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Consumer law communique on newspapers' novelty giveaways.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Some years ago, novelty items being given away by newspapers were a big driver of newspaper sales. It sure was something.

Usually, cheap items on the market were promoted through giveaway coupons, published on the front page of a newspaper. The coupons were carefully clipped, saved and submitted for redemption. For those who missed out on the promotion, a second coupon could be found that would allow you to get your plastic duck, or whatever other item was being offered that was just as useless. I must say that there were some good things given out during this age of novelty gifts -- things like a set of encyclopedias, the only information resource when there was no Internet.

Now, things have changed slightly, but the giving away of novelties to readers is still a practice that falls under the law.

As you may have already read either in my column or in the news, Turkey has a new consumer law. The law was made and several communiques were expected to be published after the law came into force. One of the first communiques on this has been released, and it concerns Articles No. 53 and 84 of Law No. 6502, dated July 11, 2013. This is the Law on the Protection of the Consumer or, in other words, the Turkish consumer law.

Article 84 of the law states that the relevant ministry is authorized to make necessary regulations in respect to this law. Therefore, this ministry can make all necessary adjustments to consumer matters in line with the law.

The law also states that the ministry should seek the opinion of vocational associations -- public institutions, NGOs and professional organizations -- when making communiques. This should include several associations or chambers. If I may give an example: The ministry should ask for the opinions of media foundations or associations when making a communique regarding the practice of newspaper publishing companies printing coupons for novelty items.

What does Article 53 of the consumer law say, though? It regulates the novelty campaigns made by periodicals. The details were expected to be given in the communique.

A recently published communique is in line with the new consumer law, which covers giveaway promotions being done by newspapers and magazines. The first part of the communique concerns the definitions, scope and legal basis of the promotion practice of regular publishing institutions.

I will highlight the differences and similarities between the text of the law and the text of the communique.

Article 53 states that no goods or services other than those described in the communique as novelties can be given to readers as a novelty. Therefore, no item falling out of the scope of the communique's definition of a novelty can be given. The wording in the law is very strong. It starts with the words, "Under no circumstances, for whatever reason, and in no form..." This kind of wording first gives the impression that the subject matter of the regulation concerns national security or something. But it does not... It is only covering novelty distribution... Thereafter, the text of the law is almost the same as the communique recently published regarding the law. Paragraph two of the law has almost the same wording as the communique.

The second part of this article will be published next week.

BERK EcEKTyR (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jun 27, 2014
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