Turkey: Sales Made Outside of Work Places; What is New on Direct Sales in Turkey? A World-Famous Sales Method!

Last Updated: 6 May 2015
Article by Serap Zuvin, Melis Oget Koc and Aybala Kurtuldu

Direct selling term generally stands for the direct sale and marketing of goods and services to the end user consumers, outside of a retail store. Different methods can be used in direct sale, such as one-on-one demonstrations, showing catalogues, organizing marketing parties, etc. which recently includes internet marketing as well.

Direct selling offers a number of advantages to both parties of a sales transaction and ultimately for the growth of the economies of the states. It is a fact that direct selling supports participation of women in business life and according to the figures1 collected in cooperation with the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, over 12 million people are active in direct selling in Europe out of which 80% are women. Needless to say, direct selling sector provides great flexibility for the people involved, especially in terms of working hours and locations and this is one of the main reasons why women who are expected to run a family and desire to participate in business life at the same time can easily become part of this huge sector.

Obviously, one of the main advantageous aspects of the direct selling method is the ability that it provides for making a living or even making substantial profits with really small investments and low risk. As a result, people participating in business life through direct sale method simply commit themselves pro rata the time, money and effort that want to put on the table for their professional life.

How About the Legal Environment in Turkey?

According the Global 2013 Statistical report conducted by World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, the direct selling sector in Turkey is constantly growing2. The annual trading volume of direct selling in Turkey has reached to 1 billion 152 million dollars and the number of sellers in this sector has reached to 1 million 190 thousand in 2013 which complies with the fact that there are nearly 60 direct selling companies operating in Turkey3.

Under Turkish law, direct selling is regulated under the legislation on sales which are made outside of workplaces. In this context, direct selling is defined as the marketing system in which the sales representatives, peddlers, distributors or individuals acting under similar names regardless of whether they are working as the employees of the direct sale company or not; presents the goods and services to the consumers in their homes or without using any retail sale locations, but in any case outside of workplaces, e.g. end user's house or work place, by using single or multi-layer sales methods.

On this particular matter, the Regulation on the Agreements Made Outside of Work Places4 ("Regulation"), which is based on the Consumer Protection Law5 ("Law") is enacted on January 14, 2015 by the Ministry of Customs and Trade ("Ministry").

Before the enactment of the Regulation, direct sales activities were regulated under the Regulation on Door-to-Door Sales which was promulgated based on the former consumer protection law as abolished in 2013. So, basically upon abolishment of the former consumer protection law and enactment of the new Consumer Protection Law in 2013 subsequently afterwards, reforms on the secondary legislations had to be made as well. That is why the brand new Regulation has been enacted based on the new Consumer Protection Law. The Regulation simply sets out the procedures and principles to be applied to the agreements which must be used for the sales that are made outside of workplaces and the contractual relationships arising from the same. Although the newly introduced Regulation has been published on January 14, 2015, it entered into force on April 14, 2015 which is now quite soon.

Focusing on the Sales Made Outside of Workplaces; Which Sales Fall Within This Scope?

The scope of sales which are made outside of workplaces are strictly defined under Article 47 of the Law. In this context, the agreements which are concluded (i) with the physical presence of the parties outside of the work place, regardless of whether the proposal came from the consumer, the seller or the provider; or (ii) at the work place of the seller or the provider directly or by means of a device which used for communication from distance; immediately following the negotiation of the parties outside of the workplace where they were physically present; or (iii) during a trip as organized by the seller or the provider for promotion or sale of the products to the consumers.

Is There a License Requirement?

Well yes! In order to make sales outside of a workplace; obtaining a license from the Ministry is definitely a must. For obtaining such a license, the seller/supplier company is required to apply to the provincial directorate of the Ministry which is located in the province where its head office is located. Needless to say, the Ministry examines the application files made by the companies and checks existence of any consumer complaints before issuing the license. The licenses as granted by the Ministry are valid for 2 years as of the date they are issued and the seller/supplier companies cannot obtain a new license for a period of 1 year if their licenses are already terminated by the Ministry.

The good news is that according to Article 25 of the Regulation, it is still the supplier/seller company who must obtain the license from the Ministry to perform sales activities outside of work places, e.g. direct sale activities; and no further license requirement exists for consultants, distributors, peddlers, sales representatives etc. has been introduced under the new Regulation to such effect either.

Strict Formalities for Agreements

The Regulation provides for quite strict formalities regarding the agreements which will be signed to perform sales outside of work places. Obviously, all those requirements are applicable on direct sale agreements as well. First of all, the Regulation requires for a written agreement to be signed between the company who wants to perform sales activities outside of the workplace and the consumer. The agreement must be in writing with a particular font size and must further include the basic description of the subject product/service, the consumer's name/surname, direct seller/supplier's contact details and trade name details (and the MERSIS number, if any), price of the good/service in Turkish Lira currency including the taxes, terms and procedures for exercise of withdrawal right of the consumer (with at least 16 fonts), etc.

