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OFT Views

Posted on February 28, 2011 by B. Green There have been 0 comments

The ‘Fine Print’

Office of Fair Traing says Read the Fine Print

Read the Fine Print

Along with the Home & Garden Centre and other companies within the Benfield ATT Group, the Beamlock Building Company has always gone out of tis way to ensure that its Terms & Conditions of sale were fair, equitable, and easily ‘Plain English’ understandable for customers.

Now the Office of Fair Trading vindicates our efforts in this direction.

One in Five Had Problems

With 1 in 5 people experiencing difficulties with consumer contracts, the OFT found that, in the main, these resulted from:-

  • Small print terms varying what customers understood the deal offered to be, effectively ‘hiding’ this, or making it difficult for them to clearly understand. 80% experienced this problem.
  • With 70% of enforcement cases linked to this, the OFT has identified several terms considered to be detrimental, viz:-

o    Unclear restrictions, like season tickets that don’t ensure you have a seat, and limitations on extended warranties.

o    Imposition of unexpected risks, like, for example, sale & rent back offers that were less secure than realised.

o    Charges that were unexpected or unclear, like letting agents non-related additional fees.

o    Inappropriate restrictions on switching and cancellation, e.g. as with onerous cancelation fees charged by gyms.

People Don’t Read

As the OFT’s Senior Director, Heather Clayton, recognised, part of the problem is that many people do not read the T&C’s that they then commit to. She still recognises the need to have ‘small print’ in order to make the detailed offer clear and accepts that la is not there to protect them from their own folly.

Transparent Contracts

However, in encouraging transparent business practices. she emphasises that such T&C’s should be written in such a way as enables potential customers to “… focus on the main elements …” without needing to worry about ‘small print’ surprises.

We whole heartedly agree with M/s Clayton and encourage potential Beamlock clients to raise any questions they may have on our Terms & Conditions with us before placing their order.  On past experience we rather expect that, in the main, they will not find this necessary.

Please click here to read more and download the report

This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with Read contract fine print, Clear Understandable Terms & Conditions, Consumer Protection, Looking after Customers