Asst. Prof. Cem Özcan, Lecturer at Faculty of Law, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), warned citizens about imposters, who take advantage of the second-hand car market boom, and disappear into thin air after receiving the earnest money deposit. Asst. Prof. Özcan said, “My biggest advice is not to give any deposit. If necessary, the money should be given with a written statement. So many people receive deposit for a car and then disappear. Sufferers of earnest money deposit can make a legal complaint and ensure the perpetrators receive punishment, which varies between 1-5 years imprisonment.”
Asst. Prof. Cem Özcan, who has academic studies on code of obligations and is the Director of IUE Vocational School of Justice at the same time, provided valuable information for citizens by giving examples from the Turkish Penal Code.
Asst. Prof. Özcan said, “Citizens, who want to buy cars at a good deal, may become the target of malevolent people. Sending deposit money to the owner of the car online or in person may leave these citizens empty-handed with the disappearance of the seller, resulting in pecuniary loss. Citizens who become subject to this can claim their rights legally. There are provisions on down payment and forfeit penalty in articles 177 and 178 of Code of Obligations. Making a down payment to the other party with a contract denotes the earnest money deposit pursuant to Article 177. The Law does not include an envisioned form of deposit. If the buyer gets something as collateral when h/she makes a down payment, this strengthens their hand. I, first of all, recommend buyers not to make any down payment. If they do, they need to get a written statement or a voucher. Law only works with proofs. However, remember that deposit is not mandatory. Aggrieved buyers have the right to sue for action of debt, and take it to the enforcement court.”
“FRAUS IS ANOTHER ASPECT”
Fraud aspect of the topic is another issue for the Turkish Penal Code, stated Asst. Prof. Özcan and said, “Sufferers of earnest money deposit can make a legal complaint and ensure the perpetrators receive punishment. There are provisions about this in Articles 157 and 158 of the Turkish Penal Code. Fraud gets 1-5 years imprisonment. Getting a down payment and then disappearing is considered fraud. There are many articles in the law that look after consumers’ rights.”