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Courier companies – your statutory rights and their statutory obligations


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Not all contractual terms are enforceable

 

The courier industry relies extensively on so-called contractual terms which are designed to protect them from their negligence and their contractual breaches.

All contract with courier companies such as DPD, DHL, Hermes – and the rest – will include lists of prohibited items and also require that an additional insurance is taken out if you want to protect your goods against any kinds of errors committed by the courier company.

These "contractual terms" are effectively terms which purport to restrict or exclude a consumers right to take action or to restrict their own liability. Of course those terms don't specifically say that, but they create conditions and obstacles which eventually amount to the same thing.

Somehow or other, over a very long period of time, the courier industry has managed to foster a de facto culture in which their customers for the most part accept without question that if the courier gets it wrong and the customers goods are lost or damaged then there is no comeback.


The consumer rights act – and the acts before it – specifically made unenforceable by the trader, any contractual clause which purported to restrict or exclude a consumers right to take action or to restrict their own liability.
 

 

We would suggest very strongly that if you have an issue with your courier company that you look through our library at the Consumer Rights Act section dealing with services – and also dealing with unfair terms.

Schedule 2 of the Act contains a nonexhaustive list of examples of unfair terms – and example number two seems to fit the typical courier scenario very well.

We would urge anybody who is bringing a small claim against the courier company to rely on these provisions of the Consumer Rights Act as part of their argument.

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The above post refers to consumer contracts. The Consumer Rights Act as you might expect, thanks provisions only for consumer contracts.

Insofar as business contracts are concerned – meaning business to business, there are still excellent protections.

For the purposes of courier companies, those protections are to be found in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977

The main provisions seems to be here – section 3.
(The Act looks rather messy because it has been around for so long and has been heavily amended)

 

Quote

Liability arising in contract.

F4(1)This section applies as between contracting parties where one of them deals F4... on the other’s written standard terms of business.

(2)As against that party, the other cannot by reference to any contract term—

(a)when himself in breach of contract, exclude or restrict any liability of his in respect of the breach; or

(b)claim to be entitled—

(i)to render a contractual performance substantially different from that which was reasonably expected of him, or

(ii)in respect of the whole or any part of his contractual obligation, to render no performance at all,

except in so far as (in any of the cases mentioned above in this subsection) the contract term satisfies the requirement of reasonableness.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/50

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