I was just going over my court bundle and found this section in my 1st witness statement. Do I need to change my POC or can I proceed with the letter to the district judge?
33. Further under the UTCCR, Regulation 5 provides:
"5. - (1) A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.
(2) A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance of the term.
(3) Notwithstanding that a specific term or certain aspects of it in a contract has been individually negotiated, these Regulations shall apply to the rest of a contract if an overall assessment of it indicates that it is a pre-formulated standard contract.
(4) It shall be for any seller or supplier who claims that a term was individually negotiated to show that it was.”
Schedule 2 also includes such clauses (to define examples of unfair clauses) as:
(i) irrevocably binding the consumer to terms with which he had no real opportunity of becoming acquainted before the conclusion of the contract;
(j) enabling the seller or supplier to alter the terms of the contract unilaterally without a valid reason which is specified in the contract;
(m) giving the seller or supplier the right to determine whether the goods or services supplied are in conformity with the contract, or giving him the exclusive right to interpret any term of the contract."
34. It is submitted that the charges are unfair under regulation 5 because contrary to the requirement of good faith they cause a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the banking contract. The charges are most likely to penalise those customers with little or no credit and the charges could be imposed repeatedly with interest levied on top at the higher rate. The cumulative effect is therefore to substantially increase the debt burden on the customer who incurs the charges making it increasingly likely that further and repeated charges and interest would be charged.
35. The defendant is a powerful multi-national corporation. The term regarding charges was inserted unilaterally in contract. The contract was pre and mass produced and I had no opportunity to negotiate the clause, or indeed any part of the contract.
36. The cost of the Defendant's charges have increased substantially and indiscriminately during the period in which my account has been in operation, neither time was I given the opportunity to negotiate, or even notified of this increase. This means the bank, a powerful financial institution, has unilaterally altered the terms of my account contract to my significant detriment, and to their advantage.
37. It is submitted that the account contract is within the ambit of the Regulation 5 as it was not individually negotiated. The requirement of good faith was described by Lord Bingham in Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank UKHL 52 [exhibit SPM07] as:
"Good faith in this context is not an artificial or technical concept... It looks to good standards of commercial morality and practice. It lays down a composite test, covering both the making and the substance of the contract, and must be applied bearing clearly in mind the objective which the regulations are designed to promote. Fair dealing requires that a supplier should not, whether deliberately or unconsciously, take advantage of the consumer's necessity, indigence, lack of experience, unfamiliarity with the subject matter of the contract, weak bargaining position"
38. The Claimant submits that the charging regime operated by the Defendant by charging those who can least afford it to subsidise free banking of other customers takes advantage of the Claimant’s necessity indigence and weak bargaining power. The objectives which the Regulations are designed to promote include the protection of Consumers from commercial entities.
39. The Defendant may assert that the charges are within the requirement of good faith as they were in the published terms and conditions and the Claimant was aware of them. However, this is a purely procedural argument and according to Lord Steyn in Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank:
"Any purely procedural or even predominantly procedural interpretation of the requirement of good faith must be rejected."
40. I thus assert that the substance of the clause is of paramount importance in looking at the requirement of good faith also the way it was packaged so as to deceive the consumer into believing it was a legitimate charge to compensate loss.