Recent Amendments in Consumer Law
Pursuant to the Law on the Amendment of the Consumer Protection Law and the Property Ownership Law published in the Official Gazette dated April 1, 2022 and numbered 31796, various amendments were made to Consumer Protection Law No. 6502 (“Law”). This newsletter reviews the important changes made in the Law.
Amendments regarding Intermediary Service Providers
In accordance with the amendments made in the Law; various obligations are imposed on intermediary service providers. Accordingly, intermediary service providers (for example: e-commerce platforms and marketplaces) that mediate the establishment of distance contracts are obliged to establish a convenient system for consumers to submit their requests and notifications and to keep the system open without interruption.
Moreover, new liability regimes are regulated in which intermediary service providers will be responsible for the distance contracts they mediate. Accordingly, the intermediary service providers are responsible
- jointly with the seller/supplier for providing, confirming and proving preliminary briefing,
- except for the cases where the data entry is made by the seller/supplier, for the deficiencies in the mandatory issues under the preliminary briefing determined by the regulation,
- for keeping records of the transactions of consumers with the sellers/suppliers due to the issues defined in Article 48 of the Law and for providing this information to the relevant public institutions and organizations and consumers if requested,
- for transactions in which they cause the seller/supplier to act in violation of the provisions in Article 48 of the Law due to activities that breach the intermediary services agreement that they have executed with the seller/supplier,
- jointly with the seller/supplier for their liabilities,
- jointly with the seller/supplier for the cases where the payment is made to the seller/supplier after the goods or services are delivered or performed to the consumer and for the liabilities arising from delivery, performance and withdrawal except for the rights under Article 11 and 15 of the Law,
- for non-performance or inadequate performance of distance contracts, where they have arranged campaigns, promotions or discounted sales without obtaining the seller’s/supplier’s approval,
- for the compliance between the matters in preliminary briefing and the information in advertisements and also their proving.
The Law requires that the rights and obligations of the intermediary service provider, which mediates the establishment of a distance contracts with the supplier, be set forth in a regulation. Another new amendment concerns distance contracts and the performance period for the sale of goods. Before the amendments, the seller was obliged to fulfil its obligations within 30 days at the latest as of the moment is receives the consumer’s order. However, with the recent changes, this time limit will not be applied to the contracts regarding the goods prepared upon the consumer's request or personal needs.
Amendments on Consumer Loan
According to the current legislation, the consumer has the right to withdraw from a consumer loan agreement within 14 days without giving any reason and without paying any penalty, and it is sufficient that the notification regarding the exercising of withdrawal right is addressed to the creditor within the period of the right of withdrawal. Pursuant to the amendments, in case the loan is fully paid before its maturity date and within the period of the right of withdrawal, Article 24 of the Law shall be applied. Moreover, an amendment has been made under Article 26 of the Law regarding the notification requirement for interest rates in loan agreements with indefinite terms. Accordingly, while it was obligatory to notify the consumer in case of a change in the interest rate in indefinite term loan agreements, the consumer will now only be notified in case of an increase in the interest rate. Lastly, amendments regarding consumer loans are introduced under Article 29 of the Law. With regards to credit-linked insurance, the lender shall offer the option of an uninsured loan to the consumer. Moreover, consumer loan agreements shall not be subject to the purchase of ancillary financial products and services except for those related to the loan.
Amendments on Housing Finance
The above-mentioned provisions on credit-linked insurance also apply to housing finance. In other words, housing finance institutions may offer a housing finance contract that includes credit-linked insurance to the consumer, provided that they also offer a contract that does not include credit-linked insurance to the consumer, and the housing financing contract cannot be made conditional on the purchase of ancillary financial products and services except for those related to the loan.
In addition, an explicit provision has been added regarding prepayments for houses, stating that it is obligatory to deliver the house to the consumer within the time promised in the contract. The delivery period, which was previously 36 months, has been increased to 48 months.
Pursuant to the new Article 57/A of the Law, “renewed products” was introduced as a new concept. Renewed products are used goods that are offered for resale by improving their hardware, software or physical properties. Goods determined by the regulation can only be sold as renewed products if they are renewed in centers authorized by the Ministry of Commerce.
Renewed products must be guaranteed for at least one year from the date of delivery to the consumer. However, due to their characteristics, the warranty conditions of some goods may also be determined by the Ministry in another unit of measurement.
The goods to be renewed, the establishment and responsibility of the renewal centers and other implementation procedures and principles will be determined by regulation. In cases where it is necessary to verify that goods with electronic identity information have been used and registered, these verifications shall be made by the Ministry of Commerce, the renewal center and the authorized buyer. This shall be done in accordance with the procedures and principles determined by the Ministry of Commerce, based on the records of the Information Technologies and Communications Authority.
Pursuant to Article 68, the monetary limit of disputes for the application to consumer arbitration committees has been changed to TRY 30,000. It has also become possible to appeal against the decisions of the consumer arbitration committee to the consumer court in the consumer's place of residence. Another amendment is that in case of annulment of the decision due to the submission of information or documents to the consumer court, which were not originally presented to the consumer arbitration committee, no litigation expenses and attorney's fees can be awarded against the consumer.
Finally, the amount of various administrative fines stipulated in the Law has been increased. Also, regarding the new provisions added to the Law (for example, renewed goods), new administrative fines are envisaged.
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