The law amending the law on consumer protection and land ownership numbered 7392 [“Amendment Law”] was published in the Official Gazette on April 1, 2022. Most of the changes will come into force six months later, i.e. from September 1, 2022. In this article, we will explain the important changes to the law No. 6502 on consumer protection. [“CPL”] in accordance with the amending law [available in Turkish only].
Changes to consumer loans and housing finance
Banks required insurance for loans requested by consumers, and as a result they usually imposed an insurance policy on consumers with the loan agreement. With the amendment, it is now mandatory to provide a loan package that does not include an insurance contract to the consumer. This amendment aims to prohibit banks from requiring insurance when granting loans.
This amendment was also implemented in terms of housing finance contracts, with the aim of protecting consumers from related financial products and services, which constitute a significant cost factor.
Extension of the delivery period of prepaid housing sales
In the case of prepaid real estate transactions, the maximum transfer or delivery time has been increased from 36 months to 48 months from the date of the contract. Thus, the deadline for carrying out the projects of the contracting companies is now 48 months.
New responsibilities for e-commerce platforms
The amending law regulates responsibilities in distance contracts in which providers of intermediary services, such as e-commerce platforms, are parties and in which they are jointly and severally liable with the seller or provider. In this respect, for example, e-commerce platforms are now jointly and severally obliged to confirm and prove that they provide prior information to the consumer from the seller or supplier. In addition, intermediary service providers must establish an ongoing system to ensure communication and follow-up of consumer inquiries regarding the matters set out in the applicable regulations. [You can read our article regarding the liability of e-commerce platforms for defective goods and services.]
Changes in after-sales services
The responsibility of manufacturers and importers for after-sales services will no longer be limited to the warranty period, but rather to the expected life of the product as determined by the Ministry of Commerce of the Republic of Turkey. Otherwise, manufacturers and importers will be required to reimburse consumers for their losses. Accordingly, manufacturers and importers will be jointly responsible for any product defects occurring after the expiration of the warranty period.
The authority of consumer arbitration tribunals has been extended
The monetary limit for claims to Consumer Arbitration Committees has been increased by the Amendment Act, and it has been regulated that disputes up to TRY 30,000.00 will be heard by Consumer Arbitration Committees in 2022. Another amendment in favor of the consumer is that if an existing information or document which has not been submitted to the consumer arbitration tribunal is submitted to the consumer tribunal by the party opposing it and the decision of said committee is cancelled, no court costs and attorney’s fees will be imposed on the consumer.
Refurbished products will have a 1 year warranty
With the amending law, unity has been achieved between the CPL and the regulation on the sale of refurbished products, and as a result, it is now mandatory to provide a guarantee of at least one year from the date of delivery to the consumer for products that have been refurbished by improving their hardware, software or physical characteristics and offered for sale.
Penalties are now more of a deterrent
Administrative fines for sellers, manufacturers, importers and intermediary service providers have been increased, and the penalty of imprisonment has been instituted for breaches of responsibility regarding timeshare holidays. On the other hand, the Advertising Commission can now decide to block access to content in case of violation of the CPL committed by online advertisers.