Scary soup: why Russians are suing cafes and restaurants

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A lawsuit and penalties from Rospotrebnadzor threaten the Cofix coffee chain after an antiseptic was sold to a visitor in an institution on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow instead of water. The girl filed a complaint, and her relatives went to the police. Legal battles between catering establishments and outraged customers have long ceased to be a rarity in Russia. For what today they most often demand compensation and what is consumer terrorism – in the material of “Izvestia”.

Across the throat

The Rakhmilevich Sugar company, which owns the Cofix coffee chain, faces a half-million fine after a Muscovite poisoned herself last week at the brand’s establishment on Manezhnaya Square. Presumably, the girl was sold an antiseptic instead of water. An administrative investigation of the territorial department of Rospotrebnadzor revealed a number of violations of sanitary and epidemiological norms. Under Part 2 of Art. 6.3 of the Administrative Offenses Code of the Russian Federation network, in addition to an impressive fine, is threatened with suspension of activities for up to 90 days – the decision will be made by the Tverskoy Court of Moscow.

The scar left under the eye of a boy who was injured in the play area of ​​one of the restaurants in Yekaterinburg

A scar left under the eye of a boy who was injured in the play area of ​​one of the restaurants in Yekaterinburg

Photo: archive of the injured boy’s family /

Such stories unfold not only in the capital. Earlier this year, a family from Yekaterinburg tried to collect 200,000 rubles from a local restaurant, where their three-year-old child received a small cut under the eye in the children’s room. A boy was injured while playing with another child in the presence of an animator. The employees processed the cut, apologized to the family, called in the doctors, offered not to pay the dinner bill (about 3800 rubles) and compensation of 10,000 rubles, which they considered reasonable. The parents, however, did not agree with this option for resolving the conflict situation. They went to court, reinforcing their claims by the fact that the incident affected the child’s behavior – the boy, they say, became afraid of being in children’s rooms and being alone with strangers. The court agreed with the arguments of the plaintiffs, but reduced the amount of compensation and ordered the restaurant to pay 60 thousand rubles in compensation for moral damage.

It is necessary to warn

A visit to the Ulyanovsk coffee house almost cost the life of a local resident, Tatyana Zavarikhina, a member of the Russian Lawyers’ Association, told Izvestia.

– The girl was severely allergic to all types of nuts. Naturally, she warned the staff about this when placing the order. They assured that there were no nuts in the dishes she took. But the sandwich ordered by our client, as it turned out later, was soaked in peanut sauce. The reaction followed very quickly – the woman’s face was swollen, Quincke’s edema began in the evening, her voice disappeared and blisters appeared on her skin. I had to call an ambulance.

Walnut cookies with boiled condensed milk

Photo: Depositphotos

The lawyers helped the victim to collect 40 thousand rubles from the institution. The coffee shop’s appeal was dismissed.

A similar case took place in Karelia. There, a client of the restaurant ordered a meat cutlet, warning that she could not tolerate chicken protein. The girl was served the ordered dish, but it contained traces of a product dangerous for her. The result is Quincke’s edema and hospitalization. An inspection by Rospotrebnadzor revealed a violation of the rules for storing food – meat and chicken were in the same refrigerator, which is strictly prohibited. The court sided with the plaintiff, she received 100 thousand rubles in compensation.

“Terrorists” in the hall

It happens, however, that too picky citizens try to enrich themselves at the expense of public catering establishments. This behavior is commonly referred to as “consumer terrorism,” and its examples are increasingly encountered in domestic judicial practice.

In Cherepovets, a visitor filed a lawsuit against the owners of the restaurant because the salad lacked “the love of a cook.” However, the restaurateurs were able to prove that the ingredient was there. It turned out to be a dressing made from mustard, oil, honey, wine vinegar and spices. For moral suffering, the client intended to receive 8,000 rubles, but the court refused to satisfy the claim.

Dissatisfied customer in a restaurant

Photo: Depositphotos

There are also enough crooks who have made it their hobby not to pay the bills. And there are those who openly extort money from employees and restaurant owners.

– If any dispute arises between a consumer and a restaurateur over a dish, the company often tries to localize the conflict situation. Even if the administrator feels that he is an adventurer, the dish remains at the expense of the institution. If the conflict continues to escalate, no invoice is issued at all. And if there is no account, there is no problem. In some cases, establishments even offer a compliment, – explained the head of the Association Igor Bukharov, President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia.

A big and intractable problem, according to the restaurateur, is represented by people who deliberately refuse to pay the bill, knowing full well that they are wrong.

The waitress holds out the folder with the invoice

Photo: Depositphotos

– A person comes, eats, is not going to pay, creates a conflict. And even if the administration of the institution calls the police, they shrug their shoulders: they say there is a civil dispute, go to court. Often, nothing is even formalized after such a call, – Bukharov complains.

It also plays into the hands of crooks that self-respecting restaurateurs try not to advertise such scandals, so as not to damage the reputation of the institution.

Treaty at the table

According to lawyer Victoria Dechkina, having come to a restaurant and ordering from the menu, a citizen joins the public contract and becomes a party to this transaction in accordance with Art. 426 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

– Consequently, he is obliged to pay for the ordered dishes in accordance with the prices stated in the menu. If the client refuses to pay the bill, then he is violating his obligations under Art. 309 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. In this case, the restaurant may call the police officers. If they determine on the spot that the client, by his unlawful actions, caused property damage to the owner of the restaurant by deception or abuse of trust in the absence of signs of a criminal offense, then a protocol on an administrative offense is drawn up under Art. 7.27 of the Administrative Code.

Served table

Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

The sanction of the article provides for a fine of up to five times the cost of the damage caused, but not less than 5,000 rubles.

– In a situation where a client wanted to pay an invoice, but forgot his bank card at home or the client has a bank card, but the restaurant only accepts cash, I recommend that clients write a receipt indicating the reasons for non-payment of the invoice, indicate the period during which the invoice will be paid, and give it to the restaurant employees under signature, – says the lawyer. – Relevant explanations must be indicated in the protocol on an administrative offense, if one is drawn up. In this case, bring the client to administrative responsibility under Art. 7.27 of the Administrative Code will not be possible. The restaurant, in turn, may apply to the court with the requirement to collect money from the client for the service that was provided to him.