Mandatory Mediation in Consumer Disputes
The Law Amending the Civil Procedure Law and Certain Laws No. 7251 (“Amendment Law”) added “Article 73/A”, titled “Mediation as a prerequisite”, to the Consumer Protection Law No. 6502 (“Consumer Protection Law”). With the amendment, mediation has been accepted as a prerequisite for lawsuits regarding disputes which are filed in Consumer Courts.
As a rule, applying to a mediator for consumer disputes before filing a lawsuit is mandatory from now on. However, the said provision regulates the exceptions as well. Applying to the mediation is not mandatory in the below-mentioned situations:
Consumer disputes that are in the scope of the Consumer Arbitration Committee’s duty (disputes involving monetary claims under TRY 10,390);
Objections made against the Consumer Arbitration Committee’s decisions;
Lawsuits in order to impose an interim injunction to prevent or suspend a threat that may arise a contradiction to Law, or to detect, prevent or suspend the unlawful condition;
Lawsuits to detect whether a series of goods offered for sale are defective, to suspend the production and sale of such, to remedy the defect and to recall such from those who are holding such goods for sale;
The dispute whose nature is a consumer action and arising from real rights regarding real estate.
On the other hand, provisions of the Law on Mediation in Civil Disputes No. 6325 (“Mediation Law”) will be applied to consumer disputes. However, article 18/(A-11) of the Mediation Law will not be applied against the consumers. The said provision states that if the mediation fails since one party’s non-participation in the first mandatory meeting held by the mediator without a valid reason, this party will bear the total cost of the proceedings even if the court rules in its favor, and the attorney’s fee cannot be ruled in favor of this party. Additionally, if mediation fails since both parties’ non-participation in the first mandatory meeting held by the mediator without a valid reason, court expenses which made by parties cannot be collected from another party. However, if the consumers do not participate the in first meeting without a valid reason, and then mediation fails, the consumer will not be responsible for the total cost of the proceedings pursuant to an added provision in the Consumer Protection Law. Also, the attorney’s fee may be ruled in favor of consumers.
Additionally, the mediation cost which the consumer should pay, shall be paid from the budget of the Ministry of Justice.
With this amendment, consumers should pay attention to apply to the mediation before filing a consumer lawsuit, in particular, which are the monetary value is above the specified limit. If not, the lawsuit will be dismissed on procedural grounds.