Russia's Association for the Protection of Consumers' Rights filed a lawsuit against JSC Russian Orthodox Church. The compound of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior acts as the defendant on the case, Interfax reports.
"The move to take a legal action against the Church was based on regular violations of consumer rights legislation, which the Church committed in its commercial activities," the press release from the Association said.
Specialists of the Association carried out an inspection of commercial activities in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The work was conducted as a response to numerous complaints from consumers. As a result, the specialists determined that there were the following enterprises operating on the territory of the Cathedral: car washing and tire fitting shops, a car service station, a paid parking area, a canteen, dry cleaning and commercial kiosks selling jewelry, souvenirs, kitchenware, wearing apparel and other goods. Separate facilities of the Cathedral can be rented for various events.
"As a matter of fact, there is a whole business center operating on the territory of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and this center provides a variety of commercial offers to consumers. However, there is no sign on the building of the business center that would display the information about the seller, its name, location and work hours. The sign that they have - "Cathedral of Christ the Savior" - does not meet the requirements of the law for commercial facilities," the press release said.
"It is obvious that car washing services that presumably employ natives of Asian republics can not be referred to as religious rituals, just like other similar services. Therefore, they should be regulated by secular laws, rather than the charter of a religious organization," the press release said.
The inspection also revealed other violations. There is no information about the rules of the sale of goods; no price tags on the goods indicating their name, sort and price; no signature of materially responsible individuals. No company seals are used, no price tag registration dates are provided, there is no mandatory information for certain goods, review and suggestion books are not provided. Consumers do not receive sales receipts and other documents confirming the fact and terms of purchase.
The lawsuit from the Association for the Protection of Consumers' Rights claims that the Cathedral of Christ the Savior should stop taking illegal actions that violate the rights of the indefinite range of consumers.
The activities of the Cathedral are maintained owing to the Foundation of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Foundation administers the bakery, the canteen, the dry cleaning, the car wash station and the parking area. It also organizes excursions and rents vacant facilities of the Cathedral.
"In spite of the that that the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations are separated from the state, their activities, including commercial activities, are regulated by the Russian legislation. The legal relationship that arises from the acquisition of goods in a church shop shall be regulated by the law "About the Protection of Consumers' Rights," the press release from the Association said.