Turkish Ministry of Trade (the “Ministry”) issued a press release regarding the discounts offered via online platforms under “Black Friday” or similar titles. The release outlined the points to be watched out and followed by consumers, as well as the regulations for online sellers and suppliers. The release also stated that the Board of Advertisement conducts ex-officio investigations toward the advertisements and administrative sanctions may be applied in case of a violation of the regulations.

The Ministry emphasized that online shopping is preferred by consumers due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the opportunity to access various products at low prices without the time and place limitations. On the other hand, it is also observed that many consumers are aggrieved due to misleading discounts and malicious sellers, especially on certain special days.

In this direction, the Ministry highlighted some points that consumers should pay attention to, while online shopping and some regulations that sellers and suppliers must also comply with.

The Ministry has listed the issues that consumers should pay attention to, as follows:

  1. Correct determination of the goods and services to be purchased and balancing the budget.
  2. Before shopping, conducting research about vendor and provider, querying identity/company information.
  3. Checking whether the shopping website provides the necessary certificates and methods for security and secure payment.
  4. Checking the address of the directed website, especially if a website is redirected through social media channels.
  5. Being sure to be provided the preliminary information regarding the seller/provider title, full address, contact information, total amount payable, and right of withdrawal before the payment process.
  6. Confirming the accuracy of the alleged discounts by comparing them with the same products offered by other vendors and suppliers.

The Ministry also stated the main obligations to be followed in order to meet the obligations regulated under the consumer legislation in terms of sellers and suppliers and the regulations regarding discounted sales.

  1. The preliminary information should be provided through the written and permanent data keeper to the consumer before the sale. The sellers and suppliers should meet the legal periods regarding the delivery/execution, the use of the right of withdrawal, and the refunds determined in accordance with the legislation.
  2. In the event that the right of withdrawal is used by the consumer, the refund should be made to the consumer at once without incurring any costs or obligations within 14 days.
  3. The sellers and suppliers should pay attention to the stock and supply stages in order not to aggrieve the consumer due to insufficient stock and not being able to supply.
  4. In discounted sales, the beginning and end dates of the discount and the quantity of the discounted goods or services offered for sale (if it is limited), should be stated clearly.
  5. Advertisements for discounted sales should be made in a way that does not mislead the consumer or cause confusion.
  6. While calculating the discount rate, the price of the good/service before the discount period should be based.

The Ministry also emphasized that the burden of proof regarding the discount is on the seller, supplier, and advertiser.

You may access the full text of the press release dated 8 November 2020 via this link. (Only available in Turkish)