All provisions of the Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Protection of Consumers and the Condominium Law (“Law”), that was published in the Official Gazette dated 01.04.2022 and numbered 31796, entered into force on 01.10.2022.
Significant amendments have been made in the Consumer Protection Law numbered 6502 (“TKHK”), in matters such as distance contracts, insurance and ancillary financial products and services, installment sales contracts, right of withdrawal, refurbished products, liabilities of intermediary service providers, consumer disputes, and administrative sanctions. Some of these amendments entered into force on 01.04.2022, the date of publication of the Law in the Official Gazette, and the rest of them entered into force as of 01.10.2022. These amendments are mainly as follows:
- Distance Contracts
As stated in the justification of the Law, liabilities of sellers/intermediary service providers towards consumers are regulated, and some additional liabilities are provided considering that most of the distance contracts are made through the intermediary service providers operating as e-commerce platforms,.
The scope of the liabilities of intermediary service providers has been regulated in detail with the Law and some additional liabilities have been introduced. Intermediary service providers, who mediate the establishment of distance contracts on behalf of the seller or provider with the system they have created, regarding the distance contracts they mediate, shall be jointly and severally responsible with the seller or provider for the provision, confirmation, and proof of preliminary information to the consumer.
In addition to this, except the situation in which the data entry is made by the seller or the provider, it shall be jointly and severally responsible with the seller or provider for deficiencies in the obligatory matters to be stated by the Distance Contracts Regulation (“Regulation”); keeping records of transactions made by consumers with seller or provider regarding distance contracts and, if requested, this information is given to the relevant public institutions and organizations and consumers; every transaction in which sellers and providers cause them to act contrary to the provisions of article 48 of the TKHK, which regulates distance contracts, due to their practices against the contract regarding the intermediary service they have made with the seller or the provider; in the event that a price is collected on behalf of the seller or the provider, obligations regarding the right of withdrawal with delivery or performance, excluding the cases where the price is transferred to the seller or the provider after the delivery or performance of the goods or services to the consumer, and the use of the rights arising from the defectiveness of the goods or services.
Additionally, in campaigns, promotions or discounted sales organized without the approval of the seller or provider, it is also responsible for not performing the contract at all or duly, and for the compatibility and proof of the matters in the preliminary information and the information in its advertisements.
In addition to these obligations, intermediary service providers are obliged to establish a convenient system and to keep this system open uninterruptedly so that consumers can submit and follow their requests and notifications regarding the issues determined by the Regulation during the usage period of the rights and obligations arising from the distance contracts established through the system they have created.
In case the intermediary service provider violates the above obligations, an administrative fine is issued for each transaction or contract that is found to be in violation.
Article 48 of the TKHK stipulates a period of 30 (thirty) days for the delivery of the good in contracts for the sale of goods. However, with the amendments made, distance contracts regarding the goods prepared in line with the consumer’s request or personal needs are excluded from the 30-day period.
The amendments to the Regulation on Distance Contracts, that were published in the Official Gazette dated 23.08.2022, entered into force on 01.10.2022. You can access the amendments to the Regulation here.
- Refurbished Products
Since it is aimed to establish a savings-oriented consumption approach for sustainable and effective resource management and to bring the products that have not completed their economic life to the economy by improving their hardware, software, or physical features, in the face of rapid change and transformation in electronic products, a new article which is titled “Refurbished Products” has been added to the TKHK. Refurbished products are defined as used goods offered for resale by improving their hardware, software or physical features in the Law. It is obligatory to provide a minimum of 1 (one) year warranty from the date of delivery of these products to the consumer and in addition, due to its nature, the Ministry of Commerce has been authorized to determine the warranty conditions of some goods with another unit of measurement such as kilometers, hours and units.
Additionally, in order to ensure safe shopping for consumers, especially used mobile phones, computers, and tablets, which will be determined by the Regulation, it has been stipulated that such products must be renewed in centers authorized by the Ministry of Commerce in order to be sold as refurbished products. In this regard, it has become mandatory for the renewal centers to obtain an authorization certificate from the Ministry of Commerce.
