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Michael Browne

Consultation: Improving terms and conditions

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Which? don’t think that you should have to read endless pages of baffling legal jargon just to make sure there are no unwelcome surprises in a contract.

 

Earlier this year Which? launched a campaign to simplify terms and conditions.

 

The Government has now announced that it has started a review of complicated terms and conditions, including a call for evidence.

 

The Government hopes to reduce the risk of ‘nasty surprises’ hidden in opaque or lengthy T&Cs.

 

This could involve fining businesses that don’t comply with consumer protection rules.

http://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-response-to-bis-announcement-on-tcs/

 

The Government is seeking views from the public, consumer representatives, businesses, trade bodies and regulators on how terms and conditions (T&Cs) can be made more user-friendly and on proposals to introduce fines for unfair terms.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-terms-and-conditions

 

Consutation closes on 25th April

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I agree with Which, but as far as asking large business leaders around a table to discuss matters,is like an antelope asking a pack of hyenas to have a chat.

 

Its also like asking a load of bankers to be honest, its just not going to happen.

 

Before any talks on terms and conditions can be useful, terms and consumer law has to be fair, which the present system is not. With a lot of purchasing done on line the consumer protection falls far short of anything approaching what is fair, with companies which are allowed to opt out or at least change the law by adding restrictions into the T&C's.

 

All you have to do is look at what the ACCC have done with regards to a companies restrictive policies on terms and conditions, something the UK legislature should also be challenging.

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/federal-court-finds-valve-made-misleading-representations-about-consumer-guarantees

 

I do tend to feel this exercise in clarifying the T&C's will just be another whitewash, and presented as another success for the consumer, which will be far from the truth as no matter how you word T&C's, unless you have a good consumer law, the T&C's will be just as worthless as they are now.

 

It really is a no brainer. All T&C's must start with the words,

Any terms and conditions in this agreement are in addition to the consumer regulations and cannot in any way contradict or over-ride the prevailing consumer law.

Edited by LateDeveloper

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I agree with Which, but as far as asking large business leaders around a table to discuss matters,is like an antelope asking a pack of hyenas to have a chat.

 

Its also like asking a load of bankers to be honest, its just not going to happen.

 

Before any talks on terms and conditions can be useful, terms and consumer law has to be fair, which the present system is not. With a lot of purchasing done on line the consumer protection falls far short of anything approaching what is fair, with companies which are allowed to opt out or at least change the law by adding restrictions into the T&C's.

 

All you have to do is look at what the ACCC have done with regards to a companies restrictive policies on terms and conditions, something the UK legislature should also be challenging.

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/federal-court-finds-valve-made-misleading-representations-about-consumer-guarantees

 

I do tend to feel this exercise in clarifying the T&C's will just be another whitewash, and presented as another success for the consumer, which will be far from the truth as no matter how you word T&C's, unless you have a good consumer law, the T&C's will be just as worthless as they are now.

 

It really is a no brainer. All T&C's must start with the words,

Any terms and conditions in this agreement are in addition to the consumer regulations and cannot in any way contradict or over-ride the prevailing consumer law.

 

Terms and Conditions cannot override, opt out of or change the law in the UK.

When you order online, or purchase in a shop, the law takes ultimate priority. Terms and Conditions can only add to your rights, never take away from them.

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Which is why I said the first part is a no brainer, given that T&C's do not make this clear. Also the law does need to be made clear in as much as there can be no opting out of the law even if some company includes a clause in their T&C's to say that by accepting the T&C's then a consumer is opting out of their rights given under the law.

 

If you read the link I gave, the same company does exactly the same thing worldwide including in the UK and Europe.

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Maybe WHICH should look at their own terms and conditions. I signed up for a free trial then within the time frame decided I didn't want it, so emailed and said please cancel. Strangely I am now receiving monthly mags and being charged £10 a month for a 12month contract. Why? I didn't use the correct procedure You're supposed to ring a particular number. Try finding that on your log in page.

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Maybe WHICH should look at their own terms and conditions. I signed up for a free trial then within the time frame decided I didn't want it, so emailed and said please cancel. Strangely I am now receiving monthly mags and being charged £10 a month for a 12month contract. Why? I didn't use the correct procedure You're supposed to ring a particular number. Try finding that on your log in page.

 

I'll drink to that. Long ago parted company with Which? whose own businness activities don't always bear close examination.

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