratorium also applies to the forfeit incurred under the Law on Consumer Protection, even if company failed to file the respective motion with the court.

    However, if the company did not really suffer financially from the circumstances that were the basis for the introduction of the moratorium, the courts should not apply the provisions of the moratorium to it.

    Text of the Ruling is available at the here.

  6. On service/work agreements

  7. Having concluded a contract for carrying out repair and finishing works in the apartment, a few months later the customer sent a claim letter to the contractor, demanding to return the cost of materials and works, as well as to compensate for losses associated with the need to eliminate the deficiencies of the work unassisted.

    The Supreme Court concluded that the customer has the right to withdraw from the contract if the work is performed with significant deficiencies, as well as to claim damages based on the Law on Consumer Protection. At the same time, in this case, the customer should not send the contractor a request for the elimination of deficiencies within a reasonable period of time.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  8. The sports club terminated the contract for the provision of fitness and health recreation services with a client who published a negative review on the club's website.

    The Supreme Court concluded that fitness clubs shall not terminate contracts with customers without reasonable grounds. Unilateral withdraw of a public contract is possible only if there is evidence of violation of the terms of such a contract by the consumer.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  9. The dispute arose out of work agreement in residential apartments. The main conclusion of the courts was that the apartments do not belong to residential premises, and therefore the Law on Consumer Protection cannot be applied to them.

    The Supreme Court corrected the position and concluded that the Law on Consumer Protection applies to the owners of apartments located in housing complexes, living in them, or acquiring them for personal needs not related to the implementation of entrepreneurial activity.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  10. On insurance premium

  11. JSC «AlfaStrakhovanie» failed to issue authorization for car repair on time. Therefore, it received a claim for indemnification of insurance premium, forfeit, financial sanctions and compensation for moral damage, which it left unanswered. The Financial Commissioner also refused to pay forfeit and moral damage.

    The Supreme Court explained that if the insurer did not issue authorization for car repair on time, the Financial Commissioner shall pay the consumer not only insurance premium, but also a forfeit, financial sanctions and compensation for moral damage. Otherwise, the insurer will have the opportunity to evade the fulfillment of obligations under the OSAGO contract.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.

  12. PJSC «Rosgosstrakh» refused to pay insurance premium for the death of a woman’s son because of a road traffic accident. That is because she failed to provide the decision establishing the fact of her being dependent on the deceased (her son). She appealed to the Financial Commissioner, who refused to consider the appeal for the same reason.

    The Supreme Court concluded that when considering a consumer's appeal in connection with non-payment of insurance premium, the Financial Commissioner should not refuse to consider such an appeal without specifying the grounds for refusal. He is also obliged to clarify the reasons for non-payment of insurance compensation, including the inability of the consumer to submit the documents requested by the insurer.

    Text of the Ruling is available here.