NEWS AND INSIGHT

Amendments to the Consumer Protection Law


04 April 2022

Amendments to the Consumer Protection Law

Amendments to the Consumer Protection Law No. 6502

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Law and Condominium Law was accepted at the General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on March 24, 2022 and it was enacted by the Law No. 7392 by being published in the Official Gazette dated 01 April 2022.

The first amendment made to the Consumer Protection Law No. 6502 (“Law”) is on default of the consumer in installment sales contracts, which is regulated under the Article 19 of the Law. Together with the amendment made, it was provided that the expression "one tenth of the remaining debt" and any other expression in this manner was removed, instead the expression "at least one tenth of the price in the contract" was preferred. In order for the supplier or seller to demand all the remaining installments from the consumer, the consumer must be in default in paying at least two consecutive installments, which correspond to at least one tenth of the price in the contract, not the remaining debt according to this amendment.

With the new sentence added to the Article 24 of the Law, it is stipulated that if the consumer pays the entire loan debt within the right of withdrawal period, there is no need to make an individual notification and the provision of this article will be applicable.

With the amendment made to the Article 26 of the Law, not all revisions related to changes in interest rates in indefinite term loan agreements are subject to a 30-day notification. 30-day notification is applicable to changes only related to interest rate hikes against the consumer. The 30-day notification requirement for changes in interest discounts to be made in favor of the consumer has been abolished.

With the amendments made to the Article 29 of the Law, it is stipulated that the creditor can only offer a loan contract that includes a credit-linked insurance if the creditor offers a contract that does not include a credit-linked insurance. In addition, it has been regulated that the submission of a consumer loan agreement by the creditor cannot be made conditional on the purchase of ancillary financial products and services, excluding those related to the loan.

The amendments made to the Article 38 of the Law on the provision of insurance, sub-financial products and services regarding housing finance are in line with the amendments made to the Article 29. Offering a contract that includes credit-linked insurance is also conditional on the submission of an alternative that does not include credit-linked insurance in this case. In addition, the purchase of ancillary financial products and services that are not related to the loan cannot be claimed as a condition for the establishment of the loan agreement.

With the amendment made in the Article 44 of the Law, the maximum delivery period for prepaid housing sales has been increased from thirty-six months to forty-eight months from the date of the contract. It is also stipulated that the delivery of the prepaid housing to the consumer within the time promised in the contract is obligatory.

With the amendment made in paragraph 3 of the Article 48 of the Law, it is understood that the limit for the seller or supplier to perform their 30-day performance regarding consumer orders received through distance sales contracts has been extended for "contracts regarding goods prepared in line with the consumer's request or personal needs".

With the amendment made in the fifth paragraph of the same article, e-commerce companies are obliged to establish an uninterrupted open system for the transmission of requests and notifications from consumers. In addition, those defined as intermediary service providers are responsible;

a) jointly and severally with the seller or supplier for the provision, confirmation and proof of preliminary information to the consumer,

b) for the deficiencies in the matters determined by the regulation and which must be included in the preliminary information, except for the cases where the data entry is made by the seller or the supplier,

c) for keeping the records of the consumers’ transactions with the sellers or suppliers related to the issues in this article, and providing this information to the relevant public institutions and organizations and consumers upon request,

ç) for every transaction in which they violate the agreement on the provision of intermediary services with the seller or supplier, and causing the seller or supplier to act in violation of the provisions of this article,

d) in case of collection of the payment on behalf of the seller or the supplier, severally and jointly with the seller or the supplier for  the delivery or performance and the obligations regarding the right of withdrawal, except for the cases where the payment is transferred to the seller or the supplier after the delivery or performance of the goods or services to the consumer, and the consumer’s exercise of the optional rights in case defective performance of goods or services set forth in Articles 11 and 15 of the Law.

e) for not performing the contract at all or properly where campaigns, promotions or discounts are organized without the approval of the seller or supplier.

f) for the compatibility and proof of the matters in the preliminary information and the information in the advertisements.

With the amendment made in the Article 50, time-share vacation sales made with financial leasing are also included in the scope of the provision. In addition, apart from the relevant provisions of the Condominium Law, the establishment of time-share vacation agreements with the consumers that provide real rights related to the ownership share has been prevented. The right to time-share vacation cannot be granted by means of a cooperative or trading company partnership or membership of an association or foundation. Those who do not have real rights on the property subject to time-share vacation cannot sell time-share vacation. Before the expiry of the 14-day withdrawal period, any document that puts the consumer in debt cannot be requested, and in the event that any payment is received from the consumer despite this prohibition, the payment received will be returned to the consumer immediately. Any document that puts the consumer in debt is also invalid for the consumer.

Prepaid time-share vacation contracts cannot be established with consumers, including contracts that give time-share property rights. With the exception of contracts that give time-share property rights, time-share vacation contracts can be established for a maximum of ten years.

If the consumer notifies the provider at least ninety days before the start of the vacation that he will not use the holiday right which is arising from the time-share vacation contracts that provide personal rights for a certain period, the consumer will not be able to be charged under any name for that period.

Refurbished products are defined with the 57/A provision which is added to the Law with the amendment. It is obligatory to give a guarantee of at least 1 year from the delivery of the refurbished goods to the consumer.

In addition to obtaining a service adequacy certificate within the scope of after-sales services, manufacturers and importers are obligated to keep up-to-date information about all authorized service stations in the system created by the Ministry.

Service stations operating independently from any manufacturer or importer are required to use the phrase "special service" in a way that can be easily seen and read in all kinds of media and activities.

If the after-sales service is not provided by the manufacturer or importer during the service life determined by the Ministry after the warranty period expires, the consumer will be able to claim compensation for the damage.

With the amendment, the upper limit for applications to the consumer arbitral tribunals was increased to thirty thousand Turkish Liras. In disputes over thirty thousand Turkish Liras, no application can be made to consumer arbitral tribunals.

If there is no consumer arbitral tribunal in the area, applications will be made to the local district governorships of that district. With the new regulation, the parties will be able to make an objection to the decision of the consumer arbitral tribunal within fifteen days, before the consumer court where the consumer arbitral tribunal is located, as well as to the consumer court in the consumer’s residence.

In case of annulment of the decision due to the submission of an information or document to the consumer court, which is not presented to the consumer arbitral tribunal although it is available, no litigation expenses and attorney's fees shall be awarded against the consumer.

Administrative fines regulated by penal provisions have been increased in general. In the event that the actions and activities within the context of commercial advertisement and unfair commercial practices in scope of the Article 61 are carried out over the internet, the Advertisement Board may decide to block access regarding the broadcast, section or part where the relevant violation occurred. However, in cases where it is not technically possible to block access to the infringing content or the violation cannot be prevented by blocking access to the relevant content, the Advertisement Board can also decide to block access to the entire website.