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Resolutions of Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems

2019, Erdemir & Özmen Attorney Partnership

Resolutions of Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems

The scope of duties pertaining to the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems is determined by the new Consumer Protection Law numbered 6502 (“the Law”) as “finding solutions to disputes that may arise in consumer transactions and implementations regarding the consumer”. As a matter of fact, it is observed that the dispute resolution method provided by the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems is an “extrajudicial” dispute resolution method, since this method is not carried out by the judges benefitting from the independence of judges and tenure of judges.

The Law defines the concept “consumer transaction” as “all kinds of contracts and legal procedures including the contracts of work and transport, brokerage, insurance, mandate, banking and similar contracts established between consumers and real persons or legal entities, including the public legal entities, acting for commercial or professional purposes or on behalf or on account of such, in the goods and service markets”.

Within this framework, pursuant to the Consumer Protection Law numbered 6502, the venues for settlement of disputes that may arise from consumer transactions and implementations regarding the consumer are the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems and the Consumer Courts situated at the location of the consumer’s place of residence or at the location where the consumer has purchased the good or the service. The Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems were constituted within the body of the Provincial Directorate of Commerce in provinces and the District Governate in districts.

However, the Consumer Courts were established in the Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Bursa, Samsun, Konya, Mersin and Kayseri provinces. Outside these provinces and in the districts, the application should be filed with the Civil Court of First Instance acting in its capacity as Consumer Court. The lawsuit that will be filed before these courts are exempt from all kinds of duties and fees. However, as the advance on legal expenses, it is necessary to pay in the amount determined in the tariff for advance on legal expenses as required by the article 120 of the Civil Court Procedures Law numbered 6100.

Consumer rights 

In case it is understood that the good is defective, the consumer may exercise one of the following optional rights, namely:

a) The right to renege on the contract, notifying that the consumer is ready to return the good sold;

b) The right to retain the good sold and then, request for a reduction from the sale price in proportion to the defect;

c) The right to request for a free repair of the good sold, provided that all the relevant expenses are covered by the seller, if the repair does not require an exorbitant expense;

ç) The right to request for a replacement of the defective good within another fungible good free from defect, if this is possible.

The seller is obliged to fulfill this request chosen by the consumer.

All expenses arising due to the exercise of the optional rights shall be covered by the party that fulfills the request chosen by the consumer. Along with one of these optional rights, the consumer may also claim indemnity pursuant to the provisions of the Turkish Obligations Code numbered 6098 and dated 11 January 2011.

Jurisdiction of Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems, by the amount and value of the dispute

With regard to the consumer disputes pertaining to a certain amount or value, the new Consumer Protection Law does not make it possible to file the applications with the general courts and makes it mandatory to file the applications with the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems, as a rule. However, it is not possible to file the applications with the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems, with regard to the consumer disputes exceeding the amount or value determined.

The following mandatory provisions are contained in the article 68/1 of the new Consumer Protection Law:

“It is mandatory to submit the applications to the district arbitration committees for consumer problems for disputes with a value less than two thousand Turkish Liras, to the provincial arbitration committees for consumer problems for disputes with a value less than three thousand Turkish Liras; and in the provinces that have metropolitan status, to the provincial arbitration committees for consumer problems for the disputes with a value between two thousand Turkish Liras and three thousand Turkish Liras. The applications shall not be submitted to the arbitration committees for consumer problems for disputes with a value exceeding these values.”

Furthermore, the article 68/4 of the Law prescribes that the monetary limits referred to as “two thousand” and “three thousand” Turkish Liras in the above article 68/1 shall be increased at the revaluation rate determined and announced as per the article 298 of the Tax Procedure Law, every year.

In 2019, it is mandatory to file the applications with the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems in the disputes with a value less than TRY 8,480 for the Provincial Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems and in the disputes with a value less than TRY 5,650 for the District Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems.

However, it is mandatory to file the applications directly with the Consumer Courts in the disputes with a value of TRY 8,480 and exceeding TRY 8,480 for 2019. It is mandatory for the consumer to submit the application to one of these two committees or to the Consumer Court, by taking into consideration the value of the good or service he has purchased.

Objection to the resolutions of the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems

The resolutions that will be taken by the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems are binding on the parties. However, it is possible to object to the resolutions of the Arbitration Committees for Consumer Problems through litigation before the Consumer Courts, in which case the lawsuit should be filed within 15 days. At the locations where there is no Consumer Court, the Civil Court of First Instance acting in its capacity as Consumer Court shall have jurisdiction.

In conclusion, the application will be filed with the competent Arbitration Committee for Consumer Problems through e-state, by post or in person or through the channel of an attorney, by hand in writing. No fee or expense will be paid in order to file the application.  The application should be prepared meticulously and all the evidence should be enclosed with the letter of application. It should be stated that it is not legally possible to submit more than one application for the same subject matter. 

The applications filed with the Arbitration Committees will be resolved in no later than 6 months by their dates and sequences, and the resolution process may be extended for a further period of maximum 6 months. The resolutions will be served on the parties within 10 business days. The resolutions are of judicial decision nature. Therefore; the person, in favor of whom the resolution has been taken, may initiate “enforcement proceedings with judgment” on the basis of the resolution.

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