According to latest stats announced by the Ministry of Customs and Trade, a total of 13,7 Million Turkish Lira (approx. € 2,8 million) worth of administrative fines were applied to companies that sent unsolicited electronic messages in Turkey as a result of 368.915 complaints made through the website of the Ministry.
Compared to 2016, there is a 53% increase in the number of complaints lodged and a staggering 63% increase in the total value of administrative fine applied1.
This increase is important and we believe this figure shows two different things; 1- people in Turkey are becoming more aware of their legal rights against unsolicited messages and 2- The Ministry of Customs and Trade is taking this very seriously. Therefore, companies should be extra careful when sending electronic marketing messages in Turkey.
Here is what you should be aware of if you are planning to send electronic marketing messages in Turkey;
- Under the Law on Regulation of E-Trade and Regulation on Commercial Electronic Messages, only "electronic commercial messages" is stipulated therefore there is no specific rule for postal communication.
- Electronic Commercial Message is defined as commercial messages that are sent electronically for commercial purposes via phone, call-center, facsimile, automated dial machines, e-mail, or SMS which contain data, audio or video.
- As a general rule, opt-in consent is required to send Electronic Commercial Marketing Messages. Opt-in consent can be obtained electronically or in writing. If obtained in writing, wet signature is required. If obtained electronically, a confirmation message must be sent to recipient's electronic communication address the same day and the option to opt-out must be offered. Also, it is not legal to send electronic messages requesting recipient's opt-in consent.
- Opt-in consent cannot be pre-requisite for any type of service or advantage. If opt-in consent is obtained through check-boxes in online environments, these check-boxes must not be pre-selected.
- Recipients must be given the option to opt-out freely anytime, relevant information as to methods to opt-out must be given to recipients with every message including information as to the party sending the message. Opt-out request must be honored within 3 days as of receiving the request.
- Opt-in consent is not required if;
- content of the communications is regarding the change, use and maintenance of goods and services where the recipient has given his/her communication information for contact purposes,
- content of the communication is regarding matters of debt collection, information update, purchases, delivery and similar actions with respect to an ongoing subscription, membership or partnership.
- content of the communication is content which is required by legislation to be sent to the recipient.
- recipient of the communication is merchants and/or craftsman.
- content of the communication is an message for information that is sent to customers by a company which conducts intermediary activities in accordance with capital market legislation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.