President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved a law yesterday for regulating e-commerce. The law had previously been approved by Parliament. The main purpose of the law is to ensure transparency in all electronic communication transactions, to protect consumer rights and to ensure that no subscriber is exposed to undesired electronic messages. The law, which is seen as a major boost to e-commerce in the country, will also impose administrative fines in case of a breach of the related articles.
Under the terms of the new law, service providers will now be obliged to submit and disclose all required information relating to electronic media or electronic communication by the subscribers in an accessible and up-to-date manner before the related contract is signed. Furthermore, the total costs and fees that will become payable once the contract is signed must be read and understood by the subscriber. All related correspondence will have to be confirmed via electronic communication.
Fines ranging from TL 1,000 to TL 5,000 ($447 to $2,236) will be imposed on service providers who breach this requirement. The fines will be increased by up to10 times if commercial electronic messages are sent to more than one person at a time without their approval. All details and conditions of any kind of offer, discount, contest and game must now also be disclosed in a clear and comprehensive manner.
Furthermore, commercial electronic messages can only be sent to private subscribers if their prior approval has been obtained. However, no additional permission will be required for announcements which relate to changes in products or goods and for commercial e-mails if the subscriber has already provided related contact details in order to receive such communications.
No prior approval will be required for electronic messages delivered to tradesman and merchants. Any kind of commercial electronic messages would have to comply with the approval of the subscriber and the message must include various details required to identify the subscriber such as phone, fax numbers, SMS number and e-mail. The message must also include the subject and purpose and whether or not it's being sent on someone's behalf.
Subscribers will have the right to refuse to receive commercial electronic messages at any time without any justification. Service providers will ensure that such refusal notice can be easily sent through electronic media free of charge and will have to suspend sending emails to the subscriber within three days after the receipt of such notice.
Further, service providers will not be obliged to check the content, or whether any illegal activities are taking place. All service providers will be liable for keeping all personal information obtained by them about the subscribers and cannot share such information with third persons or use them for other purposes. No materials including marketing, political propaganda or any kind of sexual content can be delivered to subscribers and users through electronic means such search engines, faxes, e-mails, SMSs.