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Over half of UK businesses don’t know unfair contract rules well

Staff Writer |
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published research amongst UK businesses which reveals that 54% of those surveyed don’t fully understand the rules on unfair terms, which directly impacts how they treat their customers.

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Research for the CMA also revealed that some businesses think a signed contract is final, not realising that they can’t enforce a term against a consumer if it’s unfair. Others may copy terms from larger businesses or competitors, assuming incorrectly that these will be automatically fair and legally binding.

In response the CMA has today launched a new campaign, consisting of simple videos and guides, to inform businesses about what makes a term ‘unfair’ and help them understand how to treat their consumers fairly.

Unfair terms are those that give businesses an unfair advantage over consumers, often by reducing their rights or ability to complain if things go wrong.

The research showed that less than half (45%) of those surveyed claimed to know the rules on unfair terms well, whereas 36% owned up to not having a strong grasp, and 18% admitted they had never heard of them.

It also found that 67% of UK businesses sell to consumers, with most of these using some form of terms and conditions. The rules on using unfair terms are set down in the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015. However, only 15% said they were familiar with the Act when asked.


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