Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
Find up-to-date guidance on points of law and then easily pull up sources to support your advice with Lexis PSL
Check out our straightforward definitions of common legal terms.
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Access our unrivalled global news content, business information and analytics solutions
Insurance, risk and compliance intelligence using big data, proprietary linking and advanced analytics.
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Discuss the latest legal developments, ask questions, and share best practice with other LexisPSL subscribers
Your statutory rights are not affected
A phrase all-too-often used to sprinkle statutory fairy dust over dodgy trading practices?
I'd say so.
At worst, with some companies it feels like the context is more like this:
It seems clear to me that this common phrase—'this does not affect your statutory rights'—is not fit for purpose.
Customers don’t understand it. Businesses don’t understand it. Heck, even peers of the realm struggle with it. Take Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town:
I cannot be the only person who has been a bit mystified when standing by a till and reading a notice which says, “This does not affect your statutory rights”
Others agree, from consumer guru Martin Lewis:
Seven little words, one GIANT confusion. The sign’s everywhere yet many customers and staff don’t have a clue what it means
to Chris Warner, Lead Lawyer, Policy, Advocacy and Enforcement, at Which?
I do not think anyone really knows what their statutory rights are or what that phrase means. It is not enough just to tell people that their legal rights are not affected. They need to know what those legal rights are
Enter the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which comes into force in just over three weeks.
Whilst the Act does not mention this phrase or create any updated equivalent of it, notices are now covered by this new legislation.
Section 61(4) of the Act states:
This Part [ie Part 2 on unfair terms] applies to a notice to the extent that it—(a) relates to rights or obligations as between a trader and a consumer, or (b) purports to exclude or restrict a trader’s liability to a consumer
If the Act applies, and it will to many notices which businesses use, then such notices must now be fair. Unclear and purposely impenetrable notices are likely to be found unfair if they are not expressed in plain and intelligible language.
I'd argue that the clunky 'statutory rights' saying might well now also fall foul of this new law.
So is there a solution?
The Chartered Trading Standard Institute (CTSI) believes that there is, in the form of summary boxes.
These boxes are an attempt to represent current best practice in this area and are a useful way of telling consumers what their key rights are and where to obtain further information. Traders are free to use them wherever they deem fit: in the customer’s terms and conditions, at the till or even randomly throughout a store.
Whilst the CTSI is currently consulting on the exact form of wording of them, this is the current version for buying goods in store:
More helpful? I think so.
Tempted to use them? Then check out the official suggested wording provided by Business Companion (ie the website run by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute), click here and go to the headings 'Suggested point-of sale wording' and 'Buying goods at a distance'.
Don’t forget though: you don’t have to use these summary boxes. Therefore, it is not obligatory to follow the exact wording suggested.
I think, for example, that it would useful to add a further paragraph at the bottom of any summary boxes which are used in terms and conditions which states:
The information in this summary box summarises your key rights. It is not intended to replace the contract below which you should read carefully
So what do you think? Are these notices a good idea? Are they well worded or do they need a bit of tweaking? As always, we welcome your views below.
Free trials are only available to individuals based in the UK
* denotes a required field
0330 161 1234