Some interesting points to take from the article are the concept of customer service and returning merchandise.
To the foreign observer, a Russian's consumer rights can seem limited, with businesses here appearing less accommodating than in many other countries.I had mentioned to Katja that one U.S. company, L. L. Bean, actually makes it reputation on a lifetime guarantee on their products. You can literally buy some boots or a knife from there, and return it or exchange it years later if you aren't happy. No receipt necessary.
In Britain, for example, although the law allows shops to refuse a refund unless there is a fault with the product, most shops will exchange a product within two weeks, and many will do so within a month of the purchase.
Large Western companies working in Moscow are more ready to accept goods back "as they are concerned about their image," but smaller companies cannot afford the losses, Komissarova said. "For some companies, it's like a mosquito bite, while for others it's more like being bitten by an alligator."
The law has many loopholes, and consumers have been known to buy a Gucci dress, wear it once and then demand a refund, she said. A customer can legally demand a full cash refund for a computer if it breaks down under warranty, which, owing to the rapid depreciation of computers, can mean a big loss for businesses.
Companies are fighting back against the law, however.
Komissarova holds seminars on consumer law for businesses, teaching them how to foil customers' refund requests.
Much of this is the difference in consumer attitudes in both countries. I joked with Katja that if L. L. Bean existed in Russia, someone would start counterfeiting their products and return them for cash refund and a profit!