The Vilnius store did not give the opportunity to return the product to a person from Vilnius who purchased a defective product at a low price in the Mere store. This is because the store has to get permission from the administration, which is in Poland, and the return form is only in Russian.

As soon as you enter the "Mere" store of the Russian capital "Sfetofor" in Vilnius, you are greeted by lines of people looking for cheaper goods from Russia and Belarus. They are convinced that the prices of goods there are much lower.

For example, a kilogram of skinless Nile tilapia fillets costs 7 euros 80 cents, when the average price of this fish elsewhere is 13 euros. Russians also tempt buyers with cheaper meat products, sweets, household and electronic appliances from Russia or China.

The family of Julijons from Vilnius was also tempted by the low price, which bought battery-powered grass and brush shears for almost 19 euros. True, after returning home, it turned out that the scissors were defective. And when he wanted to return them back to the store, Julijonas found out that he would not have such an opportunity, because the store has to get permission from the administration, which is in Poland, and the return form is in Russian.

The store explains that this rule is due to the fact that the Polish company Tools World Polska only understands forms filled in Cyrillic.

Decisions are made by Moscow

"It was decided to return the product to the supermarket. When the product was delivered, a form in Russian was received. When I asked why the form was in such a language, the answer was that our owner is a Pole, a Polish company: Poles do not understand English or Lithuanian, so this is done only in Russian," says Julijonas, a resident of Vilnius. 

And the main argument of the store, why the product cannot be accepted back, is that the shopping center has to consult with the authorities in Moscow about the situation. 

"It was clearly emphasized that the authorities should be consulted. On closer examination, the power is in Moscow. It's simply a statement that they need to consult with Moscow to make a decision on returning the goods," says Julijonas. 

The store itself refused to explain the situation to the public and gave an answer by e-mail that the store does not give any comments or interviews either in writing or verbally. 

No official complaint was received

According to the State Consumer Rights Protection Service, every manufacturer, seller, service provider must provide information about goods and services in the national language, so such a form is a violation of consumer rights.

Also, the goods must be labeled in Lithuanian, that is, the information about the goods, its composition, instructions must be written in the national language.  

"The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language oversees all paperwork, that is, the documents that are produced and available in Lithuania, they must be in the Lithuanian language. If we, as a service, received such a complaint, we would first of all contact the Commission for the provision of a conclusion, we would forward it and certainly, even likely, it would be a violation and we would be punished", says Goda Aleksaitė, director of the service. 

Unfortunately, according to the State Consumer Rights Protection Service, it has not yet received a single official complaint about the improperly functioning business. He wonders if the customers of the Russian store do not complain about the language barrier, or are they satisfied with the services.

And as the interviewed compatriots claim, although not everyone likes such a range of Russian and Belarusian goods, the opportunity to save one euro makes people forget about the war and in Ukraine people being killed.  

There is no difference for residents

When residents are asked if they know that they are shopping in a Russian store, the interviewers answer:

"Oh man dalampački".

"And what makes the food taste bad?"

The Russian trade network entered Lithuania back in 2019, when Beautiful opened the first store. Currently, there are already more than 20 stores of this brand in Lithuania: in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Telšiai and other Lithuanian cities.

"Mere" stores in Lithuania are managed by Vilnius-registered UAB "Valientė", whose representatives also refuse to comment on anything related to this Russian chain.

Source: Gabriele Jankauskaitė,

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