It has been regulated that an administrative fine will be applied to those who carry out renewal activities without an authorization certificate regarding the products that require a renewal authorization certificate, and an administrative fine will be applied for each transaction regarding the contradictions and deficiencies determined in the sale of refurbished products.
- Insurance and Ancillary Financial Products and Services
With the amendments made in the TKHK, it is aimed to limit the offering of insurance and ancillary financial products and services that consumers do not need, as a credit usage condition in consumer and mortgage loans, and to be able immediately to apply changes in the interest rate in favor of the consumer in consumer loans with an indefinite duration such as overdraft accounts and credit cards and to ensure the refund of the fees and expenses paid by the consumers by applying the withdrawal provisions without notice in case of early payment of the entire loan debt in consumer and mortgage loans, and reduce the cost of the loan by returning the fees and expenses paid by the consumers.
In this respect, in order to offer a contract that includes credit-linked insurance by the creditor and the housing finance institution to the consumer, it is obligatory to offer the uninsured loan option to the consumer at the same time. In addition, it has become obligatory for the consumer to accept the warranty provided by the insurance company of the consumer’s choice by the creditor and the housing finance institution. Thus, with the new regulation, a consumer protective limitation has been introduced.
The amendments to the Regulation on Consumer Credit Contracts, that were published in the Official Gazette dated 23.09.2022, entered into force on 01.10.2022. You can access the amendments to the Regulation here.
- Installment Sales Contracts
According to the old regulation in the TKHK, in the case of the consumer’s default in paying the installments in the installment sales contracts made with the consumers, if the seller reserves the right to demand the performance of the entire remaining debt, the seller could use this right when the consumer did not pay at least two consecutive installments that made up at least one-tenth of the remaining debt. However, it is aimed to change the conditions for making the entire debt due in default in installment sales contracts in favor of the consumer with the Law. Accordingly, with the amendment made in the TKHK, the expression of at least one-tenth of the remaining debt has been replaced with “at least one-tenth of the debt in the contract”. Thus, in order to demand the performance of the consumer’s remaining debt in installment sales contracts, in addition to other conditions, a regulation has been made in favor of the consumer to consider the price in the contract instead of the remaining debt.
- Right of Withdrawal
According to the TKHK, consumers have the right to withdraw from the loan agreement within 14 (fourteen) days without giving any reason and paying any penalty. With the Law, it is accepted that consumers who pay the entire loan debt early within the withdrawal period use their right of withdrawal. Thus, the obligation to notify the creditor within the withdrawal period has been eliminated in order to be deemed to have used the right of withdrawal of the consumer, who has repaid the entire debt within the 14 (fourteen) day withdrawal period.
- Consumer Disputes
With the amendment made in the TKHK, it is aimed to make regulations that will increase efficiency and productivity and cover more consumer transactions in the consumer arbitration committees, which were established as an easily accessible non-judicial decision-making authority for the fair, fast, simple and low-resource resolution of consumer disputes.Before the amendment, consumer arbitration committees were in charge of disputes under 15,430 Turkish Liras for the year 2022, but with the amendment made, this monetary value was increased to 30.000 Turkish Liras. Thus, more disputes were resolved quickly, simply and with the least possible expense.
In addition to this, with the law, in places where there is no consumer arbitration committee, it is possible to make applications to the district governorship, since consumers do not suffer any loss of rights. After the application is made to the district governorship, the district governorship will forward the application to the authorized consumer arbitration committee.
- Administrative Sanctions
With the amendments made to the article titled “Penalty Provisions” in the TKHK, some administrative fines envisaged for cases of illegality have been rearranged by taking into account the act, the fault of the perpetrator, and the economic situation, and by considering the principles of proportionality, and deterrence.
- The Board of Advertisement is Authorized to Block Access to the Content Published on Internet
The Board of Advertisement will be able to award to block direct access to the content published via satellite broadcasts if the content violates the regulations. Thus, the process of issuing an administrative sanction was shortened and the administration carried out the procedures quickly and effectively.
You may access the Law on the Amendment of the Consumer Protection Law and the Condominium Law by this link:
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Authors: Bilge Derinbay, Hande Ülker Pehlivan, Mahmut Ramazan Ertaş