Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Consumers
Article 3(e) of the Law on the Protection of Consumers No.4077, currently in effect, provides that “Consumers are real persons or legal entities who acquire, use or utilize a commodity or a service for non-commercial or non-professional purposes”. Although the Law on the Protection of Consumers No.6502, enacted on 07.11.2013 and to become effective as of 07.05.2014, systematically follows the basis of the Law No.4077, when carefully examined, it can be seen that it introduces many changes with respect to consumer rights and scope, also providing that associations and foundations are also to be considered as consumers. The regulations on unfair terms for the typesof
agreements that are fully introduced to our law systematic with the Turkish Code of Obligations No.6098 are also included within the context of the Law No.6502, providing significant legal protection to consumers, who may experience difficulties against pre-drafted agreements. Pursuant to the new regulation, agreement provisions that have not been previously negotiated with consumers will be void. Since the Law No.6502 do not impose limitations for any specific type of agreements, is would include disputes that may arise from any kind of agreements (artwork, transportation, construction, sale, etc.)
that any consumer is a party to, and Consumer Arbitration Committees and Consumer Courts will be authorized for the resolution of such disputes. Specific regulations are seen to have been introduced in matters such as residential financing agreements, distance agreements, individual banking transactions, residence sales with prepayment, personal guarantee in consumer transactions, etc., that consumers suffer the most unjust treatment and loss of rights. Despite the fact that the acceleration clause in the Law No.6502 is regulated in line with the Law No.4077, the New Law provides that, in order to be held responsible for the repayment of the complete loan amount, the
consumer should have defaulted in the repayment of two consecutive instalments, and a warning should have been served to the consumer, clearly indicating the instalment amounts, providing the consumer a payment period not less than thirty days. In the case of a default, the consumer will be responsible only for the principal amount. The Law No.6502 also provides that no fees may be charged for early payment. Amounts such as expenses, commissions, etc. that are charged to consumers by financial institutions for consumer loans and are not explicitly covered by the Law No.4077 currently in effect will be clearly specified with a regulation to be issued on the practice of the Law No.6502, and will be documented, provided that the limits specified in the regulation may not be exceeded in any manner whatsoever. As with all consumer transactions, the personal guarantee to be provided in consumer loans should be in the form of an ordinary guarantee, joint guarantees will, if able to survive without the joint guarantee provisions of the agreement, continue to be in effect as ordinary guarantees. In such a case, the finance institution will not be allowed to have recourse to the guarantor without first taking legal action against the defaulting consumer. In consumer loans, finance institutions will not be allowed to make insurance on the loan unilaterally, without explicit written request from the consumer. In distance agreements, the 7-day period granted to the consumer by the current law with regard to his unconditional withdrawal right is extended to 14 days with the new law. "Commercial Advertising" and "Unjust Commercial Practices" are two new concepts that are not covered by the current Law No.4077, and are introduced with the Law No.6502. It is provided that any advertising activity performed without stating that such activity is
advertisement shall be deemed as implicit advertising, which is expressly forbidden through any communication media. Any commercial practice that is misleading, offensive or against specifications provided in the regulation are deemed to be unjust and are forbidden. The 30-day period provided in the Law No.4077 for the notification of defective goods to the seller is annulled, and Law No.6502 defines defect 2 as any deficiency of quality or quantity. According to the new Law, any defect detected within 6 months will be deemed to have existed at the time of purchase, whereas the prescription period is set as 2 years (for real estate, 5 years). The payment period for administrative fines to the consumer, which, pursuant to the current law, is 1 month following the date of notification, is amended as 30 days with the new Law. In addition, the Law No.4077 authorizes the Advertisement Committee and the Ministry for the enforcement of the administrative sanctions, whereas the Law No.6502 exclusively appoints such function to the Advertisement Committee. The Article "Residential Sale Agreements with Prepayment" of the Law No.6502 provides that such agreements must be annotated onto the real estate registry, preliminary sales agreements should be notarized, building license is a condition precedent for residential sale agreements with prepayment, and delivery periods may not exceed 36 months. The Arbitration Committee for Consumer Problems is changed as Consumer Arbitration Committee, and the 1191.52 TL monetary limit imposed by the Law No.4077 was also amended. As per the current regulation, the Arbitration Committee for Consumer Problems is authorized for the resolution of disputes up to the said amount, whereas the Consumer Courts are authorized for disputes exceeding such limit. Objections regarding Committee decisions may be made with the Consumer Court within 15 days, and the decision of the Consumer Court will be final. The Law No.6502 provides that, the District Consumer Arbitration Committee will be authorized for the resolution of disputes up to 2000 TL, the Provincial Consumer Arbitration Committee will be authorized for disputes up to 3000 TL, for provinces with metropolitan status, the
Provincial Consumer Arbitration Committee will be authorized for disputes between 2000 TL and 3000 TL, and Consumer Courts will be authorized for disputes exceeding 3000 TL. It is expressly provided that decisions of the Provincial and District Arbitration Committees have the status of a writ, such decisions are subject to objection with the Consumer Court of the place where such committeesoperate, and such decisions may not be appealed.