How should I use the OFT Unfair Terms Hub?

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Published on LexisPSL on 27/11/2013

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How should I use the OFT Unfair Terms Hub?
  • What is meant by 'unfair terms'?
  • So how does the Unfair Terms Hub help?
  • What do I need to be careful of?
  • What about drafting in plain and intelligible English?
  • I don't like the new Hub?

What is meant by 'unfair terms'?

The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 SI 1999/2083 (UTCCR) apply in relation to unfair terms in contracts concluded between a supplier and a consumer; namely 'business to consumer' (B2C) contracts. The UTCCR state that, 'a contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer'.

Under the UTCCR any unfair terms are not binding on the consumer. Any room for manoeuvre when drafting under the UTCCR is considerably limited (in comparison with contracts concluded between two businesses) given that any unfair terms are unenforceable against consumers.

Consumer contracts under the UTCCR must also be drafted in plain and intelligible language.

So how does the Unfair Terms Hub help?

The Unfair Terms Hub is designed to be a 'one-stop shop' for unfair terms by the Office of Fair Trading on how to comply with the UTCCR. It includes a number of guides on the UTCCR. More usefully, it contains a search function which allows users to find particular clauses of interest to them.

You may need to, for example, draft a time of the essence clause. The Hub sets out its view

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