Q4/2017 Consumer Goods & Retail
Regulation on Consumer Rights in Electronic Communication (“Regulation”) has been published in the Official Gazette dated September 28, 2017 and numbered 30224. Under Article 5 of the Regulation, consumers must be informed about tariffs and discounts, and secure access to the internet by the operator. Under Article 7 of the Regulation, in cases which the operator fulfills a periodic or continuous service or procurement of goods, a subscription agreement is to be made between parties.
The Regulation on Principles and Rules regarding the Retail Trade has been published in Official Gazette dated August 6, 2016 and numbered 29793. The object of the new regulation is to specify the principles and rules regarding the retail trade and the procedures and principles regarding the audit and sanctions relating to retail trade. Right to request of grand stores and chain stores and dealers or specially authorized operations for bonus and price from the manufacturer or supplier; period of payment in the sales transactions made between the manufacturers or suppliers and retail operations are regulated under new regulation. The new regulation also stipulates the procedures and principles of sales of store branded products, sales campaign, shopping fests, discounted sales and products subjected to the continuous discounted sales.
Another topic regulated under new regulation is working days and hours of retail operations. As per Article 13 of the new regulation, determination of working days and hours shall be made by the governor at provincial level and by the Ministry of Customs and Trade at national level.
Regulation on Shopping Centers (the “Regulation”) has been published in the Official Gazette dated February 26, 2016 and numbered 29636. The scope of this Regulation is to settle the qualifications and determine the procedures and principles in respect of opening, operating, inspection, project design and authorization of shopping centers. Additionally, the Regulation details the properties of common use areas and its minimum standards and the procedures in respect of bearing its expenses.
The Regulation on Approval and Registration Procedure of Nutriment Enterprises (“the Regulation”) (published in the Official Gazette dated December 17, 2011 and numbered 28145) has been amended. The amendment extends the deadline from December 31, 2015 to July 1, 2016 in respect of obtaining approval for the enterprises of which the working license, nutriment registry certificate or the equivalents have been obtained prior to the date of the Regulation.
The Communiqué on Administrative Fines applicable for the year 2016 as per Article 77 of the Law on Protection of the Consumer has been published by Ministry of Customs and Trade in the Official Gazette dated December 20, 2015 and numbered 29568. Pursuant to the Communiqué, the lower limit and the upper limit of administrative fines stated in the Article 77/19 have been increased from TL 25.000 – TL 100.000 to TL 29.063 – TL 116.254.138.
The Regulation Regarding Contracts Executed Outside of Workplace (the “Regulation”) has been published by the Ministry of Customs and Trade (O.G. January 14, 2015, 29236). The Regulation entails that a direct sales company must receive an Authorization Certificate from the Ministry of Customs and Trade in order to engage in direct sales and accordingly the sales contracts must be in writing to be valid. The Authorization Certificate is valid for 2 years and in the event of non-compliance with the Regulation, the Authorization Certificate of the direct sales company shall be cancelled and will not be renewed for a year; the cancellation shall be made public on the Ministry website. The consumer has a right to withdraw from the sales contract without cause or penalty within 14 days under Article 8 of the Regulation. In the event that the vendor is not in compliance with the legislation or fails in its statutory duties to provide information to the consumer, the consumer’s right of withdrawal without cause or penalty shall be applicable beyond the statutory 14 day period. Following from the above, and with the rapid expansion of the direct sales market in Turkey, it is stated that the government has increased its efforts to regulate this area.
Regulation Regarding Subscription Agreements (O.G. January 24, 2015, 29246) (the “Regulation”) has been published by the Ministry of Customs and Trade in order to be effective as of 3 months upon the date of its publication. Accordingly, the delivery of a copy of the subscription agreement to the consumer has been made mandatory as indicated in Article 5 of the Regulation. Furthermore, pursuant to Article 13, the subscription agreements could only be extended upon the approval or request of the consumer. Additionally, Article 21 entails the right of consumers to terminate subscription agreements with indefinite term or which has a term of more than one year without justification and without paying any penalties for breach of the contract. Accordingly, Article 16 sets a limit to the amount the consumer is indebted in the event of termination of the subscription agreement by the consumer before the termination date.
Law Regarding Regulation of Retail Trade (Law No. 6585) (O.G. January 24, 2015, 29236) (the “Law”) has been published in order to be effective as of its date of publication. Pursuant to Article 4 and Article 5 of the Law, retailers are obliged to submit the required application and perform the necessary transactions in order to obtain licenses regarding opening and working through a retail information system named PERBİS which is to be established by the Ministry of Customs and Trade. Furthermore, as per Article 7 the payments arising from the sales between manufacturer or suppliers and retailers for fast moving consumer goods which deteriorate within 30 days cannot exceed 30 days upon delivery date. Lastly, the Law also regulates administrative fines in case of non-compliance with the rules set out therein.
Regulation Regarding Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices (O.G. January 10, 2015, 29232) (the “Regulation”) has been published by the Ministry of Customs and Trade in order to be effective as of the date of publication except for Article 8 which shall be effective as of one year upon publication, whereas the previous regulation (O.G. June 14, 2003, 25138) has been abolished on the same date. The Regulation includes more detailed provisions such as advertisements regarding children, implicit advertisements and written and oral visuals in advertisements. Furthermore, the regulation has also covered the subject of unfair commercial practices regarding customers in Articles 28 and further.
Pursuant to the Amendment to the Article 70 of the Consumer Protection Law (published in the Official Gazette dated November 28, 2013 and numbered 28835) by the Omnibus Bill, no payment of attorney fee shall be determined by the arbitration committee for consumer problems.