Are your contract terms unfair and unenforceable?
October 27, 2016
According to the competition watchdog, many businesses are at risk of breaching consumer laws by leaving it too long to review their terms of business. The law has changed and what may have been acceptable when you last looked may now be unfair and unenforceable.
We regularly advise clients who have simply copied terms and conditions from a competitor’s website and added a few terms of their own. But this "do it yourself" approach is a minefield. The outcome is often a contract with conflicting terms some of which may be outdated and therefore unfair (so unenforceable against the consumer).
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 made new provisions for the protection of the consumer. Businesses which haven't reviewed their terms and conditions since the Act came into force on 1 October 2015, risk falling foul of its provisions. If you don't amend your terms and conditions to comply with the Act, some of the most important terms may well be unenforceable.
A further important point to remember is that the Act doesn't just apply to contracts between you and your consumer customer, it also applies to contracts between businesses where the end product is supplied to a consumer.
All businesses should ask their solicitors to review their contracts and terms and conditions regularly to make sure that they are updated in line with current legislation. A small outlay to your solicitors on a regular basis will help you ensure you don't face expensive problems later when you find you can't enforce the terms and conditions you thought you could rely on.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.