The Information Technologies and Communication Authority (“ITCA“) amended the Regulation on Consumer Rights in the Electronic Communication Sector. The main areas that are subject to the amendments are the execution, content and implementation of subscription agreements; restriction, suspension and termination of services; and informing consumers.
The Regulation on the Amendment of the Regulation on Consumer Rights in the Electronic Communication Sector (“Regulation“) prepared by ITCA was published in the Official Gazette on 18 January 2022. The Regulation introduces updates mainly on (i) informing consumers in the electronic communication sector; (ii) execution, content and implementation of subscription agreements; (iii) tariffs and campaigns; and (iv) restriction, suspension and termination of services. Articles 1, 2, 4, 7, 12, 13, 15 and 16 will enter into force on 1 March 2022 and the remaining provisions will enter into force on 31 December 2022.
The Regulation is available online here (in Turkish).
- Pursuant to the Regulation, operators will be required to inform consumers about the fees to be charged for calls directed to recipients not covered by their tariff. The information will be provided free of charge by way of an announcement.
- The persons who will receive electronic communication services will be able to compare business offers via the e-Devlet system.
- For exclusive subscriptions, operators will provide customers with a clear one-page summary that specifies the term of the exclusive subscription, average monthly fee and withdrawal penalty, in written or electronic format.
Conclusion, content and implementation of subscription agreements
- Subscription agreements can be executed in writing or in electronic format provided that the identity of the parties are verified in accordance with the Regulation on the Applicant’s Identity Verification Process in the Electronic Communication Sector. The Regulation also sets forth various documents that can be requested by operators for execution of the agreements. In addition, identity or equivalent is deemed to be provided for certain verifications that are concluded within the scope of the articles of the Regulation on the Applicant’s Identity Verification Process in the Electronic Communication Sector such as identity verification with identity number via the e-Devlet system.
- Operators are obliged to store the information and documents required for execution of the subscription agreement for a period of 30 years from the end of the subscription.
- Subscribers will be informed about their information to be included within the scope of directory services and will be able to change their preferences.
- The operator will present a clear one-page summary of the agreement to the consumer either in writing or electronic format. The summary will include information about the agreement, such as service type, tariff name and monthly fee.
- The operator will give subscribers access to their transaction instructions obtained through customer services, text messages, mobile applications and SIM menus, in the online transaction center.
- The Regulation also sets forth the procedure regarding invoices sent electronically or via short messages. As a general rule, invoices will be sent to consumers via text message, unless consumers determine a different method.
Tariffs and campaigns
- Operators will publish their tariffs on all platforms with the same, specific name. Operators will also provide detailed information about their tariffs on their websites by stating the name and validity period of such tariffs.
- Approvals will be obtained separately for transactions that require subscribers’ approval. Acceptance of an agreement, exclusivity, tariff or campaign will not be considered an approval for other transactions except in the case of international calls and roaming packages. Operators can request transaction approval by providing a discount or additional benefits to subscribers.
Restriction, suspension and termination of services
- Operators may restrict or suspend the service in accordance with the Regulation in cases where consumers excessively exceed the agreed usage threshold or fail to make payments in due time.
- Operators must inform consumers about the causes of restriction or suspension, its effect on the exclusivity undertaking, applicable fees for reactivating or canceling lines as well as the terms and conditions of restriction or suspension.
- Subscribers will be able to submit their termination requests via the e-Devlet system, online transaction center, an application with registered e-mail and customer services. Operators are required to inform subscribers about the legal proceedings for unpaid final invoices.
The Regulation introduces important amendments regarding electronic communication services. Operators are required to follow the amendments closely and ensure their compliance until the effective date of the relevant provisions.