THE RIGHTS OF CONSUMERS AT ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION(NOVEMBER 2017)

The procedures and principles for protection of rights and benefits of the consumers and obligations of the operators regarding electronic communication sector have been rearranged by the Regulation (“the Regulation”) published in Turkish Official Gazette dated October 28, 2017. The enforcement date of the Regulations is April 28, 2018 except the provisions regarding signing of the subscription agreements.  

The service received by consumers without any commercial purpose from the companies which offer, provide or operate electronic communication services (“the Operator”) have been regulated within the scope of the Regulation. Access to services equally, to be charged fairly, having their personal information secured, benefiting from the tariff, campaign and services within the scope of the contracts agreed with the Operator on international standards are essential rights of the consumers.  

The Operators are obliged to be transparent, inform the consumer and submit the information easily on all subjects that would be effective on decision process of the consumers and resolving the problems of the consumers within the scope of the Regulation.  

The subscription agreement shall be signed by hand or via secured electronic signature electronically. The subjects imposed obligations to the consumer should be defined explicitly, simply and comprehensibly and written black bold letters on these contracts which should be at least twelve type size. The Operators are obliged to publish their subscription agreements prepared as standard form on their web site. One copy of the subscription agreement should be given to consumer after signing of the contract. The subscription agreements and bills should be submitted via Braille Alphabet or interactive voice call without any charge to visually handicapped consumers upon their request.  

The charges of the services due to subscription agreements accrues up on submission of the service to the consumer. The operator is obliged to change the equipment that installed for providing service to the consumer and given by itself if the change is required. The Operator is responsible from any defect of the equipment.  

The rights and obligations determined by the Operator unilaterally without any negotiation with the consumer and the provisions contrary to the benefits of the consumers are deemed as unfair conditions. The unfair and incomprehensible terms and conditions of a subscription agreement shall be deemed null and void.  

The Operators are obliged to be clear on their tariffs and campaigns and notify the consumers about any amendment via prior notice. The commitment conditions (if exist) shall not be changed against the consumer during the commitment period of a subscription agreement. The lesser amount which is calculated from the difference between the period with commitment and without commitment should be charged to consumer as a termination fee in case the consumer terminates the contract before the expire date. The Operators should execute the related transaction regarding transfer demands of the consumer at least within ten days.  

Providing the service continuously by the Operator is one of the basis of the subscription agreement. The bill or the information of the bill shall be sent to the subscriber without any charge at least seven days before the date of last payment. The payment shall not be claimed from the subscriber for the bill details which sent electronically. Providing the service shall be restricted or stopped within the acknowledge of the consumer, in case the bill has not been paid on the date of last payment. Besides, the Operator must give a last notice to consumer before initiating the legal proceedings for a reasonable time. The Operator is obliged to generate a transparent, fast and easy-executable resolution mechanism for replying the complaint of the consumers.  

The consumers are entitled to terminate their subscription agreements at any time without any charge. The Operator must stop charging the consumer in twenty-four hours after receiving such termination notice and perform the termination transaction in seven days. The administrative sanctions shall be applied to the Operator in the event of breaching obligations foreseen by the Regulation.  

Regulation ensures qualified and international based service to be provided by the electronic communication operators for the consumers. The main purpose of the Regulation is to prevent the disputes originated from implementations of the Operators against the consumers.