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OFT’s role in clarifying consumer contracts

[23 March 2011] The Office of Fair Trading is one of the main enforcers of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, which require that a ‘seller shall [that is, must] ensure that any written term of a contract is expressed in plain, intelligible language’.

The OFT says: ‘A term is open to challenge as unfair if it could put the consumer at a disadvantage because he or she is not clear about its meaning – even if its meaning could be worked out by a lawyer.’

The OFT website used to publish a regular bulletin of case reports on the contract terms it had ordered to be rewritten or deleted. You can still see these bulletins, together with guidance on unfair terms in specific types of agreement, at http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/publications/publication-categories/guidance/unfair-terms-consumer/.

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