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Fight for your right: Consumer Demand letter in Russia

Almost every day we purchase something, but sometimes we are confronted with the problem where the product does not meet the declared quality or simply does not suit us. In both cases, the buyer wants to take their money back and return the item to the seller. The law, of course, provides for such an opportunity and protects consumer rights. There is a difference in the return procedure depending on what exactly your demand is and what product you purchased from the seller.



First one needs to figure out what it refers to. A substandard product is an item with a manufacturing defect, a design defect, a damaged appearance or a defect that makes it not user-friendly. A defect is considered only those flaws that have arisen through the manufacturer or seller’s fault. Also, when you cannot use the merchandise as intended due to a malfunction, it does not comply with GOST standards, technical specification, and other mandatory requirements, the merchandise has not been certified or labeled, or when it does not meet the characteristics stated by the seller or specified in the sales contract.


If the item has a warranty period and you have met this period, the return procedure is much easier. If the warranty period is not specified or not established, you will have to contact the seller referring to the Russian Consumer Protection Law. Be prepared to that you may need to order additional goods appraisals, be patient and follow our instructions.


How is a demand made for merchandise of poor quality if it is still under warranty? The manufacturer, already at the stage of producing a particular product, indicates its warranty period or marks the expiration date in the relevant documentation. The warranty period for the goods is indicated precisely so one can feel free to return the items to the seller (returning funds to the buyer, replacing the goods with a similar one or having the necessary repair made / reimbursing the money spent on the repairs). The seller is obliged to do this within 10 days from the date of the buyer's request (lodging a demand). For each day of delay in payment, the seller will have to pay a penalty in the amount of 1% of the merchandise’s value for each delayed day. The seller must replace the goods within a week (if additional appraisals and examinations are required, within 20 days).

Like any other demand letter, a demand letter for a defective product is made in writing in two copies. You can send it to the seller by registered mail with a return receipt requested, or hand it in person (on the second copy of the demand, you should ask the person who accepted the document to sign).


It also often the case that, for certain reasons, the warranty period for the product is not indicated or it is not set by the manufacturer at all. In this case, according to clause 1, article 19 of the Consumer Protection Law, you can lodge a demand within two years after you purchased the goods.

It should be noted that the 2 year period applies not only to items without a specified warranty period. If you bought a product, the warranty period of which has already expired, but within two years you discovered a manufacturing defect (and you can prove it), and it was not possible to detect it earlier, you also have the right to lodge a written demand for a defective product.


Most often, especially when it comes to technical devices, sellers have the goods appraised in order to establish the cause of the malfunction immediately after a demand is lodged. Many stores even have their own service centers that promptly respond to customer requests. The examination period usually is no more than 10 days. If the buyer applied during the warranty period, then the appraisal is at the seller’s expense, but if during the check the buyer is rendered fault, the seller will not only refuse the claims made, but may also ask the buyer to reimburse the examination cost. If the buyer has any doubts about the appraisal integrity, he or she has the right to contact an independent expert company with paying the services fee. If this point has been proved, the buyer has the right not only to re-lodge the demand, but also to sue to demand the return of the money spent on the examination.

Keep documents for the product for the entire period of use! Be sure to keep all the paperwork about the purchase (receipts, invoices, contract, warranty certificate, and any other papers that will help you protect your consumer rights if necessary). This holds not for Russia only, but generally for every country. But even if you do not have such documents, you can make a demand. You can request information about the warranty for the goods from the manufacturer, and confirm the purchase with testimonies and bank card statements (if there are witnesses and subject to cashless payment).


In a written complain, the buyer may demand the following from the seller:

☑ to replace a low-quality product with the same one of good quality,

☑ to replace it with a similar product with a recalculated cost,

☑ to reduce the cost of paid goods or reimburse repair costs,

☑ to have repairs made at the expense of the seller,

☑ to return the money for the purchase.

If the goods were bought on credit, the buyer has the right to ask for reimbursement of the interest paid to the Bank.

If you have purchased sophisticated equipment – a smartphone, TV, laptop, refrigerator, etc. – there is a nuance: you can return such merchandise if a flaw is found only within 14 days from the date of purchase. After a two-week period, you can only count on warranty repairs. Refunds will only be issued if:

➡ The repair would be useless (repair cannot eliminate the defect).

➡ The seller did not get repairs made within the legal 45 days.

➡ You have repeatedly sent the purchased item in for repair and were not able to use it for its intended purpose for a total of 30 days.


The Russian law does not establish a mandatory requirement to comply with the pre-trial procedure when it comes to returning merchandise of poor quality. You can go to court right away. But still, there are several undeniable advantages in following this procedure and preparing a demand against the seller upfront. Here are the reasons why you may need it:

✅ By sending a written demand to the seller, you automatically provide evidence that you did attempt to settle the issue amicably in case you end up in court. It will be eventually almost impossible to confirm a verbal appeal to the company. Sellers often delay with an answer, promise to call or write back so that the buyer does not make a demand within the warranty period established by law and the manufacturer.

✅ If you decide to complain to other authorized bodies (for example, Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), your complaint will likely be not considered at all. Rospotrebnadzor organizes a check of the seller if you have already sent them a demand letter. Exceptions are only cases involving causing harm to health or risk of harm.

