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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Consumer Refunds Bill Backed

The State Duma on Thursday approved measures to tighten rules protecting consumers' rights and regulate the retail sector.

The changes to consumer rights legislation will allow shoppers to claim for refunds on defective or sub-standard goods without going through laborious administrative procedures. In the case of imported goods, buyers will be able to return them to the importer through a retail outlet or demand a refund.

Brady Martin, an analyst with Alfa Bank, said the measures appeared to be directed at some of the less efficient retail operations as most of the large ones already have some form of refund and replacement policy. Such rights are taken for granted in developed economies and it is normally an issue of competitiveness rather than a matter for government policy, Martin said.

"I cannot see how to enforce such rules, or which organ will oversee enforcement," Martin said.

Another detail included in the legal changes stipulates that in the event of a disagreement over the cause of a defect in a sold item, the seller is obliged to conduct required tests on the goods at no additional cost.

The new rules will place heavier burdens on retail outlets by stiffening sanctions for breaches. Shops failing to issue a timely refund or replace defective goods will be liable for a fine equivalent to 0.5 percent of the original value of the item for every day after the complaint is made.