Do you ever stop to think about the length of your T&C?
I was astonished to find that some of the standard forms used in the UK construction industry were very long:
- JCT DB SBC 2011: roughly 55,000 words
- Amendments to JCT DB: 20,000 words (or longer if its the Practical Law Company version)
- JCT Major Project Contract: 14,000 words (80% shorter than JCT SBC)
- CIOB Mini Form of Contract: 3,000 words
- The City of London Law Society Letter of Intent: a mere 1,750 words
Given that ‘Brave New World’ is only 65,000 words and takes some getting through, surely we should be aiming for shorter contracts?
The on-line terms and conditions mentioned this blog run to over 6,600, or the equivalent of 13 pages of A4 text.
If you ever get to the very bottom of these T&C, the site owner states:
“No guarantees, returns, or promises of any sort.”
If only they’d stuck to this simple short message, they site users might understand their T&C.
Einstein, although highly technical, insisted on simplicity. He is reported to have said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
That holds true for terms and conditions, whether on-line or on paper. It may not be possible to reduce all your terms into tweet-sized terms, but you can at least try.