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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a series of guides aimed at small businesses, to help them to understand which terms should be considered to be fair and unfair in consumer contracts.

Characteristics of unfair terms

  • Unfairly tying consumers into contracts
  • Imposing financial penalties on consumers
  • Binding consumers to hidden terms
  • Misleading consumers about their rights
  • Excluding or restricting liability for breach of contract
  • Allowing the supplier to cancel or change the contract without valid reason, with no penalty
  • Including provisions that cause consumers to unfairly lose payments if the contract is cancelled
  • Enabling only the supplier to decide whether goods are faulty
  • Requiring consumers to pay for testing or inspection of goods in the event of a justifiable complaint

Issues that should be included in the terms used in consumer contracts

  • Price and payment
  • Cancellation rights
  • Guarantees
  • Data protection
  • Limits and caps on liability
  • Boiler plate clauses (including waivers and severance)

Questions about contract terms

If you are unsure whether your terms are fair or not – as either a supplier or a consumer – contact our specialist team of corporate lawyers using the telephone numbers below.