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Legal Alerts
11/09/2021 https://www.esin.av.tr/wp-content/themes/esin/images/esin.jpg

Developments Regarding Consumer Rights in the Electronic Communication Sector

Legal Alerts
IT & Communications
General

New Development

The Information Technologies and Communication Authority (ITCA) published the Draft Regulation (“Draft Regulation“) Amending the Regulation regarding the Rights of Consumers in the Electronic Communication Sector (“Regulation“) will be open to public consultation with the Decision no. 2021/İK-THD/188 on 6 July 2021. The Draft Regulation seeks to align the Regulation with the Identity Authentication Regulation and includes new liabilities for operators. The Draft Regulation is available here (in Turkish).

What’s New?

Operators’ New Liabilities

The Draft Regulation sets forth certain transparency liabilities toward consumers. These liabilities include informing subscribers of extra charges in the subscribed tariff, providing transparent information concerning campaigns and tariffs, and informing consumers in the most transparent way. Additionally, operators must provide consumers with the means to compare different operators’ offers on the e-Government Gateway when choosing electronic communication services.

Subscription Agreements

Operators must provide consumers with a clear summary of the fundamental parts of the subscription agreement. The summary must also consist of all aspects listed in the Draft Regulation. Subscription agreements can be concluded electronically, as per the Identity Authentication Regulation. Identity authentication made through the Identity Authentication Regulation qualifies as identity authentication made through a physical identity document. Furthermore, the operator must store the information and documentation obtained from consumers with a date and time stamp.

Additionally, new conditions concerning committed subscriptions are now regulated. These include the extension of items that must be included in the commitment text for further comprehensibility, introduction of new regulations on transfer requests in the communication services other than the mobile electronic communication services, and the limitation of the maximum commitment period to 24 months. Moreover, internet access subscribers with commitments will have the right to terminate agreements without cancellation fees if the operator fails to meet the criteria determined by the ITCA in the Address Based Internet Service Quality Measurement.

Service Restriction or Interruption

The Draft Regulation contains new rules concerning the restriction or interruption of services. Accordingly, subscribers must be informed within a reasonable period prior to the restriction or interruption of services. In addition, subscribers must not be charged during the service restriction or interruption period. Besides, in case of interruption of services, the agreement may be terminated within three months unless the subscriber requests otherwise.

Conclusion

The Draft Regulation foresees essential changes in the electronic communication sector concerning operator liabilities and consumer rights. Public opinion concerning the Draft Regulation can be set out using the form found on the ITCA’s website and sent to the ITCA via email (at thdkamuoyu@btk.gov.tr) by 9 August 2021.

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