Q&As

Q&A: Can I use standard boilerplate provisions in consumer contracts?

read titleRead full title
Published on LexisPSL on 20/05/2014

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

  • Q&A: Can I use standard boilerplate provisions in consumer contracts?
  • What sort of provisions have been are allowed what sort have been disapplied?
  • What is the nature of the guidance available on the Unfair Terms Hub?
  • What sort of boilerplate provisions are dealt with?

Q&A: Can I use standard boilerplate provisions in consumer contracts?

It is important to understand what terms are permissible in consumer contracts (eg business to consumer agreements (B2C) as opposed to business to business agreements (B2B)). The room for manoeuvre in B2C agreements is considerably less than in B2B agreements given that B2C agreements must be in 'plain and intelligible' language under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (UTCCR 1999). Simply using boilerplate provisions from a B2B agreement (which are often written in legalese) in a B2C agreement is risky as in many cases it is likely that they would not comply with the above 'plain English' requirement. Accordingly, such provisions could be held to be unfair under the UTCCR 1999.

Moreover, unfair contract terms can also amount to unfair commercial practices, see Practice Note: Consumer protection from unfair trading.

If you need to draft boilerplate provisions in a B2C agreement, firstly see Practice Note: Unfair terms in consumer contracts (pre 1 October 2015) [Archived]. This Practice Note summarises the law, guidance and practice in relation to unfair terms in consumer contracts. It examines the UTCCR 1999 and explains the UTCCR 1999 test of fairness which is applied to standard terms and the effect of an unfair term on the contract.

Drafting in plain English can be challenging for lawyers who are unused to doing

Popular documents