CHOICE has made a compelling case for readability of contract terms and conditions, having hired Sydney actor Laurence Rosier Staines to read the 73,198 words of the Amazon Kindle terms and conditions – aloud.
Laurence starts out with enthusiastic professionalism …
Eight hours and 59 minutes later, he’s lost the will to live.
CHOICE head of media, Tom Godfrey, said, “Right now, the law protects us from unfair legal terms. But we think the practice of expecting a customer to spend hours of their lives reading a contract for a simple product is unfair. Companies need to do better and they should be explaining any conditions in a way that’s simple and easy to read.”
It’s not just a question of overly lengthy terms being unattractive for consumers to read. Unreadably long terms and conditions:
- are often based on an approach of throwing in everything the drafter can think of, without working through what’s applicable for your individual business and tailoring accordingly.
- can be less effective than clear, readable terms – for example, if disclaimers are not reasonably prominent, courts may decide that your terms are misleading or deceptive.
- can be inconsistent with the Australian Consumer Law if they purport to limit consumers’ rights in a way that is not permitted, for example if you exclude refund rights for faulty goods.
- can actually create more potential for complaints and disputes, if consumers have found them so difficult to read, they don’t end up understanding your product or service offering – wasting your time and money to resolve.
If you would like a review of your terms and conditions to check whether they work for your business and Australian law, contact us.