Staylegal and stay fair: your guide to writing fair contracts
When engaging with consumers and putting forward a contract for them to sign, it is imperative that you are clear of the rules and regulations that are in place.
The key point with any consumer contract is the terms you are pushing for your consumers to sign must be fair. Consumers have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) to fight against any unfair terms, including the notion that any unfair terms will be deemed as void.
There is a common misconception that as long as a contract is in writing and has been signed, then it’s automatically legal. This is not the case.
This guide will break down exactly what is deemed as unfair, how to resolve any issues that may have arisen due to terms you have provided to consumers and how you can avoid these issues arising once more moving forward.
What is deemed unfair?
While it may seem obvious, the line as to whether a term is deemed fair or unfair can be fine.
In essence, any term which puts an unfair disadvantage on to the consumer and pushes the rights and responsibilities in favour of you as the business, it likely to be deemed as unfair.
If any terms come under dispute, there is a fairness test outlined in the CRA 2015. This test will consider the purpose of the term, the words used, the purpose of the overall contract and the parties involved. There are certain terms which are acceptable and not subject to the fairness test and others that will automatically be deemed as unfair, such as:
- Exclusion of liability of clauses
- High charge terms
- the refusal to give a refund
- The right for you to cancel the contract whenever you like
How should terms be written and what should be included?
When trying to establish whether a term is on the right side of the fairness test, a good step is to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers. While you don’t want to sell yourself short, if you think about their position and reflect on that, this will help you from straying into including unfair terms.
In addition to avoiding the terms indicated above, there are some terms you may wish to include as standard, to ensure the contract is fair.
These include terms put in place to deal with any issues that arise, in a fair way, not one sided. In addition, if any changes to the contract can be made, it is important that this is done with both parties consent and the contract doesn’t give you free rein to change any element without the consumer’s input or consent.
It is also important that the contract is clear to ensure it is fair, therefore the duration of the contract is expressly detailed, as well as any option to the consumer to rollover or opt into the contract for another term.
Save the stress and Staylegal
When it comes to drafting contracts, there are a number of pitfalls you must avoid to ensure you are staying on the right side of the law. When drafting contracts is new to you, then can be a serious cause of stress.
Let the Lawdit team take this stress away and let you get back to doing what you do best by selecting the right package that suits you, we will provide you with the right legal advice.