✅ If you go to court and confirm the fact of sending a written demand to the seller, you can additionally ask for imposing a fine on the seller (50% of the amount stated in the claim).

You can find a sample demand letter to the store for the return of goods in Russian HERE or seek help of our professional English-speaking consumer protection lawyers.


If you feel you are not terribly good at Russian, it is a great idea to hire a lawyer and have them write a demand. However, one can do it on their own.

The law does not provide for a mandatory demand letter form. The main thing is to follow a few rules:

✏ The letter should be written in the official language without using slang and colloquial expressions.

✏ The text should not contain insults, rude words, obscenities.

✏ It is not a good idea to write a long text with various epithets and a detailed description of your feelings and experiences. The demand about the quality of the goods should be concise and clear.

✏ Clearly state your requirements, do not let the seller think something out that you did not mean.


● In the header of the document, write information about the recipient and the sender: address, organization name (it is a good idea to put down the head’s full name), the buyer’s full name and their contact details (address, phone number, and e-mail).

● The document is officially called "Demand letter" ("Претензия"), so this should be written at the beginning of the text (top center). Further, all the circumstances of the purchase should be briefly and clearly laid out (place, date, time, goods description, discovered defect, warranty period, contract or receipt data, and other important circumstances and facts).

● Next, write the requirements for the seller pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law (you can specify particular paragraphs and articles of the Law). Do not leave this item to the discretion of the seller; clearly state everything that you want him to do.

● Set forth your intention to bring them to court if they refuse to fulfill the requirements stated in the claim.

● Put the date and your signature.

Remember that a demand letter for the return of substandard goods must be made in two copies.

If you have difficulty preparing a demand, we will be happy to help you! Just write us in the feedback form or call! An exhaustive consultation from a consumer protection lawyer will leave you no doubt and questions.


As mentioned above, you can mail a demand (via registered mail with a return receipt requested to the seller), or hand it over in person. The first method is considered more reliable, since the seller, administrator or other person who happened to encounter you when you hand the document over may simply refuse to accept it. In this case, you will have to send it by mail anyway.

Did the demand fail to resolve the matter? Then file a lawsuit.

If filing a demand to refund the goods failed (the seller refused the claims made or did not respond to your claims at all), feel free to sue them. The claim content can be taken from the text of the demand you previously drew up.

❗ You need to specify the addressee (name of the court which you plan to file the claim with).

❗ You can also ask the court to:

a) impose a fine on the seller in the amount of 50% of the amount stated in the claim;

b) impose a forfeit in the amount of 1% of the value of the goods for each delayed day (remember that the forfeit amount cannot be higher than the price of the merchandise on the day when you purchased it);

c) compensate for non-pecuniary damage (the amount is not fixed by law, but should be adequate in relation to the physical and moral suffering caused to you);

d) claim reimbursement of court costs and expenses for legal services (if you used them).

❗ Attach all available proof of purchase (checks, warranty cards, photographs, expert opinion, etc.) to the statement of claim.

You do not have to pay a state fee!


In cases where the total amount of lawsuit demands is less than 100,000 rubles, the statement of claim is filed with the Justice of the Peace Court at the address of the plaintiff (buyer) or the residential address of the defendant (seller). If the requested amount is more than 100,000 rubles, the statement of claim is to be filed with the District Court.


☑ Prepare 3 copies of the statement of claim (your own one, one for the defendant and one for the court). Make copies of all the documents attached to the claim and attach those copies to the letters for the defendant and the court. Keep the originals for yourself.

☑ Send the statement of claim with copies of the documents attached to the address of the defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested. Attach the shipment receipt to the copy of the claim for the court.

☑ File a claim with copies of documents and a receipt for sending a copy to the defendant attached to the court (bring it in person to the court office, where the secretary will put a document acceptance mark, or send via certified mail).

☑ Wait for the date of the hearing to be set. The court will notify you.

Remember that a competent document, whether it be a demand letter or a statement of claim, is already half the success! It is not profitable and pointless for sellers to come into conflict with well-prepared buyers who are not afraid to defend their rights. Seek help from our consumer protection lawyer, and we will do everything to make your requirements satisfied.


Of course, we all encounter low-quality merchandise. Yet sometimes everything is fine, just the color / style did not suit you or it did not fit. Or it ceased to be needed while you were waiting for delivery. The law allows returning or exchanging any product, except for certain categories (e. g., medications, medical devices, personal care products, hygiene products, “technically sophisticated goods” such as cars, computers, phones) within 14 days (excluding the day of purchase).


✅ The item has not been used.

✅ You have saved the initial appearance of the product and consumer properties.

✅ You have saved the tags / labels (you do not need to save the packaging).

✅ You have kept a sales receipt or cashier receipt confirming the purchase (this is an optional item: according to the Consumer Protection Law, you can confirm the purchase of the goods by witness testimony, if any).

The procedure for returning goods of proper quality is no different from that described above. Many sellers, not wanting to enter into a conflict, tend to agree even to a verbally made demand (just come and return the product to the store, saying that it did not suit you). Large retail chains and well-known brands even train their consultants to inform the buyer of their right to return the goods within the legal 14 days when trading.

In case the seller refuses to accept a purchase of good quality from you, issue a written demand following the algorithm above. Or reach our lawyers to have them do it for you:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4, room 308
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