The UK government needed your help. They wanted to know your bugbears about T&C, as well as your ideas for improvement.
Although legislation (the Consumer Rights Act 2015) requires T&C to be fair and transparent, the law only allows consumers to challenge those that aren’t. It does not provide direct enforcement powers. The Minister, Nick Boles, said he finds T&C
very long, in small print and full of impenetrable jargon and [legalese]
The consultation paper is aimed at practical ways to make T&C more transparent and accessible.
What do we want?
If you’ve been following this blog then you’ll know that we think contracts should be easy to read, understand and use by Joe and Josephine Public. That means:
- clear terms without hidden nasties
- written to positively encourage you to read them ie headings that make sense, minimal jargon, no impenetrable small print
- plain language so you can be confident that you know what they mean
- fair to both parties, moving away from the power of the corporation
- negotiable, to give you an incentive to bother reading them
- designed with your specific transaction in mind, without multiple options
You may even disagree, as we do, that it is not always possible for T&C to be ‘short and snappy’. Any contract which is not read is not one that the consumer can use or comply with. One argument is that the Regulations which bind the corporation are too long to be reduced to ‘short and snappy’ – perhaps instead of making the contract long, the regulations could be clarified?
[November 2018 update: The consultation is now over]