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General Lawyers

TOP-9 Amendments to the Law “On Protection of Consumer Rights”

The Law “On Protection of Consumer Rights”, a new edition of which was published on December 23, 2018, has been in effect. Let’s look at the most important changes that the Law has made for consumers.

9. Sellers are required to provide quality documentation.

Our TOP amendments start at paragraph 12 of Article 7, which imposes the obligation on the seller (executor), to present to the customer, upon request, copies of documents (their copies), confirming the quality, safety, and legality of goods (works, service) in the case that legislation permits the sale of goods (performance or provision of services), provided the relevant documents are available. Either the seller or the executor is required to confirm the quality of goods (works, service) in the way prescribed by law.

This duty was not imposed previously, but it was implied. Consumers had to be concerned about whether or not the seller would provide such a document. A certificate of conformity is required for connecting a gas stovetop to a gas service. Sellers don’t attach this to the packaging of the goods.

8. The seller (executor), is obligated to choose the payment method.

The law now contains Article 9-1, which outlines the norms for payment of goods (works, services)

This article imposes an obligation on the seller (executor), to allow the buyer to choose the payment method. The seller cannot set different prices for the exact same product (work or service) depending on the payment method.

One exception to this is where the law allows the seller (executor), to accept payment in one form. The norms in this article are not applicable to artisans or individuals who sell products within the framework handicraft activities, sell goods on the marketplace (perform work and provide services).

This article also contains a rule that states that the ERIP allows the consumer to verify the fact of payment by using the accounting number from the ERIP. This means that you can now safely refer to the Law and not the Ministry of Finance to refuse to pay those who, according old memories, ask to confirm the fact of payment with a paper document.

7. The seller cannot demand a passport when returning money

The law states that the seller (manufacturer or supplier, representative, executor) cannot require the consumer to produce an identification document when returning money paid for goods (work, services). There are exceptions in cases where the identity document of the consumer was used to conclude the contract.

This norm means that for money returns, it is enough to contact the customer and verify that he bought the goods from the seller. The question is: If the seller does not return the money at the time of the application (as it often happens), how can the seller verify that the person who applied for the money and who submitted the application for its return are the same person?

Time will show how this norm actually works in practice.

6. During warranty repairs, the service center must fill out the warranty card

Paragraph 5 of Article 22, the Law, expressly states that in the event of gratuitous elimination of defect in goods, the repair organisation shall fill out the warranty card given to the consumer when the goods are purchased. In the absence of the warranty card, a document confirming the gratuitous elimination of defect in the goods shall also be prepared in the manner and according to the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus.

This duty was previously implied by service centers. However, in practice it has not always been observed. During the warranty repair of my car, the same dealer did not give me any orders. He also failed to fill out the warranty card or the service book. He may now be required to fill in, if no warranty card is issued, at least a document detailing warranty repair.

5. The warranty repair period can be up to one month

The Law’s article 22 stated that the warranty period for repair was still 14 days. This rule allows for an extension of the warranty repair period by written agreement with consumers. However, it cannot be extended beyond thirty days.

Two points are important. The first is that the maximum warranty period for a product is only 30 days. It will not be legal to indicate that the warranty period is longer (as some cards state – 90 days). The warranty repair period can only be extended by an agreement between the seller and the consumer. Without the written consent of consumers, a simple indication from the seller or service centre that the warranty repair period lasts for 30 days will not be legal.

In the article under review, the legislator clearly stated that upon receiving the goods from the seller (manufacturer or supplier representative), the repair organization is required to correct the defects, taking into consideration the terms in paragraph one. This was not previously stated. Many believed that the Law for service centres established a 14-day warranty repair period. The time it took for goods to be delivered from the seller to the center and back (if the customer handed the goods over to the seller for warranty repair) was also included in this period. The delivery time could be extended if the seller was located on the periphery and the service center is in Minsk.

4. There were rules regarding the sale of goods (performance of work, provision services) on gift certificates

The Law introduced Article 9-2, which established the basis for the legislative regulation regarding the use of gift certificates and similar documents.

