Turkey: The Board published its reasoned decision on the preliminary investigation conducted against TÜVTURK

Last Updated: 12 October 2017
Practice Guide by ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law

The Board published its reasoned decision on the preliminary investigation conducted against TÜVTURK (TÜVTURK Kuzey Taşıt Muayene İstasyonları Yapım ve İletim A.Ş and TÜVTURK Güney Taşıt Muayene İstasyonları Yapım ve İletim A.Ş) (27.04.2017, 17-14/198-84)

The Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) recently published its reasoned decision on the preliminary investigation conducted against TÜVTURK based on the allegations that when making online vehicle inspection appointments, TÜVTURK directed those who do not have Mandatory Highway Motor Vehicle Financial Liability Insurance to its subsidiary TDB Sigorta Brokerlik A.Ş (“TDB SİGORTA”), for the purpose of issuing traffic insurances.

TÜVTURK is active in the establishment, maintenance and management of vehicle inspection stations, appointed pursuant to the decision dated 14.02.2005 and numbered 2005/26 of Privatization High Counsel and Ministry of Transport and Privatization Administration Presidency. TDB SİGORTA is a consortium that provides non-life insurance services.

In its reasoned decision, in line its previous decision (09.12.2009, 09-58/1405-367), the Board initially defined the relevant product markets as “highway non-motorized and motor vehicles’ technical inspection services market” and “traffic insurance product sales services market”. The Board defined geographical market as “Turkey”.

Subsequently, the Board proceeded to the evaluation of the allegations in scope of the case file. The Board indicated that the relevant allegations against TÜVTURK, that is the monopoly in highway non-motorized and motor vehicles’ technical inspection services market, should be assessed in scope of the Article 6 (prohibiting abuse of dominance) of the Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition (“Law No. 4054”).

In the assessment in scope of the Article 6, the Board firstly evaluated whether making appointments is obligatory for vehicle inspections or having traffic insurance is obligatory for making appointments. The Board found that vehicle inspection appointments can be made through e-state, internet, “website”, call center, interactive voice responses, while vehicles that do not have priorly schedules appointments can make instant appointments and procure vehicle inspection services through kiosks within the inspection station, if there is capacity available.

According to the second sub-paragraph of Article 34 of Law No. 2918 Highway Traffic Law, it is stated that, vehicles that do not have obligatory financial liability insurance cannot be inspected. In this respect, TÜVTURK states that for the purpose of customers enabling vehicle inspection for the vehicles that do not have traffic insurances and decreasing number the vehicles without vehicle inspection; upon the customer’s confirmation, it initiated the application of providing traffic insurance sale services via TDB SİGORTA.

Upon the Board’s examination of TÜVTURK website/internet, customer representative and interactive voice response services, it found that the main factor to continue to appointment process is, not having a tax debt. Hence, the Board found that a vehicle that does not have tax debts may proceed with the appointment procedures even though it does not have traffic insurance. During the appointment procedure, the customers are informed that they can procure traffic insurance from any insurance company, and depending on the customers’ initiative, TÜVTÜRK provides the traffic insurance companies’ offers to the customers through a web-site, namely www.sigortaladim.com, that is a brand of TBD SİGORTA.

In addition, the Board also assessed the effects of TÜVTÜRK’s conducts within the relevant market. The Board found that traffic insurance sales services provided by TÜVTURK have a slight percentage in vehicle inspection service market; in other words, traffic insurance sales of TÜVTURK correspond to an insignificant portion of vehicle inspection services market. The Board also indicated the vehicles that do not have traffic insurances tend to procure insurance from entities other than TÜVTÜRK and procurement traffic insurance is not an obligation for vehicle inspection.

On the other hand, the effects of traffic insurance sale service provided by TÜVTURK through TDB SİGORTA in the traffic insurance sale service market is evaluated. It is concluded that, both TDB SİGORTA’s traffic insurance service sales and TDB SİGORTA’s traffic insurance service sales through TÜVTURK have a small percentage in the traffic insurance service market.

In light of the explanations and assessment above, the Board decided that TÜVTURK did not violate Article 6 of the Law No. 4054, since;

  • TÜVTURK does not prevent the vehicles that do not have traffic insurance from making an appointment for the vehicle inspection. 
  • During the vehicle inspection appointment procedure, TÜVTURK does not obligate vehicles that do not have traffic insurance to procure a policy from TDB SİGORTA.
  • The amount of customer that procure insurance services from TDB SİGORTA upon TÜVTÜRK’s recommendations during the appointment procedure is negligible. 

Therefore, the Board did not initiate a full-fledged investigation against TÜVTURK and TDB SİGORTA.

This document is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information in this document without first seeking legal advice. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any specific questions on any legal matter, you should consult a professional legal services provider.

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