On October 24, the Turkish parliament adopted the long-awaited Law on Regulation of Electronic Commerce (the “E-Commerce Law”).
Among many other new rules, the E-Commerce Law bans commercial messages by email, text messaging (sms), fax, and autodial machines (robocalls) to consumers without their prior approval. Previously, it was permitted to send unsolicited messages if consumers were provided an easy and free-of-charge opportunity to opt-out.
The E-Commerce Law will enter into force following the President’s approval and its publication in the Official Gazette.
What the new law says
Under the E-Commerce Law, commercial messages can be sent to a consumer electronically only if the consumer has given prior approval. Approval must be obtained either electronically or in writing.
The content of the commercial message must be in line with the approval given. The message also must include (i) sender identity; (ii) sender phone number/fax number/sms number/email, depending on the electronic means used; (iii) subject and purpose of the message; and (iv) information on the actual sender, if the message is sent on behalf of another entity.
As consumers always have the right to opt-out of receiving commercial messages, the sender must provide them an easy and free-of-charge opportunity to revoke their prior approval; details of this opportunity must be contained in the message.
The opt-in system will not apply to B2B relationships and commercial messages can still be sent to businesses without their prior approval.
Actions to consider
Companies should consider how these significant changes may affect their operations in Turkey, and take steps to ensure compliance with the E‑Commerce Law.