Turkey has made substantial amendments to the Regulation on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices. The Amendment Regulation was published in the Official Gazette on 1 February 2022 and entered into force on 1 March 2022 ("Amendment Regulation"). These amendments extend consumer protection by changing the content of advertisements and expanding the examples of misleading commercial practices, as well as the obligations of sellers and complaint possibilities.
Amendments in detail
Notable changes introduced by the Amendment Regulation include:
- Price information that is determined by analyzing the consumer's purchasing behavior and other personal data is considered a "personalized price". When a price is offered to the consumer as a personalized price, the current selling price and the personalized price shall be indicated in the same field.
- It is now mandatory to indicate the pre-sale price in the advertising of discounts. The lowest price applied within 30 days before the discount must be used to determine the pre-sale price. However, for perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables, the price preceding the discount may also be indicated. The burden of proof for this lies with the advertiser.
- The advertisement for financing must contain the following information: the term of the loan, the interest rate, the monthly and annual percentage of the total cost to the consumer, and the repayment terms.
- For products/services evaluated in online sales by comparing price, quality, etc., the ranking criteria must be displayed in the same field with the comparison or consumers must be redirected to a pop-up screen where they can obtain detailed information on the ranking criteria. Also, the term "advertising" must be indicated in the results of a ranking which is displayed based on advertising or sponsorship and similar agreements.
- For online sales, a system should be set up to ensure that only those who buy a product can leave a consumer review. These reviews will be published for at least one (1) year, with no distinction between positive and negative reviews. If the seller or service provider settles a consumer complaint, upon the notification of the seller, service provider or the consumer, this will be published immediately in the same place with the initial review following the necessary verification by the intermediary service provider.
- On the platforms where consumer complaints are posted, the rated seller is given at least 72 hours to explain or respond.
- Finally, the following examples of fraudulent business practices were added to the Regulation on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices:
- Use of software that automates the purchasing process by acquiring tickets for events such as sports and theatre outside the set quantity limits (e.g. maximum number of purchasable tickets) and offering them for sale to consumers again or at a higher price; and
- Using methods such as the design of user interfaces, options or expressions that negatively affect consumers' will to make decisions on online platforms or that aim to change consumers' decisions in favour of the seller or provider.
For more information on commercial advertising and unfair business practices, please contact your CMS client partner or your local CMS expert: Dr Döne Yalçın or Arcan Kemahlı.