ccording to the Distance Sales Contracts Regulation in Turkish law, which came into force in 2014, sales contracts established by the seller and the consumer without the simultaneous physical presence of the parties, from the moment the contract is established, using remote communication tools such as the internet, telephone, are defined as distance sales contracts. In accordance with this definition, anyone or company engaged in e-commerce is subject to the rules of distance sales contracts. The most important of these rules is the pre-contractual information form, which is mandatory to be used for distance sales contracts to be valid and is considered an integral part of the contract.
According to the regulation, the pre-contractual information form must be provided to the consumer clearly and separately before the contract is concluded, including at least 12-point size, clear, plain, and readable form, in writing or through a permanent data storage device. Another important point here is that confirmation must be obtained from the consumer that pre-contractual information has been provided; otherwise, the established distance sales contract is considered invalid.
Furthermore, according to the relevant regulation, the pre-contractual information form must include information such as the basic characteristics of the goods and services, the seller’s MERSIS number, identity and contact information, contact information necessary for the consumer to file complaints, the total price of the goods and services, additional payment information if any, and how the consumer can exercise the right of withdrawal. If the consumer is not informed about the above-mentioned matters before the contract is established, i.e., before the order is taken, the consumer is not considered bound by the contract. The burden of proving that the consumer has been informed lies with the seller.
Distance sales contracts can have quite different contents depending on the goods or services sold. However, in general, the contract must, like the pre-contractual information form, contain basic elements such as the content of the goods and services, the total selling price, the right of withdrawal, and the ways the consumer can apply. Similar to the pre-contractual information form, the distance sales contract must also be provided to the consumer in writing, clearly, comprehensibly, and in at least 12-point size. The Regulation accepts electronic approval given by the consumer as valid for the confirmation and approval to be obtained from the consumer for both the pre-contractual information form and distance sales contracts.
The most important obligation imposed by the distance sales contract on the seller is that, as of the date the contract is established, i.e., the order is received, the goods and services committed by the seller must be delivered or performed to the consumer within a maximum of 30 days. Another common point for the pre-contractual information form and distance sales contracts is that both documents must be kept by the seller for at least 3 years.