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Legal education for sellers: a store refunded a woman for defective dishes

Publication date: May 13, 2024

The woman was unreasonably denied an exchange or refund for the goods, even though they were defective. The store employees admitted their wrongdoing, but only after the customer enlisted the help of lawyers from the NGO Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas.

Veronika Dmytrivna moved from the Donetsk region to Zaporizhzhia in 2014. Her savings allowed her to buy a small house on the city’s outskirts. She settled in and started a small household: three cats, a dog, and chickens. Despite the war and all the hardships she faced, her life began to improve. At 60, Veronika got a job washing floors in two offices near her home. She was also happy to make new friends; her neighbors were very friendly.

One day, one of her neighbors, who had already become a good friend of Veronika’s, invited her to her birthday party. Veronika chose a beautiful set of metal utensils as a gift: she looked at a window display in the store and took a similarly packaged one. A few days before the holiday, she decided to wrap the gift in a festive wrapping and put a surprise inside for her friend. However, when Veronika opened the box, she got the “surprise” herself: one of the pots had a rather large crack.

The woman immediately went to the store but was categorically denied the replacement of the defective cookware and a refund.

This story Veronika told to the lawyers of the NGO “Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas”, to which the upset woman turned for help.

The organization’s lawyer, Tetiana Pliasunova, explained to the woman that the seller was wrong in this case, explained her rights and printed out the text of the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Consumer Rights”, particularly Article 9.

With this excerpt, Veronika returned to the store to prove that the law was on her side and that her rights should be protected.

As a result, the store employees admitted their incompetence, apologized and returned the woman’s money.

Lawyer’s comment

Tetiana Pliasunova, lawyer at the NGO Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas.

Currently, Ukraine has the conditions for exchanging and returning goods – consumer rights.

Every consumer has a legal opportunity to exchange or return the purchased goods within 14 days if they do not fit for any reason (you are not satisfied with the size, style, color, shape, or dimensions, or there are other reasons why the purchase cannot be used for its intended purpose).

Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Consumer Rights” (the “Law”) provides that goods of good quality may be exchanged if they have not been used and if their presentation, consumer properties, seals and labels are preserved.

The following condition for exchanging goods of good quality is the existence of a payment receipt issued to the consumer together with the sold goods.

A receipt is proof that you bought the goods in this store.

Consumers have the right to exchange goods within 14 days, not counting the day of purchase, unless the seller announces a longer period. Therefore, you should be careful when completing this deadline.

If, at the time of the exchange, a similar product is not on sale, the consumer has the right to:

  • purchase any other product from the available assortment with a corresponding recalculation of the cost;
  • cancel the contract and receive a refund for the value of the returned goods;
  • exchange the goods for similar ones as soon as the goods in question are put on sale (the seller is obliged to inform the consumer who wishes to exchange the goods on the day the goods are put on sale).

Please note that the law guarantees the consumer the possibility to exchange the goods and return them.

In case of termination of the purchase contract, the consumer will be billed based on the value of the goods at the time of purchase. The money paid for the goods is returned to the consumer on the day of the termination of the contract, and if it is impossible to return the money on the day of the termination of the agreement, on another date agreed by the parties but not later than seven days.

However, it should be noted that not all goods can be exchanged and returned.

There is a list of goods that cannot be exchanged or returned. The list of goods of good quality that cannot be exchanged (returned) is provided by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 172 “On Implementation of Certain Provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Consumer Protection”, dated March 19, 1994.

Therefore, only new goods that do not show any signs of use, scratches, dirt, etc., can be exchanged or returned. The goods must be returned in a complete set, with a label, in their original packaging, with the factory markings and accompanying documents.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The publication’s content is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network.

You can get an individual consultation through the Legal Development Network’s online chat. The chat is open daily from 10:00 to 16:00. Assistance is provided by lawyers from human rights organizations that are members of the Legal Development Network.

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