The refund decision of a defective product purchased from a company providing electronic commerce over an internet network, rendered against the intermediary service provider company, was overruled by the 3rd Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeals with the decision dated November 15, 2021 and numbered 2021/4000 E., 2021/11403 K. on the ground that the intermediary service provider cannot be held liable.
Summary of the Dispute Subject to the Decision:
A real person consumer applied to the consumer arbitral tribunal and requested refund, upon a cigarette butt was found in the cake, bought from a pastry shop listed as a seller on the intermediary service provider’s website. Upon the refund decision of the consumer arbitral tribunal against the intermediary service provider, the intermediary service provider filed an annulment lawsuit before the competent Consumer Court with the request of annulment of the arbitrator’s decision.
The Consumer Court ruled that the arbitral decision was appropriate, considering that the consumer received the said service with the trust for the reputation of the relevant intermediary service provider, and that the recourse relationship between the supplier company and the intermediary service provider is their internal relationship.
Upon the application of the intermediary service provider, the Ministry of Justice (“Ministry”) stated that it was not possible to hold the applicant company liable under the relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Law No. 6502, where the company was not considered as a seller, importer or manufacturer, but was an intermediary services provider to the consumer; and that the decision dismissing the lawsuit on the ground that the intermediary service provider was also responsible for the services provided under the commission paid by the supplier company was against the law. Thereby, the Ministry requested the reversal of the court decision for the benefit of the law.
Under the examination conducted in line with the request for reversal, the Court of Appeal rendered a decision, which could be considered as a precedent for all intermediary service providers. The court ruled that an intermediary service provider is not legally responsible for the defective goods on the grounds that it is not under an obligation to investigate whether there is an illegal activity or situation related to the service and to control the content provided by the real and legal persons using the platform in which the intermediary service provider renders services.