As a result of the motivation of the legislator to protect the consumers, the Regulation further requires that the agreement date, a confirmation that the consumer has received a copy of the agreement and that he/she has been informed on the withdrawal right (as the case may be); are written by the consumer with his/her hand writing on the agreement for evidentiary purposes.

Similar to what was required under the former pertinent legislations, the direct seller/supplier is still obliged to safe keep the agreements that it has signed as part of its activities on sales outside of work places, delivery details for each subject sale, etc. for a period of at least 3 years. Obviously this might be a practical problem for the direct sale companies, because obviously the distributors are in direct contact with the end-users to have the agreements signed by them; and not the companies. At the end of the day the companies' complying with this requirement explicitly depends on how their distributors properly submit the originals of the sales agreements and relevant documents which are signed by the end-user consumers as part of their sales activities.

Withdrawal Procedures; A big Concern both for Direct Sale Companies and Consumers...

The Regulation has introduced totally new rules on the withdrawal procedures from the sales unilaterally made outside of workplaces. Consequently, the consumers are now entitled to withdraw from their contract within 14 days for no justified reason; where such term was 7 days before the promulgation of the new Regulation.

When does the withdrawal right start and when it expires are the concerns of both sides of the sales agreement. Basically, the withdrawal period starts following the date of delivery of the product to the consumer. In case of order of goods, requiring partial deliveries or if the good to be delivered is composed of different parcels by its nature, then the duration of withdrawal right for the consumers will start from the delivery date of the last parcel of the delivery. If the agreement is signed with the consumer with respect to a good which requires constant and/or regular deliveries to the consumer, then in such case the duration for withdrawal right of the consumer will start from the first delivery date of that good.

Another rule which is promulgated by the Regulation to protect the end user consumers is that the delivery of goods by the seller/supplier company to a courier is not regarded as the "delivery of a good" in calculating the withdrawal period. The direct sellers/supplier companies are strictly prohibited from asking a payment within the 14 days period during which the consumer is entitled to exercise its withdrawal right.

The Regulation further provides for certain exceptions on the exercise of withdrawal rights by consumers due to hygienic reasons, expiry dates of products, etc.

Pyramid System Concerns; any Efforts to Eliminate Them?

As part of pyramid system concerns; under the Regulation certain activities are prohibited not only for direct sales but for all methods of sales falling within the scope of sales made outside of work places: Sales representatives, peddlers, distributors can freely leave the direct selling system without paying any fees or penalties. It is forbidden for the direct sale companies to sign contracts with potential representatives, peddlers, distributors who are below 18 or who are lack of legal capacity to act.

The direct selling companies are also prohibited from requesting any entrance fee, renewal fee, starter kit fee, kit fee, etc. to enable the potential representatives, peddlers, distributors to enter into the direct sales system or for the existing ones to maintain their place in the sales chain. Needless to say, various direct sales companies collect a figure from their distributors at the time of their engagement. On the other hand, however, this figure in practice is not regarded a starter fee or an entrance fee but an investment figure by the distributors for the starting up of their new direct sale business. In practice, because the Regulation does not provide for any distinction between those two payment definitions, the interpretation of the authorized governmental authority in this context will be important and this issue will need to be clarified in the near future -maybe even with a secondary legislation-.

Basically, the majority of gains of the parties of the direct sale system cannot be based on distribution of interests such as commission, premium, incentive, award or a payment under any name arising from introducing new individuals to the direct sale system.

Clearly, direct selling companies are prohibited to making statements indicating that their selling method gives the opportunity to become rich, or giving promises that cannot be accomplished; or forcing the parties to become a party of their sales method.

Closing Remarks...

Direct selling has always been a concept which had been covered under the consumer protection laws under Turkish law and following the enactment of the new Consumer Protection Law in 2013, a brand new legislation had to be made to comply with the contents of this new Consumer Protection Law and to regulate the alternative sales methods such as sales outside of workplace, sales through distance, etc. as set out thereunder. Now that the Regulation has been enacted, direct sales rules are regulated and clarified more than ever under Turkish law.

Especially, the Regulation's explicitly drawing the borderline between direct sales and pyramid sales eliminates any grey areas which existed in practice to date.

As a result, although the Regulation is enacted, it came into effect mid-April this year. So, of course any potential practical problems/inadequacies which may arise upon implementation of the Regulation will only come to surface, once the Regulation enters into force. Needless to say, such practical problems will constitute the subject matter of other future articles in this context.

1 http://www.seldia.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=122.

2 http://www.wfdsa.org/files/pdf/global-stats/Sales_Report_2013.pdf

3 http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/23372537.asp

4 Regulation on the Agreements Made Out of the Working Places published in the Official Gazette dated January 14, 2015 and numbered 29236.

5 Law on the Protection of the Consumer dated November 7, 2013, numbered 6502 and published in the Official Gazette dated November 28, 2013, numbered 28835.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Serap Zuvin
Melis Oget Koc
Aybala Kurtuldu
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.