MSE News: Firms 'must stop' hiding conditions in the small print

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Consumer Rights
32 replies 4K views
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  • squeakysqueaky Forumite
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    All valid points, but there must be some way to make things a little easier.

    Putting reams of stuff about making reviews and comments on products first (so your brain is beginning to turn into grey flupp) before you find the parts about sales and returns seems to me to be wrong.

    It's difficult to review or comment on a given product if you haven't bought it first.

    I would have preferred to see sections 14 and 15 higher up than section 7.

    As for all the (very necessary, it seems these days) legal terms and covers - it brings to mind a quote from a lawyer from way back:-
    Any law with more than fifty words in it - I can drive a bus through.

    :)
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  • Any law with more than fifty words in it - I can drive a bus through.
    But only if you have a PSV license (or whatever they call them these days). And have you seen the forms to apply for one of those? :D
  • squeakysqueaky Forumite
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    But only if you have a PSV license (or whatever they call them these days). And have you seen the forms to apply for one of those? :D

    Gawd no!! :)

    Mutter... mumble... forms... grumble... terms... mumble ;)
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
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  • squeakysqueaky Forumite
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    RadoJo wrote: »
    If you aren't reviewing a product, then it is reasonable not to read the Ts and Cs relating to that, but I think that because people see a load of text in a block, they disregard all of it!

    That was the point I was trying to make. By the time I got to section five I was already skimming and "skip reading".

    Despite my comments on the T&C's there I have to say that Amazon marked the Sales and Returns sections well, and that they are nice, brief, and straightforward. In fact - much more so than most of the preceding sections.

    For that they get a thumbs up. Then they lose it for having those sections so low in the "pecking order".
    Hi, I'm a Board Guide on the Old Style and the Consumer Rights boards which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly and can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts. Any views are mine and are not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
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  • danothydanothy Forumite
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    Heather Clayton, from the OFT, says: "We all know people don't read the small print of contracts."

    I do read the small print but I guess most people don't as I was met with surprise when I wanted to go through my gym membership before I signed it and even frustration that I wanted to read through my mobile contract in the store before I committed. I even had an estate agent say to me once "there's nothing dodgy in it" in reference to me reading an AST agreement.

    The mind boggles, I'd never sign anything I hadn't read, and while I do skim the corner cases of T&C documents that I think won't apply to me I do check all of them enough to tally up any potential costs or liability I might have as a result.

    Clarity is one thing, not even bothering to check is another:
    ~Brock~ wrote: »
    I recently witnessed a court case where a person cheerfully confirmed to the judge that she never reads anything she signs......clearly under the impression that this fact meant that she didn't have to be bound by the terms of any contract she enters into.

    I must admit, if I'd been there I'd have probably been thrown out for laughing too loud at her.
    If you think of it as 'us' verses 'them', then it's probably your side that are the villains.
  • stugibstugib Forumite
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    Toe-Jam wrote: »
    A lot of 3rd party retailers are including clauses in their seperate terms and conditions that if you cancel your contract, even without penalty from the network, you are liable for all costs of the full contract the the 3rd party. When the network is charging you nothing for exiting.

    I think this will be the business model involved. Network pays the retailer commission for a new contract, retailer passes some of this onto the consumer to make the handset free/reduce monthly tariff to compete. If the contract's cancelled, the network claws back the commission. They're not making you pay the contract, they're just making sure they're not out of pocket through no fault of their own. Doesn't seem unfair.
  • DaveF327DaveF327 Forumite
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    FATBALLZ wrote: »
    This is ridiculous. The only way firms can do anything about this is to type all the terms and conditions in a massive font. So instead of having a couple of pages of small print you'll have a novel of large print.

    I find insulting the implication that I am too stupid or blind to notice that the terms and conditions just because they are written in small letters.
    I don't think the issue in question is the size of the print, more the deliberate way in which companies obfuscate terms of business - often to the consumer's detriment - within such print.

    The generic term "small print" is used in this thread to denote general terms and conditions which are usually lengthy, although companies that like to "bury bad news" do like to shrink their text or hide it away in faint grey print on the rear of large bold print letters.
  • DaveF327 wrote: »
    I don't think the issue in question is the size of the print, more the deliberate way in which companies obfuscate terms of business - often to the consumer's detriment - within such print.

    The generic term "small print" is used in this thread to denote general terms and conditions which are usually lengthy, although companies that like to "bury bad news" do like to shrink their text or hide it away in faint grey print on the rear of large bold print letters.

    At least they've stopped making the text the same colour as the background. A big thumbs up to them for that (feel the sarcasm) :)
  • stugib wrote: »
    I think this will be the business model involved. Network pays the retailer commission for a new contract, retailer passes some of this onto the consumer to make the handset free/reduce monthly tariff to compete. If the contract's cancelled, the network claws back the commission. They're not making you pay the contract, they're just making sure they're not out of pocket through no fault of their own. Doesn't seem unfair.

    No one can argue that some contracted period is warranted to allow up-front costs to be amortised.

    But how about telecoms contracts, where there is even no hardware involved?

    Take this interesting, ongoing series about a company called Unicom, still imposing 3 year termination fees on unhighlighted (if small printed) 3 year roll overs of 'contracts' now deemed outside of OFCOM regulations.

    reviewcentre[dot]com/reviews-all-140628.html
  • EmehEm2005EmehEm2005 Forumite
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