1 May 2015Jurisdiction reportsIsik Ozdogan and Merve Altınay

Unfair commercial practices under Turkish law

The regulation outlines detailed rules on unfair commercial practices that are defined in the Law on Consumer Protection and the Turkish Commercial Law.

The regulation aims to protect consumers by determining basic principles for companies that advertise their goods and services, and advertising agencies. In line with EU regulations, the regulation outlines the definitions of unfair commercial practices such as misleading actions, omissions and aggressive commercial practices.

The regulation also provides a non-exhaustive list of actions and practices that will be considered unfair, some of which are listed below:

Using a quality mark, trust mark, environment mark, or similar marks without obtaining consent from the relevant authorities;

Making false statements about the health effects of a product or service, contrary to the relevant regulation;

Wrongfully alleging that a code of conduct has been certified by some establishment and association;

Wrongfully alleging that commercial practice, goods, or services are granted permission or given consent by the relevant establishment or association;

Wrongfully stating that providing a good or service is legal, or giving the impression to the consumer that it is;

Making false statements about the existence, nature, or scope of a possible danger to the consumer or his/her family if the consumer does not purchase the good or service;

"In line with EU regulations, the regulation outlines the definitions of unfair commercial practices such as misleading actions, omissions and aggressive commercial practices."

Stating that certain goods or services make it easier to win the lottery;

Misinforming a consumer about the general market conditions of a product or service, or the possibility of their being found in the market;

Stating that a contest will be held and a prize will be given, without stating the pre-determined prize and its equivalent;

Stating that a good is free of charge when actually the consumer must pay some amount, excluding reasonable and mandatory costs for delivery; and

Falsely giving the impression that post-purchase maintenance services are provided in countries other than Turkey and the consumer is entitled to use the services.

The regulation lists the following circumstances as examples of aggressive commercial practices:

Giving the impression that the consumer cannot leave until the relationship between the trader and the consumer is formed;

Requesting irrelevant documents or fees from the consumer in order to discourage the consumer from exercising rights that the consumer legally holds; and

Misleading consumers that they have won (or may have won) a prize or benefit if they perform some actions when actually there is no prize or benefit and consumers must pay the price or expenses for the prize or benefit.

The regulation makes it clear that an advert cannot copy the text, slogan, visual representation, sound effects and other elements used in an earlier advertisement. More importantly, the regulation prevents advertising a good or a service that copies or imitates a good or service that is currently under trademark protection or being offered under a trade name.

This detailed regulation brings clarity to the current legislation that defines the act of unfair competition and it will now not be easy to break the law.

Isik Ozdogan is a partner at  Moroglu Arseven. She can be contacted at: iozdogan@morogluarseven.com

Merve Altınay is an associate at Moroglu Arseven. She can be contacted at: maltinay@morogluarseven.com

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