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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 25th Jul 12, 10:37 AM
    • 2,324Posts
    • 971Thanks
    Former MSE Helen
    MSE News: Consumers set for better protection from unfair contracts
    • #1
    • 25th Jul 12, 10:37 AM
    MSE News: Consumers set for better protection from unfair contracts 25th Jul 12 at 10:37 AM
    "Fierce competition could be driving some traders to hide full costs in the small print, the Law Commission says..."

Page 1
    • Andy L
    • By Andy L 25th Jul 12, 11:53 AM
    • 9,778 Posts
    • 8,822 Thanks
    Andy L
    • #2
    • 25th Jul 12, 11:53 AM
    • #2
    • 25th Jul 12, 11:53 AM
    Law Commission spokesman David Hertzell says: "We know that the majority of consumers do not read contracts thoroughly before they sign them......
    "We believe that it should be made clear to consumers what they are committing themselves to before they sign a contract.

    If people are to stupid/busy/lazy to actually read before signing then what can you do for them?
    • mo786uk
    • By mo786uk 25th Jul 12, 12:47 PM
    • 1,358 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    mo786uk
    • #3
    • 25th Jul 12, 12:47 PM
    • #3
    • 25th Jul 12, 12:47 PM
    Law Commission spokesman David Hertzell says: "We know that the majority of consumers do not read contracts thoroughly before they sign them......
    "We believe that it should be made clear to consumers what they are committing themselves to before they sign a contract.

    If people are to stupid/busy/lazy to actually read before signing then what can you do for them?
    Originally posted by Andy L
    play fair and not hide important info in jargon.

    but to a point consuemrs need to protect themselves.
    • chattychappy
    • By chattychappy 25th Jul 12, 2:27 PM
    • 7,084 Posts
    • 3,919 Thanks
    chattychappy
    • #4
    • 25th Jul 12, 2:27 PM
    • #4
    • 25th Jul 12, 2:27 PM
    There is already a mix of law governing the use of "onerous" terms, caselaw, european law an UK law.

    I'd prefer this to be revised/renewed rather than go down the "warning" route.

    I would also make it apply to all consumers, not just individuals. Ie when a company acts in a consumer capacity and purchases on standard terms - eg a hairdresser's signing up to a mobile phone contract. There is already some protection in this area, but there seems to be a general presumption that all businesses should know better and have the bargaining power/capacity/resources to know what they are doing and have a choice. This is just not possible for many startups/SMEs.
    • Azari
    • By Azari 25th Jul 12, 4:58 PM
    • 3,941 Posts
    • 6,164 Thanks
    Azari
    • #5
    • 25th Jul 12, 4:58 PM
    • #5
    • 25th Jul 12, 4:58 PM
    There should be a presumption that any term that modifies what a reasonable person would infer from the headline offer in any advertisement or promotional material is an unfair term or condition.
    There are two types of people in the world: Those that can extrapolate information.
  • Arg
    • #6
    • 25th Jul 12, 6:41 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Jul 12, 6:41 PM
    Law Commission spokesman David Hertzell says: "We know that the majority of consumers do not read contracts thoroughly before they sign them......
    "We believe that it should be made clear to consumers what they are committing themselves to before they sign a contract.

    If people are to stupid/busy/lazy to actually read before signing then what can you do for them?
    Originally posted by Andy L
    Not use it as an excuse to rip them off?
    • mo786uk
    • By mo786uk 25th Jul 12, 11:10 PM
    • 1,358 Posts
    • 573 Thanks
    mo786uk
    • #7
    • 25th Jul 12, 11:10 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Jul 12, 11:10 PM
    The new unfair cotnract terms legislation is up for discussion so by all means respond.

    the new consumer bill of rights will create a wholly new set of rights for consumers in all main parts of consuemr transactions and will not include small businesses at all - so there will be 2 rules now depending on who the purchaser is (from the businesses poitn of view).

    I believe the view of BIS is that many businesses dont wnat to have the same rights as consuemrs and want to elave things as they are - that is the line they are pushing anyway. i spose it was cause a lot of upheaval in B2B contracts - eve nthough many small businesses don;t have the bargaining pwoer the law assumes they have.
    • davidgmmafan
    • By davidgmmafan 26th Jul 12, 1:14 PM
    • 1,446 Posts
    • 522 Thanks
    davidgmmafan
    • #8
    • 26th Jul 12, 1:14 PM
    Just one suggesting
    • #8
    • 26th Jul 12, 1:14 PM
    Personally I think there should be a law against banks taking their own service charges (remember they aren't penalties the banks told us that in court...) before other payments due (including priority debts).

    Seriously though I think the main gripe at the moment is the fact that the price isn't really the price and we have various different bodies getting at it from different means. I think having separate charges for payment processing is wrong in several ways. It is an essential part of the transaction and it not avoidable (and even the firms that claimed it was kept changing what was needed to avoid it). In addition the so called admin fees greatly exceed the cost to the company. IKEA used to charge 50 for certain cards (credit cards I believe), if there is going to be a charge that seems reasonable (I believe credit cards take around 3% of the total transaction from the retailer). How therefore can other firms claim five pounds is what it costs them?

    The price becomes meaningless if you keep on breaking it down to the component parts which were hitherto included (what concern is it of mine what it costs a business to process payments).

    The argument is quite easily settled if companies will disclose the figures but they never do. I think exit fees can be a bit random too, they should have something to do with loss suffered by the company and there needs to be safeguards if the service has been woeful the customer should be able to leave without penalty.
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
    • mjm3346
    • By mjm3346 26th Jul 12, 1:32 PM
    • 40,230 Posts
    • 309,705 Thanks
    mjm3346
    • #9
    • 26th Jul 12, 1:32 PM
    • #9
    • 26th Jul 12, 1:32 PM
    There should be a presumption that any term that modifies what a reasonable person would infer from the headline offer in any advertisement or promotional material is an unfair term or condition.
    Originally posted by Azari
    That would rightly screw almost all "unlimited" text/call/broadband offers.
    • arcon5
    • By arcon5 26th Jul 12, 1:34 PM
    • 13,651 Posts
    • 8,653 Thanks
    arcon5
    There is already a mix of law governing the use of "onerous" terms, caselaw, european law an UK law.

    I'd prefer this to be revised/renewed rather than go down the "warning" route.

    I would also make it apply to all consumers, not just individuals. Ie when a company acts in a consumer capacity and purchases on standard terms - eg a hairdresser's signing up to a mobile phone contract. There is already some protection in this area, but there seems to be a general presumption that all businesses should know better and have the bargaining power/capacity/resources to know what they are doing and have a choice. This is just not possible for many startups/SMEs.
    Originally posted by chattychappy

    I'm sorry, but business to business contracts should not be treated in the same way as consumers, even if it is a small hair dressers.

    As a business owner contracts are much more extensive and you should be responsible enough to understand this... especially if you are employing staff and also have their livelihood in your hands.

    I do though agree consumer contracts should be transparent, it is certainly much easier than try to educate them in to reading agreements.
    • arcon5
    • By arcon5 26th Jul 12, 1:38 PM
    • 13,651 Posts
    • 8,653 Thanks
    arcon5
    Personally I think there should be a law against banks taking their own service charges (remember they aren't penalties the banks told us that in court...) before other payments due (including priority debts).
    Originally posted by davidgmmafan
    The banks are providing a service like any other business. I don't see why they should be penalised for wanting payment on time, like every other creditor.

    They should be penalised for disproportionate or unreasonable charges though, but that's a little off topic
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