EVALUATIONS ON THE GUIDELINE ON ADVERTISEMENTS CONTAINING PRICE INFORMATION AND DISCOUNT SALE ADVERTISEMENTS AND COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

The “Guideline on Advertisements Containing Price Information, Discount Sale Advertisements and Commercial Practices” (“Guideline”), which was adopted as principle decision numbered 2022/1 at the meeting of the Advertisement Board dated 12 April 2022 and numbered 320, was published on 15 April. The main purpose of the Guideline is to provide guidance to advertising agencies, sellers, providers, intermediary service providers and all persons, institutions and organisations related to advertising on advertisements containing price information and discounted sale advertisements and commercial practices.

Noteworthy Regulations within the scope of the Guideline

If it is necessary for the consumer to pay for the product to obtain the product other than the mandatory costs to be paid at the delivery point, expressions such as “free of charge” cannot be used about that product. At this point, it is necessary to calculate the fees reasonably in advance or, if this is not possible, to state that “Delivery charges apply.

If a discount does not cover all products/categories in the specified store, the use of phrases such as “all, all” should be avoided.

It is stated that the phrases such as “starting from”, “starting from”, etc., which we frequently see in discounted sales campaigns, written in very small font size under the discounted prices, should now be written in a readable size and the scope of the goods in these discount announcements should meet the reasonable expectation of the consumer. At this point, it is noteworthy that the scope that will meet the reasonable expectations of the consumer is not specified.

It cannot be stated that the goods or services will be offered within a very limited period of time and under certain conditions in order to enable the consumer to make a sudden decision and shorten the thinking time. At this point, as it is known by everyone, it is seen that during discount periods, especially on online shopping platforms, phrases such as “last 4 hours, last 3 pieces” are frequently used, but these directions are mostly misleading. With the relevant regulation, it is understood that it is intended to prevent this illusion and the buyer group from acting quickly at the point of purchase.

Additional care obligations have been introduced in discount sale advertisements for “sensitive consumer groups” such as the elderly, disabled and children. To list these obligations

Expressions such as “only, only” should not be used in addition to the price information to create the perception that the price of the good or service is low.
Children should not be encouraged to persuade their parents or others in order to obtain a good or service.
Expressions that imply that children should enter into a contract in order to obtain goods or services should not be used.
Except for advertisements for package tours or educational services to be performed abroad, and advertisements for international transport and accommodation services, sales prices in advertisements must be stated in TL, with phrases such as “Turkish lira, TL”.
In discount advertisements; the previous price, the start and end dates of the discounted sale, and if the product offered for sale at a discount is limited, the quantity must be clearly stated.
Expressions and images that may cause confusion about which goods or services will be within the scope of the discount or the amount of the discount, that may mislead the consumer, and that may create the impression that more discounts are being applied than the reality cannot be included in discount sale advertisements.

In determining the sales price of a good or service before the discount, the lowest price applied within 30 days prior to the date of the discount will be taken as basis. In addition, the price to be taken as basis within the scope of perishable goods will not be the lowest price within 30 days, but the previous price of that good.

Again, in relation to the announcements, such phrases such as “Wonderful/Glorious November, Friday Offers, Giant Deals, Starry Days” may be used in the advertisements to give the impression of a price reduction and it will not be necessary to specify the previous price of each product in this context. However, in the announcements of the products themselves, it will be obligatory to state “the lowest price applied in the previous 30 days” or “the previous price” for each product.

Although it is regulated in the final provisions that the correction of the advertisement or commercial practice contrary to the Law No. 6502 on the Protection of Consumers, the Regulation on Commercial Advertisements and Unfair Commercial Practices and the Guideline will not eliminate the liability, since the Guideline does not include a regulation such as administrative fines at the point of liability; it will be important to evaluate other relevant legislation, especially at the point of sanction. In this sense, it will be possible to say that the Guideline will be shaped by gaining visibility with the implementation.

In general, it is noteworthy that new obligations have been introduced to persons and platforms such as sellers, intermediary service providers, who are in the position of advertisers, and regulations have been introduced for the benefit of consumers in order to ensure transparency, especially in discounts. Based on the recent fundamental amendments made in favour of the consumer in the Law No. 6502 on the Protection of Consumers, it seems obvious that the issue has taken a big place on the agenda and will occupy the agenda for a while longer in these periods when online shopping has become the new normal.