Pursuant to the new Consumer Protection Law, on January 24, 2015, the Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade issued its Subscription Agreements Regulation, setting out the legal framework for consumer subscriptions. The Regulation imposes new obligations on companies providing products and services to consumers by subscription, such as online subscriptions for content through the internet.
What the new rules say
Under the Regulation:
while subscription agreements can be executed either in writing or electronically, the executed agreement must be provided to the consumer on paper or a permanent data carrier (e.g., CD, USB disc, email);
subscription agreements must be written in at least 12-point type, in a clear, easily understandable and legible manner, and must contain certain minimum mandatory content;
the product or service must be provided to the consumer consistent with the subscription agreement;
if, due to maintenance or repair, the product or service is temporarily unavailable to the consumer, the consumer must be informed at least 48 hours in advance of the cut off;
a fixed-period subscription agreement cannot contain an automatic renewal provision; automatic renewal is only permitted upon the consumer’s request or approval afterthe subscription agreement is executed;
the term (time period) of a subscription agreement cannot be changed during the subscription period to the consumer's disadvantage;
consumers are entitled to terminate long-term (a year or more) and indefinite-term subscription agreements without cause and without penalty.
All provisions of the Regulation apply to subscriptions for electricity, gas, water and electronic communications, whereas only some provisions apply to other types of subscriptions such as subscriptions for periodicals, facilities or online services.
What companies should do
Companies that provide goods or services to consumers on a subscription basis should take the necessary steps to bring their activities into compliance with the Regulation by April 24, 2015, the date the Regulation will take effect.