The working group was led by Member of the State Council Presidium, Governor of Kurgan Region Alexei Kokorin and Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Anna Popova. The working group includes heads of federal executive bodies, heads of several Russian regions, representatives of public associations and expert and business communities.
The working group analysed legislation in the sphere of consumer rights protection and law enforcement practices and identified problem areas, in which consumers are least protected.
New challenges for the national system of consumer rights protection include developing global markets of goods and services, and taking consumer legal relations online. Spheres that require close attention in terms of consumer protection include financial services, e-commerce and cross-border trade in goods and services.
In this regard, the working group has developed proposals to reduce the debt burden on microfinance institution borrowers, to toughen responsibility for the illegal provision of microloans and to identify and block access to websites that are used to commit fraudulent activities in the sphere of e-commerce and financial markets.
In addition, for a variety of reasons, socially vulnerable categories, such as children, senior citizens and people with disabilities, require additional protection. According to the working group, special measures should be put in place to protect the rights of these categories.
Consumer education, including consultations on consumer rights, should continue at multifunctional service centres.
An analysis of the dynamics of court cases in the sphere of consumer rights protection showed that consumers are becoming increasingly assertive when it comes to protecting their rights and file claims with the manufacturers and providers of low-quality goods and services. The number of consumer protection lawsuits taken to court over the past five years has almost tripled. At the same time, the working group noted that rapid increases in the number of court cases are partially due to the underdeveloped institution of pre-trial dispute settlement in the sphere of consumer protection.
The work resulted in a proposal to develop a state policy of the Russian Federation in the sphere of consumer protection for the period until 2030, harmonised with the Guidelines for Consumer Protection approved by the UN on December 22, 2015, and designed to create a suitable environment for consumers to exercise their rights, and an effective system for protecting the right of Russian consumers to access safe and high-quality goods and services.