Upon the enactment of the new Turkish Commercial Code and Turkish Code of Obligations, a new Draft Bill on Consumer Protection (“the Draft Bill”) has become necessary in order to harmonize and enhance the consumer rights. The new Draft Bill enlarges the scope of consumer protection principles, and increases the Advertisement Board’s effect of control on advertisements.
One of the revisions is the structure and the scope of the authority of the Advertisement Board. The number of the members of the Board is decreased from 29 to 11. Besides, the Board becomes entitled to assign the authority to decide for the temporary stopping of the advertisements to the Chairman of the Board. It is also an innovation that the Board is entitled to examine both the commercial advertisements and the unfair commercial practices- which are described in the Draft Bill as misleading, aggressive practices circumventing the economic behaviour of the average consumer towards any type of good or service.
Another set of revisions relates to the consumer awards. It is set forth that the consumer awards to the advertisers shall be granted by the Ministry of Customs and Trade. Any awards under the name of consumer awards or with any similar title granted by the institutions except from the Ministry of Customs and Trade are prohibited to be used in the advertisements.
Furthermore, new time intervals are set for the educational programs for consumers broadcasted by the radio and television organisations in order to increase the education and awareness of the consumer. According to the Draft Bill, the educational programs for consumers shall be broadcasted no shorter than 10 minutes per month, between the hours 07:00 and 23:00.
Another striking revision is that the monetary fines for the infringing ads are increased. For the infringements of the ads that are nationally broadcasted, the monetary fines are increased from TL 81,000 (app. € 35,000) to TL 200,000 (app. € 87,000). Besides, new and high monetary fine amounts are determined for the ads depending on the media on which they are broadcast; i.e. radio, internet etc.
The Draft Bill’s approach on infringing ads and unfair commercial practices seems to be stricter. This is supposed to be in favour of the consumers but to create concerns for the advertisers.