Turkey: Consumers Have the Right to Change Their Minds: The Right to Withdraw

Last Updated: 14 August 2015
Article by Serap Zuvin and Alara Nacar

Online shopping has been one of the most exciting innovations of the internet era. Since it is a crystal-clear fact that time is the most valuable thing, online shopping gets more important, especially for the people who work a lot and do not have time for shopping in the malls. On the other hand, people decide quickly while shopping online. The products that are only seen in the pictures can be bought without thinking twice and without knowing how they look in real life. So, once the product has been delivered to us, what if we do not like it?

Well... Under Turkish law, the Right to Withdraw ("Right") provides the consumers the opportunity to change their minds about the goods and services they have already bought, but want not anymore. This Right is provided under the Regulation for Distance Contracts1 ("Regulation") based on the Turkish Consumer Protection Law. With this Regulation, the prescribed term for the right to withdraw ("Withdrawal Term") has been extended from 7 days to 14 days. This change ensures more protection to the consumers. Therefore the consumers will feel more comfortable in deciding when buying goods via distance selling contract2 since they can change their minds without any reason.

When does the Withdrawal Term begin?

For the goods, beginning of the Withdrawal Term is the delivery date to the consumer. For the services such term begins from the date that the contract is concluded. The consumers may also use their Right within the timeframe between the conclusion of the purchase contract and the delivery date of the goods.

If the purchased good is in pieces and delivered seperately, the delivery date of the last piece is the beginning date of the Withdrawal Term. However, if the consumer receives the goods regularly and for a certain time period, the beginning date of the Withdrawal Term is the first day the consumer receives the goods.

In case the delivery of the goods and services are provided together, the Withdrawal Term begins on the delivery date of the goods.

Make sure the seller knows that you want to return it

In order to use the Withdrawal Right, the consumer must notify the seller or provider. In the annex of the Regulation, a sample written notice form is provided for consideration. As of the date the written notice reaches to the seller or the provider, they are obliged to make all the payments back to the consumer. The consumer should not be adversely affected from the repayment, so the payments must be rendered without laying any burden on the consumer. The payment sould be returned to the consumer in the similar manner and form with the payment had been made by the consumer.3 If the seller does not offer to take the product back, the consumer has to send it back within 10 days from the notice. The consumer is not responsible for the delivery costs of the product. On the other hand, in the EU, if the seller does not agree to bear the delivery cost, the consumer must pay the cost of returning the same.4

Exceptions do not break the rule, but still...

Some agreements have explicitly been set forth in this Regulation, as exceptions to the usage of the Withdrawal Right; such as the agreements regarding financial services, lottery services, residence leasing, package tours, etc. Besides, the Regulation issues that under certain special conditions the Right cannot be used, unless the parties otherwise agreed. Some of the exceptions listed in the Regulation are:

  • the goods and the services that their prices change through the market fluctuations and not in the control of the seller or the provider such as gold or silver;
  • the perishable goods like food;
  • special goods that are prepared according to the personal wishes of the consumer etc.

Therefore, it is not possible to exercise the Withdrawal Right for the products listed above.

You only pay for what you choose

In the event that the consumer is provided a reserved phone line for any contacts that she/he may want to make with the seller, then such allocated phone line should not charge more than the regular phone lines. Therefore, the consumer is protected from bearing extra costs. It is essential that any extra cost or extra services regarding the product, must be clearly presented to the consumers in order for them not to be charged for anything that they did not opt for.

After all, the legislation's aim is to legally protect the consumers, especially when they conclude distance contracts without seeing the seller and the goods beforehand. It is important that the regulation provides for certain protections and solutions and the Withdrawal Term has been extended to 14 days from 7 days. It is a fact that increasing the consumer rights makes the life of the consumers easier, however, it must kept in mind that the sellers and the service providers should not be heavily affected by these legislations and they must be able to sustain a profitable commercial business, as well.

Footnotes

1. The Regulation of the Distance Contracts; based on The Consumer Protection Law dated November 7, 2013 and numbered 6502, published in the Official Gazette numbered 29188 and dated November 27, 2014

2. Without a concurrent physical existence of the seller and the consumer in the same place, mostly e-commerce contracts may be concluded distantly between the parties via communication instruments such as e-mail, internet, telephone etc.

3. Article 12, p.2 of The Regulation of the Distance Contracts; based on The Consumer Protection Law dated November 7, 2013 and numbered 6502, published in the Official Gazette numbered 29188 and dated November 27, 2014

4. The EU Directive on Consumer Rights, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32011L0083&qid=1403274218893

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.

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