What is a commercial electronic message?
Regulation on the Commercial Communication and Commercial Electronic Messages published in the Official Gazette dated 15 July 2015 defines commercial electronic messages as “messages with data, voice and image contents which are electronically sent for commercial purposes by using vehicles such as telephone, call centers, fax, automated call systems, smart voice recorder systems, electronic mail, text message“.
Is the receiver’s consent required to send commercial electronic message?
A person (service provider) who engages in electronic commercial activities, must obtain receivers’ consent prior to send them commercial electronic messages to advertise or market their products or services or with contents such as celebration.
As usual, this rule has some exceptions. The exceptions where receivers’ consent is not required are as follows:
- Commercial electronic messages with respect to change, usage or maintenance of a product or service can be sent to receivers who purchased such product or service and gave their contact information to the service provider.
- Commercial electronic messages can be sent to traders or artisans without their consent. However, they still have the right to object to receive electronic messages and if they use their right, it becomes mandatory to obtain their consent before sending them messages. Therefore, service providers must record electronic contact details of receivers who are traders or artisans to the Commercial Electronic Message Management System (IYS) before sending them a message and verify whether they used their right to object through the system.
- Service providers can send electronic messages about continuing subscriptions, membership or partnership, collection, debt reminder, information update and similar subjects.
- If the service provider is legally required to inform the receiver, they can send messages without consent.
- Companies which engage in intermediation activities in capital market can send electronic messages to their customers for information purposes.
Is a service provider required to register with the Message Management System to send commercial electronic messages?
A service provider who wants to send commercial electronic messages must register with the Message Management System (IYS). IYS is a system which allows receivers to give their consent or use their right to object as well as the management of the complaint process.
Are the foreign service providers based abroad required to register with the Message Management System?
According to the information provided on the website of IYS, the Ministry of Commerce is in the opinion that service providers, who are not based in Turkey but want to send commercial electronic messages to their customers in Turkey, must register with the Message Management System.
How to obtain receiver’s consent for commercial electronic message
Receiver’s consent can be obtained in writing or via an electronic communication vehicle or through the Message Management System (IYS).
Consents which are obtained outside of the Message Management System must be registered with IYS within three business days by the service provider. Consents which are not registered with IYS become invalid and commercial electronic messages cannot be sent to receivers whose consent cannot be found in the system.
Consent must indicate name, last name, electronic communication address and declaration of intent of receiver. If the consent is sought physically in a store, the receiver must sign the consent. Consents, which are given through IYS, must include declaration of intent and electronic communication address of receiver.
If consent is obtained via an electronic communication vehicle, the service provider must send to receiver’s electronic communication address, information regarding the consent, including receiver’s right to object to receive messages within 24 hours.
If the consent is included in an agreement such as a subscription agreement or sale agreement, it must be written in at least font size 12, before the signature or affirmative declaration of intent under commercial electronic message title and with the possibility to object. Affirmative declaration of intent cannot be pre-ticked.
Service provider cannot make the receiver’s consent to receive commercial electronic messages a precondition to supply a product or service.
Can the existing consents be transferred to IYS?
According to the declaration of the Ministry of Commerce dated 23.05.2020, existing consents can be registered with IYS until 1 September 2020 by the service providers. Any consent which is not registered until such date will become invalid. At the end of this period, IYS will inform receivers that their consents were registered with the system and ask them to verify their consents until 1.12.2020.
Can receivers object to receive commercial electronic messages?
Receivers can at any time object to receive commercial electronic messages and retract their previous consents, without any justification.
Service providers must include in the commercial electronic message customer services number, text message number or a specific URL address where receivers can send their objections.
Service providers must notify IYS of the objection notifications they received, within 3 business days. They must also stop sending electronic messages to the receiver who objected to it.
Receivers can use their right to object directly on the Message Management System. In such case, IYS will inform the service provider at the latest within 3 business days.
Records retention periods
Service providers must keep the records of receivers’ consents three years as of expiry of the relevant consent and they must keep other records related to the commercial electronic messages three years as of the relevant record date.