Don’t let confusing terms and conditions trip you up
Published 23 November 2015 by Kyri Levendi
New legislation under The Consumer Rights Act has changed the way firms can use T&Cs.
We’ve all done it – you come across the terms & conditions (T&Cs) for a product or service and mindlessly tick the accompanying box without even attempting to read them. This is largely down to how long and wordy T&Cs can be. If you were to read them in detail as you should do, you’d be there for hours – if not days. But all of this has changed, thanks to new legislation under the Consumer Rights Act.
Under new rules that came into effect on 1st October, companies must now make the key parts of a product or service clear to customers in their T&Cs. As part of this, the Government has placed a ban on firms hiding important details in the small print of their contracts – meaning you should no longer need to dig out your magnifying glass to read it! Long-winded, legal jargon is out of the window as well, as terms must now be in simple language and displayed in a readable format.
These changes mean that it will be much easier to challenge unfair or unclear T&Cs on any new contracts that you enter into. Under the new Consumer Rights Act, customers can challenge any terms and conditions that are unfair or hidden by the small print. For example, if you purchased a voucher for a spa day for you and your friends but didn’t realise it could only be used on a weekday, you could complain to the company involved if this detail wasn’t clearly stated in the T&Cs.
If you’re unhappy with a product or service you’ve paid for, under the Consumer Rights Act you have a 30 day period (after purchase or delivery) that you can claim a refund. Any refunds must be provided to you without delay, typically within 14 days of the refund being agreed.
When there’s a breach of contract but you do not claim a refund, you have the right to claim a repair or replacement for the goods. This service should be provided to you at no extra cost and within a reasonable amount of time. If this is not available or you’re unsuccessful, you can either return the goods or keep them. If you opt to keep the goods, then you can only make a claim for a reduction in price. Alternatively, you can reject the goods altogether and return them.