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, in its Resolution of 22.12.2018 No. 935 approved the Regulation concerning the conditions and procedures for the sale or performance of work, provision services under gift certificates or similar documents.

The use of gift cards and the sale of products (works, services) were never regulated in the past. Everyone who used them had to create their own local regulations. These acts need to be aligned with the Law and the specific resolution of the Council of Ministers, unless they are otherwise.

3. For quality checks of goods, a 3-day time limit has been set.

The Law’s Paragraph 11 has now established a deadline to conduct a quality control of goods. Consumers had to give over goods for quality control before the law established a deadline. This was different from the time period for money return. Unscrupulous sellers also took advantage of this situation – quality control can take many months.

The legislator did not solve the problem. The norm states that the repair organization must conduct an inspection within three business days after receiving the goods from the seller (manufacturer or supplier representative).

This means that the deadline for quality control is only for the repair company. The Law does not specify how long the seller (manufacturer or supplier) must perform a quality control.

2. If the goods do not appear, the consequences for the customer are determined

Many sellers and service centres longed for Paragraph 15 in Article 20 of this Law.

If the consumer fails to appear for the goods following a quality inspection of the goods and examination of the goods or gratuitous eliminations of defects, the seller (manufacturer/supplier, representative, repair organisation) has the right to notify the consumer in writing to allow them to recover from him the losses incurred due to the storage of goods. Reason.

Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of Law states that warranty repairs are suspended if the consumer does not appear for goods in a timely manner.

These innovations are, on the one hand positive and normal. Customers often told us about unscrupulous customers who handed goods over for repair (and not always to the warranty room). They took them from there within six months or more. They gave over, for example, a motoblock or a lawnmower in the fall. They took the item in the spring for repair. You don’t need to worry about where it will be stored in winter. The warranty was extended throughout the period the goods were in repair. Based on the Law’s previous version, the service center could not deal with these “extremists”.

However, these innovations will not solve all the problems. There are already some problems and/or questions.

Who will decide the validity of the reasons why the goods were not delivered? Evidently, it is the court.

How can the loss of the seller (service centre) be calculated? What is the loss of profit from the storage of goods The Belarusian courts don’t recover the profits lost.

What does “late turnout of goods” actually mean? This timeline should be determined by who, what and where?

It would be simpler to set forth in the Law the rights of the seller (service centre) within 2 months after notifying consumers to sell unclaimed products and to transfer the money to the notary without the storage fee.

1. In the event of a breakdown, it will not be possible to exchange goods for money.

The main change in Law is the limitation of the consumer’s unconditional right to claim the cancellation of the contract and the refund of money paid for goods if there are defects.

In the past, the consumer could ask for the cancellation of the sale contract and the return of the money if the goods were damaged. This norm has been changed.

The Law’s paragraph 7 provides that the consumer can submit claims for replacement or refund within 30 days of the date the seller transferred the goods to them. If the consumer discovers a defect or violates the terms of the free elimination of defects in goods, such requests may be made by him after the deadline.

If a product is too expensive or technically complicated, the consumer can request to return the money or replace it. The consumer can request a refund or replacement if the goods fail within a month. However, the period of warranty repair is extended by the consumer. The defect need not be serious if the warranty repair time is extended.

Remember that the product is expensive. It costs 400 basic values or more (today: 9800 Belarusian Rubles or more).

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus has approved the list of technically complicated goods. It has seen significant changes since December 2018. It now includes, among other things:

Furniture with transformable mechanisms powered by an electric motor;

Dishwashers, cooktops, electric stoves with or without oven, and automatic ovens.

– tablets, laptops;

– Heating equipment (automatic boilers, heating devices, or with software control elements);

– Telecommunications equipment used for domestic purposes that has at least two functions (in our opinion, it is mobile phones but the legislator couldn’t write directly);

Digital cameras and cameras

– electronic-mechanical and electronic watches with two or more functions.

For goods that aren’t expensive or technical complex, the consumer has the same rights to cancel the contract and return the money.

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