In his recent article, Trainee Solicitor, Michael Stevens, highlighted the risks and pitfalls around businesses using out dated or poorly drafted contracts and not understanding “unfair contract terms”.
He goes on to say ...
"The Competition and Markets Authority has also picked up on this and, in particular, the lack of involvement of lawyers in the preparation of a business’ terms and conditions and the frequency with which they are reviewed. This is creating problems for businesses as outdated terms can give disgruntled customers the legal upper hand.
Regular reviews of a business' terms and conditions are important. They should be carried out regardless of publicised changes in the law as many businesses will grow and the range or nature of the goods and services they provide may well change. This could lead to the original terms having references to matters which no longer exist, or missing key points which need to be made in light of the newest products the business has to offer. A professional review coupled with training to staff who use the terms is something that I strongly recommend and we regularly carry out for clients.
Remember that it is much easier (and cheaper) to have a legal professional review and update contracts as opposed to waiting until there is a dispute and then trying to minimise claims and preserve the reputation of the business and at Tilly Bailey & Irvine we have lawyers experienced in drafting terms and conditions across a variety of sectors who are on hand to help"
Businesses risk breaching consumer laws by leaving too long a gap between contract reviews, according to the competition watchdog, which also suggests businesses are not making enough use of solicitors. Research conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority, published today, shows that over half of the businesses it surveyed do not fully understand the rules on ‘unfair terms’. Unfair terms give businesses an unfair advantage over consumers, often by reducing their rights or ability to complain if things go wrong. Such terms can include excluding the business’s liability for things that are its fault, such as delays and faulty goods or services.