04.02.2021 — Focusing of Company’s Activities on Russian Market Allows its Clients to Submit Claims to Russian Courts

In one recent case the Supreme Court confirmed that the Russian consumers may submit claims against a foreign company to the state courts in Russia even if a foreign company has no representative office in Russia. A consumer has such a right if the company’s activities are focused on the Russian market, in particular, if goods are purchased by a buyer via the Russian client-oriented website.

In the case at hand the Russian consumer claimed the termination of the agreement concluded with the Belorussian dental clinic due to the defects in the provided services. The lower courts refused to accept the claim since the defendant was a foreign legal entity that had no representative office in Russia, and the consumer did not prove that the company’s activities were focused on the Russian consumers (in particular, the company’s website did not have the Russian domain “.ru”).

However, the Supreme Court did not agree with the lower courts and reversed the courts’ decisions. The Supreme Court emphasized that the courts in Russia may review the cases involving foreign entities if the defendant publishes the advertisement directed at attracting the attention of the Russian consumers. Such direction may be evidenced by the use of the Russian language on the company’s website, provision of price information in Russian rubles, publication of contact details, in particular, phone numbers with the Russian codes, as well as other analogous evidence, for example, if the owner of the website has ordered the services directed at increasing the citation of his website among the Russian Internet users (see the Decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated 15 December 2020 No. 34-КГ20-6-К3).