How to protect the seller of goods from unscrupulous buyers who damage the goods and apply for a refund?

Sellers of goods often have problems with consumers who claim that they have bought low-quality goods and, accordingly, demand replacement or refund. But not all buyers read the instructions for using the product and it often happens that the product breaks down through the fault of the consumer, who in turn does not think so.

We are often contacted by entrepreneurs who are ready to protect their business both from financial and reputation losses. So today we will talk about how you can protect yourself from unfair buyers.

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What actions can the seller take to protect against a fraudulent buyer?

First of all, please note that the legislation approved a list of goods of appropriate quality that are not subject to exchange (return), which include:

  • Foodstuffs - medicines, sanitary products;
  • Non-food goods. For example, perfumery and cosmetic products, feather and down products, children’s soft toys, rubber inflatable toys, goods for newborns, jewelry, fabrics, linens, bedding, linear and sheet metal, cut or cut-size goods determined by the buyer and so on.

That is, if you are a seller of any of the listed products, then at the place of sale, we recommend that you make a message that such products are not subject to return or exchange, with reference to the law.

If the quality of goods available at the time of sale is disputed by the buyer or seller, the law provides for the examination of such goods.

And what about those categories of goods in respect of which there are no obstacles to return?

Of course, there is a whole algorithm of actions, the implementation of which will help you come out a winner. Using our tips in this process, you can legally build a dialogue with the consumer and defend your rights.

The main aspects that you should pay attention to are as follows:

  • Examination of the quality of the goods shall be carried out when during the warranty period it is necessary to determine the causes of loss of product quality.
  • The legislation imposes the obligation to organize the examination of goods on the seller (performer, manufacturer), who must conduct it at his own expense within three days from the date of receipt of the consumer’s written consent.
  • As a rule, manufacturers and major sellers of products have service centers where they conduct such examinations and provide conclusions about the quality of goods. This is not prohibited by law and the seller does not have to go to an independent expert organization.
  • A consumer must submit the goods for examination to the seller (manufacturer) when he/she makes a quality claim and writes a corresponding application. For example, in 2019, the Supreme Court considered a case in which it refused to satisfy the buyer’s claims for refund for the goods and moral damages due to the buyer’s refusal to give the goods (telephone) for examination (Resolution No. 610/382 / 17 of 27.06.2019).
  • Consumers can also conduct a separate examination on their own by contacting independent experts, but in fact it can happen already during a court dispute, during which the buyer must prove the presence of a significant defect in the product. For example, in 2019, the Supreme Court refused the buyer’s claims for termination of the agreement and return of funds due to the buyer’s failure to prove a material defect of the goods: the plaintiff (consumer) did not apply for the appointment of an expert examination, neither during the trial in the court of first instance, nor in appeal instances (Resolution No. 559/388/17 of 23.10.2019).
  • The seller of the goods is entitled to reimbursement of the costs of the expertise to the account of the consumer if the findings of the expertise will be proved that the defects occurred after the transfer of the products to the consumer as a result of the violation of the established rules of use, storage or transportation or actions of third parties. But, as a rule, this can be made through judicial procedures.

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Our basic recommendations will help sellers of goods to build a common strategy to defend their rights against an unfair consumer. In case of any conflicts, our lawyers can help you to draw up the appropriate written documents, provide support in the dispute or take full responsibility for the safety of your business in general.

If you want to protect your business from dishonest buyers, don’t hesitate to call us!

Publication date: 30/04/2020

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