The Ministry of Customs and Trade ("Ministry") recently published a new Regulation on the Reconciliation of Administrative Fines under Law No. 6502 on the Protection of Consumers ("Regulation"), establishing the procedures and principles for the reconciliation mechanism for administrative fines imposed under Law No. 6502 on the Protection of Consumers ("Consumer Protection Law"). The Regulation entered into force by publication in the Official Gazette on May 30, 2018.
The reconciliation procedure for administrative fines arising from the Consumer Protection Law was introduced by Article 77/A, which was added to the Consumer Protection Law and entered into force by publication in the Official Gazette on December 5, 2017.
Accordingly, those who have been subject to administrative fines under the Consumer Protection Law can apply for reconciliation with the Ministry or the relevant governorship within 15 days of the receipt of the administrative fine.
What Does the Regulation Say?
The Regulation provides that those who have been subject to administrative fines due to incompliance with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Law may request reconciliation based on the following grounds:
- The incompliance is due to insufficient comprehension or misinterpretation of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Law, or
- There is no consensus among the administrative authorities and the court decisions regarding the issue provoking the incompliance.
The reconciliation mechanism does not apply in certain cases, such as if the Advertising Board imposes the administrative fine or the fine has already been paid. The amount of the administrative fine imposed can be decreased up to fifty percent. Requests for reconciliation will be filed with and evaluated by the commissions to be established by the Ministry.
The Regulation provides a mechanism that companies can utilize as a highly advantageous tool to mitigate administrative fines imposed by the Ministry. The reconciliation option is expected to decrease the number of fines imposed in the future for cases where the provisions of the Consumer Protection Law are not completely clear.