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“We welcome today’s commitment” – Which? response to the CMA announcement on terms and conditions

Alex Neill, Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:

“We know online terms and conditions can be baffling, so we welcome today’s commitment from some cloud storage companies to improve their practices for their customers.  We are currently working with the Government and industry to test how T&Cs are presented, particularly online and on mobile devices.  Consumers shouldn’t have to read endless pages of jargon just to ensure there are no nasty surprises, so we urge more companies to follow suit.”

Background:

 

1) Previous Which? research (Nov 2015) found:

  • Nine in ten (90%) people have agreed to terms and conditions when buying a product or service online in the last year, but only 16% say they always read them.

  • The most common reason people give for not reading terms and conditions is that they are too long (65%), while four in ten (38%) say it’s too hard to find the important pieces of information and a third (33%) think they’re too confusing.

  • Some terms and conditions as long as Shakespeare’s Macbeth (18,110 words) – for example the iTunes Store’s terms and conditions run to 19,994 words.

Press release: http://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/chancellor-calls-on-which-to-end-companies-confusing-tscs/

2) Which? will work with the Government to persuade sector leading, consumer-facing companies to voluntarily change the way they present their terms and conditions. We will work with sectors to identify and explore existing practices in relation to T&Cs, bringing prominent companies around the table, at a senior level, to identify what the issues are and what should be done to address them. The aim is to find an agreed approach that will ensure companies display key terms upfront, clearly and succinctly, and test the approach with real consumers. Which? will use its expertise in behavioural insight and research to provide support in the development of this approach.

 

 

Statement